What do you really know about the quality, purity, strength and provenance of your medical cannabis, and what is your provider able to tell you?
1. How is the cannabis extracted?
Most makers of cannabis oil use solvents to extract it from the plant – the whole plant is soaked in chemicals such as butane or ethanol. Afterwards, the solvent is removed, but this usually leaves some residue and by-products that are potentially harmful. Consultant Tony Antal, who works with B.C.-based company Pure Pulls, believes that CO2 extraction is a cleaner, safer option. “CO2 is non-toxic and after extraction, it’s completely gone, so all you get is the pure oil,” he says.
“Pure Pulls was the first company in the Canadian cannabis industry to invest in a CO2 extraction machine.”
2. Which active compounds are present in the product?
The medical component of cannabis is CBD, while the psychoactive component is THC. Antal says consumers shouldn’t be put off by the mind-altering effects of THC. “In fact, THC has its own medical properties so it makes a good complement to CBD – when the two are combined, the CBD may minimize the psychoactive effects, while the THC may amplify the medical ones. The ideal proportions are 80 per cent CBD, 20 per cent THC,” he says.
3. Where was the cannabis sourced?
When you buy your cannabis at a dispensary, you should ask to see the test information on the product. This will tell you the proportion of different compounds in the oil, where it was grown, and so on. Many producers don’t release that information, but Pure Pulls tests and labels every batch of its oils, which are extracted from plants grown in B.C.
4. What is the recommended method of consumption?
According to Antal, the preferred option for most medical cannabis users is vaping, because research suggests that this limits carcinogen exposure, compared to smoking. Vaping is also more discreet and allows the user to better regulate their dosage.
5. How is the cannabis industry regulated?
Currently, most laws relate to business owners running shops and dispensaries. As of today, there are no set standards governing the quality of the product itself. Pure Pulls’ self-imposed standards are similar to those put in place by the cosmetics and foods industry, and are designed to provide consumers with a consistent, safe experience.
Pure Pulls products are available at local dispensaries. For more information, visit Purepulls.com