Vaping—What we know
Vaping: the action or practice of inhaling and exhaling the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.
The serious health concerns surrounding vaping is all over the news, and as cannabis vapers ourselves, we can’t ignore the overwhelming headlines. As a standard, MJ Lifestyle relies on honest and accurate research from trusted individuals who have made it their life’s mission to free the flower. Both as consumers and businesswomen, we are in the cannabis space every day, meeting, lobbying, speaking up and fighting for change.
Of the tragic cases that have been reported, most have been from black market vape oils cut with liquid agents like vitamin E acetate, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and MCT oil that are not safe to inhale. Of course, we all have serious questions, but before jumping into the hysteria, MJ Lifestyle is doing our due diligence to find answers.
Here’s what we do know:
Unregulated (i.e. black market) cannabis products cannot be trusted. They do not continuously go through certification and mandatory testing & screening that legal cannabis products are required to maintain. When purchasing from the Illicit market, there is no way for you to truly know what you are putting into your body.
In a legal state like California, there is access to licensed dispensaries and delivery systems, however, the majority of states (and still some counties within legal states) prohibit their residents from purchasing tested, legal cannabis from a legal dispensary. Cannabis taxes are high, and it sucks, but this is the only way you will know you are getting a product clean from harmful chemicals. Like the foods we eat or childcare we use, we also need to know where our cannabis is coming from. It’s a daily decision for many of us.
Cannabis prohibition remains one of this country’s most flawed policies* and until regulation is aligned throughout the states—and one day the country—it would be irresponsible of us to make any claim that all vapes from licensed dispensaries are safe. However, there is no doubt that those with access to legal dispensaries are at an advantage when it comes to purchasing safe products, including vapes.
Like yourself, we are still left questioning, “Is vaping cannabis safe?” We know that it is discreet and effective, but is it actually safer than smoking? Are the dangers in the oil and liquid agents or the metals used in the cartridges? How do I know what the safest temp is to use?
The answers aren’t simple. The inhalation of smoke or vapor will never be the healthiest way to consume plant medicine. And vaping hasn’t been around long enough to reveal what the long-term effects may be.
As more research is collected, MJ Lifestyle will continue to report on the effects of vaping. Be on the lookout later this month when we get some answers from Dr. Monica Vialpando.
*Quote for MJ Lifestyle Issue III from Jervonne Singletary, Asst. Vice President, Legislative Affairs, NYC Economic Development Corp (NYCEDC)
UPDATE—October 2, 2019
Two people in Oregon have died from a vaping-related lung illness with vaped cannabis products bought at a licensed retail store from the Oregonian. Health officials urge to stop vaping until more information is collected.
Anna Symonds, Director of Education at East Fork Cultivars shared with MJ Lifestyle that Oregon vapes are tested by regulation—but only for potency, pesticides, and mold or mildew. What products are not required to be tested (or manufacturers to disclose) are heavy metals and other additives (thinning agents, artificial colors and flavors). While these additives are GRAS ingredients, most are not safe to heat and inhale.
”This is something I've been banging the drum about for a while in my educational workshop and I'm sad that it had to come to this point for people to take notice. The industry wants to paint this as a problem of the black market and contamination—but in my opinion, there are many unsafe vape products on the LEGAL markets, with ingredients that they are legally allowed to use (currently) but just ethically shouldn't. Unfortunately, there are a lot of irresponsible manufacturers out there who just want to make a quick buck and care nothing about people's health. It's part of why education, regulation, and testing are so so crucial!”
Anna stated “Vaping flower—tested organic flower!—remains safe and healthy, assuming that the device is made of safe components (eg no leaching plastics or heavy metals.
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If it’s not already obvious, we encourage you to be aware of the products you are putting into your bodies. This is why we only share products that we have pre-screened and partner with brands we trust and believe in. We recommend sticking to products that have been lab tested and screened for additives, pesticides, solvents, and mold. Certified brands will have this information posted on their website, if they don’t, ask for it.
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For information on causes & symptoms of the Vape Pen Lung Disease, visit Leafly.com