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Heavy metals and other harmful elements


The process to obtain the Cannabidiol (CBD) of the best quality begins with the selection of the raw material, that is to say of the hemp or "Cannabis Sativa".

One of the basic guarantees is to always buy Global GAP certified materials.

Nevertheless, to guarantee the final quality it is necessary to follow strict protocols and to carry out analyses once the CBD is extracted.

In this article we will briefly explain the different toxic elements that can be found in products made with Hemp, either by the origin of the base material used or by the type of extraction that has been used.


Let's analyze four groups of harmful elements.

Heavy metals in CBD

1) Heavy metals

The cannabis like all the bioaccumulators extracts its nutrients of the ground where it is cultivated and stores it in its aerial part (mainly in the stems and the leaves).

When the water or the extract of cultivation land has high levels of heavy metals, sometimes due to its geographic location and geomorphological characteristics, sometimes by the contamination generated by the activity of the human being, the plant of the cannabis can have a concentration of toxic heavy metals for the human or animal consumption.

The health consequences of these compounds are moderate to severe depending on the concentration, frequency and duration of consumption (exposure) and the ability of each individual to eliminate them.

In general, all cases of intoxication present inflammation and destruction of cellular structures. More specifically:

  • Arsenic

    Arsenic is naturally found in the earth's crust. Much of its dispersal in the environment is due to mining and commercial processes. In industry, arsenic is a byproduct of the smelting process (separation of metal and rock) of various metallic minerals.

    Arsenic cannot be destroyed in the environment.

    Prolonged intake of low levels of inorganic arsenic can cause darkening of the skin and the appearance of small corns or warts on the hands, feet, and torso.

  • Mercury

    Mercury occurs naturally in the environment in metallic form (elemental mercury), inorganic form and organic form.

    Approximately 80% of the mercury that is released by human activities is elemental mercury released into the air, mainly as a consequence of fossil fuel use, mining, smelting and solid waste incineration.

    Most of the mercury found in the environment occurs in the form of metallic mercury and inorganic mercury compounds.

    Elemental and inorganic mercury leave the body in the urine or feces over a period of weeks or months.

    Methylmercury (most common form of organic mercury) is the form of mercury that is most easily absorbed through the digestive tract, enters the bloodstream easily, and quickly passes to other parts of the body. Only small amounts of methylmercury enter the bloodstream directly through the skin.

    The nervous system is very susceptible to mercury. High amounts of methylmercury or grain seeds treated with methylmercury or other mercury compounds can cause permanent brain and kidney damage, autism, depression and respiratory system problems.

  • Cadmium

    Cadmium is a metal present in the earth's crust, associated with zinc, lead and copper minerals, and can accumulate in aquatic organisms and agricultural crops.

    Almost no cadmium is absorbed through the skin.

    Most cadmium can be transformed by the body into a non-harmful form, as long as exposure is limited.

    Eating low levels of cadmium over a long period of time can lead to accumulation of cadmium in the kidneys, causing harmful effects on the kidney and bones..

    Common effects of prolonged exposure to Cadmium: prostate cancer, bronchitis, infertility and vascular disease.

  • Copper

    Copper is released from the mining industry, agricultural and manufacturing activities, and from the release of waste water into rivers and lakes. Copper is also released from natural sources such as volcanoes, decomposing vegetation and forest fires.

    Copper does not degrade in the environment. Copper compounds can degrade and release copper into the air, water or food.

    Exposure to high levels of copper will produce the same type of effects in children as in adults, namely, damage to the liver, kidneys, anemia, and irritation of the small and large intestines.

  • Lead

    Lead does not degrade, but lead compounds are transformed by natural light, air and water. When lead is released into the air, it can travel long distances before settling to the ground.

    Lead is widely distributed in the environment. Most of it comes from activities such as mining and industrial manufacturing, as well as from fossil fuels.

    The effects of lead are the same whether it is ingested or inhaled.

    Lead can affect almost every organ and system in the body. The most sensitive is the nervous system, in both children and adults.

    Prolonged exposure can cause a deterioration of the nervous system, weakness in the fingers, wrists, or ankles, increased blood pressure, and anemia.

    In pregnant women, exposure to high levels of lead can result in pregnancy loss. In men, exposure to high levels can alter sperm production.

    Common effects of long-term lead exposure: anemia, sclerosis, fatigue, and kidney cancer.

2) Solvents and hydrocarbon residuess

Analysis Cannabinoids

The use of solvents to extract cannabinoids from the hemp plant without proper quality protocols can leave toxic residues in the CBD preparations.

Technology such as supercritical CO2 is safer than solvent-based extractions, but is also substantially more expensive.

Prolonged exposure to certain solvents and hydrocarbon residues can damage the nervous system. They can produce effects on the blood, immune system, lungs and skin.

Testing the presence of organic solvents to ensure that CBD products are free of these harmful compounds is a healthy habit.

3) Pesticides

Pesticides are chemicals used in agriculture to protect crops against insects, fungi, weeds and other pests..

These chemicals can have serious adverse health effects, such as causing cancer or creating interference with the functioning of the reproductive, immune or nervous systems.

Some countries have legislation or control by the authorities that is beyond the most basic ability to reason.

Like heavy metals or solvents, pesticides can have different effects depending on a person's level of exposure and resistance.

4) Biological contaminants

Biological contaminants include molds, fungi, parasites, and bacteria that may have infected the source material.

If the CBD extraction uses contaminated hemp the semi-finished product may be contaminated as well.

Biological contaminants can trigger allergic reactions or cause harm to the end consumer.


The good practices at the level of selection of the raw material as in the processes of extraction of the CBD are not an exemption of carrying out controls and professional analyses to guarantee a safe product.

The consequences on the health of humans and pets are in the balance of results.

The CBD has a lot to contribute and it is time to let go of misunderstandings and myths in order to better ascertain the reality.

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