Study Finds Elevated Levels of Heavy Metals in Blood of Marijuana Users



Have you heard about the recent study on marijuana users and heavy metal exposure? It’s quite intriguing and raises important health questions. Let’s dive into the details.

Do Marijuana Users Exhibit Elevated Blood Heavy Metal Levels? A Recent Study’s Findings

New study conducted by researchers from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health has shed light on the potential health risks associated with marijuana use.

The study, which analyzed data from over 7,200 adults, revealed that individuals who reported using marijuana within the past 30 days had significantly elevated levels of heavy metals, specifically cadmium and lead, in their blood and urine when compared to those who abstained from both marijuana and tobacco.

The research, based on data collected between 2008 and 2015 as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, aimed to investigate the impact of marijuana use on heavy metal exposure.

The participants were categorized into five groups: non-marijuana/non-tobacco users, exclusive marijuana users, exclusive tobacco users, and dual users of marijuana and tobacco. Five different metals were measured in their blood, and 16 in their urine.

The study’s findings revealed alarming statistics. Marijuana users who had consumed the substance within the past month exhibited a striking 27% increase in blood lead levels compared to individuals who refrained from both marijuana and tobacco.

Additionally, marijuana users displayed 21% higher urine lead levels, 22% higher blood cadmium levels, and 18% higher urine cadmium levels compared to non-users.

Katlyn McGraw, a study author and postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University, commented on the findings, stating, “Because the cannabis plant is a known scavenger of metals, we had hypothesized that individuals who use marijuana will have higher metal biomarker levels compared to those who do not use.”

She further emphasized, “Our results, therefore, indicate marijuana is a source of cadmium and lead exposure.”

Lead exposure, even at low levels, poses severe health risks, as highlighted by the World Health Organization (WHO). It can impact children’s brain development, leading to behavioral and learning problems. In adults, lead exposure can elevate the risk of high blood pressure, heart problems, and kidney damage.

Cadmium, classified as a carcinogen by the WHO, can also have detrimental effects on health. Even low-level exposure over time, whether through air, water, or tobacco smoke, can contribute to kidney disease and weaken bones.

Tiffany Sanchez, an author of the study and an assistant professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University, pointed out the longevity of heavy metals in the body, saying, “For both cadmium and lead, these metals are likely to stay in the body for years, long after exposure ends.”

These concerning findings, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, underscore the importance of further research into the potential health risks associated with marijuana users heavy metals and the need for increased awareness and education about heavy metal exposure for individuals who consume the drug.

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