By now you’ve probably seen the headlines: “California cannabis fertilizer claims to be safe and effective.”
“California-based company says it can eradicate weed.”
“Cannacontrol claims its weed-killing chemicals are 100 percent effective.”
So what is it?
“Cannabinoid fertilizers,” as they are called, are products that have been bred and manufactured in California.
And, for the most part, the products are safe.
“In fact, there is not a single reported case of cannabis toxicity to date,” says John W. Lefkowitz, an expert on toxicology at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine.
“The only known case of a cannabis-related toxic effect was a one-year study of a few people in California.”
The main difference between the products is that they are produced by non-organic farmers.
In other words, they’re grown with non-chemical farming methods.
“We do not want to make a statement that we know it is safe,” says Brian Shafer, the CEO of Cannabis Care, a San Francisco-based cultivation company that produces Cannacontrolls.
We do not know it’s safe.
There are some things we know that it may not be safe.
But, for example, it’s not 100 percent safe.
And if we can do it better, then we can make it better.”
But the products have a reputation for being unsafe.
“If you’re looking at a marijuana plant, they may look like they’re growing, but they’re actually not,” says Shafer.
“And if you look at the leaves, they look like leaves that have gone to the ground.
They have some tissue around them that’s not going to be edible.”
This leaves people wondering whether the products can be safe, and whether they’re worth the money and hassle to grow, package, and distribute.
“People are going to buy these products, because they think they are going get a good deal,” says Lefksowitz.
“I don’t think anyone’s going to get sick.”
So why are people buying these products?
“There’s not a lot of research on cannabis-based products,” says Michael Storch, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health and an expert in toxicology.
“There are no studies on cannabinoids.
There’s no research on the toxicity of cannabinoids.
And so, when people are shopping for products, they are buying products that they think are safe, but that are not.
And that’s what’s causing the confusion.”
According to Storcher, there are two main reasons people are buying these “organic” weed-fighting chemicals: First, people want to grow cannabis in a greenhouse or indoors, where they won’t get the toxic effects of pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals.
And second, some people want a safer alternative to other products.
“For many people, it is the only choice,” says Storches, who has studied the cannabis-fertilizing industry for years.
“They’re trying to find something that’s non-toxic, that’s safer than the alternatives.”
And in this way, it doesn’t seem like it would be surprising to see products made with cannabis that are more toxic than those that are made with other chemicals, or that are derived from animal products, such as animal feed.
In fact, a study published last year by the journal Pharmacology and Toxicology found that the cannabis plant contains “several hundred chemicals that could be toxic to human health.”
For example, a compound called 4-hydroxy-2-naphthalene is used in many herbicides.
It’s known to be a carcinogen.
The chemical is also found in many insecticides.
“That compound, 4-Hydroxy-Naphthalenone, is found in so many insecticidal sprays,” says Dr. Robert E. Tuck, an associate professor of biology at the Columbia University Medical Center.
“So, even if you think that it’s harmless, you need to look at its toxicity to humans.”
In other cases, there’s a more technical reason why people buy these non-medical products.
For example: Some people don’t want to be responsible for the waste products that end up in their gardens, and they don’t know how to handle those products properly.
“Most people don’ have the time to learn how to properly dispose of those products,” said Lefkasowitz.
In a perfect world, the people who buy these weed-farming products would do so in a way that would prevent the waste.
But these days, many people are opting for an environmentally friendly option, such a composting system.
“Some people don”t want to get caught up in the waste,” says Wieber.
“But that’s just not an option for most people.”
According in part to the Environmental Working Group, more than 40 percent of Americans surveyed said that they were