Irradiated cannabis – what you need to know

seedman

As part of the ongoing fight against pathogens, more cultivators are turning to irradiated cannabis as a means to stave off fungi and bacteria. Irradiation (the act of exposing the plant to radiation) may sound dangerous and even scary – but is it? Nuclear technology is perhaps one of the most maligned industries today. Its reputation has been understandably tainted by a few high-profile examples of leaks and disasters, such as Chernobyl or the more recent Fukushima plant – but despite these well-known incidents and potential hazards, nuclear tech has a lot to offer. In many countries, food irradiation has existed for decades and encompasses various foods, including fruits, root vegetables, fish and fresh meats[i]. At present, around 60 countries worldwide utilise irradiation to ensure quality in their food supply[ii]. In a 2018 interview with the Winnipeg Free Press, Dan Sutton, founder and CEO of Canadian licensed cannabis producer Tantalus Labs, stated that he had been researching the use of irradiation in the medical cannabis industry and suggested that the technique had been used by at least 80 per cent of legal cannabis producers[iii]. With a career background in the nuclear fuel industry, Sutton is well-positioned to gauge the safety of irradiation treatment, and, with Canada’s medical cannabis regulations at the pinnacle of the safety standard worldwide, this would at least seem to vouch for irradiation as a safe, viable method of cleaning crops. How it’s used In cannabis irradiation, the cannabis is loaded, a few pounds at a time, into a machine resembling a large microwave oven, then subjected to a blast of gamma rays from a synthetic cobalt isotope. The same technology is used to sterilise food and medical equipment[iv] – which would certainly appear to affirm its safety. The process of exposing cannabis to gamma rays has…

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