Pesticides are formulated to deter insects, mold, mildew, rodents, and other agricultural pests that can damage cannabis crops. Both synthetic and natural pesticides exist. While they protect plants, research on human health impacts is lacking. Synthetic pesticides are chemically altered in a lab, while natural pesticides use ingredients from plants like neem, citrus, clove or garlic. Most states mandate testing for banned synthetic pesticide residues for consumer safety. However chemical pesticides can still be used up until harvest during growth if allowed under law. Consumers should always avoid chemical pesticides, especially on flowering buds close to harvest. While natural pesticides derived from plants can also be toxic if consumed, they at least break down faster in the body and ecosystem.
Ultimately, the best approach is integrated pest management using multiple organic strategies to avoid pesticide sprays altogether. IPM employs natural predators, disease-resistant plant strains, crop rotation, hygienic practices and pheromone traps to control pests without any sprays. Conscientious cultivators now recognize that synthetic pesticides have no place in cannabis production, especially at harvest time. But buying organically grown bud may not always be feasible. So at minimum, consumers should verify their dispensary tests for banned pesticides. Seeking out clean green certified cannabis, asking cultivators about their practices, and avoiding chronic pesticide use provides peace of mind.