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THC VAPING: FACTS & FICTION

There has been a lot in the news recently about lung diseases associated with vaping products. Much of the news coverage has identified “illicit THC” vaping products as being the main culprit – but how much of this news coverage is truth, based on facts, and how much of the media coverage is fear-mongering and misinformation? This blog-post will attempt to put inform the public about some of the facts about THC vapes, and dispel some of the fiction that has been disseminated by the news media.

FACT: LUNG DISEASES HAVE DEVELOPED IN PEOPLE AFTER VAPING PRODUCTS THAT CONTAINED THC.

In a press release from October 8, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), informed the following regarding the outbreak of vape associated lung diseases:

  • 1,299 cases of lung disease associated with some type of vaping
  • Twenty-six deaths have been reported in 21 states in the US
  • Most patients reported a history of using tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing products. The latest national and state findings suggest products containing THC, particularly those obtained off the street or from other informal sources. (e.g. friends, illicit dealers), are linked to most of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak.
  • Exclusive use of nicotine containing products has been reported by some patients with lung injury cases, and many patients with lung injury report combined use of THC- and nicotine-containing products. The possibility that nicotine-containing products play a role in this outbreak cannot be excluded.

FICTION: VAPING THC IS A CAUSE OF LUNG DISEASES

As with all illicit drugs, they are not regulated. Because they are not regulated, some of the vaping products that are being sold on the black market contain additives and flavorings that are linked to lung diseases. HOWEVER, the THC itself is NOT the cause of the outbreak of lung diseases!
It’s not clear how often vaping might lead to lung trouble or who is at highest risk. For example, are lung problems more common among vapers who already have breathing problems (such as asthma) or who use marijuana? Is it more common among younger individuals? Does use of e-cigarettes cause the lung disease? Or is an added substance (such as marijuana) or another contaminant the culprit? Since the FDA does not actively regulate e-cigarettes, it’s particularly difficult to get answers.

FACT: MORE CASES OF LUNG DISEASE HAVE DEVELOPED IN THOSE VAPING ILLICITLY MANUFACTURED THC

Most of those that have been diagnoses with a vaping related lung illness reported a history of vaping (THC)-containing vaping products. This has been reported in numerous stories in the media (albeit in a misleading way).

FICTION: VAPING LEGAL THC CONTAINING VAPING PRODUCTS IS DANGEROUS

There has not been a single reported vape related illness from the use of legally obtained THC containing vaping products. I challenge anyone to come forward with information about a vaping related illness where someone never consumed an illicit THC containing product (and I will happily change my position).

BEFORE YOU PLEAD GUILTY TO POSSESSION OF THC…

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