I've given the warnings and disclaimers about vape cartridges multiple times over, but indulge me a direct copy/paste from the CDC before we get to the updates:
Until we know more, if you are concerned about these specific health risks, CDC recommends that you consider refraining from using e-cigarette or vaping products.
- There are 380* cases of lung illness reported from 36 states and 1 U.S. territory.
- The previous case count was higher because it reported possible cases that were under investigation by states. The current number includes only confirmed and probable cases reported by states to CDC after classification.
- Six deaths have been reported from 6 states.
- More from the CDC
MARYLAND MMJ PATIENTS ILL
7 medical marijuana patients from Maryland have reported symptoms similar to the vaping illness. Lots of static out there that black market vapes are the culprit, but the Gentleman knew that was BS. Are black market vapes safe? Hell no. BUT NEITHER ARE SOME DISPENSARY PRODUCTS. Pay attention to what the warnings you've received from dispensaries DON'T say. I've got dozens saying some variation of "all our products are purchased from regulated sources blah blah blah."
What they DON'T say is "our products are definitely safe." They're just presenting their point in a way that makes you think that's what they're saying. Fact is, there's no studies proving that any vape is safe. What they're actually doing is punting responsibility to the cultivators and processors. That's fair, but they should be more explicit, as I have been.
The New England Journal of Medicine published a new theory that supports New York State's Vitamin E acetate investigation. NEJM thinks the illness is antagonizing a type of white blood cell called "macrophages" in the lungs.
"When researchers examined samples from the patients’ lungs, they found in the patients’ cells the presence of lipid-laden macrophages, or macrophages that contain fat particles.
Notably, the presence of lipid-laden macrophages in a person’s lungs is also used to diagnose lipoid pneumonia, a rare type of lung condition caused by inhaling these fat particles."
Rolling Stone is all over this one, man. Three companies that manufacture diluents containing Vitamin E acetate have been subpoenaed by New York State. I think it's extremely likely that we're going to find out they supply this product to the green market as well as the black market very soon.
K2 FOUND IN CBD VAPES
"AP commissioned laboratory testing of the vape oil Jenkins used plus 29 other vape products sold as CBD around the country, with a focus on brands that authorities or users flagged as suspect. Ten of the 30 contained types of synthetic marijuana — drugs commonly known as K2 or spice that have no known medical benefits — while others had no CBD at all."
CBD vapes are unregulated and it's very likely some available for purchase contain Vitamin E acetate or other diluents, aside from concerns of K2. If you're going to purchase CBD, I urge you to shop at a store that specializes in these products and can provide Certificates of Analysis upon request. Avoid gas station CBD.
The Gentleman was quoted in Washingtonian Magazine's recent article about vape safety in DC! I told folks to avoid vaping entirely because, and this is important, THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT THE CDC SAYS. Mammajammas wanna cherry pick around the warning and quote only the second part that says stay away from black market vapes.
Dr Macias from NHHC was also quoted. You'll notice she gave the party line about obtaining products from regulated sources. She also claimed Vitamin E acetate is not allowed under the District's rules, which I'm double-checking, but doesn't say anything about any other diluent that might be used.
Some might say that blaming black market vapes is the right strategy for marijuana reform advocates. But if green market companies use diluents in their vapes as I suspect (and can prove in at least one case), then better we get it all out in the open and clean house now than wait for it to bite us in the ass down the road.
Let me tell you what I think is really happening:
Given the small number of cases across the country versus the prevalence of vape cartridges, along with the suddenness of the outbreak, I think what we're seeing is a bad reaction to a new formulation in predisposed/at-risk patients, and not the public at large. Otherwise, there'd be a helluva lot more than 380 cases.
But since we don't know which patients are at risk and which aren't, extreme caution is warranted for all patients and consumers AND I AM NOT OVERREACTING.
IS VAPING FLOWER SAFE?
A few people have asked me to differentiate between flower consumed through a vaporizer and vape cartridges. The terminology is muddied at this point, so I'll clarify.
Vaping flower through a PAX or similar device is a completely different beast that doesn't involve oil or any other chemicals like a vape cartridge does. My gut feeling is that vaping flower is safe, at least compared to vape cartridges. HOWEVER- if you've used one of these vaporizers, then you know they get dirty and clogged with an oily resin, just like a bowl or bong would. Could you be inhaling that resin? It's definitely possible.
APPROVED DC VAPES
I have removed the few vapes that I could only confirm authenticity from my recommended list. The current recommended list is Hidden Leaf, DC TeaPad, and Green Label. That's it. But I can't say for certain that any vape is safe today. They're simply what GT considers good quality.