Cannabis is a powerful plant, consumed by countless people for medical purposes. A lot of cannabis patients have compromised immune systems, making it necessary for them to be conscious of what they put in their bodies. And yet, the federal government still prohibits cannabis and cannabis products from being certified ‘organic’.
The word ‘organic’ is a term that belongs to the USDA, an agency of the federal government. When something is labeled as organic it means that the product or the company has gone through a certification process to earn that title. Cannabis products and companies are not allowed to go through the organic certification process because cannabis remains illegal in the eyes of the federal government.
To address this problem, third party certification services such as Certified Kind and DEM-pure have launched programs to certify cannabis businesses growing their products with comparable standards. Certified Kind offers a true equivalent to USDA Organic certification. DEM-pure offers a certification that goes beyond organics and requires growers to have a community minded ethos that employs regenerative and sustainable farming practices. Both certification services help inspire an organic farming revolution while providing transparency to the consumer about the way in which their cannabis was grown.
Before these certifications existed, there was no way for the consumer to tell if the cannabis product they were purchasing were made organically or ethically. This lack of comprehensive certification was inexcusable. Because cannabis is a medicinal plant, it’s so important that it is grown sustainably and without the use of harmful insecticides, pesticides, and fungicides. We have programs in place that allow us to determine the quality of the food we purchase. Why shouldn’t we have that same transparency with cannabis?
Unlike food, cannabis is often combusted or heated for vaporization. These types of consumption methods make it that much more important to have transparency in the way that the product is grown. Synthetic insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides can be very toxic, especially when combusted. In a recent study by Steep Hill Labs, 83% of cannabis grown in California tested positive for a pesticide (myclobutanil) that turns to toxic hydrogen cyanide when combusted. Do you want to be inhaling cyanide when you light up a joint?
Even if cannabis is not combusted, it’s a bioaccumulator meaning that it will suck up any inputs and concentrate it to high levels. Hemp has even been planted at sites around Chernobyl to clean up the radiation in the soil. If cannabis is grown with synthetic fertilizers or pesticides then those toxic compounds will concentrate in the plant’s tissues.
Furthermore, when cannabis flower or trim goes into processing for extracts or concentrates, the cannabinoids and other inputs are concentrated to very high levels. Pesticides and any toxic inputs are also concentrated to high levels. Even if cannabis flower and/or trim passed a lab screening for pesticides, the concentrate made from it may be dangerously high in pesticides if any pesticides, fungicides, or insecticides were used during cultivation.
These are only a few examples that communicate just how necessary organic certifications are for the cannabis community. Both medical patients and adult-use consumers deserve to know that they are not consuming cyanide or other toxic compounds when they consume cannabis. Third party certification services like Certified Kind and DEM-pure make this transparency possible.