Here’s a list of the main subjects one should have knowledge of before purchasing hemp products from anyone.
Mold & Fungicide Issues
Relative Humidity, or RH, represents the amount of moisture in the air relative to the amount of moisture the air is physically capable of holding at that temperature.
It’s what makes your product smoke nice and smooth, instead of harsh. It’s been shown to even affect the effectiveness of hemp or medical marijuana in treating certain medical conditions. Terpenes are what give cannabis its flavors and aromas. Too low RH causes the terpenes to breakdown leaving you with no or little flavor or nose. Many scientists agree that one of these terpenes called myrcene is at least partially responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects of hemp, so if these deteriorate, this positive effect is no longer available to you.
If your RH is too high, generally considered to be over 65%, molds and bacteria, such as Aspergillus, E. coli, and Salmonella can move in and become very problematic for those using it for medical purposes, especially those with auto immune system problems and can cause fatal lung disease, or for the rest of us, make us really ill.
Molds forming in the field may visually only ruin a few plants, but they spread massive numbers of spores over the entire crop.
A grower has a couple of choices to combat this issue while it’s in the field, one being to use a fungicide, either organic (natural) or one of the various chemical fungicides. To be honest, who says that this fungicide, either organic or chemical is healthy for you? After all, arsenic and mercury are organic. Depending on how many plants this mold infects, the rest of the field, or in the very least, anything close now has way more than the normal average of mold spores present on them and while mold spores are everywhere, too many present a health hazard. Molds can also occur during the drying process. Lack of airflow and plants being packed too closly together can cause a humidity buildup, which in turn allows molds to grow. Mold spores then literally cover everything in the drying area. Simply tossing out the product with obvious mold issues does not get rid of it all. Molds can occur during the curing and the storage processes.
The curing process, which we discuss in another article in depth, will be held to mold issues only here. This occurs when too damp of a product is put into airtight containers. I doubt I need to say more on this, other than to say that the mold is at least contained to that specific container.
Here in Oregon, the northwestern part of our state had wet conditions during the 2018 harvest season, resulting in mold problems for many of the growers. Those that managed to avoid it were either lucky or knew what they were doing! We here at Medhemporium are in no way trying to imply that we are the only source of what can be considered medical grade product, just that one should be very careful and knowledgeable about their source(s).
Let’s face it; pesticides are flat out required at different times or they could cause an outbreak that could destroy an entire county or state and affect more than just one type of crop. There’s not a grower of any crop that isn’t going to have a pest problem at some point in their career. The question is how it’s best dealt with, and in the case with hemp, what the product is then used for. Pesticides can be either organic or chemical based and it really depends on what pest one is dealing with, just which may or may not be better. There’s plenty of debate and opinion in both camps, but that’s not what I plan to address here. I’m simply going to state that if a pesticide has to be used, that Medhemporium refuses to purchase it.
The loss of a crop is sometimes too much for a grower to bear and they’ll resort to using products that are not tested for, or unknown to the majority of health officials or purchasers. We believe that this type of product should be sold to an oil manufacturer that can separate out any contaminants, or if unusable contacting their State Department of Agriculture to determine best method of destroying the product. With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, crop insurance is now available and this is exactly what it’s intended for.
A great example of this would be a pesticide called Forbidden that is used in the ornamental business to combat various types of mites. It’s a systemic, which means that it is absorbed and stays in the plant itself. It was used by many unscrupulous marijuana growers for many years and while systemics were illegal to use on food crops, testing for them in the medical marijuana world was not done during the many years of the medical marijuana program development and I’m unsure as to whether or not it’s being tested for by everyone yet, as new states are constantly coming onboard. Many scientists claim that even a “mother” plant that it was used on contaminates all the clones that come off it. Unknowledgeable and unscrupulous growers, sellers and suppliers hurt everyone else in this business and cause us to incur many more expenses due to regulations in some cases, and losses due to health warnings. A great example would be what a single processor did to the lettuce industry last year.