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Marijuana Users More Likely to Have Heavy Metal Toxicity
The cannabis plant sucks up metals apparently.
Just because I’m an herbalist, it doesn’t mean I’m going to recommend you drink a tea made from poison ivy.
The idea that marijuana/cannabis is “safe” just because it’s a plant is one of the dumbest ideas ever. Plants have a wide range of toxicities and potential side effects. And apparently marijuana may be exposing users to heavy metals such as lead and cadmium, according to a recent study reported in the Epoch Times.
Here’s the summary:
A study published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal found that marijuana users have higher levels of lead and cadmium in their blood and urine compared to non-users.
The study compared cannabis users who exclusively used marijuana to people who neither used marijuana nor tobacco.
Researchers concluded that marijuana is a source of cadmium and lead exposure.
The study analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and measured metal levels in blood and urine samples.
Among the participants, exclusive marijuana users had 27% higher lead levels in their blood and 22% higher cadmium levels compared to non-users.
Exclusive marijuana users also had 21% higher lead levels and 18% higher cadmium levels in their urine.
What are the potential side effects of low-grade lead and cadmium exposure long-term?
Lead and cadmium are heavy metals that can pose significant health risks, even at low levels of exposure. Here are some potential long-term side effects associated with each of these elements:
Neurological effects: Long-term exposure to low levels of lead can affect the nervous system, potentially leading to cognitive impairments and behavioral problems.
Cardiovascular problems: Lead exposure has been associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Kidney Damage: Lead can cause long-term damage to the kidneys, affecting their ability to filter waste from the blood.
Reproductive issues: In both men and women, lead exposure can cause fertility problems.
Kidney Damage: Similar to lead, cadmium can cause severe kidney damage over time. This damage can be irreversible.
Bone Demineralization: Cadmium can interfere with the body’s calcium metabolism, leading to weakened bones and osteoporosis.
Lung Damage: If inhaled, cadmium can cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer.
Cancer: Long-term exposure to cadmium has been linked to certain types of cancer, including kidney, lung, and prostate cancer.
These effects can be influenced by a variety of factors, including the duration and intensity of exposure, the individual’s health status, and genetic factors. It’s crucial to minimize exposure to these harmful elements whenever possible.
Mind you, heavy metal toxicity is a concern with all herbs, including those grown in India and China where toxic soil can impact herb safety.
But some plants may be more prone to picking up heavy metals from the environment; it turns out that the cannabis plant appears to be one of them. (Does hemp have this issue too? I wonder…as I do like hemp seeds as a salad topping.)
However, I wanted to also point out that correlation may not equal causation. It is possible that marijuana users may also have heavy metal exposure from other sources…for example, tattoo ink:
Titanium and aluminum are often used as colorants in tattoos; more worrisome, inks using nonmetal colorants may include traces of antimony, arsenic, beryllium, chromium, cobalt, lead, nickel, and selenium (AESI filed over the latter eight metals). Sivas says the ink used for a 3 by 5 inch tattoo contains 1–23 micrograms of lead, versus the 0.5 micrograms per day permitted under Proposition 65.
So who knows how much is the marijuana itself and how much is other lifestyle tendencies of chronic pot smokers.
Either way, given that big business and soon Big Pharma is in the process of taking over as much of the cannabis industry as possible, do not assume your marijuana is safe and nontoxic unless home-grown; even then, marijuana should not be abused. And seriously, did you honestly think that illegal marijuana was likely to be grown in wholesome soil? Street pot is grown God knows where, perhaps some toxic dump somewhere.
Even when grown organically in the best soil conditions, marijuana is considered to be a “tamasic” herb in Ayurveda, and traditionally would only be used in very small doses for specific reasons, usually as part of a larger herbal formula…not enough to make you high.
Excessive marijuana use will put you out of balance and it is not the healing miracle herb it is marketed to be. And if it’s true that marijuana use may lead to heavy metal exposure, that’s one more reason to reduce reliance on it.
Marijuana may not be the best thing anyway; the stiffness and pain I was feeling in my hands upon waking up wasn’t fixed by CBD cream but an Ayurvedic guggulu formula. There’s more to the world of herbs than just cannabis. Remember that.
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