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Report Suggests Major Disparities in State Cannabis Testing Programs

The report details the health impacts of contaminants often found in cannabis.

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Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a leading organization promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use, released "Regulating Patient Health: An Analysis of Disparities in State Cannabis Testing Programs." The report examines the inconsistencies and deficiencies in cannabis testing programs across states as they relate to other regulated products, emphasizing the potential impact on patient health.

The report details the health impacts of contaminants often found in cannabis including microbiological contaminants like mold, E. Coli, Salmonella, and Aspergillus, as well as pesticides, heavy metals, residual solvents, additives, and adulterants. The analysis reveals significant variations in testing requirements, acceptable contaminant levels, methodologies, and reporting procedures for handling failed tests among different states.

Over 6 million registered medical cannabis patients depend on the regulated medical cannabis market for their medication. Many patients and consumers purchasing products from regulated markets may not be aware that their cannabis products may not undergo testing for numerous contaminants highlighted in this report or that products may not be properly labeled.

“As a physician, proper labeling of cannabis products is paramount for me and my patients to optimize dosing, safety and formulations that might best work for their condition,” said family physician Stephen Dahmer, MD. “Contaminants can have serious health impacts. It is both imperative and long overdue the creation of federal minimum standards and transparency for the millions of Americans utilizing cannabis products as a therapy.”

The report sheds light on the pressing issues surrounding cannabis testing and advocates for enhanced standardized regulations to safeguard patient health by identifying potential contaminants and providing accurate labeling of cannabis products. The report also includes resources and recommendations  that policymakers can adopt to enhance cannabis testing regulations.

“With an increasing number of individuals relying on medical cannabis for their healthcare needs, we must ensure access to safe and reliable products,” said Mighty Fine, Interim Associate Executive Director of the Division of Public Health Practice and Policy at the American Public Health Association. “By examining the importance of testing cannabis for contaminants through the lens of patient safety, this report underscores the need for robust testing frameworks and regulatory mechanisms. This information enhances public awareness and contributes to more informed patients and consumers.”

The report highlights several key recommendations put forth by ASA to address these disparities. One of the key  recommendations is the creation of a National Office of Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoid Control (OMCCC) at the federal level. According to ASA's President, Steph Sherer, "The establishment of the OMCCC would provide the necessary guidance, oversight, and resources to ensure standardized testing programs across all states. This will not only protect patient health but also promote consistency and confidence in the cannabis marketplace."

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