Did you know that some common blunt wraps and rolling papers may contain heavy metals and pesticides? While legal cannabis products are tested so you can be sure they are free from harmful contaminants, smoking paraphernalia is not under the same regulatory restrictions. Wellness-oriented cannabis users should be aware that certain rolling papers and blunt wraps have been found to contain harmful levels of pesticides and heavy metals.
You can use weed to sleep better, to relax, to stimulate your appetite, or to energize your mind. Purposeful cannabis consumption can improve your health and well-being in many ways. But what if the way you are ingesting cannabis is exposing you to harmful chemicals? There are lots of different weed ingestion methods, each of which has its own advantages or disadvantages. Smoking weed is still the most popular ingestion method. Smoking weed involves heating cannabis to the point of combustion, which creates a variety of harmful compounds. While heat-not-burn devices are safer than smoking weed, many people smoke cannabis in joints or blunts because they value the convenience, the rapid relief, and the ability to share joints or blunts with a group of people. Smoking a joint or a blunt with a group of friends is one of the most popular ways to improve your social experiences with weed. However, not all rolling papers or blunt wraps are equivalent. Many of them have been found to contain dangerous levels of pesticides and heavy metals.
A September 2020 study conducted by Science of Cannabis Laboratories Inc. (SC Labs) analyzed 118 blunt wraps and rolling papers. They purchased the smoking materials through Amazon or at smoke shops in the Santa Cruz area. SC Labs conducted the study after testing several pre-roll samples and finding they were over the limit for the pesticide chlorpyrifos, despite having used clean cannabis that did not have this pesticide. As a result, they decided to analyze over 100 samples of rolling papers and blunt wraps to determine if contamination was common. In the rolling papers that they tested for heavy metals, at least one heavy metal was found in 90% of samples. 8% contained concentrations of heavy metals that were above the legal limit in California. Alarmingly, lead was the heavy metal that they found most frequently. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, there is no level of lead exposure that is without risks. SC Labs tested rolling papers made from rice paper, cellulose, and hemp. While most of the rolling papers were safe, two of the three cellulose paper samples that they tested had over 100 times the allowable limit of lead. None of the rolling papers that they tested were over the legal limits for pesticides. Blunt wraps did not fare as well as rolling papers. 21% of the blunt wraps that they tested exceeded the legal limit of pesticides. Additionally, several brands of blunt wraps exceeded the legal limits for arsenic and cadmium, including blueberry and pineapple-flavored “cigar cones” by Zig Zag and hemp wraps made by Twisted Hemp and HydroLemonade. So, what do these results mean? Is it safe to use blunt wraps and rolling papers to smoke weed?
While these results are alarming, SC Labs states that these findings “should not be considered alarming on [their] own.”
Firstly, the materials used to make rolling papers and blunt wraps are known to accumulate heavy metals naturally. As a result, experts expect to find the presence of heavy metals in materials made from natural fibers. Secondly, states with legal cannabis markets have strict regulations that make sure cannabis products are free from contaminants. SC Labs notes that combining clean flower with most of the rolling papers they tested would result in an end product that was within the legal limits for contaminants.
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