Americans for Safe Access, the nation’s largest member-based organization promoting safe access to medical cannabis, recently released a detailed report on how disparities in state cannabis testing programs affect the health of patients.
On July 26, 2023, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) held a webinar discussing the details of their 78-page report, “Regulating Patient Heath: An Analysis of Disparities in State Cannabis Testing Programs.” Leading the presentation was Debbie Churgai, the Executive Director at ASA, with commentary from Dr. Leigh Vinocur, Emergency Physician, and Shelby Huffaker, Public Health Researcher. “This report underscores the need for robust testing frameworks and regulatory mechanisms,” Churgai stated.
To begin the presentation, Churgai defined the term “medical cannabis patient,” gave examples of the dozens of qualifying conditions for being recommended medical cannabis, and explained how living with cannabis as a medicine is affected by inconsistencies in the industry. The presentation covered several topics from the report, including pesticides, heavy metals, potency inflation, and yeasts and molds. Each topic included how the health of patients–especially pediatric and elderly patients–are negatively affected by the presence contaminants, misleading test results, or incorrect labeling. Churgai concluded with an explanation of ASA’s recommendations for creating a federal regulatory program to protect the more than 6 million medical cannabis patients in the US.
“There’s no federal regulations related to [cannabis testing] the way there are with pharmaceuticals, or even in the supplement industry,” stated Dr. Vinocur. “The Food and Drug Administration hasn’t even classified hemp yet, as it’s not allowed to be a supplement. So they’re not even prepared to act on that right now, and they can’t do anything with cannabis because they’re a federal agency and cannabis is federally illegal.”
“I think this issue is really important from a health equity standpoint,” concluded Huffaker. “Patients in some states are not getting the same quality of products as patients in other states, if they’re getting access to legal medical cannabis at all. So that’s where I think having federal oversight would really address that.”
Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions of the presenters. Issues included lack of research on inhaled products, water activity levels, bioaccumulation, drug to drug interactions, and laboratory standardization.
For more information on the report, visit: https://www.safeaccessnow.org/whatsinyourcannabis.