The present study was conducted in order to quantify to what extent cannabis consumers may be exposed to pesticide and other chemical residues through inhaled mainstream cannabis smoke. Three different smoking devices were evaluated in order to provide a generalized data set representative of pesticide exposures possible for medical cannabis users. Three different pesticides, bifenthrin, diazinon, and permethrin, along with the plant growth regulator paclobutrazol, which are readily available to cultivators in commercial products, were investigated in the experiment.
Smoke generated from the smoking devices was condensed in tandem chilled gas traps and analyzed with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Recoveries of residues were as high as 69.5% depending on the device used and the component investigated, suggesting that the potential of pesticide and chemical residue exposures to cannabis users is substantial and may pose a significant toxicological threat in the absence of adequate regulatory frameworks.