Another Type of Lead Pipe to Avoid

By Lizzie Buchen | April 15, 2008 8:54 am

weed.jpgGerman doctors recently solved a gripping medical mystery. Over a period of three to four months, 29 young people in the Leipzig area went to four hospitals with abdominal cramps, nausea, anemia, fatigue, blue gums, and diseased blood cells—and one patient had nearly gone insane. All were diagnosed with lead intoxication, which hadn’t been seen in Germany for decades. The patients were treated effectively using chelation therapy, but the authorities were scratching their heads over how these patients managed to expose themselves to such large quantities of lead.

After eight weeks, the docs finally started to see a pattern: “the patients were young, were unemployed or were students, had a history of smoking, and had body piercings.” Care to venture a guess? Turns out they were all stoners—ranging from two joints per week to three grams per day. The doctors asked to examine their weed supplies, and were able to recover half-used packages from some of the patients (interestingly, none of the patients handed over full packages). Using atomic absorptiometry, they identified lead particles in the packages—although in at least one case, such fancy techniques were probably not necessary.

The doctors then anonymously screened local marijuana users, and diagnosed 95 more people with blood lead levels that demanded treatment. So what was lead doing in their marijuana? The police think that “because of its high specific gravity and inconspicuous grayish color, lead was used to increase the weight of street marijuana sold by the gram and thereby to maximize profits among dealers.”

  • Plower

    Wow…beware of heavy pot.

  • Pingback: CHELATION INFORMATION.COM » Blog Archive » Another Type of Lead Pipe to Avoid - Discover Magazine()

  • Pingback: Poisoning ourselves « Later On()

  • http://www.carbonfund.org Jen Hawse

    it’s so heavy man…

  • Jockaira

    Another argument for legalization and regulation of marijuana and other drugs so that their production and adulteration (if any) could be controlled for the user’s benefit.

    It is common knowledge that lead taken into the body is extremely toxic. The addition of lead to the product for no reason other than profit is morally reprehensible. This incident shows the typical mindset of many dealers and their apparent non-concern for the well-being of their customers. As long as the customers can continue supplying money, the dealers will continue supplying product, no matter how odious or dangerous.

  • http://www.google.com Raymond R. Grant

    It’s hard to search out educated folks on this matter, but you sound like you realize what you’re talking about! Thanks

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Discoblog

Quirky, funny, and surprising science news from the edge of the known universe.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »