The mysterious vaping illness story continues to eclipse any other marijuana news and is attributed with two deaths nationwide (out of approximately 300 cases). One died in Illinois but officials have not stated whether he used a marijuana or nicotine vape. Another died in Oregon after reportedly buying a cartridge from a recreational dispensary.
Many licensed marijuana businesses would like to say that only black market products are to blame and their products are totally safe, but that is not our understanding today.
Last week the Washington Post published an article that states Vitamin E oil was found in many of NY state's test samples of black market vape products, but was absent from their nicotine or medical program samples. Vitamin E oil is now the prime suspect in the NY investigation.
The CDC isn't ready to call it yet. As I've cautioned many people recently, this investigation isn't half done yet! People have written me asking whether I could confirm which vapes use Vitamin E oil as I did with the fakes and the lead contamination. The answer is no and here's why:
- There is a very good chance that this time next week another chemical could be to blame, or five, or twenty, or some interaction between them. It is premature at this stage to assign blame to any particular chemical.
- Chemical composition and contamination are beyond my ability to personally confirm. You need a lab for that and there isn't one in DC or Maryland that consumers or patients can use. I would only be able to tell you what brands self-report.
- That being said, the extraction team that produces my favorite vapes in DC for Green Label, DC TeaPad, and Hidden Leaf has self-reported they do not use Vitamin E oil. I am inclined to leT these recommendations stand in the interest of harm reduction. However…
- It may be the case that vaping- not specific to marijuana or nicotine but the very act of vaping- is what's making people sick. That means it is possible there is NO safe vape to consume, and so I must advise you to
STOP VAPING RIGHT NOW TODAY STOP IT.
The convenience of a vape cartridge is not worth risking your health. There are other ways to medicate and you should seek those out until we get the All Clear from the CDC.
GentlemanToker first warned the public about fake vape cartridges in the DC area back in March. Here's a compilation of recent news stories regarding the vaping illness for more information:
9/10/19: Three Companies Subpoenaed in Weed Vape Illness Investigation (ROLLING STONE)
9/6/19: Contaminant found in marijuana vaping products linked to deadly lung illnesses, tests show (WASHINGTON POST)
9/6/19: Oregon death is 2nd linked to vaping, 1st tied to marijuana shop product (FOX 5 DC)
9/6/19: The mysterious rash of vaping lung illnesses is hitting young marijuana users especially hard, and experts still don’t know why (INSIDER)
8/31/19: The Mysterious Vaping Illness That’s ‘Becoming an Epidemic’ (NY TIMES)
8/30/19: In Maryland and across the country, the health downfalls of vaping keep mounting (BALTIMORE SUN)
8/29/19: Federal Public Health Agencies Remain Fairly Quiet As Vaping Cases Continue To Climb Across At Least 22 States (KAISER HEALTH NEWS)
And finally, the first regional report I found and shared weeks ago before the story got big:
8/19/19: CDC: 100 cases of lung illnesses appear to be linked to vaping (WSET)