Is cannabis vegan? – The GrowthOp

Veganism is defined as “a way of living, which seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose,” The Vegan Society states.

Cannabis produced at home is easily vegan but bud processed in a regulated Canadian facility may be different. Animal products could be used in processing and packaging, says Sebastien Martel, executive director of the Vegan Society of Canada.

Last year the society reported many alcoholic beverages on the market are not vegan. Non-vegan fining agents, such as casein (milk), or gelatine, are used at the end of the wine, beer and alcohol process to remove organic compounds.

Packaging could also be an issue. Some adhesives and inks are made with animal products, Martel said.

There has been some debate about manure but large-scale farmers today use animal fertilizers, Martel added. There would be nothing to eat if vegans chose to eat food grown without manure.

“On a global scale, it is not feasible,” he said.

New industry

Cannabis is a new industry and thus far the Vegan Society of Canada has not been approached with questions about certified vegan weed, Martel said.

Aleafia Health, which has the cannabis product lines Symbl and Emblem, have been asked about organic cannabis but not vegan, said Dr. Michael Verbora, chief medical officer at Aleafia.

“Nobody has ever asked about vegan cannabis before,” Dr. Verbora said.

Animal products are often used in the production of cannabis. Getty Images

Production process

While not officially labeled as vegan, the process at Good Buds, a cannabis grower on Salt Spring Island, B.C., seems vegan-friendly. The core values include producing cannabis in a sustainable way with a small carbon footprint, said Good Buds master grower Sam Mikolajewski. With many vegetarians on staff, Good Buds cares about animal welfare and they choose manure from nearby organic farms where animals are well treated, said Mikolajewski. They use cover crops such as clover and buckwheat planted alongside the cannabis — to manage pests and insects naturally.

The cannabis flower is handpicked and then dried.

“We are not adding anything to the cannabis,” Mikolajewski said.

There is an ice-water extraction method used to separate the trichomes or buds from the leaves, she said.


The packaging is more difficult to decipher – at both Good Buds and The Green Organic Dutchman(TGOD) use glass jars for some packaging. TGOD looked closely at their packaging – they use type 3 glass, standard glass for food and beverages, said Sebastien Bouchard, director of communications at TGOD.

Boxes are made of clay carded recycled board and the glue is determined by the supplier, Bouchard said. Inks are standard with UV varnish.

Martel said the society is now working with vegan organizations around the world to create vegan standards. Until those standards are set, it is difficult to say what is vegan or not.

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