pesticides for cannabis

Are Pesticides for Cannabis Even Necessary? Eliminate Your Risk for Recall 

by | Jul 9, 2024

pesticides for cannabis
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When it comes to cannabis growing and how it is ultimately consumed, there is no phrase that is more controversial than “pesticides for cannabis.”

With everything we see happening in the cannabis industry today, the questions that need to be answered should be “Are they needed?” and “Are there alternatives?”

Jim Harris, SafetyNet America, pesticides for cannabis

The Pesticides for Cannabis Cultivation: The Debate

Many growers continue to hold on to the outdated idea that the use of pesticides for cannabis crops is better, cheaper, and easier than more holistic methods. Additionally, chemical pest control agents aren’t always very selective; they may kill beneficial insects, destroy your soil, and contaminate the runoff from your garden.

What complicates things even more, is the fact that the EPA, for many states, allows the use of “Approved” pesticides for cannabis production, even knowing the health risks this poses to consumers when testing is not performed adequately, which gives growers less reason to consider alternatives. 

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “What if I didn’t need to use pesticides and other hazardous products to keep my crops safe?
That is a million-dollar question but one that can be easily answered.

The research that has been done for indoor agriculture has proven that producing plants that are healthy, robust and pathogen/pest free doesn’t require the use of pesticide products if you address the issues with the environment in which it is grown.

The approach of “Protect Your Environment and Your Environment Will Protect You” originated with SafetyNet and its origins in the healthcare industry. The idea was that applying the steps of cleaning, disinfecting, and protecting the environment in which patients are treated helps to keep down the bio-load and eliminates the possibility of cross-contamination. 

The same concept has been used in other industries, such as animal care and food packaging, and can be applied to cannabis as well, where the plants are your patients, and you never treat the patient but the environment the patient is in to keep them safe.

Growing plants that are clean does not have to cost more or even take more time, but it does require a change in mindset and a willingness to adopt new ways of doing things based on advances being made in science and technology. Understanding your environment and operation is the first and most important step to preventing pests and pathogen growth on plants. This takes time and resources in the beginning, but it will save you time and money in the long run!

So, what does this mean for consumers, and what is the variety of issues they face every day when deciding if it is safe to light one up?

pesticides for cannabis
Proper preventative measures can eliminate the need for pesticides for cannabis crops.

Health and Environmental Concerns

The biggest fear of all is the health issues that have been proven to happen with people who consume cannabis. Horror stories abound and include even products treated with organic pesticides that are supposed to be safe for people.

A study published by California researchers found evidence that pesticide residues if left on the cannabis flower are transferred very efficiently into smoke and ultimately to the consumer after being combusted. The California-based researchers demonstrated that 60–70% of residues present on the flower ended up in the smoke after burning.

The best approach should be a precautionary one for the cannabis industry and should extend beyond detecting prohibited contaminants. Due to the absence of comprehensive federal testing on the effects of pesticides for cannabis consumers, producers, and the environment, states should implement regulations promoting sustainable production practices. These practices should prioritize public health and environmental protection in a more eco-friendly way.

Implementing Sustainable Practices

SafetyNet’s Enhanced Biosecurity program recommends a system-level approach to cannabis production by offering products that are green and EPA and FDA-approved for cleaning, disinfecting, and protecting every aspect of a grow environment. In addition, our program offers products designed to enhance the growth and health of plants that have been proven to produce bigger plants with more buds.

Unlike pesticides and fungicides that are sprayed directly on plants, the products included in our Enhanced Biosecurity program do not generate harsh chemical runoff that can contaminate the surrounding environment. 

Additionally, biological pest control methods preserve soil quality, allowing you to reuse the same soil for growing cannabis plants after harvest. They contain no chemicals that are toxic to humans and pets and leave beneficial insects and bacteria intact that are beneficial to plants.

The Path Forward: Precautionary Measures

Our approach to pest control parallels the Integrated Pest Management approach that many growers are familiar with and takes a more proactive approach to how growers should deal with pests by focusing on creating a good environment for their plants. IPM is an overarching strategy with specific protocols for preventing pests in an agricultural environment by employing techniques for identifying, managing, and eliminating pests without the use of pesticides for cannabis.

Though this method demands a more hands-on approach and consistent application, it helps prevent pest infestations rather than merely treating them, potentially saving you money over time.

In our opinion, the only safe path forward to pesticide-free cannabis products is one where you take a step back and treat your environment and as a result, your environment will contain nothing that can harm plants. Implementing this approach would be wise, precautionary, and a forward-thinking move for the cannabis industry.