With Apologies to Metallica: Dangers of Mixing Heavy Metal & Marijuana

Here’s a crazy but true fact: cannabis plants are used as living vacuum cleaners that suck radioactivity out of the ground at the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site in Russia.

Cannabis is so efficient at sucking in and storing materials that it’s included in a category of plants called “accumulator plants.”

But the accumulation power of marijuana plants creates a problem for those of us who grow cannabis.


Because fertilizers, water, soil, air, and root zone media sometimes contain toxic heavy metals and other pollutants that your marijuana plants suck in and store.

When you consume polluted buds, you’re dosing yourself with arsenic, nickel, lead, mercury, iron, copper, zinc, and even cadmium.

Many of these are “heavy metals” that enter cannabis primarily via contaminated hydroponics nutrients, fertilizers, and soils.

Potential negative health effects include cancers, tumors, nerve damage, kidney problems, depression, and bone marrow loss!

What makes this situation even more worrisome for marijuana growers is that our beloved phosphorus—the cherished P of the NPK powerhouse—is often a carrier material containing radiation and heavy metals.

Phosphorus is a natural chelator that easily binds with toxic substances such as heavy metals.

Raw phosphate deposits contain large amounts of toxic contamination.

We all know about the natural occurrence of “phosphorescence,” which is why materials coated with phosphorus glow in the dark.

Almost all the hydroponics nutrients, soil, and fertilizer company products sold you in hydroponics stores give you an old school phosphorus-heavy approach to feeding your plants.

They load your cannabis plants with way more phosphorus than your plants really need, especially in bloom phase.

Not only does this create an imbalance in your marijuana plants and root zones that interferes with plant growth, health, and yield—it stores toxic heavy metals and radiation in your crops.

Cannabis plants and those who inhale them also see problems from zinc, which is an essential nutrient that may contain lead, cadmium, and mercury.

Hydroponics nutrients and fertilizer manufacturers know that many substances used in their products may contain heavy metals and other contaminants.

They have to decide whether they’ll spend the extra money to source, process, and use “pharmaceutical-grade” versions of essential nutrient elements.

You might believe that the “heavy metals analysis” statements on fertilizer labels show you and your cannabis plants are being protected.

But the harsh truth is fertilizer regulatory standards don’t protect us, and neither do most fertilizer manufacturers.

When I contacted General Hydroponics, Botanicare, House and Garden, Canna, Rock, Advanced Nutrients, Dutch Master, and other hydroponics nutrients companies, I discovered only Advanced Nutrients is dedicated to eliminating heavy metals and other marijuana contaminants in their marijuana fertilizers and hydroponics nutrients.

Advanced Nutrients grower support staff told me they use only “pharmaceutical-grade metal salts, proteinates, and alaninates,” which they say eliminates cannabis contamination issues.

They also told me all their products—especially their bloom boosters—use “the right amount of phosphorus relative to nitrogen and potassium instead of the P overdose you find in other brands.”

Along with avoiding contamination caused by excess and potentially radioactive phosphorus, Advanced Nutrients says their feed programs (“because we have the right amounts and types of phosphorus”) create stronger crops that produce larger, cleaner buds with more THC and other cannabinoids.

I thought the Advanced Nutrients people were just trying to sell me stuff, so I challenged their claims.

They sent me a scientific paper showing that marijuana plants grown with their fertilizers are cleaner and higher-yielding, with more THC and other cannabinoids.

I always do a thorough crop flush just before harvest, but I learned that’s not enough to protect me and other people who consume my buds.

So I switched to Advanced Nutrients for my marijuana nutrients, because I don’t want to glow in the dark!

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