Growth of legal pot farms drives smog worries

From Science Mag

Leaf enclosure measurements for determining volatile organic compound

emission capacity from Cannabis spp.

Summary

Air pollution researchers are going to pot. The expansion of legal pot farms in the 10 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., that have legalized recreational marijuana has researchers and regulators concerned about their impacts on air quality and worker health. Cannabis plants are rich sources of volatile organic compounds that can contribute to smog. One recent study suggested the more than 600 indoor pot farms located within Denver could be worsening the city’s air pollution, which already violates federal standards. Next month, in a bid to better understand that issue, Colorado officials will launch one of the largest and most sophisticated studies to date of emissions from pot farms. Such data have been scarce, largely because the federal government still considers cannabis an illegal industry. That has made it difficult for academic researchers to obtain funding or study permits from major U.S. research agencies. So scientists interested in studying pot, one researcher says, “are stuck in a position where we have to cobble this together on our own.”

  • * Jason Plautz is a journalist in Denver.

A B S T R A C T

The legal commercialization of Cannabis for recreational and medical use in certain US states has effectively created a new and nearly unregulated cultivation industry. Within the city limits of Denver, Colorado, there are now more than 600 registered Cannabis spp. cultivation facilities (CCFs) for recreational and medical uses, each containing thousands of plants.

Ambient measurements collected inside growing operations pre-legalization have found concentrations as high as 50–100 ppbv of terpenes; a group of highly reactive biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) and known precursors for the formation of ozone and particulate matter (PM).

Due to its illicit nature there has been insufficient experimental data produced to determine Cannabis spp. emission rates. This study used, for the first time, an enclosure chamber and live Cannabis spp. plants during a 90-day growing period consisting of four different strains of Cannabis spp.: Critical Mass, Lemon Wheel, Elephant Purple, and Rockstar Kush.
These measurements enabled characterization of terpenes and estimates of emission capacity (EC, μgC g−1 hr−1) at standard conditions. During peak growth, the percentages of individual BVOC emissions were dominated by β-myrcene (18–60%), eucalyptol (17–38%), and d-limonene (3–10%) for all strains.

Our results showed large variability in the rate and composition of terpene emissions across different strains. For the Critical Mass and Lemon Wheel, the dominant terpenoid was eucalyptol (32% and 38%), and it was β-myrcene (60% and 45%) for the Elephant Purple and Rockstar Kush. Critical Mass produced the highest terpene emission capacity (8.7 μgC g−1 hr−1) and Rockstar Kush the lowest (4.9 μgC g−1 hr−1). With 600 CCFs in Denver, and assuming 10,000 plants per CCF, an emission capacity of 8.7 μgC g−1 hr−1 would more than double the existing rate of BVOC emissions to 520 metric ton year−1.

Using Maximum Incremental Reactivity (MIR) values the total ozone formation potential from all these emitted species could produce 2100 metric tons year−1 of ozone, and based on published secondary organic aerosols yields 131 metric tons year−1 of PM. It is likely that the ECs calculated here are lower than those achieved in CCFs where growing conditions are optimized for rapid growth and higher biomass yields.

Further studies including a greater number of the 620 available Cannabis spp. strains and a wider range of treatments are needed to generate a representative dataset. Such a dataset could then better enable assessments of the potential impacts of this new industry on indoor and regional air quality.

Link to full paywalled study

HT/Willie Soon

 

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R Shearer
January 26, 2019 6:15 am

The only reason that Denver pollution sometimes exceeds air quality standards is that those standards are being adjusted lower. On absolute terms, air quality in Denver is the best it has been in over a hundred years (mainly due to automotive emission controls) even though its population has grown by over 1000%.

In any case, these researcher’s efforts are also misplaced. Outdoor hemp cultivation greatly exceeds indoor marijuana growing by an order of magnitude and with passage of the 2018 Farm Bill will undoubtedly continue to increase.

icisil
Reply to  R Shearer
January 26, 2019 6:41 am

Hemp is not marijuana. Don’t know if the VOC output is the same, but doubt it.

R Shearer
Reply to  icisil
January 26, 2019 7:07 am

Nearly identical as far as terpenes are concerned as they are both from the plant family Cannabaceae. That is why truck loads of hemp may be confiscated (as happened a couple of weeks ago) since they can look and smell similar. Drug sniffing dogs are often trained using the terpene caryophyllene, which is prominent in both.

https://kdvr.com/2019/01/14/local-hemp-manufacturer-claims-500k-worth-of-legal-hemp-confiscated-in-oklahoma/

The main difference between hemp (there are many varieties) and marijuana (also many varieties) is that hemp is defined as a cultivar that contains less than 0.3 mass % THC on a dry basis. Marijuana cultivars are many grown for their high (no pun intended) THC content. Hemp is grown for a wider range of properties but as far as chemicals are concerned is grown for its CBD content.

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  icisil
January 26, 2019 7:40 am

Hemp and marijuana are both Cannabis sativa, the same plant. The major differences are how it is cultivated and the specific strain planted. For hemp fiber, the plants are crammed as close together as possible so they don’t branch, thus providing long and strong fibers. Marijuana is spaced out so that the plants can be pinched out to branch as much as possible, creating multiple terminal buds.

As for strain, plant breeders have been working on marijuana for a very long time, creating plants with extremely high concentrations of THC. There is THC in hemp but in extremely low concentrations.

Obviously seed planted to grow hemp fibers is not going to be high in THC other than via a natural mutation. Anyone wishing to sell their product as marijuana is going to want to maximize their profit potential by planting only seed from plants known to produce high concentrations of THC.

This knowledge was arrived at after discovering Cannabis plants growing along the Platte River in Nebraska, which event inspired great curiosity and resultant research. The stuff grows wild throughout the Midwest and is know as Ditchweed. Some people smoke it.

icisil
Reply to  icisil
January 26, 2019 8:25 am

Do either of you know if anyone can grow hemp legally per the new law? I read somewhere that not just anyone can do it. I would like to grow it for the seeds to eat.

R Shearer
Reply to  icisil
January 26, 2019 8:31 am

What state do you live in? Even though the Farm Bill legalizes hemp in all states, states have the final say.

icisil
Reply to  R Shearer
January 26, 2019 8:54 am

Just checked state regs. Have to have a license. It looks the federal law requires that of all states.

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  icisil
January 26, 2019 8:57 am

When I was still living in Virginia, there was a lot of talk about growing hemp as a cash crop. The US imports a huge amount of hemp annually. It is a very easy crop to grow and does not deplete the soil like tobacco does. It is also not labor-intensive like tobacco. Pretty much you plant it tight, which helps crowd out weeds, and just watch it grow until it is time to harvest the fibers. Tobacco, on the other hand, requires nearly-constant care throughout the growing season. There is the caring for the baby plants in hoop houses, setting it out, weeding and babying along, topping, harvesting. My brother worked tobacco a few summers and hated it, said it was just too much exposure to nicotine, made him feel ill. There are easier and equally or more profitable crops to grow. Hemp is an excellent crop for American farmers as it will grow nearly everywhere.

R Shearer
Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
January 26, 2019 12:08 pm

If one wants to make money, the bushy varieties that are high in CBD are the real cash crop. These require greater spacing and more work than the fiber varieties.

2hotel9
Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
January 26, 2019 3:57 pm

Until the late 1930s hemp and marijuana were legal to grow throughout the US. J Edgar got terrified that mary jane would make him some sort of zombie(perhaps even a sexual deviant!) so he pressured members of Congress and State legislatures to make both illegal. Screwed us big time in the beginning of WW2, rope is made of what?

Tom Halla
Reply to  2hotel9
January 26, 2019 4:29 pm

I remember Harry Anslinger as the one behind pushing for a marijuana ban, not Jedgar.

2hotel9
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 26, 2019 4:49 pm

He was the public face, J had the power of coercion and used it, the first time he really wielded the club, not the last. He bragged about it in his later years, was quite proud because it had such an effect on Italian and Sicilian migrant families who grew hemp as part of their farming/ industry heritage. Not to mention the effect it had on black farmers who produced a great deal of hemp up until that point. J really, REALLY hated negroes, almost as much as he hated wops. Or hunkies. Or, well, lots of people. A real hate filled piece of sh*t. Wish Wild Bill had killed him in ’43.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
January 27, 2019 4:31 am

add the cloth from it which is excellent to wear and lasts for years, ropes and all sorts inc sailcloth from the fibres
and the residue burns hot n fast and is useful for power gen i gather
personally id be using it as a excellent mulch if i could.
this study is hilarious and ludicrous.
a few acres of pine or eucalypts would produce the same
and Denver airport chucks how many tonnes per day of crap into the air from planes???

Prjindigo
Reply to  icisil
January 26, 2019 9:23 am

VOC is lower on hemp, not a lot but it is. It is also not blown by exhaust fans several hundred feet into the air.

wsbriggs
Reply to  R Shearer
January 26, 2019 10:40 am

The only reason they are targeting marijuana is to set it up as the bad guy and then roll out restrictions to benefit those in NY who didn’t get in on the boom in the first place. Watch for extremely expensive filters to be required on grow farms which just happen to be available from selected vendors. Follow the money, always…

AndyHce
Reply to  R Shearer
January 26, 2019 8:53 pm

How about regulating the forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Smokey Mountains, and many other forest areas?
Maybe it is not cost effective to try and tax all those tree sprites.

Tom Halla
January 26, 2019 6:30 am

This is the sort of thing CARB (California Air Resources Board) used to pull when I was a paint contractor in California. As CARB could estimate an emission, they would progressively restrict it.
This led to them doing things like requiring controls on commercial bakeries, due to the releases of alcohol from risen bread.

Cynthia
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 26, 2019 6:48 am

Sad really, what CARB has sunk to.
There was so much good work done by EPA and CARB in the 60s and 70s.
Remember when cities air had gray air and you could taste the grit?
Remember when trucks continuously spewed out black plumes of smoke?
So many people have no clue how far we’ve come.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 26, 2019 7:50 am

That’s just the normal path of a government bureaucracy. During the first couple of years it performs its original defined functions, and typically does a pretty good job of it. Soon thereafter, one of Parkinson’s Laws takes effect and, trying to justify its continued existence, it continually expands its purview. As an example, if you hire a regulator he/she is going to continue to write new regulations, even after completing the original job requirements and description. I always figured that all government bureaucracies should be required to hire as many de-regulators as they do regulators.

Jimb
Reply to  Joe Crawford
January 26, 2019 9:00 am

Of course! If they don’t write new regulations they are unemployed and have to find a real job.

Spuds
Reply to  Jimb
January 27, 2019 10:19 am

Or they eventually retire and become consultants. 30 odd years ago there was a need to ratchet up a number of environmental regulations. As compliance increased because it was more profitable to obey the laws and regs, the less need there was for the previous amount of enforcement. A number of those folks are now at retirement age and the need to backfill all of those positions is no longer warranted. They are simply a “victim” of their own success. On the other hand, government will hire consultants (formerv gov employees) to save money so when ultra greenies are all aflutter about the EPA or other agencies being pared down, it is because of the natural consolidation of vacant positions.

LarryD
Reply to  Joe Crawford
January 26, 2019 9:34 am

“In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control, and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.”
— Jerry Pournelle [Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy]

Curious George
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 26, 2019 9:26 am

Ban eucalyptus trees! And any sweet scented plant!

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 27, 2019 4:34 am

alcohol from bread? oh my lord!
precious little sh*ts arent they?

2hotel9
Reply to  ozspeaksup
January 27, 2019 9:51 am

Don’t scoff! Here in PA PennDEP pushed filtration systems on bakeries a few years ago. I think it finally got pitched, now we have a two term Dem governor who is push more such crap. Anyone who does not like the smell of bread baking needs to A. be slapped and 2. never be allowed any position in government, ever.

Sean
January 26, 2019 6:49 am

It’s funny, one of the major terpenes listed is eucalyptol, kind of suggesting that its a common oil in Eucalyptus trees. These are planted all over southern California and in many areas of northern California near the coast. In Lake Tahoe, which is a natural basin, there is also a smog problem from all the terpenes emitted from the trees there. What is the scale of the problem from cannabis growing operation vs. all the other trees across the state? I suspect there are a lot more significant problems from cannabis legalization than the change in terpene concentration in the local air.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Sean
January 26, 2019 6:54 am

Remember Reagan getting trashed for observing that trees cause smog? By one estimate, the LA basin would be out of compliance on VOC’s from just vegetation.

sycomputing
January 26, 2019 6:51 am

Can the formatting of the abstract section be fixed by chance?

R Shearer
Reply to  sycomputing
January 26, 2019 7:28 am

That made me re-read it. The first sentence, stating that the industry is “nearly unregulated” is factually incorrect. It is highly regulated on local, state and federal levels, including on emissions.

MarkW
Reply to  R Shearer
January 26, 2019 7:40 am

Reminds me of what I’ve been told by various leftists. There is pure communism, everything else is a form of capitalism.

In this case, anything less than total government control is no different from being unregulated.

sycomputing
Reply to  R Shearer
January 26, 2019 8:03 am

That made me re-read it.

Presentation helps and harms. Formatting errors and what-not (bad grammar, lack of proofreading, etc.) detract from the credibility of an otherwise good article/website.

sycomputing
Reply to  Charles Rotter
January 26, 2019 9:18 am

Hippie . . . that’ll learn ya. Or not.

kent beuchert
January 26, 2019 6:53 am

I would have to wonder why no one is concerned about lung cancer from smoking pot. In the past, pot smokers never smoked enough to be a concern. But if stupid ass California can place financial obstacles in the path of smokers who want to quit by switching to vaping (awfully damn safe according to pulmonary specialitsts) by taxing e cigarettes the same as tobacco cigarettes , which also encourage new smokers to go to tobacco, then why is California so bblaase bout the dangers of smoking pot? Answer : it’s all about maintaining tobacco tax revenue. California’s governor should be sued by relatives of deceased tobacco smokers. Fortunately vapists generally do NOT use e -cigarettes, which are far more expensive than buying a vaping mechanism and making their own e -liquid.

R Shearer
Reply to  kent beuchert
January 26, 2019 7:12 am

I used to think the same, but I am not so sure now. There is strong evidence for cannabinoids having ant-cancer and neuroprotective properties.

Curious George
Reply to  R Shearer
January 26, 2019 9:31 am

Wasn’t any medical research on cannabis banned?

R Shearer
Reply to  Curious George
January 26, 2019 12:12 pm

Yes, it’s lagged for quite some time, though a lot of good work was and continues to be done in Israel and the Netherlands among other places.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Curious George
January 27, 2019 4:43 am

supposedly yes
howerver usgov kept doing it.
and kept suppressing anything that proved it has useful benefits and raving up the supposed harms.

theres quite a lot of data showing decent results for pain relief and anticancer properties
even if you were a “heavy smoker” youd still be far better off than using tobacco.
you simply cant smoke as much per day volume wise
youd be asleep way before then.
yes there ARE always morons that mix drugs to enhance/negate the effects of one against the other
but then scripted drug users do the exact same thing too.
Id far rather kids of mine used marijuana than any other options inc pharmas.

leagally growing hemp here in aus is a farce
the govt licence provide seed and can charge huge “inspection fees” adn right to access any time your proprty and home
if the seed they provide goes over .02% thc they will remove burn and trash your crop
and fine you
very few will be bothering
which IS the actual intent

Rob
Reply to  R Shearer
January 26, 2019 2:26 pm

The NAS pulled together all of the research on cannabis last year (2017 maybe – here is the link: http://nap.edu/24625). There is strong evidence for only chronic pain relief and as an anti-nausea treatment (this last when taken orally). There is some evidence for other beneficial effects, but no evidence for any beneficial effect on cancer.

The NAS report stated that there is moderate evidence for no association between cannabis smoking and incidence of lung cancer.

MarkW
Reply to  kent beuchert
January 26, 2019 7:41 am

Don’t know if pot has all the same tars and such that tobacco has.

R Shearer
Reply to  MarkW
January 26, 2019 8:05 am

I think I’ll look into that.

Certainly, nicotine is not present in marijuana and therefore the related tobacco specific cancer-causing nitrosamines would not be present.

sycomputing
Reply to  R Shearer
January 26, 2019 9:53 am

OT, but have you considered the following possibility with regard to marijuana fertilization:

“Although the atmosphere contains PO-210 arising from radium-226 that occurs naturally in the earth’s crust, [25] the majority of the PO-210 in tobacco plants likely comes from high-phosphate fertilizers applied to the tobacco crop. [26,27] Tobacco farmers in developed countries primarily use manufactured fertilizer high in phosphates produced from apatite rock that contains radium-226 and descendant radioisotopes such as lead-210 and PO-210.”

Waking a Sleeping Giant: The Tobacco Industry’s Response to the Polonium-210 Issue
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2509609/

As I understand the issue, the additional carcinogens produced as a result of the use of phosphate fertilizers are the result of burning, and then subsequently inhaling the bi-product produced. From what I’ve read, ingestion without burning doesn’t produce the carcinogen, so, e.g., veggies from the garden are safe.

I’m not aware of any subsequent research that’s debunked these conclusions. If you are, or if I’ve misunderstood the matter entirely, please advise.

rd50
Reply to  R Shearer
January 26, 2019 1:36 pm
troe
January 26, 2019 6:57 am

Guilty. Ignorance not being an excuse I have to admit that I have contributed to this problem. In my younger days I received a letter from a small South American nation accusing me of smoking up their country. Dire consequences would ensue if I didn’t stop.

pot having the effect it does I didn’t do anything about it.

The Expulsive
January 26, 2019 7:01 am

There are people in Ontario bemoaning pot farms and seeking to block pot production due to smell and these sorts of issues. Most of that is not as bad as what comes from maple trees, or for California, Australia, etc. the eucalyptus trees. My dad would speak about them exploding in flames in Victoria when he was young due to the volatility of their oils in hot weather, usually ignited by a passing steam locomotive.
I remember the pollution of my youth here in Toronto caused by the coal fired plant on the lake-shore, to which we were east…real pea-soupers. So much has been done to reduce real pollutants and particulates, but now all we hear about is a trace gas as being the greatest evil of all times.

Prjindigo
Reply to  The Expulsive
January 26, 2019 9:25 am

I’ve never had an asthma attack from driving past a yard full of maple trees.

The Expulsive
Reply to  Prjindigo
January 26, 2019 11:03 am

I know people who have

2hotel9
Reply to  Prjindigo
January 26, 2019 3:59 pm

Depends on the time of year.

Duncan Smith
January 26, 2019 7:06 am

97% of Pot smokers agree, growing Pot helps fight Climate Change.

troe
Reply to  Duncan Smith
January 26, 2019 7:12 am

Smoking pot helps you not worry about it. Maybe we can get a science grant from the federal government to test this theory.

R Shearer
Reply to  troe
January 26, 2019 7:22 am

I prefer to down a couple of beers, but the line is going to be blurred literally (pun intended).

https://www.westword.com/marijuana/five-beer-companies-and-brewers-entering-the-legal-cannabis-trade-10666109

tom0mason
Reply to  troe
January 26, 2019 8:22 am

Like, err, worry about what?

troe
Reply to  tom0mason
January 26, 2019 10:44 am

right. We need the grant and a couple of pounds of Train Wreck to determine that.

ResistGroupthink
Reply to  Duncan Smith
January 26, 2019 8:05 am

Nope:
Hemp & Cannabis production uses 1% of the nation’s electricity, producing the same amount of carbon in the atmosphere as 3 million cars. That means smoking one single joint is equivalent to running a 100-watt light bulb for 17 hours and is responsible for emitting 2 pounds of CO2.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jun/20/cannabis-climate-change-fossil-fuels

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/14/marijuana-production-carbon-footprint-environment_n_848865.html

https://www.azocleantech.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=700

MarkW
Reply to  ResistGroupthink
January 26, 2019 2:15 pm

You’re thinking of indoor growers.

Regardless, CO2 is a beneficial gas, the atmosphere needs more of it.

tom0mason
Reply to  Duncan Smith
January 26, 2019 8:25 am

It a true MAGA growth industry!

Bob Greene
January 26, 2019 7:18 am

Terpenes have been rediscovered? Seems like they a blowing smoke on the pot issue.

R Shearer
Reply to  Bob Greene
January 26, 2019 7:24 am

Good one. Perhaps they should get off the pot.

2hotel9
January 26, 2019 7:40 am

If you have ever walked into a well sealed building or room in which pot is being grown you may think there is something to this. Especially if it some skunky Pennsylvania home choke! Just walking between plants can make you feel oxygen deprived.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  2hotel9
January 27, 2019 4:46 am

but very mellow and happy;-) i bet

troe
January 26, 2019 7:44 am

Altira (Marlboro) has gone into the pot business fulfilling predictions that tobacco companies would start selling pot as soon as it was legal. Heard this many times from my pot head buddies while passing a blunt around. They have a better track record than Al Gore.

Rich Davis
January 26, 2019 7:48 am

It’s perfectly ok for pot to pollute the environment. Progressives love smoking pot. It’s only any detectable amount of emission that results from somebody making money that we find unacceptably offensive.

Whoaaaaaa so these commercial pot farms? Are they making money or are they sharing the stash with everybody equally? I’m starting to get worried. Time to nationalize the pot farms?

sycomputing
Reply to  Rich Davis
January 26, 2019 11:12 am

It’s perfectly ok for pot to pollute the environment. Progressives love smoking pot.

Yep and will defend the same regardless of the potential for environmental damage, while at the same time any potential damage from fossil fuels must be immediately addressed.

Hypocrisy.

From a partaker who is also an AGW proponent:

Eucalyptus turpine? Rofl.
So we really see you have no data at all and are crying wolf.

How many times does antony watts need to be debunked as a liar and purveyor of fake news?

Colorado officials will launch one of the largest and most sophisticated studies to date of emissions from pot farms. Such data have been scarce, largely because the federal government still considers cannabis an illegal industry. That has made it difficult for academic researchers to obtain funding or study permits from major U.S. research agencies. So scientists interested in studying pot, one researcher says, “are stuck in a position where we have to cobble this together on our own.”

Rich Davis
Reply to  sycomputing
January 26, 2019 11:49 am

Yeah scientists interested in ahem, studying, pot, will just have to roll their own.

Gary Ashe
January 26, 2019 7:55 am

Bit of a drag this cannabis issue, a joint task force is needed imo.
That’s if anyone can be @rsed.
Just roll a couple out if they are.

Steve Keohane
January 26, 2019 8:05 am

If they are worried about terpenes, get rid of the eucalyptus and conifer trees.

Steve Keohane
January 26, 2019 8:10 am

More fake concern. If they are worried about terpenes, get rid of the eucalyptus and conifer trees.

Ferdberple
January 26, 2019 8:40 am

What about the horrible antiseptic smell of pine trees? Think Pinesol. Maybe the pine beetle was simply nature’s way of getting rid of a major source of air pollution.

Rather than a pest, we should celebrate the pine beetles contribution to cleaning up air pollution.

But instead the canada-us border makes it illegal to transport pine trees, while the pine beetles are free to fly across in the billions.

Regulation gone mad.

markl
January 26, 2019 9:01 am

Just means something more to tax for the government. They just need a reason, however flimsy. The Socialists are creeping in everywhere and need other people’s money to exist so it won’t stop. Like the so called “carbon tax” little of the tax revenue will go to actually reducing what is being taxed because it’s supposedly harmful. Once they tax all the profit out of something they just move on to a new target and the people go underground for their product or do without. Won’t happen to phones because that’s their method of choice for dispensing propaganda.

Editor
January 26, 2019 9:24 am

This study raises concern about VOCs from pot production. Marijuana plants are noted to produce a lot of VOCs, different ratios for different strains.

Unfortunately, this study fails to give any information about the VOCs from any other plants — except to note that Pines that normally grow in Colorado also emit lots of VOCs, but different ones. The VOCs from pines cause the “smoke” that appears in the valleys of the Smokey Mountains.

Other plants that emit lots of VOCs, like marijuana and pine trees, include sagebrush, which “in areas where sagebrush is the predominant shrub, its familiar scent is almost omnipresent during warmer weather.” That familiar scent is the VOCs being detected by our noses. Sagebrush is the predominate vegetation in the high steppes of Colorado (and much of the Western US) — its scent evokes memories of traveling and camping under the stars.

If there is a health concern associated with marijuana, it is almost certainly not with the risk of “air pollution”. There are grace risks involved with the widespread use of the new custom cultivated “super-pots” — but this is not the venue for that discussion.

Gary Pearse
January 26, 2019 9:24 am

I dispute the harm. These are the same chemical exudates that come from forests. There is good chance they are good for your lungs. Of course if we are adding other pollutants to the atmosphere the synergistic effect may not be good.

JoeG
January 26, 2019 9:47 am

Carbon filters work- oh noes- there be carbon in those carbon filters

Tired Old Nurse
January 26, 2019 10:21 am

Do marijuana grown for recreational use and hemp grown for CBD and industrial uses have the same emissions? If so hemp is a growing, and now legal, industry in Kentucky. Could not the hemp grown there be used?

Tired Old Nurse
Reply to  Tired Old Nurse
January 26, 2019 10:57 am

I now see a thread about just this…sorry about that!

2hotel9
Reply to  Tired Old Nurse
January 26, 2019 4:01 pm

Brah? Trust me, you don’t want to be smokin’ no hemp!

tty
January 26, 2019 10:46 am

I hope none of these jokers get the idea to go out into a pine forest on a warm day and take a measurement. That lovely pine smell is all volatile organic compoumds = “smog”.

Alan D. McIntire
January 26, 2019 11:02 am

I’m reminded of President Reagan being ridiculed for his correct statement that trees can cause air pollution.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425132812.htm

How trees play role in smog production

Thomas Englert
Reply to  Alan D. McIntire
January 26, 2019 12:04 pm

I think you are referring to then Sec of Interior James Watt’s comments on tree emissions. I remember seeing him ridiculed in Doonesbury.

troe
January 26, 2019 11:21 am

President Reagan was ridiculed about everything wasn’t he. It was my first national election. The choice was between a guy with a nuclear engineering degree and a guy who made movies with a monkey. I like monkey’s. Have never regretted that choice.

Kemaris
Reply to  troe
January 26, 2019 1:39 pm

Considering Carter’s demonstrable wakefulness as Chief Executive, no one of any importance would gainsay your choice.

Kemaris
Reply to  Kemaris
January 26, 2019 1:40 pm

Awfulness, darned autocorrect.

MarkW
Reply to  troe
January 26, 2019 2:20 pm

All of the great actors made a bunch of B rank movies while they were working their way up.
Prior to quiting acting to become the head of the Screen Actors Guild, Reagan was well regarded as an actor.

2hotel9
Reply to  MarkW
January 26, 2019 4:27 pm

Been waiting for years, literally since 1976, for someone to produce proof Jimmah Cahter was a “nuclear engineer”. No one ever has. Imagine that. The man himself never actually made the claim.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  2hotel9
January 26, 2019 6:24 pm

As a Navy Loot, J Carter was sent up to assist clean up of an explosion at the Canadian Atomic Energy research reactor at Chalk River Ontario in the 1950s, so he was some kind of expert. This facility BTW, in addition to developing the Candue reactor, did early work on Thorium and breeder reactors.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Gary Pearse
January 26, 2019 6:25 pm

Candu!

old construction worker
Reply to  Gary Pearse
January 27, 2019 6:06 am

‘assist clean up of an explosion’: Sounds like he was a pencil pusher.

2hotel9
Reply to  Gary Pearse
January 27, 2019 10:01 am

Actually according to his navy records he pulled out before completing the nuclear power course to leave service and return home after his father passed away. A quick write up from Rod Adams here, https://atomicinsights.com/picking-on-the-jimmy-carter-myth/ Far as I have ever heard Carter never claimed to be a nuclear power systems engineer, other people have, though.

Paul S
January 26, 2019 11:24 am

Horrors! and they don’t even mention that they pump CO2 into the greenhouses to facilitate growth!

2hotel9
Reply to  Paul S
January 26, 2019 4:04 pm

SHHHHHHH!!!!! Don’t be giving up the grift!!!!!

January 26, 2019 12:31 pm

So we may have a smog problem with trees. But wait, trees are said to be very good for the planet. After all they convert that dangerous stuff CO2 back into Oxygen.

As for Heap and its cultivation, lets call in Du Pont. They dealt with the problem way back in the 1930 tees, just as the fixed the Ozone problem. True they did make a lot of money from both, but that is what Free Enterprise is all about, sarc.

As for cancer from smoking, I always thought that it was from all of the chemicals added to the cigarette to keep it burning that was the real l cause.

So now the next health scare is said to be from the vapours from plants. But what about Darwin, and evolution. All life forms including us have had millions of years to get used to it.

Finally , so we actually have a scientist doing research without a government grant. What is the scientific world coming too.

MJE

January 26, 2019 2:19 pm

Not to worry. When everyone in Denver gets with the programme and starts smoking Cannabis, they won’t care what the smog conditions are like outside, they will all be happily stoned out of their minds in their little smoking dens.

Tom Abbott
January 26, 2019 2:29 pm

620 varieties of marijuana! I had no idea.

I bet a lot of those are crossbreeds.

2hotel9
Reply to  Tom Abbott
January 26, 2019 3:45 pm

PAHomechoke probably accounts for at least 100 of them! Pennsyltucky growers are willing to take the *epsi challenge against Colombian, Peru Gold, Mexicali Red or any of that low grade crap outa Califonication any time they want to step up. City people buy importado, folks out in the world produce their own, and are quite ready to step up, yo. 😉

Tom Abbott
Reply to  2hotel9
January 27, 2019 4:17 am

I have a good friend who is a Vietnam veteran and he says Vietnamese marijuana is the best in the world. He actually did a study of this issue after hearing all these claims about modern marijuana being so much more powerful than old school marijuana.

So he got hold of all the Cannabis Cup Winners (the marijuana varieties voted “best” in Amsterdam every year) for the last 15 years, and smoked them (like AK-47) and said none of them were anywhere near as potent as the Vientnamese marijuana he smoked in Vietnam.

He also said he suffered from PTSD nightmares, reliving traumatic events every night, due to his Vietnam combat experiences, but when he smokes marijuana, he does not have PTSD nightmares. He said a lot of other veterans say the same thing, although there was at least one who didn’t benefit in this way.

So if you know anyone who is suffering from PTSD nightmares, you might mention to them that marijuana might be the cure for this problem. PTSD nightmares, among other things, produces extreme sleep deprivation, which is devastating to human mental and physical health.. It’s one reason so many vets commit suicide.

Marijuana is also helping veterans kick the opiod habit. The VA is encouraging this use.

2hotel9
Reply to  Tom Abbott
January 27, 2019 9:47 am

I actually do know 3 vets involved in that, and several others who learned it on their own decades ago. LTC David Grossman has done a lot of work in the field of the psychological effects of traumatic events, combat and civilian, and is an advocate of “rewiring” to handle PTSD. A multi stage process, and not “one size fits none” as most VA programs have been in the past. Long past time to get rid of what don’t work and find things that do.

And yep, this is much like to caliber debate, who has the most knockdown, who has the most penetration. Still, I will put good ole’ PA homechoke in the race with any one’s favs, and thats as detailed as I am going to get on that. 😉 Oh, and I will stick with my 147gr JHP 9mm and .30, thank you very much! They work, I am a big fan of what works.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  2hotel9
January 28, 2019 6:00 am

“Still, I will put good ole’ PA homechoke in the race with any one’s favs”

I would bet that a lot of the really good homegrown varieties originated in Vietnam with vets bringing home seeds.

One interesting aspect of using marijuana to stop nightmares, was this guy said he started having these PTSD nightmares right after he had his traumatic experience, while he was still in Vietnam and a couple of months after this happened another soldier introduced him to marijuana and his nightmares went away, and he didn’t think much about it at the time thinking the nightmares were just a temporary thing.

He continued to smoke for about a year after he left Vietnam and then decided to quit in order to apply for a job that required drug testing. So he quit, and he said within about four to six weeks his nightmares were back like they never been gone. He was back to reliving the most traumatic moments in his life like it was the first time. Every night. He said he got to the point where he dreaded going to sleep, knowing what was coming. Think about trying to live like that.

Then he resumed smoking marijuana and the nightmares went away and that was when he made the connection that smoking was stopping the nightmares. He said it stopped almost all dreaming for him.

He did this same routine again, of stopping smoking, the nightmares come back in a month, then resuming smoking and the nightmares go away, so he is convinced it is the marijuana. And others say the same thing.

It makes sense that his nightmares would resume in four to six weeks, since it reportedly takes about four weeks for marijuana to work its way completely out of your system.

2hotel9
Reply to  Tom Abbott
January 28, 2019 8:48 am

Sure you are right about varieties, combining different strains of plants is as natural to farm boys as breathing. Sweet corn and tomatoes are perfect examples.

I have read a great deal on treating people after traumatic events, not just vets, and lots of different outcomes from various treatment programs/systems. Not everyone reacts the same, a lesson VA has been VERY SLOW to admit to. They have long been of the “We decide what is right and you WILL DO IT our way!” school. During the last 10 years that has been changing, though there is still a great deal of resistance, in VA and the mental health field, to accepting they have been wrong. One size fits none is still VA’s default position in most facilities.

2hotel9
Reply to  Tom Abbott
January 28, 2019 8:55 am

Oh, and I have known several men who went through that, 4 of them killed themselves, one in his VA doctor’s office in front of his wife and doctor. After 10 years of litigation the doctor still refused to admit his culpability in the deaths of multiple of his patients.

J.H.
January 26, 2019 7:39 pm

Not that I agree with “recreational” cannabis use in any shape or form, but this “Air Pollution” because of cannabis cultivation seems bogus to me. When it was legal to grow as a fiber crop, there were fields of the stuff everywhere for the cordage industry.

Many plants have turpines and other volatile oils, etc…Suburban micro cropping farms with Herb crops like basil, mint, lavender, rocket, etc. would be producing the same amount of “air pollution”, if not more. Not to mention Eucalyptus trees and other fire cycle foliage. Then there are everyone’s backyard gardens growing a multitude of scented plants etc. This all sounds like junk science in the name of politics to me.

The real air pollution problem arises when cannabis is burned and neurotoxic compounds are released. Passive smoke is a real problem for other people around cannabis smokers.

WXcycles
January 26, 2019 10:08 pm

… So scientists interested in studying pot, one researcher says, “are stuck in a position where we have to cobble this together on our own.” …

I think you’ll find that no one will care if you don’t.

old construction worker
January 27, 2019 6:08 am

Bad to smoke cigarettes, good to smoke pot. What gives?

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