A recent study has underlined that Marijuana smokers may unknowingly be consuming heavy metals in their Blood and Urine. Heavy metals accumulate in the body and have been linked to a host of health issues including cancer, cognitive impairment, and heart disease.
And, people consuming marijuana may be more at risk of these toxins entering their bloodstream.
New research, published last month in Environmental Health Perspectives, found that adults who consumed marijuana had significantly higher levels of two metals associated with long-term health issues: lead and cadmium.
The Level of Toxic Heavy Metals From Marijuana Use
Out of total 7,200 adults who were part of the study, 358 had reported using marijuana within the past 30 days. The team tested blood samples for five metals; they tested urine samples for 16 metals.
Since tobacco use has been associated with higher levels of heavy metals in the body, the researchers also tested the samples for an alkaloid found in tobacco but not cannabis, called cotinine.3 They then adjusted the data to be sure they could determine how marijuana use alone contributed to heavy metal consumption.
The data revealed that people who used marijuana, regardless of whether they used tobacco, had 27% higher blood lead levels than those who did not report using either marijuana or tobacco. They also had 22% higher levels of cadmium.
Type of Marijuana Use May Impact Heavy Metal Absorption
The new study did not determine how the way people consumed marijuana—edibles, smoking, or vaping—might have differently impacted heavy metal levels. However, what experts understand about how the body absorbs heavy metals holds clues as to which forms of marijuana use are riskier.
“There is no safe level for lead exposure and with lead, the absorption rate from inhalation is virtually 100%.”
Everything you’re inhaling is getting into your bloodstream. Both lead and cadmium cause long-term damage to the body.
In June of this year, the American Heart Association (AHA) published a statement noting that both lead and cadmium increase a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease including coronary artery disease and stroke. Additionally, inhaling cadmium—not eating it—causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Research also links lead to the loss of cognitive function, including memory impairment and dementia.