Proposed Legislation Will Allow Pesticides on Medical Marijuana


If the government of Maryland has its way, you may be getting more than you bargained for if you rely on medical marijuana for the treatment of pain, epilepsy or other illness. That’s because the state regulators are working to pass Senate Bill 1, which has already been passed in the House (HB2), which will allow medical marijuana growers to use pesticides during the growing of marijuana.

Pesticides have been forbidden for use in the growing of medical marijuana in Maryland, but new legislation could change that even though the public wants to keep medical marijuana organic. According to Organic Maryland Cannabis, 75 percent of people surveyed stated that they want organic marijuana, not pesticide-treated marijuana.

That’s not really a surprise when you consider that medical marijuana is used as a natural medicine for the treatment of many health conditions, ranging from Alzheimer’s disease to cancer and a wide variety of pain disorders, including: arthritis, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis. And, a growing body of scientific literature supports the use of medical marijuana as an effective treatment for these and many other conditions.

In a study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, scientists reviewed the research on the use of medical marijuana for the treatment of epilepsy and found that it was effective at reducing symptoms of this serious illness. Research in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics found that cannabidiol, or CBD as it is also known, turns off a gene that is linked to the spreading of cancer cells throughout the body. This ingredient is one of the non-psychoactive ingredients that does not cause people to become high. Research in Molecular Pharmaceutics found that medical marijuana may be able to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Pesticides on marijuana become concentrated when the plant is dried and gain direct access to the blood when it is inhaled. As blood feeds the delicate brain with oxygen, the organ becomes at risk of toxic exposures to pesticides as well.

Pesticides like organophosphates are nerve agents that can induce severe epileptic seizures by blocking critical neurotransmitters in the brain. Researchers were able to induce seizures in their test subjects in research published in the journal Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, researchers were able to induce seizure simply by exposing subjects to pesticides.

So, how does allowing the spraying of documented seizure-causing pesticides on medicines that are used in the treatment of epilepsy make sense? It doesn’t. Instead, it has the potential to contaminate the medicine and cause the precise illnesses the herb is used to treat. As if that wasn’t bad enough, medical marijuana is being prescribed by doctors for a growing number of children with epilepsy. Children’s developing brains are at a much higher risk for neurological damage from pesticides.

Once soil and plants have been exposed to toxic pesticides, there’s no going back. The damage cannot be undone. It takes many years of soil remediation just to return it to organic status. So, it’s critical to prevent the spraying of marijuana plants through legislation. While pesticide manufacturers and the regulators they lobby often claim that pesticides are quickly broken down in the environment, a large volume of studies shows that they are resistant to breakdown.

But, once the pesticides find their way onto the plants, research in the Journal of Toxicology found that up to 69.5 percent of the pesticides sprayed on the plants find their way into the bloodstream of the medical marijuana user. And as the study authors stated, “High pesticide exposure through cannabis smoking is a significant possibility, which may lead to further health complications in cannabis users.”  And, these are people who are already dealing with chronic health issues. So it’s time the government agencies started looking out for the health of these people.

Some people make the argument that medical marijuana shouldn’t be used as medicine due to its ability to make people high, which is an argument that is based on personal bias rather than scientific fact. The reality is that there are several active ingredients in marijuana, including cannabidiol (CBD) and beta-carophyllene (BCP), neither of which make people high as they don’t have any psychoactive properties.

These compounds are often extracted to be used in medical marijuana products. Growers can also grow species of marijuana plants that are low in psychoactive agents. As a result, there are CBD oils, salves and other medical marijuana products that can be used without the high frequently associated with smoking the plant.

If you want the government of Maryland to stop Bill 1 before it becomes legal to spray medical marijuana with toxic pesticides, please sign this petition.

By: Michelle Schoffro Cook, Care 2