cannabis decontamination
cannabis decontamination

Marijuana Decontamination - What is It and Why is It Important?

Do you need to decontaminate your weed?

Posted by:
Joseph Billions on Sunday Nov 22, 2020

Cannabis Decontamination: What is it and Why is it Important?

cannabis decontamination

The legalization of cannabis in different states for medical and recreational use has necessitated the need for quality control measures. One of such quality control measures put in place is cannabis contaminants testing. Failing a contaminants test can spell bad news for a cannabis company as it points to a faulty decontamination process which means the product cannot be allowed into the cannabis supply chain.

In this article, we will be looking into cannabis decontamination, what it entails, its importance, and lots more. Read on!

What is cannabis decontamination?

The process of cannabis cultivation, storage, and distribution exposes cannabis to different types of contaminants such as microbes, heavy metals, and pesticides. The high level of these contaminants in cannabis products renders the cannabis unsuitable for use. This is why the cannabis decontamination process is put in place to ensure that cannabis products meet a certain level of safety and quality.

Legalized medical and recreational marijuana use means that cannabis companies have to ensure that their products go through different types of quality tests. These products are expected to be of good manufacturing quality and should be safe in line with the stated regulations. So basically, the process of cannabis decontamination is a series of intentional steps taken to reduce the level of common contaminants present in cannabis.

A cannabis decontamination process is considered to be successful if the cannabis products pass the contaminants tests. The testing process assesses the levels of common cannabis contaminants in cannabis products. If the level of cannabis contaminants is determined to be acceptable, such cannabis products are deemed fit to enter the cannabis supply chain.  

Why is it important?

With the expansion of the cannabis industry and its legalization for medical and recreational use in different states, safety is now very important. Cannabis products, especially those used for therapeutic action in medical marijuana patients need to pass the strictest of quality control measures because of the risks involved if they're contaminated. The presence of contaminants in such cannabis products can be severely detrimental to the health of marijuana patients. This is why cannabis decontamination must be carried out and done properly.

Another reason why cannabis decontamination is important is that it ensures the effectiveness of the cannabis product itself. The desired effects expected from a cannabis strain may not be derived if contaminants are present as they render the product ineffective. These, among many other reasons, is why cannabis decontamination is very important to a cannabis company. Cannabis decontamination does not only ensure the safety of users, it also guarantees the efficiency level of a product. Therefore, cannabis decontamination is important to maintain the health of cannabis users and the profits of cannabis companies.   

The numerous benefits of cannabis decontamination have led to an increase in the level of decontamination technology available in the industry. A lot of cannabis companies and indoor growers adopt different decontamination methods to keep out unwanted contaminants from the growing area. This has made the cannabis decontamination sector grow rapidly over the past couple of years. Despite the improvements in the decontamination sector, experts are still advocating for more developments to be made. Jill Ellsworth, founder, and CEO of Willow Industries is one of those pushing for improvement in the area of use of technology for cannabis decontamination. His company is one of the few cannabis decontamination tech companies currently available in the industry.

Is contamination testing mandatory?

One of the surprising facts about cannabis decontamination is that contamination testing is not yet mandatory even in some legal states. This lack of mandatory contamination testing poses a problem because of the importance of testing to validate the quality of cannabis products.

The lack of contamination testing means that cannabis users have to take more precautions while procuring cannabis. Different physical characteristics such as scent, sponginess, and discoloration are possible signs that can be used to identify contamination. Until contamination testing is mandatory in all states, cannabis users must get used to checking the physical characteristics of cannabis before use. Consumers should also ensure that they demand clean products from cannabis dispensaries and other legal sources.

What are the common sources of contamination?


One of the most common sources of contamination in cannabis plants is mildew or grey mold. They exist as powdery substances on the surfaces of the cannabis plants where they reduce the quality of the plant. Two critical factors that play a huge role in the development of mildew in cannabis plants are temperature and pressure. This is why many growers use hygrometers and thermometers to monitor levels within the growing area. Monitoring the temperature and pressure of the growing area is done to ensure that the growing area is not suitable for the growth of mold.


Cannabis plants are also commonly contaminated by Gram-negative bacteria. This tends to have deleterious effects on the health of the cannabis plant. Likewise, they can be very harmful when introduced into the human body system through cannabis products. Microbes have a strong ability to adapt which makes them troublesome contaminants of cannabis plants. Microbial testing is required to ensure that a cannabis plant product is free of microbes.


Pesticides are used by cannabis growers to deal with insects and common pests that threaten the yield of the cannabis plant. The downside of the use of these pesticides is that they may affect the cannabis plants themselves. Some of the residues of the pesticides remain on the plant and can be harmful to the final user too. Inhaling or ingesting pesticide particle residues such as etoxazole and imidacloprid is very harmful to human health.

Heavy Metals

The process of producing cannabis concentrates involves a form of extraction. These sort of extraction processes can leave a solvent residue of heavy metals if not done properly. This is why cannabis products must be tested after processing for contaminants such as heavy metals.

Bottom line

The importance of cannabis decontamination cannot be overemphasized. It's vital cannabis products are free of any sort of contaminants and even though contamination testing is not mandatory in some states, cannabis companies should take the needed initiative. Proper cannabis decontamination and contamination testing will not just ensure the safety of consumers, it will also increase the effectiveness of cannabis products thus earning companies more money.



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