The New Demand for Chemical-Free Weed

weed plant

By Anna McKenzie

Like many product categories, the clean movement is catching on in the cannabis market as well.

Organic or “clean” products are synonymous with our consumer experience. You’ve seen them on the shelves everywhere you shop. Entire stores are devoted to providing organic or clean product lines. When you think about clean products, essentials like produce, meats, beauty supplies, and even toothpaste come to mind. But how about marijuana?

Like many product categories, the clean movement is catching on in the cannabis market as well. But what exactly is “clean weed?” And is it a better (or safer) option than traditional weed? With organic marijuana becoming more mainstream in the growing cannabis industry, it’s important to know the facts. 

The Rise of Clean Weed

As a society, we are becoming more aware of what we’re putting into our bodies. Consequently, more people are reaching for pesticide-free items in the grocery store for their perceived health benefits. In fact, organic food sales between 2020 and 2021 surpassed $57.5 billion, according to Business News Daily. These are the kinds of numbers any industry simply cannot ignore.

In the same vein, the demand for clean cannabis is increasing in California dispensaries, and marijuana producers are taking notice. But what makes it clean? Chemical-free weed is grown organically with the least amount of pesticides possible (or none at all), similar in concept to the organic fruits and vegetables you see in the produce aisle.

This organic designation plays an even greater impact in the vaping world, where vapes are typically extracted through a chemical process. According to The Fresh Toast, a cannabis site, cannabis vaping products have received much criticism due to their link to health conditions like EVALI, a lung disease resulting from chemicals present in vape cartridges. New chemical-free extraction methods have now been developed, and consumers are clamoring for clean cannabis vapes as a result.

clean weed

Is Chemical-Free Marijuana Better for You? 

More people may be drawn to chemical-free marijuana, but the question is whether it’s actually safer than the alternative. According to expert medical cannabis specialist Dr. Peter Grinspoon, the answer is yes, at least theoretically. He says that the organic marijuana trend is similar to the increased demand for organic foods. “It’s hypothetically safer,” Dr. Grinspoon tells the Los Angeles Times. However, he adds, “It’s never been proven that you’ll have less cancer, live longer, or have fewer lung problems.”

More people may be drawn to chemical-free marijuana, but the question is whether it’s actually safer than the alternative.

Like organic produce, Grinspoon says everybody intuitively thinks that it’s healthier so they’re willing to pay more for it. In reality, the only benefit for choosing chemical-free cannabis over traditional offerings is that customers may feel better about their purchase. Putting the clean movement in perspective, it looks more like a smart marketing tactic by marijuana companies than a healthier alternative. Successful businesses follow consumer trends constantly and take advantage of them to increase profits. In the case of clean marijuana, it’s no different. And many cannabis users are taking the bait.

According to the LA Times, consumer demand for chemical-free weed has exceeded expectations, so it’s about to be everywhere in California. If the industry grows like cannabis companies expect it to, chemical-free weed may become prevalent in many more states as well.

The Risks of Weed, Clean or Not

As marijuana grows in popularity due to its newfound legality in certain states, there will be more opportunities around the US for customers to try it. Combined with the influence of the clean product movement, it can be easy to miss the risks of using any kind of cannabis.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the perception of weed’s harmfulness is declining. Many young people don’t even consider marijuana use to be risky behavior. But SAMHSA highlights a number of risks, including the following:

  • Long-term addiction
  • Permanent IQ loss when used at a young age
  • Links to depression, suicidal planning, anxiety, and psychotic episodes
  • Increased likelihood for relational problems, lower career achievement, poor educational performance, and reduced life satisfaction
  • Poor timing, movement, and coordination, especially while driving
  • Damaging effects to an unborn baby’s health and development

So for those who are tempted to purchase organic marijuana because of its perceived health benefits, it’s important to remember that organic doesn’t always mean healthy. Even if it’s chemical-free, smoking or consuming cannabis products still poses risks to your long-term health, including the dangerous possibility that it could contain fentanyl.

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