C3 Podcast No. 13: Cannabis Contamination Study

Updated: Oct 24

In No. 13 of the Cannabis Commerce + Chemistry Podcast, host Curt Robbins from Higher Learning LV and co-hosts Dena Putnam from Leafwize Naturals in Orange County, California and John Bailey from the Mindset Genesis in Las Vegas are joined by Dr. John MacKay from Bakersfield California to discuss a September 2022 research study that surveyed the contamination of thousands of samples of loose-leaf cannabis flower and cannabis extracts/concentrates.

Guest Dr. MacKay shares his views of this important research and its implications, both today and in the future, for cannabis consumers throughout the United States. Dr. MacKay explains the intricacies of laboratory testing and why solving the issue of cannabis contaminants is not an easy or inexpensive one.


🎧 Listen to C3 Podcast

This weekly 30-minute podcast is targeted at cannabis and hemp industry professionals and is strategically free of profanity and crude dialog. This audio session was edited for length and clarity.


To better understand cannabis contamination in the United States, listen now at Higher Learning LV, on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, and most other major podcasting platforms (including Amazon Music, Anchor, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Pandora, and Stitcher).






Deep Dive: State Regulations for Cannabis Contaminants

Enjoy this 1550-word Deep Dive provided as a no-cost example of the reading assignments and other study aids that accompany Higher Learning LV's forthcoming certification training seminars and courses. A September 2022 research study conducted at Arizona State University entitled "Comparison of State-level Regulations for Cannabis Contaminants & Implications for Public Health" that was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives investigated the potential threat of contamination of cannabis products and how it may negatively impact consumers and patients.

"To inform further research and provide solutions to the public health risk of cannabis contaminants at a national level, we examined the current landscape of state-level contaminant regulations and cannabis contaminants of concern, as well as patient populations susceptible to contaminants," proclaimed the study.


About half of all adults in the U.S. "have reported that they have used cannabis at least once in their lives, with nearly 55 million reporting using cannabis within the past year."

The research noted that state-level legalization of marijuana in the United States has "gained significant public interest and support in recent years." It reported that about half of all adults in the U.S. "have reported that they have used cannabis at least once in their lives, with nearly 55 million reporting using cannabis within the past year."

The study's authors explained that cannabis, similar to other agricultural commodities, "is prone to contamination by pesticides, metals, microbes, and mycotoxins. In addition, solvent residues are an increasing concern for cannabis extracts."

The scientists reported that the presence of such contaminants "presents a potential health hazard not only to regular cannabis users and the general public, but also to people with specific health conditions that make them susceptible to harmful contaminants."


The Study

The researchers "examined the regulatory documents for medical and recreational cannabis in all legalized U.S. jurisdictions and compiled a complete list of regulated contaminants" that included pesticides, inorganics, solvents, microbes, and mycotoxins.


More specifically, the study data mined "the compliance testing records of 5,654 cured flower and 3,760 extract samples that accounted for approximately six percent of California's legal cannabis production in 2020–2021."


The cannabis samples were obtained from CannaSafe, a "state-licensed cannabis testing laboratory in the Los Angeles area." The samples were submitted by more than 300 cannabis producers and manufacturers in California "for compliance testing between June 2020 and October 2021."


The study surveyed the "contaminant regulation of drug-type Cannabis sativa L. in 50 states and Washington, D.C." and noted that, "as of 18 May 2022, 36 states and Washington, D.C. had legalized medical cannabis and 17 states and Washington, D.C. had legalized both medical and recreational cannabis."


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