The last couple of months have been a cataclysmic disaster for the vaping community at large. The ground shifted from beneath our feet when the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) declared an outbreak of “lung injury associated with vaping products.” Two months later and the legal cannabis community have a good reason to “phew, it’s not as bad as it looks.” We’re not out of the woods yet, BUT we have been thrown a lifeline. Here’s the deal:
The Bad News
It was all bright and sunny until August 2019 when patients started exhibiting mysterious lung symptoms that have since been linked to the use of vaping products. Reported symptoms associated with what is now referred to as VAPI include:
- Progressive difficulty in breathing
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
Here are the recent stats from CDC
As of October 22, 2019, there were 1,600 reported cases of VAPI and 34 confirmed deaths. Cases have been reported in 49 states in the US with a huge concentration in California where the black market business is rife. Most of the patients who died were above 45 years.
Weed Versus Tobacco; who’s guilty?
Reports from the CDC have revealed that THC from weed is guilty as charged- that’s why we are still in the woods. However, there’s a fine line between illegal and legal THC vapes and when it’s drawn THC may just be exempted from blame.
Statistics indicate that 86% of patients with symptoms of VAPI had used THC containing products. Only 14% had used nicotine products.
Another related study conducted in Utah has shown a 92% bias to THC products sourced from the illegal black market. One online dealer that has been significantly implicated in this is the widely popular Dank Vapes.
Here’s a link to their official website which is much protected for privacy.
For a long time, marijuana has been considered the “lesser evil” of tobacco and alcohol. This is because of three reasons:
- Marijuana has therapeutic value
- Marijuana is not addictive
- Marijuana is not a major cause of death
Weed being implicated in this unfortunate incidence has obviously caused confusion and frustration. How can one thing be so good and yet so bad? One might ask.
There are a few lessons that we can harness from this. And the biggest is, not all cannabis is created equal.
Is Black Market Cannabis “Cheaper?”
Deeper investigations into the cause of VAPI have shed some light-and that’s the lifeline. Black market cannabis is significantly linked to the rising cases of VAPI while legal cannabis is not.
It has now emerged that contaminants added to vaping products may be responsible for the outbreak of lung injuries (VAPI). In Utah, 90% of cannabis products that have been tested have been found to contain a contaminant known as vitamin E acetate.
Vitamin E Acetate is a cutting agent that is frequently added to dilute vapes, it also happens to be much cheaper than THC concentrate. Unscrupulous dealers in the black market have been adding over 50% Vitamin E Acetate to cheapen the product and bump their profits. Unfortunately, this chemical compound has been associated with numerous health risks.
So far, the New York Governor has directed for the crackdown of three sellers of diluents used in illicit vaping products. The online sellers are:
- Honey Cut Labs in Santa Monica
- Floraplex Terpenes in Michigan
- Mass Terpenes in Amherst
You may part with less $$ to obtain a black-market vape cartridge, but be careful lest you part with your health and life in the process.
There’s Danger, Here’s How To Stay Safe!
Now that legal cannabis is off-the-hook, you need to find ways to keep safe while medicating or rejuvenating. Of priority is finding a licensed and reputable dealer of whatever cannabis product that you wish to purchase. Once you find a good one, stick with them!
Also, you should always abide by the mantra “start slow and go slow” when doing cannabis. Should you encounter negative symptoms do not hesitate to seek your doctor’s opinion.
Lastly, just avoid all vaping products; it’s a directive by the CDC until things clear out.