Slide 1 of 1
CANNABIS WIKI CONFERENCE & EXPO
CANNABIS WIKI CONFERENCE & EXPO
CANNABIS WIKI CONFERENCE & EXPO

Unregulated cannabis might not be as potent as you think

Published Jun 22, 2022 09:00 a.m. ET
iStock / KampolG

All it takes is a quick stroll through any unregulated dispensary to see how almost all products on the shelf make bold claims of having potent THC levels, far beyond what most would consider to be the norm. This is a large part of this dark side of the industry's appeal, leading many to believe that government-regulated products, including flower, are being arbitrarily controlled by federal or provincial governments. On the surface, this theory makes sense. After all, regulators have slapped insanely low cannabinoid limits on nearly all infused goods, but the truth cuts much deeper.

What we mean by unregulated

Unregulated cannabis is flower or concentrate that is sold by unlicensed vendors on the black market. These products are not quality tested, taxed, or cultivated in regulated greenhouses, and they can come from anywhere in the world, though most claim to be grown in the cannabis hub of Canada, British Columbia.

The data

According to a recent analysis performed by the New Brunswick Research and Productivity Council, black market cannabis flower products are far less potent than advertised. Samples promising 30%-32% THC averaged much closer to 13%-22% THC. This nearly 50% difference is much higher than researchers expected, as the entire reason for the study was to test the theory that unregulated cannabis is somehow better or of higher quality than the legal market. Unregulated edibles, including cookies and chocolate bars, faired no better, blowing the common misconception out of the water.

However, it is important to note that black market cannabis, even with corrected THC labels, seemed to be more potent on average than legal products.

What this means

Slide 1 of 1
CANNABIS WIKI CONFERENCE & EXPO
CANNABIS WIKI CONFERENCE & EXPO
CANNABIS WIKI CONFERENCE & EXPO

Some might not view this discrepancy as a big deal, especially if consumers are walking away happy with their purchases, but the same cannot be said for medical consumers who are trying to maintain some sort of control over their dosage. The same is true for brand new and potential consumers who might be afraid to try products they could love based on misleading labels that sound overwhelming, making for a bad situation all around, regardless of consumers' intentions.

That's not all they found

Misleading THC levels aren't all the researchers from New Brunswick Research and Productivity found while testing samples of unregulated cannabis products. According to the study, nearly all of the black market cannabis products contained harmful additions that would never be allowed on the legal market, including pesticides and microbes, contaminants that could pose an unnecessary risk to those who use them.

If you want products you can trust, stay legal

The regulated industry is required by law to pass through a multitude of hoops and tests to ensure that consumers are getting products they can trust. Though it is incredibly strict, forcing some cultivators to find ways to sterilize their goods, it is in the best interest of all those who enjoy the benefits of cannabis. So if you want safe cannabis products, as well as brands that dependably deliver in terms of potency, there is no better way to shop than through a licensed dispensary.

Should governments help black market cannabis to go legal
Slide 1 of 1
CANNABIS WIKI CONFERENCE & EXPO
CANNABIS WIKI CONFERENCE & EXPO
CANNABIS WIKI CONFERENCE & EXPO

Author

Related posts