The marijuana industry in the United States is still in its infancy, and companies are learning how to ensure the industry is both profitable and safe. In California, for instance, there's a lack of regulation and testing of marijuana products grown in the state, and that can result in consumers ingesting things they're not aware of. But according to a new report, Californians may be consuming a lot more than they thought.
After a recent marijuana conference in San Francisco, a Bay Area laboratory found that 80 percent of marijuana produced by California growers tested positive for mold, fungus, bacteria, pesticides and other harmful solvents. A doctor from the lab said it's common for 20 to 30 percent of samples to contain contaminants, but this was by far a larger percentage than expected. Not only was a greater percentage of marijuana contaminated than normal plants, but it was also contaminated at higher concentrations. The marijuana sample tested positive for 1,000 times the level of concentrations of toxic substances than typically found in food.
The lack of testing on marijuana crops is a concerning part of the industry that's slowly being addressed. It's unknown just how bad toxic cannabis can be on a consumer's health. Earlier this year, a California university traced a collection of infections in cancer patients back to fungal-infested medical marijuana, which ultimately led to the death of one of the patients. Another chemical found in the California marijuana was myclobutanil, a chemical which recently caused many Canadian cannabis users to develop various ailments.
As the marijuana industry grows, regulation and oversight will need to increase as well to ensure that cannabis products meet necessary health requirements. Obviously this would be easier if the federal government legalized the drug and the Food and Drug Administration could offer a set of guidelines, but until then states and the industry will need to work together to figure out how to ensure marijuana products are as healthy as possible.