How to Avoid Fake or Poor-Quality Cannabis Oil
Despite the promise of cannabis oil being a cleaner, more convenient and more concentrated source of cannabinoids, there is growing concern surrounding this sector of the market/industry. There are genuine issues when it comes to fake and poor quality cannabis oil.
What Exactly is in Hemp Oil Concentrate?
The first issue, especially when it comes to hemp oil and CBD concentrates, is whether the oils contain the amounts of beneficial chemicals claimed. When using a substance that has no psychoactive effects, as is the case with hemp and CBD oil, it can be hard for an individual to tell if the concentrate is “working.” To complicate matters further, many companies have been selling CBD oil labeled as hemp oil to avoid getting in legal trouble.
A search on Amazon will turn up pages of results, with not a single one specifying the actual cannabinoid content of their hemp oil. It’s understood that these are CBD oil, but with no actual labeling, and often no testing, purchasers have no idea what they are ingesting. Don’t expect this issue to persist as CBD cultivation and production become legal. A massive benefit of legalization is industry standards requiring laboratory testing for quality and purity of products coming to the consumer market.
With CBD reclassified in the U.S Farm Bill of 2018, hemp oils now essentially exist in the same space as the health and sports supplement industry, which uses standards like GMP to allow companies to produce higher standard products which give the consumer piece of mind. In the supplement industry, many companies still choose not to participate in these practices.
Cannabis oil is also mislabeled frequently, boasting dishonestly high levels of THC. Other producers will claim their concentrate is derived from a popular strain or terpene profile when it is actually a different plant altogether.
Pesticides, Chemical Sprays, and Bug Killers
Cannabis grows like a weed, reaching the size of real trees when grown outdoors, but they are still finicky plants no matter how big they get. As growers have manipulated the genetics to yield high concentrations of THC and CBD, they also increased some strains’ susceptibility to environmental stress. Moreover, many cultivators in regions around the country want to grow specific strains for their value and yield. These strains aren’t always ideal for those parts of the country.
For instance, the Pacific Northwest is an area of extremely high humidity, and many of the better yielding strains do better in drier climates. The moisture of Oregon can result in mold and root rot in the growing marijuana. To compensate for these many environmental factors, some cultivators turn to artificial chemicals rather than risk a damaged or small crop. Sprays and plant growth regulators are used to force the plant to grow with unnatural size and strength but also aren’t safe for human consumption.
Marijuana has its share of predators, like mites and aphids. Borrowing from traditional agricultural farmers, some cultivators turn to pesticides to eliminate these issues. While there are many natural approaches, they are often more labor-intensive and don’t guarantee results to the degree that laboratory-created pesticides boast. Pesticides can be harmful to humans; they can be known carcinogens, or just plain bad for the environment. These chemicals remain on cannabis flowers and are absorbed into the plant, making their way into concentrated oil.
Mold and Bacteria Contamination
As mentioned before, cannabis can be prone to mold if not grown correctly. Improper harvesting techniques can also cause mold growth, especially if the drying process is done incorrectly. Cannabis oil produced in a dirty lab – or much worse, a backyard – can quickly become contaminated with outside bacteria. Mold and bacteria break down the oil and can be harmful to humans themselves.
Residual Solvents & Heavy Metals
With many oil and concentrate makers having roots in the black market, some facilities are not up to industry standards. The extraction process of certain oils involves using solvents, like butane, which should be removed entirely before the extraction is complete. Quality equipment coupled with proper technique ensures these solvents never reach the final product, but jerry-rigged setups or rushed removal can leave solvents in the final product. These solvents are dangerous for humans to be ingesting and are a detriment to the industry. Worse, dishonest cartridge manufacturers capitalizing on customers looking for the cheapest product often use cartridges manufactured out of inferior quality metals and plastic which leach chemicals and heavy metals into the oil they contain.
How to Get the Good Stuff
The market for marijuana concentrates is already substantial enough that there is no need to deal with anything less than a reputable manufacturer. The majority of states have instituted mandatory laboratory testing on all cannabis oil brought to the market. Expect to see national regulation in the coming years as lawmakers push for full countrywide legalization. For now, don’t settle for dirty medicine. Only purchase from companies that choose to test.
Several internet groups have made it their mission to verify the quality of cannabis products on the market and expose crooked manufacturers. DabConnection.com posts lab results (both passing and failing) of many companies and their database is always growing. The Blacklist and CleanMedz are Instagram personalities who do the same, as well as accept submissions from the public. They will review or test products that consumers buy and find suspicious. A common suggestion from both pages, don’t purchase cannabis oil that isn’t in sealed packaging. They frequently find counterfeit products that fail lab testing. When they go buy a sealed version of the product from a store themselves, that oil passes the test.
For now, avoid products with artificial flavors or other “beneficial” ingredients added. Remember CBD is for healing, it doesn’t need to taste like “Passionfruit Kiwi.” These artificial additives are often being used to mask an inferior product even if they advertise a benefit.
Avoid products that aren’t labeled with a passing lab test that displays exactly what you are getting. The label will say how much of each cannabinoid is present, as well as evidence that it is pesticide and contaminant free. Oil should display their lab testing seal of approval on their packaging.
Concerning vape pens, dodge buying knock-off batteries and refillable cartridges that may have been made with harmful materials which will leach into the product, even if they look the same as their name brand counterparts. A quality reusable battery or cartridge will last long enough to pay for itself.
Clean oil is one of the best ways to experience many cannabis benefits, whether you are eating, vaping, dabbing, or using tincture concentrates. By purchasing sealed, properly labeled cannabis concentrates from authorized, LEGAL sources, you are ensuring you won’t harm yourself with fake or poor quality garbage. Envision a public marijuana marketplace where consumers would never even consider buying untested concentrates and don’t have to. The united states is getting there.