Cannabis contaminants limit pharmacological use of cannabidiol

In this 2020 review published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology, Montoya et al. discuss the various potential contaminants found in cannabis products and how those contaminants may create negative consequences medically, particularly for immunocompromised individuals. Though the authors take a largely global perspective on the topic, they note at several points the lack of consistent standards—particularly in the United States—and what that means for the long-term health of cannabis users, especially as legalization efforts continue to move forward. In addition to contaminants such as microbes, heavy metals, pesticides, plant growth regulators, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, the authors also address the dangers that come with inaccurate laboratory analyses and labeling of cannabinoid content in cannabidiol (CBD)-based products. They conclude that “it is imperative to develop universal standards for cultivation and testing of products to protect those who consume cannabis.”

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