Ingredient in Marijuana Vapes Possibly Responsible for Recent Deaths, Says CDC
In the last few weeks, anti-vaping hysteria erupted following a string of illnesses and one death associated with the practice. According to an August 30th article in The Washington Post, a total of 354 patients may be suffering from lung-related illness as a result of vaping.
Also known as “e-cigarettes,” vaping began as a smoking cessation aid. Using liquids containing a mix of propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), flavourings (which can be a variety of different FDA-approved chemicals) and nicotine, vaping became quite popular as an alternative to conventional cigarettes.
Understandably, it did not take long for the technology to adapt for consuming cannabinoids. However, the recipe is much different.
According to an update by The Washington Post, the ingredient potentially responsible for these illnesses is not VG or PG.
Although experts are not completely certain that they found the culprit, there is an eerie correlation that should at least give cannabis vapers cause for concern.
Vitamin E Acetate
Vitamin E acetate is an oil extracted from vitamin E. Like PG and VG, the product is safe to ingest. However, nothing is known about the risks (if any) of inhaling it. However, there is cause for concern, as The Washington Post explains:
“[Vitamin E acetate] sounds harmless, experts said, but its molecular structure could make it hazardous when inhaled. Its oil-like properties could be associated with the kinds of respiratory symptoms that many patients have reported: cough, shortness of breath and chest pain, officials said.”
One compelling fact is that the oil was a common denominator in virtually all the samples. According to the New York State Department of Health:
“At least one vitamin E acetate containing vape product has been linked to each patient who submitted a product for testing. Vitamin E acetate is not an approved additive for New York State Medical Marijuana Program-authorized vape products and was not seen in the nicotine-based products that were tested.”
Understanding the Difference
To those who are familiar with vaping and vaping technology, it comes as no surprise that vitamin E acetate is not present in conventional e-liquids. Nicotine vapes use PG/VG e-liquids, while THC products use vape oils. E-liquids and oils require different tanks to work. Placing oil in an e-liquid device will – at best – burn the coil and be extremely harsh to inhale.
However, nicotine vapes are not home free. While the vast majority of sick patients report using THC vapes from both legal and illegal sources, The Washington Post warns:
“Many of those who have fallen ill say they have vaped products containing marijuana, but others said they used traditional nicotine e-cigarettes. Many report using both. Authorities said they are not ruling out adulterants in nicotine vaping products.”
High-quality e-liquids do not usually contain adulterants, but they appear to be rather common in highly popular CBD e-liquids.
The vitamin E acetate lead is a good start, but investigators say that this is far from conclusive. According to The Washington Post:
“Although the discovery of a common chemical in lab tests from the FDA and New York’s highly regarded Wadsworth Center lab offers a potential lead, officials cautioned that they are a long way from understanding what exactly is making so many people sick.”
With cases rising every day, however, time is of the essence to find the cause and alert the public.
Meanwhile, it is best for individuals to avoid THC products and carefully research the ingredients in their conventional e-liquids as well.
WeedAdvisor’s Focus on Industry Safety
Product safety has always been something WeedAdvisor not only supports, but also actively helps with. Thanks to our business solutions, manufacturers have a way to easily remain compliant with regulations, which include quality control.
The spike in vape-related illnesses is truly disturbing. But given that a good portion of these THC products were obtained illegally, it is also not very surprising.
Given the nature of the recent discoveries, we urge consumers to uses caution when purchasing their products and to avoid anything from street dealers or grey market dispensaries.