PIDEKA presenta un protocolo de seguridad en Colombia para extracciones de cannabis

January 08, 2019


PIDEKA outlined a safety protocol for cannabis extracts in research published by ExpoMedeWeed.

“Cannabis extractions have become a trend in recent years. A lot of people motivated by neighbor experiences and internet videos started to venture to make extractions, and accidents began to occur. "

This is how Denis Contri, Master Grower at PIDEKA SAS began his conference at the third edition of the best-known cannabis fair in Colombia, the ExpoMedeWeed, held in Medellín in November 2019. Denis took the opportunity to alert Colombian society about the risks and the possible scenario in Colombia and presented a series of points for good practices without risks.

The Problem

In 2016 in the United States an impressive case broke out in the newspapers: an explosion killed one man and seriously injured two others in an attempt to extract cannabis oil carried out in a garage using butane gas. One more accident in a succession of catastrophic events since the use and production of cannabis became popular in that country, the case was the first in which survivors were criminalized for the crime of homicide without mourning. The situation opens the precedent for the recognition of the responsibility of the people behind the practices that demonstrate danger.

Among hundreds of positive impacts, the increase in accidents is one of the misfortunes of the popularization of cannabis production. A dynamic clearly related to regulatory processes, evidenced by a study by the University of Colorado, according to which the number of accidents thus jumped from 2 per year to 12 per year as of 2012.

Accidents in Colombia to this day have not yet appeared in the newspaper and do not reach the statistics, but isolated cases are known. An increase in accidents, even with fatalities, is not unlikely.


Cannabis extractions

There are many ways to extract cannabis oil by hand without the use of dangerous solvents. Edible oils, butter, dry ice, vegetable glycerin, techniques that apply pressure and heat, and even pure cold water can be used. Butane gas, propane, methane, and hexane are solvents preferred by many for their ability to produce very pure and aesthetically pleasing extracts with high added value in the market.

It is not difficult to obtain these solvents on the street. Hardware stores and tobacco shops normally display cans of hydrocarbon gases in mixtures of different proportions as fuel for lighters, torches, among other uses, and they are usually incredibly cheaper than the extraction gases themselves, found in cannabis articles stores. When choosing to use an explosive and dangerous solvent such as butane, you must have safety guidelines.

Bad practices, ignorance and neglect are the cause of accidents

In the study presented by Denis, 4 main causes of accidents were identified, both on an artisanal scale and on an industrial scale. After classifying them, the procedures for good practices and the minimization of risks were explained.

1. Inappropriate Environment Practices - Inappropriate practices include extraction indoors without adequate ventilation; and the presence of plugs or electronic devices that can produce sparks. The extraction environment must be totally controlled without the presence of electronic devices; in the case of open blast they must be done outdoors, although the wind can bring impurities that increase the risks of extraction. In closed environments, the design of air flow and extraction is recommended, in addition to the use of closed circuit equipment.

2. Inadequate clothing - synthetic clothing can cause small sparks enough to set a room full of gas on fire; In the case of an accident, people are usually not wearing clothes that protect from fire, on the contrary, many people illusioned by internet videos wear vinyl gloves, which can melt on the hands in a possible fire, greatly worsening the severity of the fire. situation.

3. Use common gas - kitchen gas or gas sold in hardware stores is not suitable for extractions because it contains many contaminants that end up in the product. Frequently consumed these pollutants can cause serious poisoning in the consumer. They are not immediate accidents, but can even lead to death.

4. Use cannabis of unknown origin - the contamination that intoxicates the consumer can also come from the same plant material. That's because many cannabis growers use pesticides, heavy metal fertilizers, and other contaminants, which move and focus on the final product. In addition, contaminants from the poor conservation of plant matter such as bacteria and fungi can also end up in the oil. All of them are neurotoxic and can present risks, especially for consumers who are patients with weak physiological systems. The first and main way to ensure the absence of contaminants and pathogens prior to extractions is to use plant material of recognized provenance grown under organic methods. Working in a clean environment and sterilizing instruments is essential and helps keep environmental contamination out of the way.

The solution is through education

Denis calls for prior attention to the problem emerging in our country, but reiterates that, alone, producers and processors will not be able to avoid accidents that can extend far beyond the scope of their work environment. In his view, to avoid this scenario, it is essential to produce specific legislation on the subject, at different scales, based on security parameters adopted abroad, such as prospective studies, followed by a long-lasting educational program with focus on producer education and consumer awareness.