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The 4 Common Cannabis Contaminants We Avoid

The 4 Common Cannabis Contaminants We Avoid

So you’ve finally decided to try CBD...yay! Now, how do you figure out what’s high quality and what’s, well, crap? And why is that even important?

Well, while plant medicine can be amazing, it also comes with some risk. Given the state of today’s farming practices, you have to be careful with anything that comes from the ground as it may be laden with toxins. With CBD, you also have to be mindful of the extraction method (which almost always includes chemicals, though some are safe while others are not) and what the finished product actually contains.

Sound overwhelming? It is. And it’s one of the reasons we started Fleur Marché - to do all that work for you. We have a very stringent vetting process to ensure that anything you find on our site is thoroughly tested and safe for you to put in your bod. You can learn more about our requirements here, but if you’re curious about the big things we look out for (and why we stay away from them), we’re breaking it down below.

  • 01

    Residual Solvents

    Solvents are organic chemicals used to separate and isolate active ingredients like cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant. While solvents like ethanol and CO2 are safe, others like propane, hexane or butane are toxic and to be avoided. This is important because if proper methods are not taken post-extraction, the residual solvents can remain in the extract—which means you’re ingesting them—and can possibly, over time with repeated exposure, cause health risks. For this reason, we make sure to test not only that our products contain no traces of the bad solvents, but also that they contain safe levels of the good ones.

  • 02


    Pesticides are used to protect plants by destroying, preventing or controlling pests (or other harmful organisms, like bacteria or fungus). Farmers, including those who cultivate cannabis, often turn to pesticides when harvesting their crops. Because cannabis is still illegal under federal law, the Environmental Protection Agency has not approved any pesticides for use on the plant, so the health effects of inhaling or combusting such pesticides—effects that would otherwise be revealed with testing—remain unknown. Eek! Whether or not you value organic farming practices (which ensure that no pesticides and other toxins make their way into your food), we can all agree that, at the very least, we need to know whether our food has toxic substances in it. We’re not taking any chances with your health, so all of our brands have submitted testing that shows no traces of pesticides in their hemp extract.

  • 03

    Heavy Metals

    Heavy metals are naturally occurring elements. (You probably remember seeing them on the Periodic Table in chemistry class!) While some—like zinc and iron—are essential nutrients, others—like lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium—are poisonous and can lead to health problems when absorbed at certain levels deemed to be toxic. Because cannabis plants can draw in heavy metals from the soil in which they are grown—due to a variety of human activity including mining operations, industrial waste, or automotive emissions—the Bureau of Cannabis Control requires brands to test the levels of these four heavy metals in each of their products. (If the testing results in a fail, the BCC mandates that the sample cannot be released for retail sale.) Even though the same testing is not yet required of hemp-based CBD, we hope that one day it will be. Until that day, we require that all of our brands test for heavy metals and that the levels are at or below the legal limits mandated by the state in which they are produced.

  • 04

    Microbiological Contaminants

    Microbiological contaminants are the unwanted, living micro-organisms that are present on or in a substance. The most commonly monitored ones are bacteria and fungi, like Salmonella and E. coli. Hundreds of bacteria and fungi are associated with the cultivation of marijuana, and while the majority of the organisms are strictly plant pathogens (meaning that they cannot infect healthy humans), some—depending on the harvesting, processing, and preservation of the plant—can still end up in the final product and pose potential health threats (like illness or infection) to at-risk consumers like the immune-compromised, the elderly, children and pregnant women. (In those cases, the microbiological contaminants become human pathogens, meaning they can cause disease in humans.) Microbiological testing is essential to protecting consumer safety, and regulations vary state-by-state, which is why we ensure that our brands’ products are free of microbiological impurities.

    To recap: it’s really important that all cannabis brands test their products (with unbiased, third-party facilities) for pesticides, residual solvents and heavy metals—in addition to potency; gotta know how much CBD is actually in there, but that’s for another article. At Fleur Marché, we require all of our brands to submit testing for each of these categories, and personally review each test, oftentimes going back and forth with a brand for months before we’re satisfied. We also require that the products contain less than 0.3% THC, comply with the 2018 Farm Bill, and are either certified organic or grown to food grade standards.

    We take your safety and your health seriously! CBD is awesome and we don’t want to give you any reason to think otherwise. Have questions? We’re happy to chat about this in more detail! Shoot us an email at bonjour@fleurmarche.com or, even better, sign up for our newsletter where we’re sharing all the good info about CBD.

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