Helping to keep you safe during cannabis growing, harvesting and processing operations
With the legalization of cannabis growing, harvesting and processing operations by the Canadian government, licensed operators and workers in cannabis manufacturing operations will need to follow relevant health and safety laws to protect themselves from exposure hazards that could cause immediate and long-term health effects. Do you know how to keep yourself safe from the occupational risks in cannabis-growing operations?
We’ve spent decades giving you the information that you need to spot potential risks while improving respiratory protection products that help keep you out of harm’s way. Here’s an overview of what workers need to know to help reduce their exposure and help minimize immediate and long-term health effects associated with the growing, harvesting and manufacturing of cannabis.
What is cannabis?
Cannabis is a greenish-grey mixture of the dried flowers of the cannabis sativa plant. The main psychoactive chemical in cannabis is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for its intoxicating effects. This chemical is found in the resin produced by the leaves and buds of the cannabis plant. The plant also contains more than 500 other chemicals, including over 100 compounds that are chemically related to THC called cannabinoids.
Cannabis can be inhaled by smoking hand-rolled cigarettes called joints, in pipes or water pipes called bongs, or in blunts (cannabis rolled in cigar wraps). It can also be ingested through brewed tea or mixed into foods called edibles, such as brownies, cookies or candies.
How could it affect me?
The Canadian federal government introduced a suite of legislation on April 13, 2017, that establish a “strict legal framework” for the production, sale, distribution and possession of cannabis. Provinces, territories and municipalities will be able to tailor rules for their own jurisdictions and set their permits or licenses for growing, distributing and retail sales of cannabis. This legislation was passed in October 2018. This means that workers who take part in cannabis growing, harvesting and processing could be exposed to numerous health and safety risks and are covered by the applicable occupational health and safety regulations.
Magnification of Cannabis
(1)Washington State Department of Labor & Industry. Cannabis Industry Safety & Health (Cannabis). Retrieved on October 19, 2017 from http://www.lni.wa.gov/Safety/Topics/Industries/Marijuana/
(2)Martyny, John; Van Dyke, Mike; Schaeffer, Josh; Serrano, Kate Health Effects Associated with Indoor Cannabis Grow Operations. Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, Department of Medicine, National Jewish Health, Denver, CO.
(3)Koch, Thomas; Chamber, Carol-Lynn; Bucherl, Stacy; Martyny, John; Cotner, John; and Thomas, Stan. Colorado Environmental Health Association Conference, Steamboat Springs, CO., Hashing Out the Issues: IAQ and Health and Safety in the Cannabis Industry, September 26, 2014.
(4)Clandestine Indoor Cannabis Grow Operations – Recognition, Assessment, and Remediation Guidance, AIHA. January 1, 2010.
(5)3M Personal Safety Division. Technical Data Bulletin #249: Legal Cannabis Growing Operations. September, 2016. Retrieved from multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/.../tdb-249-legal-Cannabis-growing-operations-pdf
(6)Sun Media, Toronto Sun. What to expect from the Liberals’ Cannabis bill. April 13, 2017.