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Even if your interest in cannabis is purely recreational, you probably enjoy the peace of mind thanks to research supporting its minimal health impacts, even when smoked. But just as easily as you can mistakenly buy a moldy lemon or rotten apple in the produce section of the grocery store, you can also buy bud contaminated with mold.
This problem exists for medical patients and recreational consumers alike, but the effects can be especially hazardous for those using the herb medicinally since mold can have a field day with a weakened immune system.
Temperature, light, humidity, and air circulation all play a role in mold and fungus development. During the grow phase, cannabis can be contaminated in a variety of ways, including pesticides, fungal infections, and fertilizers. Molds and mildew thrive in moist environments with poor air circulation and are common contaminants of marijuana plants, as grow rooms offer them the perfect environment.
Since mold can be so tenacious and resilient, moldy marijuana tends to stay contaminated all the way through the harvesting, curing, and drying processes to the dispensary shelves. But even lab-tested cannabis products sold in dispensaries can develop mold, bacteria, and fungus after being packaged and placed on shelves.
Moisture Lock Forms Mold and Fungus
Cannabis storage has come a long way since the old-school days of simple plastic baggies. But even with improved packaging, freshness is not the only thing that should concern businesses. Mold and fungus, which can develop in storage, not only threaten the quality of your cannabis, but they can also threaten the health of your consumers and, ultimately, the bottom line of your business.
When looking at the issues in dispensaries where randomly tested product has been removed from shelves due to mold and fungus, it’s obvious why this is happening.
Moldy weed can be caused by “moisture lock,” which occurs when clean cannabis with any amount of moisture content is placed inside a sealed package or container. It creates the perfect environment where once dormant microbes now come alive and begin to grow. This resurrection happens when cannabis is not properly dried and cured before it’s stored or plastic-wrapped and packaged.
Effects on Retail Products
As the cannabis industry continues to rise to the forefront of the American marketplace, emerging regulations and issues with contamination after packaging are quickly becoming a point of concern for many producers. Once the cannabis has been packaged in sealed containers and sent to the dispensaries, molds, and microbes may be flourishing inside.
As stated earlier, the origin of this contamination is likely due to the conditions within the sealed packages. When you consider the large-scale environmental conditions in which the cannabis is grown, harvested, dried, cured, and stored and compare it to the internal microenvironment of the packaging, it makes sense that similar environmental conditions would affect the packaged products similarly.
The packaging products used in the cannabis industry are no different from those used throughout the food industry. Good packaging not only protects what goes in it, but it’s also key to growing your business. The purpose of packaging should be to protect the cannabis product and preserve what is inside to provide a clean, safe product for whenever the consumer is ready to use it.
When a contaminated product has found its way into the hands-on consumers, and issues with mold, mildew, and fungus show up after the sale, consumers now begin to question the credibility of the dispensary and may choose to go elsewhere in pursuit of clean, quality products.
Losing business due to contaminated products is unacceptable and could be easily remedied with a little effort by producers and packaging companies.
Package Protection Is Key
The primary purpose of packaging for cannabis is to protect and even enhance the quality of the product. Packaging is an essential component of the cannabis storage and sales processes and plays a vital role in keeping products free of contaminants and safe for consumers.
For bud, packaging should help ensure the cannabis is neither damp nor dry, free from mold, particulates, and contaminants, and maintains potency and terpene content.
Cannabis packaging should be re-imagined for new approaches. With the potential for growers and processors to unknowingly introduce pathogens in products packaged for resale and dispensaries ultimately becoming victims of these issues, packaging companies are uniquely positioned to provide a solution.
Enter Antimicrobial Packaging
The interest in developing new antimicrobial packaging materials has rapidly increased in the last few years. Knowing cannabis is vulnerable to microbial contamination, researchers are developing new methods for product preservation from mold, fungus, and odor-causing bacteria.
Antimicrobial packaging is a potential solution to protect perishable products during their preparation, storage, and distribution to increase their shelf-life by reducing bacterial and fungal growth. Antimicrobial packaging can play a vital role in shelf-life extension by inhibiting microorganism growth.
Biotrexx 247 is a new antimicrobial product that is EPA and FDA-approved and can be used as a pre-treatment and coating on packaging products before processed cannabis is packaged.
The effectiveness of Biotrexx 247 lies in its unique active ingredient, a colorless, odorless, positively charged polymer that chemically bonds to the treated surface of the package. Think of it as a layer of electrically charged spikes that can stay on the surfaces for extended periods.
Studies show that Biotrexx 247 is compatible with various packaging materials commonly used in the cannabis industry, including glass, paper, plastic, and metal. Most cannabis packaging material is thick, and Biotrexx 247 has an unparalleled ability to bond to these thicker materials. It can reduce mold and pathogens on cannabis flower without altering potency, cannabinoids, or terpenes, making it an extremely effective decontamination solution for producers, packaging companies, and even consumers at home.
By pretreating their packaging products, companies can reduce the potential for mold, mildew, fungus, and other harmful pathogens, even if unknowingly introduced during growing and processing. As a result, producers can feel more confident that products will remain clean and consumers no longer need to worry about potential health issues.
For dispensaries that sell cannabis “deli-style,” staff can proactively use Biotrexx 247 to treat containers and packaging before introducing any product into it to ensure clean, safe products reach the hands of the consumers.
To further ensure consumers are protected, dispensaries are in a unique position to sell Biotrexx 247 as an accessory product that consumers can use at home to treat containers they use for storing or transporting their precious cannabis products.
Antimicrobial Packaging: The Next Step in Cannabis Integrity
With cannabis in the mainstream of consumer products, new developments create safe cannabis that will always pass the state-mandated tests for microbial contamination. Implementing these new methods can eliminate or significantly reduce the post-harvest microbial contamination of post-harvest cannabis.
This approach will give producers confidence that their products will be state-compliant, avoid expensive transport, and return to their facility for contaminant remediation should they fail state testing. Starting clean and staying clean will improve the profitability of everyone and will help to maintain an excellent reputation along the supply chain to the consumer.