Cannabis & Pesticides: Alarming High Levels Discovered
3 min

Cannabis & Pesticides: Alarming High Levels Discovered

3 min
Growing Seedshop

Pesticides, when used incorrectly or in large amounts, become a worrying problem. Unfortunately, that is just what is happening.

We all like to think that the weed we smoke is pure and unadulterated, yet for the majority of people, especially those who buy off the street, this is not true. It is not uncommon for an alarming amount of pesticides to be used during growth. Why? Because it boosts profits for the grower, as they are likely to lose fewer plants. For many black market growers, this takes priority over the health implications for the end user. Most pesticides leave a residue, and while some are food crop safe, they were never meant to be smoked. It can result in your weed being laced with something you didn’t quite sign up for. If there was ever a reason to grow your own weed and ensure its quality, this is it.

It isn’t just black market growers that fall foul of the pesticide problem, either. Even in places where cannabis is legal, like in parts of the US, licenses growers are using an abundance of pesticides on their crops. It is a problem that is now coming to light, with users becoming increasingly aware, but previously, even some medical dispensaries were found to have contaminated marijuana.

Fortunately, in the legal market, it is an oversight that is being clamped down upon. Most agricultural crops grown for consumption are regulated, and pesticide use keenly monitored. But it appears this was not the case for marijuana crops. There are a large amount of health and safety recalls going on in the US, as well as frameworks being implemented to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

The cannabis community is also rising up to ensure the safety and quality of weed. For example, the Emerald Cup, one of the biggest cannabis events in the world, is introducing new cleanliness standards, where all entered marijuana will be tested for contaminants. They will publish and publically shame a list of growers and dispensaries that fail to pass the test. It is just one of the ways that people are working towards making sure this multi-billion-dollar industry stays as safe as possible.


Yes. There is absolutely no doubt that inhaled pesticide residue is absorbed by the lungs and enters the bloodstream. It is even more of a concern where concentrates are used, as they can contain up to ten times the amount of residue – quite a surprise when you consider that most concentrates only have 2-5 times the amount of cannabinoids in them. There is a reasoning for this; for example, trim is often used in the production of concentrates. It is quite possible that the trim becomes much more contaminated than the flowers of a cannabis plant. There is also a possibility that extraction techniques are simply more efficient at extracting the chemicals of pesticides than cannabinoids.


This is one of the main problems we currently face. Science just doesn’t know. We know that having pesticides in the blood stream is not good, and can damage organs, such as the liver. But the extent of danger presented by inhaled pesticides isn’t fully understood – much more research is required. The situation isn’t helped by the fact that different pesticides do different things to the body; then there is also the consideration that black market growers sometimes use pesticides not approved for agricultural growing. It all comes together into a big melting pot of complications and problems. One thing is certain, though, it is toxic; it will do you no favours.


The best way to ensure your personal stash of weed is clean and safe is to grow your own; by growing a plant or two, you have complete control of what goes into your bud. If you grow indoors, then there is very rarely any need for pest control at all, as it tends to be a fairly sterile environment. Another option is to grow organically, as nature intended. Not only will this hone your skills (as it is more challenging), but also produce a smug sense of satisfaction when you yield some high-quality marijuana.

If you do need to use pesticides, then organic ones like pure neem oil, IPA and pyrethrum will keep things safe. These are considered to be safe for human consumption in small amounts - although they do have some problems. If you use them during flowering, you will need to make sure to rinse bud before harvest.

At the end of the day, everyone makes their own decisions, but consuming pesticides is never a good thing – so grow your own, or barring that, makes sure whatever you obtain is organic!



Written by: Josh
Writer, psychonaut and cannabis aficionado, Josh is Zamnesia’s in-house expert. He spends his days nestled out in the countryside, delving into the hidden depths of all things psychoactive in nature.

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