The news has been absolutely inundated this year with stories of vaping related injuries & even deaths from people using black-market vape cartridges.
Luckily, there’s an easy solution to help mitigate risk & vape safe- only purchase cartridges from reputable & licensed dispensaries.
Over the course of this post, we’ll give some background on the issue at hand including the associated risks, the root of the problem and the reasons why you should always shop with licensed vendors you trust in order to vape safely.
What is VAPI?
VAPI is an abbreviation for “vaping associated pulmonary injury.”
Pulmonary injuries are conditions that affect your lungs & respiratory system.
As it currently stands, there have been nearly 2,500 cases of VAPI in the United States this year across every state except Alaska.
Serious cases have resulted in death though the number of confirmed cases is beginning to taper off now that knowledge of the issue has become more widespread, with more & more people being conscious about ways to practice vape safety.
The symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain, dizziness & fever according to the CDC, but it can vary on a case by case basis.
If you or anyone you know experience these symptoms after use, it’s highly recommended to seek out a physician & bring the cartridge in question for analysis.
NOTE: The CDC has renamed VAPI to EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury), but as you’ll learn in the next section- the confirmed cases stem from illicit THC & CBD cartridges as opposed to nicotine.
What’s the root cause?
As this is an ongoing issue and vape cartridges are a somewhat new product, we still have much to learn about all of the potential causes of VAPI.
However, continued analysis of cartridge samples linked to confirmed VAPI cases has shown that the presence of adulterants is one of the leading factors.
Black-market cartridge producers have continuously sought out ways to cut their products in order to increase profits & minimize costs.
One of the most widespread methods utilizes a thickening agent like vitamin E acetate due to its low cost & its ability to visibly blend in when mixed with the THC or CBD oil commonly used in vape cartridges.
Vitamin E acetate is used in various products like lotions and even things like gummies, but studies have shown that it’s dangerous to inhale.
In an investigative piece by Leafly regarding vape safety, one of the key resellers of these cutting agents was Honey Cut- a company formerly based out of Los Angeles.
According to the piece, Honey Cut would import vitamin E acetate from China for anywhere between $10 to $45 per liter & then re-sell their formulation to black-market cartridge producers for upwards of $1,300 per liter.
While the company has gone dark within the last few months, their product is still being utilized & it’s incredibly likely that several other companies have stepped up in their absence.
What precautions can I take to vape safe?
In data from BDS Analytics, one of the leading companies in dispensary sales reports, vape cartridges continue to lead all cannabis products in sales.
With this in mind & the fact confirmed cases of VAPI are on the decline, it’s clear that the public is becoming more informed about the dangers of black-market vape cartridges & seeking out ways to vape safely.
Public health officials have strongly urged consumers to avoid purchasing vape cartridges from unregulated vendors.
Information from a September report published by the CDC stated that “nearly all THC-containing products reported were packaged, prefilled cartridges that were primarily acquired from informal sources such as friends, family members, illicit dealers, or off the street.”
The best way to vape safe & safeguard yourself from chances of injury should you continue to use vape cartridges is by seeking out licensed dispensaries.
“You don’t buy milk and meat from a stranger off the back of a truck in a dark alley. The same common sense rule applies to vaping. Where there is oversight, there’s less malfeasance.”David Downs
In California, you can go through the Bureau of Cannabis Control to determine whether your favorite place of business is indeed licensed by the state.
The BCC & licensing entities in other states have set forth rigorous testing guidelines for dispensaries & the products they carry as opposed to the street vendors who have contributed to the proliferation of VAPI.
At THCSD, you can be sure that anything we carry on our shelves has been tested & our knowledgeable staff is here to ensure you have everything you need to make an informed purchase, giving you peace of mind in knowing you will vape safely.