Ask the Marijuana Expert: 9 Questions to Make Sure You’re Buying Quality Cannabis

A man smokes marijuana at a cannabis competition in Portland, Oregon.

A man smokes marijuana at a cannabis competition in Portland, Oregon. | Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Just how safe is your marijuana? This seems like an odd question, given that the federal government deems cannabis so inherently unsafe it should be outlawed. But evidence suggests otherwise. Although there are still a lot of questions to be answered, it’s becoming clear that marijuana is, in many ways, a much safer alternative to other, perfectly legal substances.

That’s not to say you can’t end up with some bad bud. Marijuana, like any other product, can reach the consumer in a tainted state. It might be related to contamination from chemicals or pesticides or from organic issues related to mold or mildew. If you’re not careful, you can get sick from ingesting poor-quality cannabis.

But how can you tell what’s good and what isn’t? Are the labels and sellers trustworthy enough on their own?

Alan Hirsch, principal at Diagnostic Lab Corporation, recently talked with The Cheat Sheet about safety and quality regarding products sold in legal marijuana markets. The company’s main goal is to ensure cannabis is not only safe but of the highest possible quality by the time it reaches the user. The company offers certifications to marijuana companies and tests for chemical contamination, including pesticides.

We asked Hirsch how consumers can be sure they’re buying products that are not only high quality but safe to use. Let’s take a quick look at nine key questions and answers.

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