Health Canada clarifies: Microbial limits remain the same for dried cannabis

| David Brown

Health Canada has issued an update to their guidance document regarding changes to heavy metal and microbial limits for dried cannabis.

Responding to industry concern regarding how these changes could impact cannabis producers, the regulator clarified that the microbial limits for smoked or vaped dried cannabis products is remaining the same.

Specifically, the limits such as those found in the European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Eur. 5.1.8) will remain acceptable. Tolerance limits for inhaled heavy metals from the Pharmacopoeia rather than orally ingested products will also be required.

“This change to the regulations helps to ensure that licence holders select and use reference standards and tolerance limits for chemical and microbial contaminants that are appropriate for the intended or reasonably foreseeable use of the cannabis product they are producing,” notes Health Canada’s memo, sent to licence holders. “For example, in order to reduce risks associated with inhalation, tolerance limits for heavy metals for products intended to be ingested are not appropriate for, and should not be applied to, dried cannabis that is intended to be inhaled (i.e., smoked or vaped).”

Licence holders must meet these requirements by March 31, 2021.

The federal regulator says they are also prepared to develop additional guidance for the industry on contaminant tolerance limits and testing requirements.