Cannabis Isn’t Food. Don’t Test It Like It Is.

How cannabis is marketed to children, and why it’s so dangerous.

Cannabis is not food. It’s not a vitamin, and it shouldn’t be tested like one. Read more in detail here: cbd side effects.

In the debate regarding microbiological safety requirements for cannabis products, we continue to hear numerous conflations and misunderstandings. The notion that cannabis testing standards should be similar to those in the food sector is at the root of these misunderstandings. We reject this notion because cannabis flower differs significantly from food in two ways: it includes high levels of antibiotics and it is dried and breathed.

Antibiotics are found in high concentrations in cannabis flowers.

Cannabinoids, which are powerful antibiotics, make up to to 20% of the weight/volume of cannabis flowers. We have yet to come across any food that contains 20% (weight/volume) antibiotics.

Furthermore, each cannabis cultivar has a distinct mix of cannabinoids, each with its own antibacterial spectrum. As an example. THC differs from CBD and CBG in terms of antibacterial activities. As a consequence, it’s reasonable to believe that each flower chemotype produces its own matrix, which influences colony numbers. This is a comparable impact to what we saw when comparing various cultural mediums.

Failure to filter these antibiotics from solution during homogenization will result in chemotype variance, necessitating microbe count validation for each chemotype. This is intimidating, and no one in the cannabis business is doing it, despite the fact that it is widely known that you must revalidate if the matrix changes. This lack of purification is a flaw in plating techniques that isn’t present in molecular approaches, which cleanse the material before counting DNA molecules.

Furthermore, since the cannabis flower’s inherent antibiotics are packed in trichomes, samples can only change the microbiota on the bloom when they are forcefully homogenized. Cannabis users who merely vape a non-homogenized flower sample do not observe this effect, indicating that the test is not typical of what consumers experience.

The dried cannabis flower is inhaled.

We haven’t seen any dried and inhaled food on the market. When we examine at the criteria for dried fruit, however, we find that the cannabis testing techniques do not match. To revive the vitality of microorganisms in dried food, it takes 5+ days. Even though the product is inhaled and should presumably be kept to greater standards than food, most cannabis cultivation techniques do not need it.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) backs molecular testing methods.


We also disagree with the claim that the food sector and the FDA only utilize culture-based platforms. There are many FDA-approved PCR kits available for food testing. In fact, the “New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint” anticipates a food safety program based on molecular testing techniques in the future. The use of plating techniques, which some authorities consider to be the “gold standard” for the cannabis matrix, was conspicuously absent.

In addition, the FDA and the CDC have launched the GenomeTrakr network along with the culture-independent diagnostic testing program via the CDC’s Pulsenet program. We support the FDA’s and CDCs position to modernize the regulatory framework while leveraging the use of proven molecular tools to accelerate predictive capabilities, prevention, speed outbreak response, and enhance our ability to swiftly adapt to crises that could impact consumer safety. AOAC method validation process should be forward-thinking to ensure an alignment with the FDA’s plan to modernize food safety testing.

COVID-19 Testing Lessons Learned

By an order of magnitude, COVID-19 testing is the biggest pathogenic testing market in existence, yet culture-based techniques are not available. For various reasons, COVID testing did not use plating as a gold standard:

Culturing harmful microorganisms is risky for lab workers and may lead to sickness and leakage.

When non-viable techniques (DNA-based approaches) can correctly quantify pathogenic risk without reproducing live hazardous infections, this practice is irresponsible to advocate. We think it is irresponsible to push cannabis laboratories into the dark ages of plating when there is no government employee supervision (OSHA) in place to safeguard lab workers from these dangers. Culturing pathogens should be avoided at all costs and should not be thought of as a failsafe.

qPCR gives you answers in a timely manner.

This is similar to cannabis testing, which requires extremely lengthy culture periods to properly evaluate the microbial load on the flower since the flowers are dried. Only a small percentage of laboratories that “follow the food business” handle cannabis in accordance with dry food standards. Because of the lengthy turnaround time needed for cultivating these dried pathogens, their product’s microbial background will have altered by the time they get a microbial enumeration.

The Most Dangerous Microbes in Cannabis are Unaware of Culture Methods

Finally, and probably most significantly, the cannabis business must abandon culture-based techniques, which are incapable of detecting endophytes. Plant endophytes are the only clinical fatalities linked to cannabis in the literature. These bacteria reside within the plant, and they can only be removed by lysing open plant cell walls. By lysing open plant cell walls, microbial cell membranes and cell walls are likewise lysed, rendering them non-viable. As a consequence, culture-based techniques are unable to distinguish the greatest pathogenic dangers in cannabis. Any gold standard based on platforms that are immune to endophytes would taint more sensitive platforms that may identify fatal hazards.

The “is cbd addictive” is a question that has been asked and answered many times. Cannabis isn’t food, it’s not like tobacco or alcohol. It’s a plant with medicinal properties.

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