Study Finds Toxic Heavy Metals in 90 Percent of Joint Rolling Products

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Joint Rolling papers and related products may contain heavy metals that are harmful to your health, such as mercury, lead, arsenic or cadmium. Image by Haley Zaka/ Unsplash (click to enlarge)

A recent study by SCLabs discovered that 90% of joint rolling products or papers contain at least one of the following toxic heavy metals: mercury, lead, cadmium or arsenic. Out of the 90% of papers which tested positive for heavy metals, 8% contained at least one of the four aforementioned heavy metals in highly concentrated amounts that surpassed the legal limit for inhalant toxins in cannabis products in the state of California.(1) Awareness of the findings of this study are of notable importance to both retailers and consumers of joint rolling products, due to the health risks of ingesting these heavy metals.(2)

SC Labs tested 118 joint rolling products total, which were purchased online from Amazon or from a smoke shop in the Santa Cruz area the first week of July 2020. To conduct the study, researchers categorized the products into one of four categories — standard joint rolling papers, cone papers, cellulose papers, and hemp or blunt wraps.(4)

Tests analyzed products for the toxic heavy metals cadmium, lead, arsenic and mercury. The tests were conducted according to the guidelines set forth by the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, and were within the scope of accreditation of SC Labs — through PJLA, to the ISO-17025:2017 standard.(3)

Results showed 90% of papers contained at least one of the four toxic heavy metals, with 8% having heavily concentrated amounts of one or more of the metals in amounts exceeding California’s allowable amount of toxins in inhalant cannabis products.(1) Lead was by far the most commonly detected heavy metal in the joint rolling products.(4)


  1. BCC (2018). Required Testing Chart. California Bureau of Cannabis Control.
  2. Jaishankar, M., Tseten, T., Anbalagan, N., Mathew, B. B., & Beeregowda, K. N. (2014). Toxicity, mechanism and health effects of some heavy metals, Interdisciplinary Toxicology, 7(2), 60-72. doi:
  3. California BCC. (2018, December 10). Bureau of Cannabis Control – Testing Requirements for Cannabis Goods Reminder | Cannabis. CA.Gov.
  4. SC Labs. (2020). Rolling Papers Tested for Heavy Metals and Pesticides. Sclabs.
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