As the use of cannabis becomes more widespread and accepted, concerns about the safety of its consumption are becoming more prevalent.
One such concern is the use of pesticides in the cultivation of cannabis plants, and the potential transfer of these chemicals into the smoke when the plant is smoked.
Neem oil, a natural pesticide derived from the seeds of the Neem tree, has become a popular alternative to synthetic pesticides in recent years. But is it safe to smoke?
In this article, we will explore the potential risks and benefits of using neem oil as a pesticide in cannabis cultivation, and whether or not it is toxic to smoke.
Is Neem Oil Toxic To Smoke?
The short answer is that there is no definitive answer. While neem oil is generally considered safe for human use and has been used in toothpaste and soap, there are concerns about its safety when smoked.
Neem oil is a highly effective and natural pesticide that is non-toxic to animals and people. It is systemic, meaning it is absorbed by the plant and can provide long-lasting protection against pests like spider mites, thrips, and aphids.
However, neem oil can affect the taste and smell of cannabis if used late in flower. Additionally, if buds are covered in powdery mildew late in flower, it is recommended to cut them down and use BHO without using neem oil, as the oil can be pulled away with the THC.
While neem oil poisoning has been reported in cases of oral ingestion of high concentrations, there is no evidence to suggest that smoking neem oil is toxic. However, there are concerns about the potential transfer of pesticides into the smoke through a process called pyrolysis.
Pyrolysis is the chemical decomposition of organic materials through the application of heat. This process can turn some pesticides into more toxic chemicals that can be absorbed by the lungs of the consumer.
While there are no definitive studies on the safety of smoking neem oil, some growers have started to seek alternative pesticides to synthetic ones. Neem oil appears to be a safe solution, but caution should be exercised when using any pesticide in cannabis cultivation.
What Is Neem Oil And How Is It Used In Cannabis Cultivation?
Neem oil is a natural and safe insecticide that is commonly used in organic cannabis cultivation. It is extracted from the seeds and fruits of the neem tree, which is native to South Asia. The active ingredient in neem oil is azadirachtin, which is known for its insecticidal properties.
Neem oil is effective against many common cannabis pests, including spider mites, aphids, and whiteflies. It is also fungicidal and can help prevent mold and mildew. Neem oil works by smothering pests on contact, and it is not absorbed by the plant.
To use neem oil in cannabis cultivation, it can be applied as a foliar spray or a root rinse. It should be used as a preventative measure during the plant’s growth phase, applied every 10 days. Neem oil should not be used too close to harvest time, as it can affect the flavor of the plant.
While neem oil is generally considered safe for human use, there are concerns about its safety when smoked. While there is no evidence to suggest that smoking neem oil is toxic, there are concerns about the potential transfer of pesticides into the smoke through pyrolysis. As such, caution should be exercised when using any pesticide in cannabis cultivation.
The Risks Of Synthetic Pesticides In Cannabis Cultivation
Synthetic pesticides are commonly used in cannabis cultivation to control pests and improve crop yield. However, these pesticides can pose a significant risk to human health and the environment. Pesticides are designed to kill living organisms, and in high enough concentrations, they can be harmful to humans. Synthetic pesticides are often much more potent than natural alternatives like neem oil and can cause a range of health problems such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and disorders of the respiratory and reproductive tracts.
Moreover, there is no standardized protocol for the use of pesticides in cannabis cultivation. Traces of pesticides are allowed in the final buds if the pesticide is considered safe or moderately hazardous by The World Health Organization. However, this assumption is based on studies of pesticides for oral intake, whereas inhalation safety has not yet been clarified. Pesticides are retained in the trichomes of cannabis plants, which mainly contain cannabinoids and terpenes. Trichome density and retention of pesticides are correlated, meaning that the more the trichomes, the more the pesticides. When cannabis is smoked, pesticides can be transferred into the smoke through pyrolysis, which can turn some pesticides into more toxic chemicals that will end up being absorbed by the lungs of the consumer.
The risks associated with synthetic pesticides in cannabis cultivation are significant. Not only do they pose a risk to human health, but they also cause environmental damage. The use of synthetic pesticides can contaminate soil and water sources and harm beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies. As a result, some growers have started to seek alternative pesticides like neem oil that are safer for both humans and the environment.
The Benefits Of Neem Oil As A Natural Pesticide
Neem oil is a natural pesticide that has been used for hundreds of years to control pests and diseases. It is made from the seeds of the neem tree and contains a mixture of components. Azadirachtin is the most active component for repelling and killing pests, and it can be extracted from neem oil. The portion left over is called clarified hydrophobic neem oil.
One of the main benefits of neem oil as a natural pesticide is that it is non-toxic to animals and people. This makes it a safe alternative to synthetic pesticides, which can be harmful to both humans and the environment. Neem oil is also effective against a wide range of pests, including spider mites, thrips, aphids, and whiteflies.
Another benefit of neem oil is that it can be used as both a pesticide and a fungicide in the vegetable garden. It works on arthropod pests that often eat your vegetables, including tomato hornworms, corn earworm, aphids, and whiteflies. In addition, neem oil also controls common fungi that grow on vegetable plants, including mildews, rusts, leaf spots, wilts, and stem rots.
Neem oil also has a residual effect of helping earthworms, which means it won’t harm your soil. That’s because neem oil is made from neem cake – the solid mass of seeds and fruit from neem trees pressed to extract the oils. Neem cake is used to amend and condition soils and pack a punch of nitrogen many amendments can’t compare to.
Neem Oil And Smoke: What Are The Potential Risks?
There is limited research on the potential risks of smoking neem oil, but some studies suggest that it could be linked to cannabis hyperemesis syndrome, a rare set of afflictions that include nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. However, these assertions are based on limited studies and some growers still swear by neem oil.
Furthermore, neem oil has been implicated in neem oil poisoning when ingested orally at high concentrations. While neem oil is non-toxic to most animals and plants, it can be moderately toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms. Therefore, it is important to remember that insects must eat the treated plant to be killed, and bees and other pollinators are not likely to be harmed.
When it comes to smoking cannabis treated with neem oil, there are concerns about the potential transfer of pesticides into the smoke through a process called pyrolysis. Pyrolysis can turn some pesticides into more toxic chemicals that can be absorbed by the lungs of the consumer.
Studies On The Safety Of Smoking Neem Oil-Treated Cannabis
Studies on the safety of smoking neem oil-treated cannabis are limited and inconclusive. While neem oil is generally considered safe for human use, there is a lack of research on the safety of inhaling neem oil through smoking.
Some studies have shown that pesticides used in cannabis cultivation can be retained in the trichomes of the plant, which are the structures that contain cannabinoids and terpenes. This means that if cannabis is smoked, pesticides can be transferred into the smoke through pyrolysis. However, these studies have not specifically looked at neem oil-treated cannabis.
There are also concerns about the potential for neem oil to produce harmful chemicals when heated during smoking. While neem oil is non-toxic when ingested orally, it is possible that heating it could produce harmful byproducts.
Despite these concerns, some growers still swear by neem oil as a safe and effective pesticide for cannabis cultivation. However, until more research is done on the safety of smoking neem oil-treated cannabis, caution should be exercised when using any pesticide in cultivation. It is important to follow proper guidelines and regulations to minimize potential risks to human health.
Alternatives To Neem Oil For Cannabis Cultivation
While neem oil is a popular choice for organic cannabis growers, there are several alternatives that may be better suited for certain situations. Here are some options:
1. Insecticidal soap: This is a natural and non-toxic alternative to neem oil that can be used to control soft-bodied insects like aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. It works by disrupting the cell membranes of the insects, causing them to dehydrate and die.
2. Essential oils: Some essential oils like peppermint, rosemary, and thyme have insecticidal properties and can be used to repel pests. They can be diluted with water and sprayed onto the plants.
3. Diatomaceous earth: This is a natural powder made from the fossilized remains of diatoms. It works by scratching the exoskeletons of insects, causing them to dehydrate and die. It can be sprinkled around the base of plants or mixed with water and sprayed onto the leaves.
4. Bacillus thuringiensis (BT): This is a natural bacteria that produces toxins that are lethal to certain insects like caterpillars and beetles. It can be applied as a spray or dusted onto the leaves.
It’s important to note that while these alternatives may be safer than synthetic pesticides, they should still be used with caution and according to their instructions. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to test any new pesticide on a small area of your plants before applying it to the entire crop.