What consumers need to know about black market marijuana concentrates

Published Jan 20, 2020 10:00 a.m. ET
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One of the biggest reasons that so many cannabis enthusiasts prefer black market vendors in Canada is because they offer such a variety of enticing products that aren’t available through licensed distributors. Many of which are especially intriguing to pre-legalization users who have built a tolerance and now wish to access more potent products to suit their needs.

Problems with black market concentrates

Right now, few have access to goods like BHO, THC oil, or shatter, and there is no denying the political influence on this widespread issue, but that’s not what we’re here for today. What we want to do right now is highlight some of the dangers that could be lurking in this ever-growing lucrative industry and how you can avoid those problems by following some relatively simple rules.

1. Not tested for purity

Do you know those sky-high THC content labels that are so incredibly enticing? Well, without the proof of this being true, how do you know for sure that it is? There are potency testing machines on the market, but most of them are questionable at best, and it’s one of the easiest things to fake in an unregulated industry.

2. Wrongly marketed and labeled

If you see a cannabis product that claims to be best for nighttime sleep or one that specifies certain features like pain relief, then chances are what you are reading isn’t entirely correct. Especially if those claims are loosely tied to associations like Sativa vs. Indica which have been proven faulty. There is a reason that no cannabis companies in Canada can make health claims, and that is because we don’t fully understand this just yet. Though there are ways to predict how a strain might impact a consumer, there is no way to know for certain, and these sales techniques are mostly based on myth.

3. Tampering

When someone hands you some cannabis buds, you can confirm for sure that they are for real, but the same isn’t true with concentrates. These condensed products can come in a variety of different colors and flavors, and they are sold by weight. There have been confirmed cases of liquid additives being either added or not fully removed during the extraction process, to add weight, and that can be hazardous to your health.

4. Possibility of contaminants

When consumer goods companies produce products for mass consumption, they are held to strict standards of cleanliness, but since we're talking about an unregulated industry, you can’t be quite sure of what you’re getting. So even if the makers had no intention of adding anything to the concentrate, it could happen by accident through mishandling or storage. That’s a really scary thought, especially when it comes to products that are being inhaled or applied to the skin.

How to avoid these potential problems

Now that you are aware of some of the possibilities out there, you are probably wondering if there is a way around this whole mess. Unfortunately, there is no one way to avoid it all without making all your purchases at a legal and licensed dispensary, but since that’s not possible, there are a few things that you can do and watch out for to stay safe.

1. Know your products

If you have never seen a specific product before, then it can be really difficult to look for things that could be wrong with the product. Everything from colors to texture and consistency are important, and without that information, you really shouldn’t take any chances. Always do your research to ensure you have some idea of what you are getting into before making a purchase.

2. Trust your gut

Does the consistency of your BHO look a bit off? Or maybe you have inspected a pack of shatter that looks to be of a weird color. Either way, a visual inspection should always be your first line of defense, and if you don’t feel right, or something doesn’t look right, toss it out, or walk away from the sale. It’s always better to be safe, and your instincts in this situation are invaluable.

3. Only buy from reputable sources

We know, we know, it’s impossible to find a legitimate vendor of these kinds of products in much of the world, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be careful when it comes to choosing a seller. Ask friends for recommendations, question on-site testing practices, and look for transparent operations as you choose a dispensary to buy from, and chances are you will end up with much better-quality deals.

4. Learn how to make them yourself

BHO, THC oil, and shatter are all incredibly easy to make if you have the right tools, and this is the very best and safest way to get cannabis concentrates, which can avoid any potential hazards that might be looming in black market products. Whether you have nothing but a few pots on hand or have the cash to invest in an easy extraction machine, your health will thank you in the end, and you will save a whole bunch of money in the process. That’s a win-win, and the very best way to know the purity and quality of your cannabis concentrates.

Cannabis concentrate extraction kits for beginners

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