Cannabis, a widely popular plant known for its recreational and medicinal use, has been making headlines for more reasons than just its therapeutic benefits lately. It has increasingly become a cause for concern due to the potential health risks associated with pesticide absorption in cannabis plants. While its ability to absorb pesticides may be alarming to consumers, it raises important questions about the safety and regulation of the cannabis industry. In this blog, we explore the mechanisms behind how cannabis plants absorb pesticides and delve into the potential health implications for consumers. Join us as we uncover the hidden dangers that lie within the marijuana supply chain and shed light on the need for stringent monitoring to safeguard both cannabis enthusiasts and medical users alike.
So What Are Pesticides?
Pesticides refer to chemical substances that are commonly used in agriculture and other settings to control or eliminate pests, such as insects, weeds, and diseases that can harm crops. These substances are designed to prevent or reduce damage caused by pests, thus protecting the yield and quality of agricultural produce. Pesticides can come in various forms, such as sprays, powders, granules, or gases, and are typically classified into different categories based on the target pests they are intended to eliminate. While pesticides have played a crucial role in increasing agricultural productivity and ensuring food security, they also raise concerns regarding their potential environmental and health impacts.
How Do Cannabis Plants Absorb Them?
Cannabis plants possess the unique ability to absorb pesticides, and depending on the cultivation methods, these contaminants can be found in various parts of the plant. Just like all the other crops pesticides are used to control pests and diseases that may affect the plant’s growth. When cannabis plants are exposed to pesticides, they can absorb them through their roots, stems, leaves, and even flowers. This absorption occurs due to the plant’s natural process of taking up nutrients and water, which can inadvertently include pesticides present in the surrounding environment. While some pesticides may primarily settle on the leaves, others can be distributed throughout the plant, including the buds.
What Negative Health Effects Can They Have On The Human Body?
Pesticides have the potential to induce various harmful effects on the human body. These effects can be categorized as short-term, known as acute effects, or long-term, known as chronic adverse effects, which may occur months or even years after being exposed to pesticides.
Acute Effects Include:
Stinging Eyes – When pesticides come into contact with the eyes, they can cause irritation and a stinging sensation. This is due to the chemicals present in the pesticides, which may be toxic or cause allergic reactions. Stinging eyes caused by pesticides can be accompanied by redness, tearing, and discomfort.
Rashes – These rashes can develop when the skin comes into contact with pesticides, and they can vary in severity from mild redness and itching to more severe blistering and swelling. The severity of the rash depends on the type and concentration of the pesticide, as well as how long the skin was exposed.
Nausea – Exposure to certain pesticides can cause a range of gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, and stomach discomfort. The chemicals found in pesticides can irritate the stomach lining and disrupt the normal functioning of the digestive system, resulting in feelings of nausea.
Diarrhea – The toxins can irritate the lining of the intestines, leading to excessive bowel movements and watery stools. This frequent and uncontrolled passing of loose stools can result in dehydration, as the body loses vital fluids and electrolytes.
Chronic Effects Include:
Cancer – Exposure to pesticides over an extended period can have severe chronic health effects, including an increased risk of developing cancer. Pesticides often contain carcinogenic compounds that can enter the body through inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact. These toxic chemicals can disrupt normal cellular processes and DNA integrity, leading to the formation and growth of cancerous cells. Several studies have linked pesticide exposure to various types of cancer, such as lung, breast, prostate, and leukemia. Exposure to pesticides can have a cumulative effect, gradually damaging the body’s ability to repair DNA damage and increasing the likelihood of developing cancerous tumors.
Birth Defects – These harmful chemicals can interfere with normal fetal development, disrupting the formation of organs, limbs, and other vital structures. Studies have linked pesticide exposure to a range of birth defects, including neural tube defects, cleft palate, limb abnormalities, and cardiovascular malformations. The effects can vary depending on the timing and duration of exposure, as well as the specific pesticide involved.
Reproductive Harm – Pesticides contain toxic substances that can interfere with normal reproductive function and development, posing risks to both men and women. For women, exposure to pesticides has been associated with an increased risk of infertility, miscarriages, preterm births, and developmental abnormalities in their children. Pesticide exposure in men can lead to decreased sperm quality and count, hormonal imbalances, and fertility issues. Additionally, some pesticides have been linked to hormonal disruptions, such as endocrine disruption, which can have long-term effects on reproductive health.
Immunotoxicity- Exposure to certain pesticides has been linked to a range of issues with the immune system, potentially impairing its ability to defend the body against diseases and infections. Exposure to pesticides can lead to reduced immune function, increased susceptibility to infections, and even the development of autoimmune diseases.
Neurological Toxicity – These pesticides have the potential to adversely impact the central nervous system, leading to a range of long-term symptoms and conditions. Prolonged exposure to these toxic chemicals can result in neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Additionally, individuals may experience cognitive impairments, memory problems, and difficulties with concentration and coordination.
Endocrine Disruption – One of the major chronic health effects of endocrine disruption caused by pesticides is hormonal imbalance. EDCs can mimic or block the action of natural hormones in the body, leading to an imbalance in hormone levels. This can have wide-ranging effects on various bodily systems, including reproductive health, growth, and development, as well as the regulation of metabolism, mood, and immune function. Imbalances in estrogen and testosterone levels, for example, can result in fertility problems, developmental abnormalities, and increased risk of certain cancers.