Germany: Marijuana Smokers Were Poisoned With Lead

Germany: Marijuana Smokers Were Poisoned With Lead
Posted by CN Staff on April 14, 2008 at 19:10:56 PT
By Denise Grady
Source: New York Times
Germany -- They had stomach cramps, nausea, anemia and fatigue, and some even had a telltale bluish line along their gums — classic signs of lead poisoning. But the cases, last year in Leipzig, Germany, puzzled doctors. Lead poisoning is rare in Germany, and yet here were 29 cases in just a few months. The doctors noticed a pattern: the patients were young, from 16 to 33; they were students or unemployed; and they had body piercings and a history of smoking.
In a letter published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine, the doctors wrote, “On questioning, all the patients eventually conceded that they were regular users of marijuana.” Three provided samples for testing. Sure enough, their marijuana was full of lead. One bag bought from a dealer even contained lead particles big enough to see, which meant the lead must have been added deliberately, rather than being absorbed into the plant from contaminated soil. The core temperature of a joint can reach nearly 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit, the doctors noted — more than hot enough to melt lead, which can be absorbed through the respiratory tract.The poisoning was widely reported by German newspapers and television, and an anonymous lead-screening program was set up for marijuana users. Among 145 people who showed up for testing, 95 more cases were found.The authorities do not know where the tainted marijuana came from or why the lead was added, but the German police suspect that it was done to make money. The samples tested contained 10 percent lead by weight, which translates into an increased profit of about $682 per pound of marijuana.The patients are recovering and taking medicines called chelating agents to help remove the lead from their bodies. But it could take years to clear it completely, particularly from bones. And some were quite disillusioned to learn that poison was added to what they thought was a pure, all-natural product, said their doctor, Prof. Michael Stumvoll of University Hospital in Leipzig, who commented, “How naïve!”Complete Title: Germany: Marijuana Smokers Were Poisoned With Lead in Leipzig Source: New York Times (NY)Author: Denise GradyPublished: April 15, 2008Copyright: 2008 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #3 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on April 15, 2008 at 02:37:40 PT
That's what they get for breaking the law!
From what I've read, marijuana is already so incredibly dangerous and poisonous, it's hard to believe that anything could actually make it more harmful than it already is.Besides, lead is legal, so it can't be really be that dangerous, right?Lead is so safe, it used to be used in paint, fuel, water lines, and kitchen utensils.Cannabis is so dangerous, that even though it could be used to make all those things and more, its use for such is severely restricted.So, since I know my government is looking out for my best interests, marijuana must be much more harmful than lead.And this is just an attempt to taint lead, perpetrated by the wealthy anti-lead lobby and the blame lead firsters, and publicized by the lead hating media.(Sorry, I think the stuff I've been smoking was sprayed with sarcasm.)
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Comment #2 posted by afterburner on April 14, 2008 at 22:25:19 PT
Yeah, Naive Like Patrons of Alcohol Prohibition
{ their doctor, Prof. Michael Stumvoll of University Hospital in Leipzig, ... commented, “How naïve!” }Naïve like those blinded by wood alcohol bought from criminals during the First Prohibition. The criminals were the ones who were prosecuted in those days, not the victims.Regulate. Medicate. Educate. Legislate.
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Comment #1 posted by Yanxor on April 14, 2008 at 21:54:29 PT
Yet another very good reason to legalize: the black market does not care about purity standards.
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