Black Market Cannabis Prevails
Times and public opinion are changing. The discussion of cannabis as medicine and its accessibility to all seems to be the general topic of the day. Medical Marijuana is now legal in 33 States and 10 States, along with Washington D.C., have fully legalized recreational cannabis consumption. As of the end of 2018, cannabis is decriminalized in another 13 States. The fact it’s still Federally illegal hasn’t slipped anyone’s mind.
Until a minute and a half ago, cannabis patients had been forced to procure their medicine through questionable and dangerous means. A friend of a friend of a friend. A random passerby with a black-bottomed lighter. A sketchy Craigslist ad.
Out of desperation, these risky practices are still necessary for suffering patients living in illegal markets. Cannabis consumers with compromised health in need of relief, are left to resort to meetups in abandoned parking lots and other un-surveilled locations.
These dangerous practices have been the “norm” for cannabis consumers for decades, so why does it matter?
Are You Buying Tainted Cannabis?
Purchasing your cannabis flower (medicine) from a dark alley could mean you are getting a lot more than you paid for. Unscrupulous grey and black market dealers take advantage of medical and recreational cannabis consumers by lacing cannabis, in an attempt to make bad goods more appealing.
Chemicals and other undesirables are added in order to make a lesser quality product appear better, more effective, and as a bigger bargain. These dangerous tactics put unknowing consumers’ health at risk.
Cannabis with a Side of What?
Absurd as it sounds, black market dealers include crushed glass as their “gift with purchase.” Sprinkled on top of cannabis flower, it gives the visual illusion of crystals, resembling the crystal-like trichomes produced as medicine by the cannabis plant. Glass has the added bonus of adding some weight to the bag, shorting customers.
Protect Yourself: Take some crystals from the bag or flower and rub across an old CD or mirror. If you created scratches, you have yourself some glass in your medicine. True crystals from cannabis will have a sticky feeling on your fingers.
This gem of an ingredient is added to help add to the illusion of sparkly medicine as the crushed glass does. The detergent helps add some weight as well. Not very tasty or healthy, for that matter. Be prepared to taste harsh flavors of soap. Your gastrointestinal system won’t be happy if consumed orally either.
Protect Yourself: Pinch a bit of flower off and swish around in a small bowl of water. Cannabis won’t make bubbles on its own. Soap will have a silky touch instead of stickiness on your fingers.
Some sought-after cannabis strains produce unique colorings that help make them distinct. Dealers dip cannabis flower into food dye to improve its low-quality appearance or to counterfeit the real medicine.
Protect Yourself: When the flower buds are broken apart, it’s obvious the color is only on the surface. Upon closer inspection, it will have an unnatural and blotchy appearance. Food color can be transferred to your fingers when it’s rubbed and will bleed when exposed to water or dampness.
Fuel additives certain perfumes are sprayed on low-quality cannabis flower to trick customers into thinking they are getting a particular strain. Diesel fuel (yes, the kind that fuels an engine) is used to emulate a “diesel” strain. Yikes!
Protect Yourself: Opening the bag, you will be hit with a strong chemical aroma. If you take a lighter to it, this dangerous “medicine” will burn up fast, spark, and even burn a variety of colors as these chemicals burn off. Very scary.
Every week it seems, the news reports an onslaught of hospitalizations due to consumption of synthetic cannabis. This is not cannabis or medicine, and should never be associated as such.
This product is often made from various plant matter that has been sprayed with toxic chemicals such as rat poison. This is not medicine and can be fatal. Cannabis purchased from the street can be comprised in whole or part with this mysterious substance being hocked as cannabis.
Protect Yourself: Never purchase ground or loose flower from anyone you don’t know. Black market sellers could add anything to a baggie and sell it as medicine. At best, it won’t be effective because it’s not actually cannabis. At worst, newspapers have to write another bad headline.
Essential Oils and Fruit Parts
Aromatic essential oils are perfectly fine for diffusers and personal products when appropriately diluted. Essential oils are volatile combustibles, especially in concentrations as added by shifty dealers. When inhaled and consumed, these irritants can pose serious health problems.
Black market cannabis dealers keep citrus rinds with their product until it’s purchased in order to impress its aromatic qualities on poor cannabis product. Consumers get manipulated into thinking they are getting a strain of “lemon” origin, but instead they get exposed to mold and other contamination from not storing cannabis flower properly.
Protect Yourself: Cannabis should have a range of aromas. If your nose is hit with a sharp, one-note smell, suspect tampering.
Although it’s unlikely that black market sellers would add extra drugs without charging you extra for it, it’s not unheard of. Dealers add heroin just because of its highly addictive nature. Cannabis, by itself, doesn’t have the same addictive effect that opioids do.
Other drugs and chemicals get added for their modulating effects and often come with a special name. But there’s nothing special about consuming very toxic and dangerous pharmaceuticals or chemicals that have fatal consequences. Made and sold as recreational/party favors, these drugs can easily make it into your medicine unbeknownst to you.
- Ketamine (anesthetic)
- Methamphetamines (stimulants)
- LCD (hallucinogenic drug)
- PCP (hallucinogenic drug)
- Fentanyl (opioid/anesthetic)
- Embalming Fluid/Formaldehyde
Protect Yourself: Choose dispensaries over black and grey market cannabis sellers where legal and available. Caregivers are the second best option.
Cannabis Without Bodily Harm
High-quality cannabis medicine doesn’t come from sketchy meetups in dark alleys. Resorting to illegal sellers could mean something worse than just not getting good quality cannabis. Physical safety should never be a factor when acquiring your medicine. Legal cannabis dispensary storefronts have security features like lighting, cameras, and accessibility for patients with physical limitations. Without having to worry about being robbed.
Dealers that produce and sell extracts, concentrates, and edibles pose a bigger health risk without regulatory oversight. Trusting any bottled or packaged product from a black market seller is like picking it off of the ground and trusting it. How do you verify the contents? Don’t play Russian Roulette with your cannabis medicine and your health.
Or Internal Harm
What are you really getting? Questionable, mysterious ingredients. Made in what kind of conditions. From what kind of product. Originally grown in what soil or hydroponic conditions. Extracted with what methods and with what chemicals.
Restaurants and food kitchens producing food for public consumption are scrutinized by regulatory agencies. All in the effort too maintain public safety and health. With the advent of online ordering, edibles made in dank and dirty kitchens can appear to be professionally packaged. Further contributing to the underground stigma and undermining the narrative that cannabis is safe and effective medicine.
Without lab-tested labeling, there is no telling what is in that package. Potency, actual dosage, and cannabinoid profile are all a mystery. Cannabis patients trying to avoid ingredients like sugar and food allergens, really become risk takers with each edible bite.
Maybe more concerning, are the extracts and concentrates bought from black market cannabis dealers. Any contaminants or toxic chemicals within will be in extracted and in higher concentrations. This includes undesirable solvents and organic hazards like mold. Everything – good and bad gets extracted and concentrated – to be sold to you in the name of cannabis.
It’s Your Health
Is every unlicensed cannabis grower and seller nefarious in nature and is only out for themselves? Of course not. But why risk your health? It’s your medicine and it’s going into your body. The only one you have. Medicine is meant to heal, not harm.
Even the best intentioned and seasoned cannabis growers at some point will encounter crop problems. Dispensaries make sure standards are not compromised and that all safety and health precautions are still followed when trying to recover a troubling crop. Prohibited chemicals may easily get rid of a plight of destructive bugs, but reputable dispensaries use safe methods to keep your medicine clean. Or you will never see it on their dispensary shelves.
What’s Hiding in Your Cannabis?
If pernicious pharmaceuticals in your medicine don’t scare you, everything else should. Growing cannabis medicine is an art. Successful growers have been crafting their skill for decades to grow safe and effective medicine. Is your medicine peppered with something extra?
- Mycotoxins – fungus, mold mildew, yeast
- Heavy metals
- Unsafe microbacterial content
- Microbes – salmonella, etc
- Pesticides – insecticides, fungicides
- Solvents, residual or otherwise
- Prohibited growth regulators
- Other harmful chemicals
I recommend everyone who has legal access, to choose to purchase their cannabis medicine through dispensaries. I could throw a stick and hit the Caregiver that lives diagonally from me. I drive by countless other options to ensure the cannabis I put into my body is the best product I can buy. They are subject to every law and regulation set to make sure the cannabis and other products they produce is the best. It’s free of everything we don’t want in our medicine and I know exactly what I’m getting. What strain, what cannabinoid profile, what potency, what ingredients are involved. For the BEST Medical Marijuana Dispensary in the State of Maine, visit Canuvo.org.
Vet your cannabis medicine for your health and safety. Learn how to ensure you are getting safe and effective cannabis medicine with potency and labeling you can count on.