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This opinion column was submitted by Dr. Sean Devlin, D.O., M.D.(H), M.S., a board-certified physician.
The Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board currently requires that the Radura symbol, along with a consumer notice, be included on cannabis or cannabis flower products treated with radiation, such as X-rays and gamma rays.
The CCB is currently considering changes to regulation NCCR 12.065 that would remove this labeling requirement. As a medical professional, I believe in education and transparency first and foremost. Using a Radura symbol on irradiated cannabis protects consumer’s right to know, for good or bad, what they are ingesting.
Let’s start with the FDA’s requirement that irradiated food displays the Radura symbol, the international symbol for irradiation. The FDA advises consumers to look for the Radura symbol along with the statement “treated with radiation” or “treated by irradiation” on the food label. While the FDA cannot yet regulate cannabis, this labeling reflects the FDA’s decades of experience with X-ray treatment of food and its conclusion that consumers should know if/when their food has been subjected to radiation.
If the FDA requires the Radura symbol for X-rayed food products that are ingested, shouldn’t Nevada consumers be able to rely on this symbol to identify irradiated cannabis products that are ingested or inhaled?
There are some strong assumptions about why cannabis treated with radiation may not have all the benefits you’re looking for:
► Cannabis flower treated with radiation can potentially cause a loss of terpenes. For savvy medical cannabis users, terpenes offer different therapeutic values and medicinal properties with potentially synergistic effects that could provide benefits from treating asthma, improving stress relief, relieving depression and chronic pain as well as other health benefits.
► Terpenes can add to the cannabis users’ experience and if those are diminished, it may influence how one might enjoy their marijuana.
► Some cannabis users appreciate a more “natural” marijuana that is not radiated, and these consumers should be able to discern one product from another.
On the flip side, Nevada has some of the toughest regulations in effect concerning the safety of the cannabis grown and processed here. In concert with that is the reduction of potentially harmful microbes growing in or on the cannabis plant material — radiation of this material is one of several treatment methods that can be very effective at eliminating microbes.
In its role as protector of all Nevadans who consume cannabis products, the CCB has an opportunity to promote consumer education and transparency through its product labeling requirements. Consumers should have a choice about what they put into their body. Requiring the use of the Radura symbol on radiated cannabis products helps consumers make informed decisions about the products they use.
There may be consumers happy to know that the cannabis they are purchasing is free of microbes while others may be relieved to have a non-radiated product. Perspective is everything; information and transparency in product labeling is not only honorable but the most respectful thing to do for cannabis consumers.
Sean Devlin, D.O., M.D.(H), M.S. is a board-certified physician. Dr. Devlin has specialized fellowship training in anti-aging, functional, metabolic and regenerative medicine, and in integrative cancer therapeutics. He is also a homeopathic medical doctor (HMD) trained at the British Institute of Homeopathy and through apprenticeship with homeopathic doctors and integrative medicine practitioners.
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