People seem to have no qualms over asking questions about their food. Free-run or free-range eggs? Non-GMO veggies? Antibiotic-free chicken? Little wonder that what we’re ingesting has spilled over into the world of pills and other remedies. But for some reason, too few questions come from cannabis consumers.
In the interest of product quality, and more importantly, personal safety, here are some basic questions you might want to ask.
1. What effects can I expect?
Some retailers will just ask if you want an indica, sativa, or a hybrid, and then pull out whatever has the most THC. You want to ask about smells, flavors, and the salesperson’s own experiences with products. Ask about the strain profile and the specific terpenes. Even how they work as an ensemble in this specific product. And if you get a dramatic eye-roll or some half-inspired answer, find another store.
2. What about the supplier?
Vapes, oils, balms, edibles and, of course, flower all come from the plant. Cannabis can be tainted with contaminants like mold, fungus, heavy metals, bacteria, chemical residue, E. coli, arsenic, and salmonella. The more you know how the product was grown and processed, the better you can judge its consistency, quality and safety.
3. What are the supplier’s manufacturing standards?
Ask about the grower’s standards. The entire cannabis handling process should conform to Good Manufacturing Practices to ensure products are produced and controlled according to quality standards set by the Food & Drug Administration. Find out about consistency between your sources’ harvests. The more controlled the environment, the more consistent the product. And that usually means better quality and higher safety standards.
4. Is it lab tested?
As of September 15, 2018, all cannabis products sold in Michigan must be tested at a licensed lab [Exception: For a period of time, Michigan had emergency rules allowing provisioning centers to bring in untested caregiver product; some state-licensed facilities may still offer that caregiver product.]. Tests determine how potent a product is and its THC or CBD levels. These must be on the packaging, so you know exactly what you’re getting. Some places also test for terpene profiles, but not all. If they don’t have one, you’ll have to rely on the old schnoz.
5. Does it contain pesticides?
Cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, so pesticide use isn’t regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. Unlike fruit and vegetable farmers, cannabis growers receive no guidance on what level of pesticide residue is considered safe. States have to come up with their own regulations on pesticides and somehow enforce these rules. That’s why no two states have the same solution, with different states offering drastically different levels of protection.
What’s worse, commercial-grade pesticide makers are seeing an opportunity in cannabis. In 2016, Scott’s Miracle-Gro CEO Jim Hagedorn announced he was planning to sink half a billion dollars into the cannabis sector.
Asking questions keeps you safe and helps expand your cannabis knowledge. Like, did you know there’s no such thing as organic cannabis? The term “USDA Organic” is regulated by the federal government. So don’t get snowed by anyone claiming what they sell is organic; it’s not legally organic.
Whether you’re looking for relief from aches and pains a wellness remedy or a simple way to turn up the fun, don’t be afraid to ask your budtender questions when you’re looking out for what’s best for you.
Every step of our cannabis manufacturing and processing adheres to Good Manufacturing Principles and quality standards set by the Food & Drug Administration.