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ICP-MS Analysis of Heavy Metals in Cannabis sativa

Introduction

Hemp and cannabis are strains of the Cannabis sativa plant. They are known to accumulate heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, chromium, nickel, manganese and cobalt in their roots, shoots, buds and seeds. Due to this ability, hemp has been used for the remediation of contaminated soil (phytoremediation and phytoextraction). On the other hand, this inclination can hinder the use of hemp in the food or medical industry. As a consequence, all hemp material used in either food or pharma products needs to be tested regarding its heavy metal content.

As of February 2020, Canada and 24 US States have issued regulations for the testing of heavy metal content in cannabis, and all have provided limits for arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead. In addition, four states set limits for one or more of these metals: chromium, barium, silver, selenium, antimony, copper, nickel and zinc.

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