#1 Product Safety Hazards in Cannabis

#1 Product Safety Hazards in Cannabis
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Product Safety Hazards in Cannabis

Salmon with seeds
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Salmon with seeds
Salad fruits with hemp seeds
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Salad fruits with hemp seeds

Safety in cannabis is not just about edibles and food-borne illnesses. Take a look at several at information by cultivators, processors, manufacturers, and retailers.

Mixing pills with cannabis
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Mixing pills with cannabis

I think that we need to start changing the terminology around the hazards associated with cannabis to product safety hazards.

These hazards have not only been associated with harmful effects for those that ingest cannabis-infused goods, but also for those that consume cannabis in other ways such as inhalation (vaping or smoking).

So, when we refer to food safety hazards, the immediate thought is edibles, which mislead cultivators, manufacturers, and consumers to have a false sense of security around the safety of products that are consumed in other ways.

There are several key product safety hazards that have been associated with cannabis. These hazards will become a public health problem if not controlled as they could harm the consumer, regardless of the method of consumption.

Be careful with cannabis
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Be careful with cannabis

Biological Hazards

Refer to those microorganisms that can cause illness to the consumer.

They are not visible to the naked eye and are very dangerous when their metabolic by-products (toxins) are ingested or their spores are inhaled.

The symptoms for illnesses caused by these microorganisms will vary. Consumers may experience gastrointestinal discomfort (vomiting, diarrhea), headaches, fever and other symptoms.

The ingestion of these pathogens, allergens or their by-products may lead to death, if the illness is not treated on time or if the consumer is immunocompromised.

In addition, the inhalation of mold spores when smoking cannabis products, can lead to lung disease and death.

Some of the biological hazards associated with cannabis are: Salmonella sp., E. coli, Clostridium botulinum, Aspergillus sp. and Penicillium sp.

Product Safety Hazards
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Product Safety Hazards

Chemical Hazards

Refer to those chemicals that can be present in the plant or finished product due to human applications (pesticides), operational processes (extraction solvents and cleaning chemicals), soil properties (heavy metals), environmental contamination (radiological chemicals) or as a result of occurring naturally (mycotoxins and allergens).

Consuming high concentrations of cleaning chemicals in a product can lead to a wide range of symptoms from a mild rash, burning sensation in the oral-respiratory system, gastrointestinal discomfort, or death.

In addition, long term exposure to chemicals such as pesticides, heavy metals, radiological contaminants, and mycotoxins may lead to the development of cancers.

Physical Hazards

Refer to those foreign materials that may be present in the plant or finished product.

Foreign materials such as rocks, plastics or metals can cause harm to the consumer by chipping teeth or laceration of the mouth membranes (lips, inner cheeks, tong, esophagus, etc.)

In the worst-case scenario, physical hazards may lead to choking, which can cause death due to asphyxiation.

Conclusion

These hazards can be prevented, eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level when foundation programs (Good Agricultural/Cultivation Practices, Good Manufacturing Practices, Allergen Management Program, Pest Control, etc.) are combined with a Food [Product] Safety Plan.

These lead to a Food Product Safety Management System that is designed to keep consumers safe, regardless of the method of consumption.

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Author Unknown: I must emphasize this article was found it was not written by the author mentioned to share it 

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