Send to

Choose Destination
Drug Test Anal. 2020 Feb;12(2):180-190. doi: 10.1002/dta.2747. Epub 2020 Jan 19.

Pesticides in cannabis: A review of analytical and toxicological considerations.

Author information

School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, Faculty of Science, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK.


A review of the literature surrounding the use, analysis, and detection of pesticide material for cannabis cultivation is presented. The use of pesticides in crop cultivation is not new, and cannabis crops are no exception. Studies have found that the use of these are common and that high levels of the pesticides are transferred into the cannabis smoke. The most common pesticide classes associated with cannabis are insecticides, acaricides, and fungicides. Over 350 different pesticide products may be used on cannabis materials and of these, 16 pesticides and three plant growth regulators (PGR) are considered to be the main candidates. Many of the pesticides found in cannabis samples destined for consumption are classed as moderately hazardous by the World Health Organization. Analytical methods for pesticide detection on cannabis are being developed with a view to implementing quality control of cannabis, where it is legal, before being sold. However, no standardized protocol exists. The pesticide levels found in the cannabis samples tested were generally low (less than μg/g), these results do not, however, provide information on chronic low-dose adverse effects of pesticides in relation to cannabis consumption. Currently no research exists on the toxicity of pyrolyzed pesticides in humans from smoking cannabis. More studies are needed to further understand this potentially harmful health threat.


GC-MS; LC-MS/MS; cannabis; pesticides; toxicity


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center