In Nevada, before the first medical marijuana dispensary opened its door in 2015, the testing industry emerged to help ensure product safety.
Toxicologist Jason Strull is with 374 Labs.
“From the black market where it’s coming off the streets, it hasn’t been tested,” Strull says. “You don’t know what pesticides were applied. All of the commercial operations are following a strict list on what they can use for pesticides and they know that it’s going to be tested.”
Unlike pot sold on the streets, cannabis sold in dispensaries has undergone laboratory testing for toxicology and potency. Jeff Angermann is an expert on environmental toxicology and is with the University of Nevada, Reno. As Nevada regulators were setting up statewide testing standards, Angermann says officials with the Nevada Department of Public and Behavioral Health looked at the best practices in other states that had already legalized marijuana.
“They chose by and large some of the most comprehensive and stringent standards,” Angermann explains, “in terms of the limits, the tolerances for pesticides and heavy metals, and other standards like for microbial contaminants.”
But despite those standards, Angermann says a lack of federally sponsored research on marijuana can make it challenging for researchers to know more about the impact of the contaminants on human health.