April 20th has come and gone, but not before it saw thousands of adolescents across the country tokin’ up and getting down with some fine herb. If you happened to partake in the festivities however, you may want to be wary. A bout of lead poisoning in Leipzig, Germany baffled doctors and it looks like Mary Jane was to blame.
According to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine, over the past 3-4 months about 29 incidents of lead poisoning were reported in the Leipzig area. This alarmed city officials, as Leipzig has been lead poison free in recent decades, and they were eager to discover the cause of the poisoning in case a public threat were imminent. Finally after probing the victims for background information, the culprit was revealed…
After 8 weeks, we detected a common pattern: the patients were young, were unemployed or were students, had a history of smoking, and had body piercings. On questioning, all the patients eventually conceded that they were regular users of marijuana smoked in “joint” form or with the use of a water pipe. We recovered either half-used packages or aliquots of “home supplies” of marijuana from three patients [see picture below], and we identified elemental lead by means of atomic absorptiometry and 9-tetrahydrocannabinol by means of high-pressure liquid chromatography. NEJM
This is seriously fucked up. I’ve heard of people cutting coke with baking soda and other shit like that, but come on, lead? That shit fucks up your nervous system and more: â€œLead may cause irreversible neurological damage as well as renal disease, cardiovascular effects, and reproductive toxicity.â€
I guess the moral of the story is buyer beware, especially when in Leipzig.