IS YOUR CANNABIS VAPE PEN SAFE?
Vape pens are a convenient way to consume cannabis. However, lately the news has come out with some terrifying headlines. According to Marijuana Business Daily, U.S. health officials have identified 450 cases, including 7 deaths, due to vaping. But the numbers are all over the place. Business insider reported 530 cases. Who really knows... What we do know is that the outbreaks have been linked to both e-cigarettes and cannabis vaping products. Causing both cannabis consumers and legitimate cannabis vape companies to panic. Sales of cartridges have gone down since the news started to spread.
The consistent fact coming from all sources is that all products linked to these cases are coming from the illicit market. According to the California Cannabis Industry Association, “it is important to note that cannabis vaping products purchased at licensed cannabis businesses have not been linked to these illnesses." Investigations are currently attributing illnesses in California to unassessed products purchased from the illicit market." These cartridges are not lab tested and aren’t even available in local legitimate dispensaries.
In states where cannabis is legal, like California, consumers still are purchasing from the illegal market. We can only assume it is to avoid the steep taxes that come from ordering through a dispensary. We get it, times are hard and we want to get the most THC/CBD bang for our buck. But our health is important and no amount of savings is worth permanently damaging your lungs or even dying over.
It’s unclear still but tocopheryl-acetate, aka vitamin E acetate, is being targeted as the harmful ingredient in these cartridges. It is being used as an additive to thicken the cannabis oil. It’s even more unclear as to why it’s even being added. Vitamin E is normally taken as a capsule orally for health benefits but consuming it through smoking is dangerous for your lungs. It basically bonds to your lungs liner fluid and suffocates you.
These cases are tragic, but it is a reminder for the public to educate themselves on the ingredients that they are consuming. This task may seem daunting but we promise it’s a lot simpler than you think.
So, how do you know your vape cartridge isn’t a counterfeit?
Legal dispensaries only work with legal brands that have a third party laboratory that tests their products. At the laboratories, the products are initially quarantined to typically test cannabis for residual solvents, physical and microbial contamination, potency, and terpenes.
Be wary of companies who have promoted unlicensed businesses. These illicit dispensaries and money-hungry companies are damaging to the wellness and integrity of the beautiful plant of cannabis. We’re just trying to get high, not die.
Weedmaps is the most commonly used dispensary finder; it’s basically like Yelp for cannabis. The company was exposed for promoting almost 2,000 unlicensed retailers in February 2018. Since then, Weedmaps now requires companies to have a state license number to verify their legitimacy. You can find a business license usually on the company’s website and if you are buying vape in a legal state, make sure it has manufacturer info and lab results. If you are purchasing products in California you can search for licensed retail locations on CApotcheck.com
The lesson here is to protect your health and wellbeing while consuming your cannabis. If you purchase from illegal means you are running the risk of unknown and the possibility that whatever you choose to consume may be harmful to you. In our opinion, purchasing through legal outlets is the best way to know your products are safe.
Written by Felicia Harder & Rebecca Victoria