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Discover the Future of Cannabis Decontamination

Cannabis Decontamination


Discover the Future of Cannabis Decontamination

Cannabis irradiation can be a powerful ally for cannabis producers and consumers to decontaminate cannabis flower and mitigate any possible health risks. 

Like any agricultural product, cannabis is susceptible to microbial contamination by bacteria, molds and fungi during cultivation, harvesting and processing. These contaminants are linked to respiratory issues, allergies and asthma and can potentially harm unsuspecting customers when inhaled while smoking or vaping. Adult-use and medical cannabis patients alike should demand safer cannabis that inactivates harmful microbes while preserving the plant’s integrity and important cannabinoid and terpene profiles. 

X-ray industry leader Rad Source Technologies is at the forefront of decontamination and irradiation technology. The company’s proprietary irradiation technology, QUASTAR, is specifically designed for life science applications. FDA-cleared for blood irradiation, this ground-breaking technology delivers industry-leading dose uniformity and is widely used in a number of different applications, including insect control, blood transfusions, cell and cancer research, food safety and virus termination. Rad Source is now applying this life-saving irradiation to the cannabis industry with its QUASTAR technology and RS 420 cannabis decontamination systems.

Life-Saving Irradiation

Irradiation may sound intimidating at first, but in reality, it’s part of our daily lives. Whether at the airport, in a medical facility undergoing a blood transfusion or transplant, or simply snacking on a piece of fresh fruit, irradiation plays a crucial role in ensuring safety by effectively deactivating microbial threats.

In the context of X-ray technology, irradiation means the process of exposing objects or substances to a light source known as radiation. These waves are invisible to the human eye and can penetrate and decontaminate organic matter from harmful microorganisms.

The word “radiation” often evokes feelings of fear and visions of negative experiences, but the reality is that radiation is all around us. Radiation is a form of energy that moves from one place to another as waves or particles. Our daily lives involve exposure to radiation from many natural and human-made sources. Some natural sources include cosmic radiation originating from the sun and outer space and the presence of radioactive elements in the air we inhale and in the food and water we consume. 

Image courtesy of Rad Source

Bananas are one of the best-known instances of naturally occurring radiation in food. They contain relatively low and measurable levels of Potassium-40 (K-40), a fraction of which is radioactive, meaning bananas emit a minuscule amount of radiation. To put this into perspective, you’d need to consume approximately 50 million bananas in your lifetime to reach a lethal dose. 

Why Irradiation Is Important for the Cannabis Industry

To help dispel fears and provide the public with the knowledge to better understand the irradiation process, Rad Source created This educational website provides a starting point for cultivators and consumers alike to understand cannabis microbial decontamination. After all, safer cannabis is better cannabis.

Most states have strict regulations governing the safety of cannabis products. According to a survey in Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting & Compliance (Metrc), 90% of cannabis companies in Colorado use QUASTAR for decontamination with no impact on the flower. The technology is proving to be a powerful ally for producers and consumers to decontaminate cannabis flower and mitigate possible health risks to consumers. 

Cannabis Decontamination Methods Metrc
Image courtesy of Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting & Compliance

People with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to severe infections and health complications from exposure. Irradiation is a recognized method for decontamination and pathogen reduction that can help cannabis producers meet these regulatory requirements and ensure their products are safe and compliant for consumption.

QUASTAR’s highly advanced X-ray technology is specially designed for biological irradiation applications. It uses a unique through-transmission approach to emit X-rays, creating a larger, stronger, more consistent photon field with better dose uniformity.

Good for Customers

Irradiation ensures that each batch of cannabis is consistently decontaminated from harmful microbes. This consistency is essential for medical and recreational users relying on the product for its therapeutic or recreational effects. Knowing that cannabis has undergone a decontamination process like irradiation can instill confidence in consumers as it demonstrates a commitment to product safety and quality by cannabis producers and cultivators.

Good for Cultivators

Irradiation helps extend the shelf life of cannabis by preventing the growth of molds and fungi, which can cause the product to deteriorate over time. Cannabis products can remain safe and effective for extended periods, reducing waste and ensuring consumers receive high-quality products.

Rad Source conducted a three-year multi-state study across Ohio, Florida, Colorado, California and Nevada to investigate the long-term efficacy of QUASTAR in eliminating microbial contamination on cannabis flowers. In every state, the test outcomes show QUASTAR’S effectiveness in decontaminating various types of cannabis cultivars to meet the microbial testing requirements set by each state. The studies also recorded “minimal-to-no significant changes in terpenes and cannabinoid levels across all treatment levels and configurations, indicating the preservation of each flower’s unique properties.”

Good for the Environment

QUASTAR irradiation is a chemical-free process, making it a more environmentally friendly and sustainable option for controlling pests and pathogens.

Image courtesy of NASA

The Importance of Dose Uniformity

To ensure cannabis is effectively irradiated, proper technology choices must be made. Some non-irradiating chemical-based decontamination methods such as ozone or hydrogen peroxide only decontaminate the surface of the cannabis flower. By not penetrating the flower’s structure, internal contaminants remain unaffected and still pose a threat.

Irradiation involves exposing cannabis products to a controlled, uniform dose of ionizing radiation to achieve effective decontamination. The evenness of the dose on the surface area is measured in the term beam flatness. This refers to the uniformity of the X-ray beam’s strength from its center to its edges and its effectiveness if penetrating through the entire flower, regardless of its density, effectively reaching and deactivating microorganisms on both the surface and within the flower’s core. If the beam is not flat and is the traditional point source X-ray, the irradiation levels will be inconsistent.

The RS 420 cannabis decontamination systems stand out as the top-tier choice for cannabis decontamination in the industry, thanks to its two innovative proprietary technologies: Photonic Decontamination technology and the Dosing Carousel. The QUASTAR x-ray beam flatness, symmetry and penetration capability provide the precision dosing uniformity that ensures the entire volume of cannabis product receives the same dose of light treatment to deactivate microbes at their DNA levels, inhibiting their ability to reproduce and grow.

Rad Source’s proprietary carousel technology gently moves the flower around the light source, providing unmatched dose uniformity and microbial decontamination without damaging trichomes or other physical characteristics of the product.

The QUASTAR X-ray emitter is the scientifically-proven decontamination solution for cannabis decontamination that penetrates the entire flower while still keeping the its quality intact. Protecting terpenes, potency and moisture will ensure the product’s efficacy remains the same while extending its shelf life and deactivating contaminants.

Trust the Experts

Rad Source has been the industry leader in biological irradiation for nearly 30 years. Multiple industries use their proprietary X-ray-based technology for decontaminating blood, cells and beyond. Rad Source products are in major pharmaceutical labs, healthcare institutions and renowned universities worldwide.

The company’s dedication to safety and customer service makes Rad Source Technologies the trusted provider of safe, reliable and effective cannabis decontamination that doesn’t impact the flower’s delicate structure. Demand safer cannabis—demand Rad Source.

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