Is There Mold in CBD Oil?

Many people forget about mold and microbial contaminants when discussing CBD purity. We often hear about pesticides and heavy metals in CBD and why we should avoid them, but mold in CBD oil isn’t as frequently talked about. It’s a serious issue, though, and we’ll address it in this blog. 

Mold testing is not required for CBD products 

There are ways to identify if CBD products have microbial contaminants like mold. Laboratories that specialize in testing cannabis and hemp can easily identify these harmful compounds and let companies know if their products are unsuitable for consumption. 

Just because it can be done doesn’t mean all CBD companies are doing it. 

In fact, many CBD products are not tested for microbial contaminants like molds, bacteria, and yeasts. Even CBD products that provide a Certificate of Analysis (COA) may not have been tested for molds. 

Many CBD consumers assume that because a CBD product says it is tested or provides a COA, it is safe. This is a dangerous assumption because the CBD industry is still severely under regulated. There is no governing force ensuring that products are tested for mold in CBD oil and other harmful contaminants. 

Is mold in CBD oil a serious issue? 

Yes, mold in CBD oil is a serious issue. We are going to take a look at some research conducted on cannabis products. While marijuana is different from hemp in the eyes of the law, the two plants are both of the same family and have the same potential for contamination. As such, this information is relevant to both CBD and cannabis products. 

Researchers at University of California, Davis – Medical Center collaborated with Steep Hill Labs, a cannabis testing laboratory, to examine samples of cannabis products. They looked at 20 random cannabis samples and found that each and every one had detectable microbial contamination levels

Many of these products had significant microorganism contamination. The list of potentially harmful bacteria and fungi discovered is long and alarming. Take a look at some of the contaminants found: 

  • -Enterobacteria (including both pathogenic and non-pathogenic forms of E. coli)
  • -Aspergillus (including niger)
  • -Mucor
  • -Penicillium
  • -Botryotini and many others

Without going through every study and overloading our readers with information, we can draw a conclusion that microbial contaminants are an incredibly common occurrence. Considering all of the samples contained contaminants, we can assume that this happens across the cannabis and CBD industry. 

So yes, mold in CBD is a serious and common issue. But does it actually put our health at risk? 

Are all microbial contaminants harmful to health? 

Bacterial infections are the root of many food-borne diseases in the United States. You can see why consumers may be so concerned about the presence of mold in CBD, along with other contaminants. But is it worth stressing over? 

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) decided to not require Aspergillus mold testing for cannabis products back in 2015. Their report stated:

Aspergillus can cause respiratory infections in individuals who inhale it if they are severely immune-compromised…However,… [Aspergillus] is so common in the environment that a person could pick it up many different ways. A positive test result would not mean the product is unsafe for most uses for most people. Therefore, the work group recommended that cannabis products intended for smoking and other inhalation uses include a warning about this risk for people with suppressed immune systems.” 

While Aspergillus is recognized by the OHA as the only microorganism other than bacteria to pose a risk to humans, they drew the conclusion that it is mostly harmful to those with immune compromisations. 

Cannabis Business Times asked an extraction consultant, Andrew DeFries, Ph.D., what happens when a spore makes its way into extracted oil. The response? The contamination may still be viable when concentrated into an extract. He maintains that the final product likely does not pose much of a health risk to those with non-compromised immune systems. 

Experts at Cannabis Science Tech also assert that there are “significant health concerns regarding mycotoxin contamination of products that are not only processed into edible foods, but also used as inhalation products and medicines for children and patients with compromised immune systems. It therefore becomes critical to understand the nature of fungi and mycotoxins and how to reduce them in cannabis products.”

Why can’t processors just sterilize the products? 

Naturally, you may think that processors could just sterilize their products to ensure CBD purity and eliminate any worries. This is not always the case, though. 

Microbial contaminants are often by-products from growth being left behind. Sterilizing a CBD product does not mean that it will be 100% clear of contaminants because it only kills live microbes and does not clear out DNA proteins or lipids left behind. Lipids and DNA may still lead to allergy-like reactions. 

Whatever contaminants are left behind will end up concentrated in the final product. 

Should I avoid mold in CBD oil? 

At Premium CBD, we don’t like to take gambles on our health. With all of the research we have examined, we have come to the conclusion that we just don’t know enough yet. We don’t know if mold in CBD oil poses a significant health risk or if it is a non-issue for our bodies. 

However, we like to take the cautious route and opt for CBD products free of mold and other contaminants. If you are like us, and the idea of consuming bacteria, yeast, or mold in CBD oil makes you uncomfortable, opt for products that have specifically tested for microbial contaminants. 

It can be hard to find products that are specifically tested for major contaminants in CBD. This is an unfortunate reality of our current industry. Many products are tested but do not test for specific contaminants like pesticides, heavy metals, microbial contaminants and residual solvents. 

If you’re immunocompromised, you may be even more concerned about the effects of contaminants in CBD. After all, researchers did conclude that mold in CBD oil may cause problems for those with compromised immune systems. As such, you should always check the purity of your products. 

We know that verifying the purity of CBD products can be a hassle. It’s why we created the Premium CBD database, a collection of all the best CBD products on the market in one place. You can buy CBD online using our database, which only lists products tested for ALL contaminants by ISO-accredited laboratories. 

Our verification system is thorough and ensures that only the top products make it in our CBD database. You can shop with us and feel confident that your product will be free from harmful ingredients. 

Shop with Premium CBD today! 

Pure CBD products have no detected levels of pesticides, solvents, heavy metals, or microbial contaminants.
Products must contain between 0-0.3% THC under the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill.
Products should contain high concentrations of CBD and less than 0.3% THC.
CBD is not regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration.