Why We Take Pesticide Testing So Seriously

At Avitas, we cultivate a lot of our own flower and take great care to grow it using organic methods, but our grow is small, and we make a lot of oil, so we also work with local farms to source terrific starting material. Every so often we get a shipment of gorgeous flower that looks and smells great, but we have to send it back because it tests positive for pesticide. This breaks our hearts. However, we’re committed to bringing you the cleanest, most extraordinary extract possible and sometimes that means making some tough choices.

The Process

Before we place an order for a new shipment, we have farms sign an affidavit stating that they don’t use banned pesticides and if their crop tests positive, we return the flower and get refunded. Once we receive a shipment, we immediately send a sample out for testing, and nothing goes in our equipment until we get a clean result back. We’ve returned many shipments, and it doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but we still check every lot.

It’s Complicated

Sometimes a farm’s flower fails the test even after they’ve used every possible precaution and grown their flower using only the best of organic methods. This is where it gets complicated. Sometimes when growing outdoors, farmers are affected by what’s been planted in their fields in prior years. Pesticide doesn’t just go away once a harvest comes in. They can stay in the soil and can continue to affect what’s grown for many years to come. Sometimes, even when a farm is on clean soil, a nearby farm might spray their crops with conventional pesticides.  In agricultural regions like Washington and Oregon, crops like hops, apples, and wheat have much looser rules about what pesticides can be used, and natural factors like wind could mean that even with the best intentions, sometimes they fail the tests.

Why It Matters

One reason even a tiny amount of pesticide on the plant might be a more significant problem in finished oil is that the extraction process concentrates all the good stuff AND the bad stuff too. But a bigger worry is the complete lack of any scientific knowledge regarding the safety of inhaling smoked or vaped pesticides. Toxicity tests for pesticides only look at what might happen if you eat trace amounts in your food, and sometimes they look at skin contact or inhalation of vapors for worker safety. Many pesticides are by their very nature highly toxic and can convert to new molecules when heated at high temperatures. One particularly problematic pesticide that is used illegally on cannabis is myclobutanil. This molecule degrades into cyanide gas when it’s heated, so we want to make very sure that doesn’t end up in our oil!

Sure, our process is rigorous, but we care about what we put into our bodies, and we think you do too. We always test for pesticide, and never add any flavors, additives, or fillers to our pure golden goodness. After all, that’s the Avitas promise.


What to Look for in a Cannabis Oil Cartridge

Not all cannabis products are created equal. At Avitas, we’re striving to create that better world, we put our heart and soul into our cannabis oil and work with world-class manufacturers to bring you the purest cartridges possible. But what if you can't find your tried and true Avitas friend? We got you. Here are a few ways to help figure out what may be worth a try.

Why Many Added Flavors Are Not Your Friend

You’ve probably seen them. Cotton candy, raspberry, mint, and rose, there are flavors on flavors available in all sorts of cartridges, and they may sound pretty tasty. However, you might want to do your research and think twice before picking up a flavored vape pen. Many manufacturers add any number of ingredients back into the oil at the end to achieve those flavors. This dilutes the cannabis oil and potentially dampens the entourage effect of vaping. These added ingredients can include synthetic terpenes, natural terpenes, cannabis-derived terpenes, artificial aldehydes/fruity flavors, or other artificial flavors. Most of these elements are fine on their own, but when heated, some can become carcinogenic and ultimately dangerous to your health. Read more about this phenomenon here.

That’s why we use a handcrafted, full spectrum, proprietary method that extracts the cannabis terpenes from each batch of flower at the very beginning of the oil-making procedure. At the end of the process, we remove the things that don’t taste good like chlorophyll and plant waxes and carefully hand-blend the full spectrum of terpenes back into the oil batch. The result is a pure, finished oil that smells, tastes, and feels like the actual flower it came from without any nasty or surprising additives.

Cut Out Cutting Agents

When you’re looking for a good cartridge, double check the ingredients, and ask about the extraction methods. Remember that extracts and distillates are not the same (if a distillate is in liquid form, most likely there’s a cutting agent involved). Common cutting agents include propylene glycol (PG), polyethylene glycol (PEG), vegetable glycerin (VG), and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). Cutting agents aren’t necessarily harmful in and of themselves, but again, the trouble comes when these cutting agents are heated. Recent studies have shown that many cutting agents convert into toxic compounds when heated at vaping temperatures. (finish with: something like - ask your budtender for more information about the...something...about the oils to try or the available oils, something- sorry, not much help on this line)

That Pure Golden Goodness

At Avitas we use CO2 extraction methods and only use six ingredients in our oil. Six! They include pure carbon dioxide (delivered and stored in pressurized tanks), food-grade ethanol (another term for highly pure Everclear), purified reverse-osmosis water, solid CO2 (carbon dioxide), and, of course, organically grown cannabis. That’s it. We don’t use cutting agents, we never add anything to increase vapor plume or increase THC uptake, and we never use any flavors other than the full spectrum of terpenes extracted from the cannabis plant.

So when you’re on the hunt for a new product, do your research beforehand, steer away from flavors, and ask your budtender specific questions about cutting agents, ingredients, and extraction processes. They’re there to help and are usually really excited to share their knowledge. And remember, if your local store doesn’t carry our cartridges, you can always ask them to start stocking Avitas. We’re proud of our oil and love helping people discover new ways to feel good.  If you have any more questions, drop us a comment or contact us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.