The issue of adulterants in cannabis vape products has once again resurfaced as the Pennsylvania Office of Medical Marijuana issued a notice to medical cannabis patients on February 4, 2022 advising them of a recall of over 500 different products containing substances not suitable for inhalation. The problem was first brought to light when the VAPI (vaping associated pulmonary injury) crisis occurred in 2019, which sickened over 2,800 people and killed at least 68. The source of the outbreak was linked to the use of Vitamin E acetate and other diluents that are more likely to be found in illicit market vapes than legal market products.
Pennsylvania is not the only state to conduct recalls of vaping products though. In 2020, Oregon asked retailers to voluntarily recall vape products containing squalene and squalane, chemicals that were also linked to the VAPI crisis and Michigan issued a recall of almost 10,000 vape products over concerns of Vitamin E acetate use.
The extraction process, designed to get the cannabinoids out of the flower and into a concentrated form, oftentimes strips other materials away, some of them not needed like fats and chlorophyll, but some, like the terpenes, are needed as they have properties that both aid in the medical benefit of cannabis and also provide the taste and smell that cannabis is known for. In order to put the taste and smell back into a product, terpenes may be added back into the concentrate, however some of the terpenes may be synthetic and break down into potentially dangerous substances when vaporized and inhaled into the lungs.
In response to this issue, many states have put bans on the use of Vitamin E acetate, squalene, squalane, and other related substances. This doesn’t stop the illicit market from using these substances though and purchasers should utilize the legal cannabis market where products are more likely to be tested and labeled.
Join us for a free webinar on March 15, 2022 at 3pm EST/12pm PST as we discuss cannabis adulterants and how you can watch out for potentially harmful products.