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California Lab Studies Rolling Papers Being Laced with Heavy Metals

The only way to keep the cannabis industry safe for users is with consistent research, but the majority of research currently is focused on the plant itself. The products used to consume it are just as important, and new research shows that the papers that consumers often use to roll it up may have more than they bargained for. Thanks to a lab in California, these results are now available to the public.

Ella Hughes

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California Lab Studies Rolling Papers Being Laced with Heavy Metals
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  • SC Laboratories Inc. in California performed the analysis, and it checked 101 different brands of rolling papers.
  • Only 8% of the tested rolling papers managed to pass the requirements of local government regarding the limits on heavy metals.

Many people argue over the safety of using cannabis flowers, but much of the discussion is regarding the plant itself. SC Laboratories Inc., a facility in California, recently decided to see how safe the rolling papers are that many consumers use for consuming these products. Unfortunately, it looks like many brands have failed to abide by specific compliance regulations, considering that 90% of the papers have one thing in common – too much heavy metal.

During the study, researchers took 70 different rolling papers, as well as 25 cones for pre-rolls, three papers that were made from cellulose, and 20 other wraps. Of the products, approximately 90% of the papers had at least one type of heavy metal, while just 8% exceeded the state's legally permissible limits. While lead was the top metal found, the research also revealed that pesticides were in many of these papers.

Of the rolling papers and cones, there was only one that had more heavy metals than what California law allows for. While every single cellulose paper had greater amounts of heavy metals, almost half of the wraps had the same problem. The number of pesticides didn’t exceed what was legally allowed, however, but 16% of products contained some amount, and 5% of the samples had more than what was allowed. According to the report, Rolling Papers Tested for Heavy Metals and Pesticides:

“Pesticide contamination was less prevalent in general. Just 5 of the samples tested over California action limits for a pesticide, and 18 samples had detectable levels of pesticides. However, at least 4 of the 5 samples that tested over action limits had pesticide concentrations that were significantly over the action limit.”

As unfortunate as these results are, the researchers were not shocked by what they discovered. In fact, while the study showed that there are a lot of risks involved with using these papers, the data “should not be considered alarming on its own.”

Josh Wurzer, president and co-founder of SC Laboratories, noted:

“While 11 percent of the rolling papers in this study would fail above the action limits for inhalable products in California, it should be noted that the paper constitutes only a fraction of the overall mass of a cannabis pre-roll product.”

This implies that the papers would still be compliant with the regulations of the state with the use of “clean” cannabis.

All rolling papers and products used during this research were either sourced from a local retailer in Santa Cruz or Amazon.

Ella D. Hughes’ input strengthens the legal presence at TOC with her litigator nature and fondness with fitness and adamant cooking skills. During her undergraduate study, she dove deep into diverse fields of psychology, theater, evolutionary biology, psychopharmacology, and romance languages. After being admitted to the bar, TOC is leaning on Ella to help cover the rapidly evolving cannabis and hemp industries for legal insights and regulatory law feedback.

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