Oregon Pauses Pathogenic Mold Testing Requirement

Cannabis businesses argued that the requirement is onerous, expensive, and unnecessary.

Oregon cannabis authorities changed course on a mold testing requirement for commercial marijuana after a court last month put a 180-day pause on rules established by regulators earlier this year that led to several cannabis product recalls due to testing failures.

The Oregon Health Authority as of Sept. 8 had suspended its requirement that all cannabis sold to consumers be tested for aspergillus, after the Oregon Court of Appeals sided with marijuana industry interests who sued the state over the rule, Jefferson Public Radio reported.

Cannabis businesses claimed in their lawsuit that the testing requirement went too far and that aspergillus isn’t necessarily harmful to humans.

There are not yet any documented cases of aspergillus connected to cannabis use, Jefferson Public Radio reported, and the Centers for Disease Control has found that many people breathe in aspergillus spores every day.

Those with weakened immune systems may develop fungal infections from exposure to aspergillus spores, and a 2016 CDC study found that fungal infections are more common among marijuana users – but that wasn’t sufficient cause for the Court of Appeals to side with regulators.

The requirement, businesses argued, is onerous, expensive, and unnecessary.

The OHA, however, argued that 16 other states have similar testing policies in place, with an arguably minimal impact to businesses.

“While some producers will be required to change their methods to avoid mold contamination of their product and may, in the short term, be required to sell their harvest for less lucrative uses, the impact on the industry as a whole is highly exaggerated,” stated a court filing on behalf of the OHA.

The question is still not fully settled, but until it is, recalled cannabis products are not yet allowed to be sold commercially. The OHA is currently working on temporary marijuana industry rules as a stopgap, Jefferson Public Radio reported.

John Schroyer

One comment

  • brendan

    September 20, 2023 at 10:19 am

    A quick pubmed search to support your claims would be important. Listed below are cases directly linked to cannabis use. This does not include the ICD10 codes / insurance records that demonstrated cannabis users are at a much high prevalence of aspergillosis than other patients.

    Clinical Cases of Aspergillosis species (A. flavus, A. fumigatus, A. niger, and A. terreus)
    1. M.J. Chusid, J.A. Gelfand, C. Nutter, and A.S. Fauci, Letter: Pulmonary aspergillosis,
    inhalation of contaminated marijuana smoke, chronic granulomatous disease. Annals of
    Internal Medicine 82(5), 682-683 (1975). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1094876/
    2. R. Llamas, D.R. Hart, and N.S. Schneider, Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis
    associated with smoking moldy marihuana. Chest 73 (6), 871-872 (1978).
    3. S. Sutton, B.L.Lum, and F.M. Torti, Possible risk of invasive aspergillosis with marijuana
    use during chemotherapy for small cell lung cancer. Drug Intelligence & Clinical
    Pharmacy 20(4), 289–291 (1986).
    4. R. Hamadeh, A. Ardehali, R.M. Locksley, and M.K. York, Fatal Aspergillosis associated
    with smoking contaminated marijuana in a marrow transplant recipient. Chest 94(2),
    432–433 (1988).
    5. D.W. Denning, S.E. Follansbee, M. Scolaro, S. Norris, H. Edelstein, and D.A. Stevens,
    Pulmonary aspergillosis in the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. The New England
    Journal of Medicine 324(10), 652–664 (1991).
    6. W.H. Marks, L. Florence, J. Lieberman, P. Chapman, D. Howard, and P. Roberts, et. al.,
    Successfully treated invasive pulmonary aspergillosis associated with smoking marijuana
    in a renal transplant recipient. Transplantation 61(12), 1771–1774 (1996).
    7. M. Szyper-Kravitz, R. Lang, Y. Manor, and M. Lahav, Early invasive pulmonary
    aspergillosis in a Leukemia patient linked to Aspergillus contaminated marijuana
    smoking. Leukemia & Lymphoma 42(6), 1433–1437 (2001).
    8. R. Ruchlemer, M. Amit-Kohn, and D. Raveh, et. al., Inhaled medicinal cannabis and the
    immunocompromised patient. Support Care Cancer 23(3), 819–822 (2015).
    9. D.W. Cescon, A.V. Page, S. Richardson, M.J. Moore, S. Boerner, and W.L., Invasive
    pulmonary aspergillosis with marijuana use in a man with colorectal cancer. Journal of
    Clinical oncology. 26(13), 2214–2215 (2008).
    10. A. Bal, A.N. Agarwal, A. Das, S. Vikas, and S.C. Varma, Chronic necrotising pulmonary
    in a marijuana addict: a new cause of amyloidosis. Pathology 42(2), 197–200 (2010).
    11. Y. Gargani, P. Bishop, and D.W. Denning, Too many moldy joints – marijuana and
    chronic pulmonary aspergillosis. Mediterranean Journal of Hematology and Infectious
    Diseases 3, 2035-3006. Open Journal System (2011).
    12. S.L. Kagen, M.D. Viswanath, P. Kurup, P.G. Sohnie, and J.N. Fink, Marijuana smoking
    & fungal sensitization. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 71(4), 389–393
    13. S.L. Kagen, Aspergillus: An inhalable contaminant of marihuana. The New England
    Journal of Medicine 304(8), 483–484 (1981).
    14. J.L. Pauly and G. Paszkiewicz, Cigarette Smoke, Bacteria, Mold, Microbial Toxins, and
    Chronic Lung Inflammation. Journal of Oncology 819129, 1-13 (2011).
    15. T. L. Remington, J. Fuller, and I. Chiu. Chronic necrotizing pulmonary aspergillosis in a
    patient with diabetes and marijuana use. Canadian Medical Association Journal 187
    (17), 1305-1308 (2015) DOI: https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.141412
    16. D. Vethanayagam, E. Saad, and J. Yehya, Aspergillosis spores and medical marijuana.
    Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) Letters 188(3), 217 (2016).
    17. S. M. Levitz, R. D Diamond, Aspergillosis and marijuana. Annals of Internal Medicine
    115(7), 578-579 (1991).
    18. B. R. Waisglass, Aspergillosis spores and medical marijuana. Canadian Medical
    Association Journal (CMAJ) Letters 187(14), 1077 (2015).
    19. E. Faccioli, F. Pezzuto, A. D. Amore, F. Lunardi, C. Giraudo, M. Mammana, M.
    Schiavon, A. Cirnelli, M. Loy, F. Calabrese, and F. Rea, Fatal Early-Onset Aspergillosis
    in a Recipient Receiving Lungs From a Marijuana-Smoking Donor: A Word of Caution.
    Transplant International 35 (2022).
    20. A. P, Salam and A. L. Pozniak, Disseminated aspergillosis in an HIV-positive cannabis
    user taking steroid treatment. The Lancet Infectious Diseases 17(8), 882 (2017).
    21. T. E. Johnson, R. R. Casiano, J. W. Kronish, D. T. Tse, M. Meldrum, and W. Chang,
    Sino-orbital aspergillosis in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. JAMA
    Ophthalmology 117(1), 57-64 (1999).
    22. K. Benedict, G. R. Thompson, and B. R. Jackson, Cannabis Use and Fungal Infections in
    a Commercially Insured Population, United States, 2016. Emerging Infectious Diseases
    26(6), 1308-1310 (2020). https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/6/19-1570_article
    23. M. I. Shafi, S. Liaquat, and D. Auckley, Up in smoke: An unusual case of diffuse alveolar
    hemorrhage from marijuana. Respiratory Medicine Case Reports 25, 22-24 (2018).


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