Things to know: Mycotoxins in CBD

Posted: January 19th, 2021

- Richard, the Farm Doc

What are Mycotoxins

Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites of mold and fungi metabolism.  They are common contaminants of agricultural products, especially when stored in warm, humid environments.  Because of their harmful effects, the FDA requires testing food products for the most dangerous mycotoxins.1

What dangerous mycotoxins can be found in CBD products

Hemp can be prone to growth of mold and fungi due to growing, harvesting, and storage conditions.  The resulting mycotoxins of concern are Ochratoxin A which is produced by several species of Aspergillus and Penicillin molds and Aflatoxins produced mainly by Aspergillus.

Impact of Mycotoxins on Health

Aflatoxins B1, B2, G1, and G2, are carcinogenic: long term exposure is associated with an increased risk of developing liver cancer.  High levels of exposure are rare, but can result in severe liver damage.

Ochratoxin A can harm the immune system, and cause kidney damage.

These risks may be more pronounced in individuals who have pre-existing liver or kidney damage or are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Mycotoxin Regulations/Testing requirements

The FDA has set limits of mycotoxins in food at 20 ug/kg (20 ppb).  While the FDA does not require testing of CBD products, many states, following California, do. California requirements are: 

  1. Total of aflatoxin B1, B2, G1, and G2 does not exceed 20 µg/kg of substance, and 
  2. Ochratoxin A does not exceed 20 µg/kg of substance.2

Raven Ridge 2020 Mycotoxin Test Results

The important bits from our testing in 2020 are shown in the image below.  ND stands for None Detected. 

Learn more about Richard

Richard "The Farm Doc" is a Family Physician, committed to providing science based information to help people make informed decisions about their health, and to understand the connection between their health and the health of our soil, plants, and planet.

Full bio here.

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