by Michael B
Hello, readers and brokers, Michael B here: My April 2022 message details hidden issues of unknown dangers in product sales.
As cannabis becomes more available with countless states legalizing the plant, the need to establish quality assurance standards becomes ever-more important.
Progress in this effort has been stunted by a lack of research which investigates the microbial safety of cannabis due to a lack of relevant research. Observing hazard and risk related criteria in order to develop quality assurance has remained stagnant: certainly, a danger to consumers and opens up the possibility of lawsuits from injured parties, which will affect insurance coverages and costs.
A recent study published in “Cannabis Science and Technology,” discussed samples collected from state-regulated dispensaries in California which were surveyed for microbial (bacterial and fungal) contamination using what are referred to as culture-based techniques. The results from this seminal study may initiate the process of science-based standards for commercial canna sales.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Robert Martin from CW Analytical, a private testing lab in Oakland, proposed that the regulators need to pay more attention to the microbiological loads. He emphasized the “versatility of the study’s findings” stating that “these data should assist consumers and patient identifying the selection of safe standards for recreational or medicinal consumption.”
The study he cited used four categories of product: dried flower, water-derived concentrates, loose dry leaves, water-derived concentrates and loose dried leaves: which pretty much covers the majority of cannabis’ original sources.
The most important conclusions drawn from these tests were: Bacterial contamination of dried flowers was likely due to unhygienic-post harvest protocols. The low bacterial load of solvent-generated concentrates was due to he antibacterial capacity of the solvents used during production. Edibles were mostly microbe-free likely because of the high temps used while cooking. Water-based concentrates showed higher microbial loads due to the of their production process.
Martin’s conclusion is that culture-based techniques alone will only detect presumptive organism identification: a limitation of the study that calls for further confirmation with other experimental methods.
Thus, while we are in the early stages of national cannabis legalization, it seems important for insurance carriers to learn about these quality issues, dangers to cannabis customers, and engage a reputable laboratory to look at what their insureds are selling and adjust coverages to this nuanced market that grows bigger by the day. A word to the wise is sufficient….
See you next time …. be safe and well …
Michael B Recommends …
TO READ: “Cannabinoids and the Brain” by Linda Parker
TO LISTEN: CannMed Coffee Talk Podcast: “The Therapeutic Potential of Minor Cannabinoids” featuring Kevin Spelman, PhD, MCPP