“Because the cannabis plant is a known metal absorber, we hypothesized that people who use it have higher levels of metal biomarkers than non-smokers.” said researchers from Columbia University (USA). To test this theory, the team conducted a study using National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES) data from 2005-2018. The researchers then classified the 7,254 adults who took part in the survey according to their use: no cannabis and tobacco, only cannabis, only tobacco, and dual use of cannabis and tobacco. “Five metals were measured in blood, 16 in urine,” they specified.
High levels of cadmium in the blood and urine of cannabis smokers
According to the results published in the journal Environmental health perspectives, people who reported exclusively using cannabis had high levels of cadmium in their blood and urine. Recall that cadmium is a bluish-white metal used in a number of industrial processes, such as the production of electric batteries, the production of pigments, television screens, photography, or the plating of surfaces. “The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) considers cadmium a designated human carcinogen. Associated cancers are those of the respiratory tract, in particular the lung. However, cadmium is suspected to be carcinogenic to prostate cancer and kidney cancer. , reported by the Leon Berard Cancer Center.
Cannabis: “there is no threshold below which lead exposure would not have harmful effects”
Another finding: High levels of lead have also been found in the blood and urine of cannabis smokers. The World Health Organization (WHO) reminds that this toxic substance accumulates in the body and affects many organ systems. “There is no threshold below which lead exposure would not have harmful effects.” In high concentrations, lead attacks the brain and central nervous system, causing coma, seizures, and even death. Low exposure to this substance affects brain development and causes behavioral changes in children. It also causes anemia, hypertension and kidney failure and has toxic effects on the immune and reproductive systems.
“Further research should be carried out on the use of cannabis and its impurities, especially metals, to address the public health concerns associated with the growing number of cannabis smokers.” concluded Tiffany R. Sanchez, author of the paper, in a press release.