What are Microbials in Hemp and Cannabis?

By Dr. John O’Connor PhD and Shawn Valor

“My hemp crop is going to be ready in the fall, I have 5 acres and it’s my first year growing. How much are you going to pay me for it to make CBD oil?” Asks a local hemp farmer to us, a processor in Virginia.

“Okay first off, we will need your microbial test report once it’s dried and harvested.” We respond in hopes to keep our end products safe and verify we buy only high quality hemp. 

“…What’s that?” Asks the farmer.

If you find yourself asking this as well, you will need to educate yourself on the topic now. It’s one of the most overlooked topics for farmers getting into hemp that also has dangerous consequences if not paid attention to.  This information is paramount to the success of selling your crop, producing safe products for the public/for sale, and standing out in a saturated market.

First off let’s explain Microbials. Microbials itself can be confusing because it refers to both the good and the bad miniscule substances. We always refer to the bad when wanting a test as they can be life threatening over time if consumed or immediately dangerous depending on the Microbial. 

When referring to bad Microbials we’re always talking about two things: Mycotoxins and Endotoxins. Mycotoxins can be simply put as any fungus that can harm an individual when consumed. Now Cannabis being a high smoking market, as well as consumable through Oils and edibles, watching out for these is vital. Now it doesn’t always take a microscope to know if you have Mycotoxins. There are 3 that we always look out for Aspergillus, Fusarium, and Botrytis. All three contain multiple carcinogens.                                                                                                            

Aspergillus is simply put as Powdery mildew. It is the most concerning of the fungi as it contains the most harmful carcinogenic toxins and is one of the most common blights to cannabis. As with all fungi it can infect the soil and the plant, giving you a double hit of both being on and in the plant. All the fungi listed do damage to the lungs and liver if ingested.  Powdery mildew will commonly look like your plant was sprinkled with flour; the white is really the spores of the fungi. 

Fusarium is one that can be harder to tell. It comes in the form of wilt and/root rot. While it hides in the soil to continuously infect plants, it can be hard to detect as it can be mistaken for low nutrient intake wilt. Botrytis is Bud Rot. It’s incredibly visual with the large white or grey foam that grows on the bud and leaves. Because of fungi’s nature to spread quickly through spores we always require tests so we know we aren’t buying a crop that is infected past the naked eye.

Endotoxins are viruses and bacteria harmful to health.  E.Coli and salmonella are the major factors in this. They can infect hemp the same way it can lettuce, which is through un-composted manure or mishandling with contaminated hands. Both can be prevented through precision care to cleanliness and soil. No one wants to hear their hemp the just bought tests positive for E.coli so it’s something we personally test for even after buying a crop and something we personally test for when consulting on someone else’s field. 

As we discuss in our book Farming Industrial Hemp: Not Your Daddy’s Tobaccohemp is a health environment, people will use it medicinally, and because of that connotation it would ruin the industry if people got harmed from it. Similar to the vape industry which just got hit with the death of 14 through faulty black market cartridges, hemp and cannabis could take the same dive through government regulations if we don’t watch out for health hazards. 

As we strive for better regulation for further trust in the public eye it’s important that we look after the safety of our crops and the people who buy the items made from it. If you want full details on the dangers of microbials and how to fix your crop if they are present, Our book goes into full detail in preventing bad microbials as well many techniques to successful profitable growing.  It might be a fact that in order to move this industry forward we have to test more, even if that means putting out more money. 

Shawn Valor is a seasoned copywriter, published content creator, and novel-writing entrepreneur with 6 novels under development. He is a Master Luthier at Brute Force guitars with over 100 guitars, basses, and mandolins crafted by him. He is a knowledgeable workaholic now with 5 years experience in working in the Hemp growing Industry as an expert adviser to help make a safe and profitable yield for his clients. He partnered with Dr. John O’Connor PhD. to create a book known as Farming Industrial Hemp: Not Your Daddy’s Tobacco to help growers avoid the common issues that plague fields from what we’ve seen. We have partnered again for a book on the ultimate guide for state laws on Hemp and CBD oil to help all understand what each laws means whether grower, processor, or traveler. He has wowed audiences at the Southern Hemp Expo as a speaker representing the national event.

As an Industrial Hemp Psychologist, Dr. O’Connor has worked with the Virginia Universities in the pilot hemp programs since 2014. Prior to the hemp pilot programs, Dr. O’Connor consulted dozens of farms in upstate New York, helping them with soil science and agricultural management. Since the 2018 Farm Bill, he has worked with scores of farms throughout the southeast region in establishing productive industrial hemp farming systems. As an international consultant, he is currently helping farmers in Africa grow industrial hemp in their soil. An ardent observer of human behavior, Dr. O’Connor’s insightful knowledge has added volumes of helpful knowledge to understanding the agricultural industry’s ever-changing regulations, including the 2018 Farms Bill’s industrial hemp inclusion as a farm commodity. As a consultant, his understanding of agricultural regulations and organic farming techniques has help hundreds of farms. He serves as President of the American Emotional Wellness Organization and Books for Charity, Inc a 501 C 3 nonprofit charity as well as Reverend to the Chapel of Light and Spiritual Awareness church. Dr. O’Connor has over three decades of therapy experience working with individuals, groups, corporations, and small businesses. He has received recognition from Google for having set a record with over a of 30k views to his reviews. LinkedIn congratulated him for being in the top 10% most viewed profiles. He is also a Certified Master Photographer with credits in multiple newspapers and magazines through the US and Canada. What seems like a lifetime ago at the beginning of his career, he graduated from the New Hampshire Police academy with honors. Dr. O’Connor’s articles have been published in sports magazines such as Fighter, RPM, Concealed Carry Magazine, and Summit Racing, for his knowledge on developing an unbeatable mental game, endurance, human performance, and self-protection. He is an IDPA Winter Nationals event winner and a Certified NRA pistol instructor

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