Pest management is one of the challenges faced by non-profit and profit licensed medical marijuana growers. And it's only going to get more complicated as legalization spreads and demand for all things organic increases.
Just like your average household plant, marijuana attracts a whole gamut of pests as well. While the marijuana plant itself is a known insect repellent due to cannabinoids (Indians use the plant to repel bed bugs and similar pests), it doesn't necessarily mean that insects cannot develop some level of tolerance to it, according to MedicalMarijuana.com.
MedicalMarijuana.com added that a low dose of cannabinoid in insects' daily diet won't hurt, in the same way humans ingest small traces of chemicals from their food everyday and don't die. Insects could die though if they're only consuming high-THC marijuana strains, but as long as insects are chomping on other plants, they'll live healthily on marijuana. Add rodents and moisture into the equation and the merry, pest-conducive environment is complete.
Complicating things further were the passage of laws in some states allowing companies to use chemical pesticides for marijuana production and handling, thrusting ethical considerations into the spotlight. Last November the Washington State Liquor Board and the Washington State Department of Agriculture allowed marijuana growers to use over 200 pesticides in the production, processing and handling of medical marijuana sold in state-licensed shops. It's ironic that the said agencies have allowed it, considering that medical marijuana's target market consists of patients with terminal illnesses who are smoking medical marijuana to get better, not get more toxic chemicals into their system.
"If you were expecting pesticide-free pot from the state stores, so much for that idea… and don't even think about asking for 'organic' cannabis, as there certainly won't be any of that," quipped Steve Elliott of Toke Signals.
"One can only imagine what the patients who spoke Thursday night would have had to say about that. Many of them have compromised immune systems, compromised liver function, or both - which makes it a really bad idea to ingest bug poison," he added.
Marijuana advocates weren't the only bunch irked by the death of application standards. In May 2013, the Huffington Post ran a piece detailing growing health concerns about marijuana pesticide contamination. The report noted that many of the chemicals used for marijuana pest control "are intended only for lawns and non-edibles." One particular medical cannabis sample sourced from Los Angeles was found to contain traces of pesticides 1600 times beyond the "legal digestible amount."
Fortunately for licensed medical marijuana growers, they can always turn to natural pest management methods to deter pests from getting into their greens and to protect their consumers' health. Those who don't have time to scramble for hydroponic pest remedies, in particular, can always use natural pesticides like Nature-Cide, which is available online at Amazon.com and www.Nature-cide.com. Nature-Cide's formulation for hydroponic use is made from 100 percent natural ingredients including essential oils which effectively deter and kill insects, mites and even microscopic parasitic worms (nematodes).
Licensed medical marijuana growers can find success in growing their indoor crops pest-free with natural pesticides. Combined with an integrated pest management system recommended by local universities and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it's entirely possible to keep medical cannabis crops healthy and chemical-free, especially for the benefit of patients who seek relief from them.