The role of pesticides in agriculture, including the cultivation of cannabis, is to control insect populations that can have detrimental effects on the health of plants and the success of their yields. Pesticides sound like a positive concept in theory - chemicals that reduce the damage done to crops that feed and nourish us.

However, when we dig a little deeper, it becomes clear that many synthetic pesticides are created by massive corporations in order to turn a profit. What’s more is that many of these commercial pesticides have catastrophic effects on human health. As well as causing significant damage to the environment, synthetic pesticides used on food and weed contain chemicals that will inevitably end up in the human body. When these chemicals enter our system, they are likely stored within the colon where they can do some real damage.

Many studies have been conducted on pesticides and worryingly enough, connections have been made between pesticides and serious health conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, ADHD and birth defects. Further research suggests that pesticides may even detrimentally affect the nervous, reproductive and endocrine systems.

Pest Invasion

PESTICIDES IN YOUR CANNABIS

Food is indeed a major vehicle by which pesticides enter the body. However, if you smoke pesticide-containing weed, you may be interested to know that it serves as a vessel for pesticides to enter the bloodstream and thus, cells and tissues.

Back in 2009, the Los Angeles city attorney’s office tested a total of three samples of medical cannabis from dispensaries within the local vicinity. They discovered that two out of the three samples contained high levels of a pesticide known as bifenthrin. In fact, the samples contained shockingly high concentrations of the substance. One of the samples even had 1600 times the legal digestible amount of Bifenthrin! To say that these strains may be considered medical is worrying at best.

RECENT SCIENCE

A scientific paper titled Determination of Pesticide Residues in Cannabis Smoke published within the Journal of Toxicology held the intention of investigating the extent to which cannabis consumers were exposed to pesticides in smoke.

The authors of the study suggest that “Recoveries of residues were as high as 69.5% depending on the device used and the component investigated, suggesting that the potential of pesticide and chemical residue exposure to cannabis users is substantial and may pose a significant toxicological threat in the absence of adequate regulatory framework.”

The researchers then discuss in further detail how chemical residue found in cannabis inevitably finds its way into the human body.

WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES?

It is of great interest to both producers and consumers of cannabis to locate and utilise alternatives to the potentially damaging pesticides that end up in the bodies of consumers. If you happen to live in a region where medical or recreational cannabis is available, there may be regulations in place that prevent certain pesticides from being used or control the concentrations administered to plants.

However, if you are based in a location where prohibition is unfortunately still an issue, you may be purchasing from a producer and dealer who is using these noxious chemicals without any regulation or guiding hand. In this case, it is probably better to simply cultivate your own herbs to maximize your safety. There seem to be quite a lot of alternatives to using damaging chemical pesticides. Whether living in an area of prohibition or legalisation, one way to be completely sure of a clean crop is to grown your cannabis using all-natural methods.

Pest cannabis plants

NEEM OIL

Neem is a plant in the Meliaceae family, a member of the Azadirachta genus. The tree is native to the Indian subcontinent and its fruits and seeds can be used to make neem oil. This can then be used as a type of natural pesticide for your cannabis crop. It is natural and safe and combats certain species of insects, as well as fungi and mold. Neem oil is reportedly effective against aphids, grasshoppers, caterpillars, spider mites and other types of pests.

ALCOHOL

Alcohol can be added to a mixture with water, consisting of 9 parts H₂O and 1 part alcohol. This concoction should be sprayed directly onto bugs in order to dispose of them and protect your crop from an acute threat. This method is particularly effective against spider mites.

SIMPLY CHECK

This procedure is suitable for growers who cultivate on a small scale and have a lot of patience and time on their hands. It is possible to comb through your crop and check directly for any insect invaders. They can be separately removed, but if certain leaves or buds have fallen prey to eggs, it would to wise to prune and remove them before they spread further.

DIATOMACEOUS EARTH

This substance is made up of fossil dust and can be applied to the top of soil. Diatomaceous earth is very sharp at a molecular level and can, therefore, be used as a type of tiny barbed wire that physically damages bugs and insects. It is best used around the plant and on vegetative cannabis - not on bud.

COVERS AND GREENHOUSES

Both greenhouses and covers consisting of nets with extremely small gaps serve as physical protection and, if used correctly, deny invaders’ entry altogether. These choices allow your plants the same amount of light they would usually be exposed to, but with an added layer of security from pests.

GARLIC

Processed garlic mixed with water also deters insect invaders. Whether this solution acts as more of an insect repellent or true pesticide, it is decidedly effective in removing insects from your precious cannabis crop.

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