Health and environmental consequences of illegal residential marijuana grow operations

Consequences of large- scale production of marijuana in residential buildings

From Indoor and Built Environment

North America is one of the largest industrialized nations involved in marijuana production, although it is illegal to produce and sell this plant in that nation. This demand has caused an increase in the number of illegal ‘‘marijuana grow operations’’.  This study considers the health impacts when living in or near the conditions required for the cultivation of marijuana. There are risks involved with the inevitable moisture, damp, mould, and fungi, plus there are potential hazards associated with pesticides, carbon monoxide and unvented combustion appliances.



Based on the data from the breadth of Canada (∼4300 km), one-third of Canadian homes have ventilation rates below the recommended standard of 0.3 air changes per hour and are at risk for moisture problems. For the purposes of this investigation, a literature review was performed on the health risks associated with exposure to living and drying marijuana plants and the fungi associated with large numbers of indoor plantings. Analysis was made of the impact on Canadian homes if used to grow marijuana. These are commonly called “marijuana grow operations” based on measured ventilation rates from homes in Windsor, Ontario and Regina, Saskatchewan (representing diverse climates) and derived moisture loadings from published data. The growing and drying of marijuana plants contributes considerable amounts of water vapour to the indoor environment. Depending on the scale of production, considerable mould damage in the building can result. There are also a number of abiotic hazards resulting from marijuana production including pesticides, carbon monoxide, and products of unvented combustion appliances. Both indirect and direct evidence are described for the health impact of living in these conditions. This has a number of implications in terms of documentation and personal protection for industrial hygienists, home inspectors, and public health officials.

Read this research for free

Article details
Johnson, L., & Miller, J. (2011). Consequences of Large- scale Production of Marijuana in Residential Buildings Indoor and Built Environment DOI: 10.1177/1420326X11411954

This entry was posted in Earth & Environment, Health, SAGE Insight and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.