The Role of ICP-MS in Understanding the Toxicological Link Between Lead Contamination in Cannabis and Hemp Consumer Products and Human Disease
There are currently four heavy metals known as the big four (Pb, As, Cd, Hg), which are required by the thirty-six (36) states where medicinal and recreational cannabis is legal in the US. However, based on compelling evidence in the public domain, there are an additional ten (10) elemental contaminants found in natural ecosystems (soil, rocks, water, air) and from industrial anthropogenic activities that could be potential sources of contaminants accumulated by the plant. It’s only a matter of time before federal oversight will arrive and require the industry to expand this list of regulated elements beyond the big four.
However, in the meantime, lead is getting the most attention by state regulators, not only because of its historical importance as a human toxicant, but also that elevated levels of lead have recently been found in many cannabis consumer products as reported in a recent ASTM workshop (Ref 3).
This white paper focuses on the common sources of lead pollution and takes a look at the development of Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) as an analytical tool to monitor a person's blood-lead level that is often used as an indicator of the impact of its toxicity on human health.