Health Canada approved food-grade hydrogen peroxide for cannabis cultivators nearly four years after legalization — and a decade after forming an official medical industry. Should food-grade pesticides need a careful distinction from their commercial relatives in the cannabis industry, though?

Commercial grade Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) since MMAR days

In the medical marijuana days, especially prior to 2016, cultivators had access to a limited few pesticides for cannabis production. One spray that Health Canada eventually authorized was Zerotol by Biosafe Solutions. Zerotol is a mix of hydrogen peroxide and acetic acid, with phosphoric acid in the undisclosed ingredients

Zerotol, however, is only approved for cannabis and turf grass but not food crops. It is considered a commercial-grade hydrogen peroxide. Food-grade H2O2 exposed to the air typically breaks down within about 48 hours. One oxygen escapes and leaves behind H2O — water while hydrogen peroxide degrades.

Food grade hydrogen peroxide

Stabilized pesticides

Companies chemically stabilize hydrogen peroxide to slow degradation. For cannabis or turf grass, chemical stabilizers added to hydrogen peroxide must fall within environmental guidelines in Canada. Yet, companies can use non-food-grade chemicals to stabilize H2O2 products.

This author cannot confirm Zerotol’s composition. But Biosafe produces a food-grade hydrogen peroxide for crop previously known as Oxidate. Canadian cannabis cultivators were unable to use Oxidate until recently, though.

A regulator’s food-grade reluctancy

For nearly four years, Health Canada’s media department gave generic responses to my emailed concerns. While Food-grade hydrogen peroxide will burn some terps when applied to flowering cannabis, they are at least approved for human consumption.

And finally, cultivators have the option to use food-grade sprays. Has the regulator finally started treating cannabis like a food crop following a long-awaited review of current Canadian cannabis laws?

Approval of food-grade sprays should not be a cause for celebration, albeit a relief. In any case, cannabis producers can still spray the commercial grade Zerotol on crops of cannabis and turf grass, but not food.