The Importance of Measuring Heavy Metal Contaminants in Cannabis and Hemp
The lack of federal oversight with regard to medicinal cannabis and hemp products in the US has meant that it has been left to the individual states to regulate its use. Medical marijuana is legal in 36 states, while 15 of them also allow its use for adult recreational consumption. The sale of these products is strictly regulated by their cannabinoid content, depending on how they are used. However, it is also critical to monitor levels of contaminants such as heavy metals, as the cannabis plant is known to be a hyper-accumulator of heavy metals in the soil and growing medium. Unfortunately, the industry does not have a good understanding of the different sources of heavy metals in its products and as a result, there have a number of product recalls over the past 6-12 months for elevated levels of heavy metals. There is compelling evidence in the public domain that up to 15 elemental contaminants can potentially enter the plant via several different routes including the grow medium, soil, fertilizers, nutrients, pesticides, extraction process, manufacturing equipment, packaging, and delivery systems. This White Paper will examine all these potential sources of contamination and emphasize that testing of cannabis and cannabinoids through the entire growing and manufacturing process for a comprehensive suite of elemental contaminants is critically important to ensure these products are safe for consumers.