cannabis irradiation
cannabis irradiation

Is Your Cannabis Radioactive?

Irradiation - Cannabis plants are blasted with radiation from Cobalt-60 and Cesium-137 after Harvest

Posted by:
Lemon Knowles on Monday Sep 9, 2019

Is Your Cannabis Radioactive?

cannabis irradiation

Irradiation - Cannabis plants are blasted with radiation from Cobalt-60 and Cesium-137 after Harvest



There is a recent piece published by WeCannect, a Canadian company that is a LinkedIn for Canadian cannabis businesses that looks at radiation and weed.  The subject was on cannabis irradiation and is it safe for your consumption after your buds have been blasted with gamma rays to kill things such nasties as mold and viruses.


First, no this is not a government conspiracy by the US or Canadian government to secretly poison all the potheads in North America.  Irradiation is a common practice in food growing in order to sterilize and preserve food crops and plants.  When crops, like cannabis, are exposed to certain UV waves and rays, atoms are ionized by breaking the electrons away from the molecules.  You may recognize the word “irradiation” from cancer language as a similar process is used in most cancer treatments. By hitting the cancerous cells with certain types of radiation you can soften tumors. 


While the irradiation process will not make your food or cannabis radioactive per say, the process is used on a large number of foods you probably already eat like beef, onions, and potatoes.  The gamma rays pass through the crops and can kill harmful contaminants and nasty stuff that is trying to hitch a ride on the potatoes or cut of beef.  The WHO and other scientific journals have said irradiation is a safe alternative that pesticides and insecticides.


Why does cannabis need to be hit with gamma rays?


The Canadian government has some of the strictest pathogen and contaminant standards in the world for legally grown cannabis. When you are running a large-scale grow, the kinds that big cannabis companies commonly set up, the natural size, moisture, and temperature leave the cannabis plants exposed to the same contaminants and pathogens say a large-scale vegetable grow may also have. Remember all those yearly lettuce e coli scares we seem to get?  Not every legal cannabis grower in Canada has to use irradiation on their crops, if the crop is small enough and grown in moisture-controlled settings, like enclosed domes or rooms, the crops is less susceptible to getting contaminated.


Gamma rays, just one form of x-rays out there, are shot at the cannabis plants.  Radiation from Cobalt-60 and Cesium-137 target nasty microorganism and contaminants that can make you really sick if you ingest them.


Is your cannabis safe to smoke or eat after that?


All research conducted on food irradiation says it is quite safe.  Internet chat rooms and conspiracy theory lovers may say food and crops are radioactive, but that is not the case.  Why?  Gamma rays used on food crops and cannabis are not strong enough to alter or change the atoms in the plant.  They are so small they can pass right through it.  Think about getting an x-ray at the dentist and how the machine turns on, hums for a second, and then shuts off.  That is a similar process, as well as how large-scale pools and water parks clean their water as well.


Independent studies that have looked at the effects of irradiation on cannabis cannabinoid structure and terpene profiles shows that it has almost no effect on the plant.  Myrcene and Linalool may be slightly diminished according to one study, but not in a big enough way to make a statistical difference in the plant’s make up. CBD and THC levels remain unchanged from before irradiation to after and there has been no study that has been able to show a potency effect on the cannabis flower either.


If it makes you feel any better, those tomatoes you buy in the store have probably been zapped for a few seconds as well to kill stuff like mold and e-coli microorganisms.  


One state that has ultra-strict food safety testing is California, the largest cannabis growing and consuming state in the country.  Many food experts have predicted a drastic wakeup call for cannabis growers as they moved into California to grow large scale cannabis plant gardens and zones.  The California food safety measures are intense, like irradiation, as well as what pesticides and plant growth additives you can add to your crops.  It is estimated that 13% of the entire food supply consumed by the USA comes from California.  Everything from walnuts, lettuce, tomatoes, apples, and alfalfa and onions all comes from the grow valleys in California.


As large-scale cannabis grows become legal in California, they will come under the same state agriculture guidelines as the fruit and vegetable growers.  This will lead to higher legal cannabis prices but also a much safer and tested product for those consumers that buy on the legal marijuana market.



moldy cannabis and irriadiation








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