Updated (9/11/2019 10:50 AM Pacific Standard Time)
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are joining a growing chorus of public officials tweeting and demanding action in response to the recent uptick in vape-linked illnesses and deaths. On Sept. 11, Trump announced his plan to hold a same-day policy discussion with federal health experts on how his administration can address the issue of e-cigarettes and vapes. So far, Trump has not made any decisions about possible steps or actions the federal government might take to help curb vape-linked sicknesses, according to an administration official who spoke with NBC News.
Federal health authorities like the CDC have already issued advisories and reports on the unknown lung illnesses impacting people who vape. Around the country, state and municipal governments are moving to follow Michigan’s decision to prohibit the sale of flavored e-cigarette products. U.S. lawmakers are also demanding effective action. On Sept.10, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) urged the U.S. FDA to issue a recall on e-cigarettes.
If all the recent news about vape-related deaths and illnesses has you casting suspicious glances at your cartridges and concentrates, you aren’t alone. Reports of hospitalizations due to vaping are surging around the United States, with 450 cases currently under investigation. Yet health officials have yet to pinpoint an exact cause of the illnesses and deaths. They also haven’t been able to link the illnesses to any specific product, as reports involve both cannabis and nicotine vapes. But we aren’t completely in the dark, either. So as this story continues to develop, here’s everything we know so far about the recent vape-linked deaths and illnesses.
Here’s What “Vape Lung” is Like, According to One Patient
Hopefully, you don’t know anyone and are not yourself someone who has experienced severe lung distress due to vaping cannabis or anything else. The experience is a miserable and long-lasting one. Just ask Jackie Gomez, a resident of Los Angeles who spent days in the hospital after developing what doctors diagnosed as necrotizing pneumonia. Gomez told High Times she thinks the DANK vape cartridges she had been consuming may be to blame.
Gomez says it started as a tickle in her throat. That tickle soon became irritation. Then the muscle soreness started, the loss of appetite, the coughing and the vomiting. When Gomez noticed her phlegm was dark brown and tasted putrid, she knew something was up and checked herself into an urgent care center. After a chest X-ray, Gomez ended up in the emergency room.
That was the start of a weeks-long stay in the hospital. Doctors tested Gomez for everything from TB to HIV to bacterial and viral infections. But even after a test of her lung tissue, doctors couldn’t come up with a conclusive result. In the end, it took Gomez a month of IV antibiotic treatments to fully recover from the lung infection. Her doctors still don’t know what could have caused such a severe illness.
Gomez says doctors and specialists regularly asked her about her smoking habits. But she says they never asked what she was smoking or how. The doctors seemed to assume it was a tobacco product, Gomez said. They never asked her directly about cannabis consumption.
Gomez’ experience was terrible. And she isn’t alone. But as in her case, health specialists are struggling to come up with answers for those suffering from vape-related illnesses.
Vape-Linked Lung Problems Hit the Midwest in August
Reports of vape-linked health issues began surfacing about a month ago, when 22 midwesterners were hospitalized for breathing problems linked to vaping. The incidents impacted vape consumers across Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois. But despite identifying patterns common to all the cases, doctors were unable to determine an exact reason or cause of the patients’ lung distress.
Many of the patients were young, and some were vaping both nicotine e-cigarettes and THC cartridges. One person, 26-year-old Dylan Nelson, was so sick after consuming an illicit THC cartridge that doctors placed him in a medically-induced coma.
Vape-Related Hospitalizations Surge in California, New York
Just days after the outbreak of vape-related lung illnesses in the midwest, California health officials issued a public warning after seven people fell ill with pneumonia-like symptoms after vaping. Some of the patients became so ill that they were placed in intensive care units and placed on breathing machines. Patients suffered from shallow and rapid breathing, low blood oxygen levels, low blood pressure, confusion and tiredness. And all seven of them had recently vaped THC and CBD oil cartridges obtained from unlicensed retailers.
Meanwhile, New York health officials began warning health care providers to be on the lookout for vape-linked pulmonary illness. At the time, the New York Department of Health was investigating 11 cases of lung problems linked to vape consumption. And it was those investigations that finally provided the first possible answer to the mysterious vape-linked illnesses.
New York Health Department Identifies Vitamin E Acetate as Potential Cause of Vaping Illnesses
On September 5, the New York Department of Health announced that it believed the vape-related illnesses across the state could be the result of people vaping vitamin E acetate. Lab analysis of the vape products that landed 11 New Yorkers in the hospital showed that nearly all contained very high levels of vitamin E acetate.
The discovery completely altered the focus of other ongoing investigations, shifting the spotlight to cannabis products, not e-cigarettes. “It is really starting to look like this is a cannabis vaping issue and that it may not have anything to do with e-cigarettes,” Boston University professor of public health Michael Siegel told USA Today. Those findings were then backed by the Food and Drug Administration.
“Vape-Lung” Fears Spread to Canada
In just a matter of weeks, more than 350 cases of “vape lung” had been reported across the United States. And it became increasingly clear that the handful of vape-linked deaths were likely caused by cannabis vaping products. The problem, however, was that no one could determine which products were causing the harm.
Most of the cases across the U.S. stemmed from THC vape cartridges obtained on the illicit market. This led many to assume that counterfeit or unregulated concentrates were to blame. But after officials in Oregon linked the death of one vape consumer to a cartridge purchased in a licensed dispensary, those assumptions went out the window. “At this point, we don’t really know what is safe,” said Dr. Ann Thomas, a pediatrician and public health physician in charge of Oregon’s incident management team.
In light of the rapidly spreading epidemic of cannabis vape-related illnesses, and the uncertainty over its cause, federal health officials in Canada issued a health advisory against vaping of any kind.
As of Today, Six U.S. Deaths Linked to Vaping Cannabis, Nicotine
By early September, the CDC-confirmed death toll from vaping had climbed to five people. The death in Oregon, however, has so far been the only fatality linked to a cannabis vape product. Still, all of the deaths resulted from severe lung illnesses and breathing difficulties likely caused by vaping. In each case, symptoms mirrored serious respiratory diseases like pneumonia. But experts still aren’t sure what the root cause is. It could be contaminants in illicit products, common ingredients, the concentrate or the device or cartridge itself.
Then, on September 10, the vaping-related death toll rose to six, with the passing of a resident of Kansas. Like the other cases, the Kansas death resulted from an unknown respiratory illness linked to vaping. We don’t know much about the patient who died in Kansas, except that the individual was over 50 years of age and had a history of health issues, according to a hospital statement. The day before, the American Medical Association issued a warning urging Americans to stop using any kind of vaping device or e-cigarette. It’s so far unclear what kind of product the patient in Kansas had consumed.
Also this week, a Texas high school student collapsed after hitting a vape pen containing cannabis. According to reports, the student passed out immediately after hitting the vape and was unresponsive. Emergency responders transported the Texas teenager to a local children’s hospital. Across the country, cases of vape-linked illnesses had surged to more than 450.
Regulators Aren’t Equipped to Handle Changing Concentrate Formulas
Prior to the popularization of vaping, cannabis had a track record of causing not one overdose death. On its own, cannabis is very safe. But now, cannabis products have claimed at least one life, even if THC isn’t to blame. Clearly, there’s something in the vape cartridges causing serious lung illnesses. And currently, experts’ best guess is that that something is vitamin E acetate.
Vitamin E acetate isn’t just in illicit vape cartridges, either. You’ll find it in certified cannabis products that have passed the tests regulators require. State agencies, like the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, have cleared vape products with vitamin E acetate for sale in licensed retail shops. Vitamin E acetate is a common additive in vaping liquids.
Furthermore, extract manufacturers regularly experiment with new concentrate formulas, trying out different diluents and thickeners. Regulators can barely keep up. There are even different versions of vitamin E acetate, and state agencies don’t really require testing for them. As a result, completely untested varieties of vitamin E acetate are ending up in cartridges on cannabis store shelves.
The Cannabis Industry Responds to Rash of Vape-Linked Illnesses and Deaths
Amid these growing fears that dangerous and deadly vape products are everywhere, some in the cannabis industry are taking action. In Portland, for example, Connoisseur Concentrates has stopped the sale of its signature “Clear Cut” line of concentrate diluent. Clear Cut, which dilutes viscous cannabis oils, contains vitamin E acetate, according to company owner Andrew Jones.
In Michigan, one cannabis business is following the governor’s lead in getting e-cigarette products out of consumers’ hands. Last week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer authorized a ban on all flavored e-cigarette products. But for those who had already purchased e-cigarette products, two cannabis companies came together to offer a potentially life-saving deal.
Greenhouse, a medical marijuana provisioning center in Walled Lake, and Platinum Vape, partnered to give away $50,000 in cannabis products. For five-days running from September 11 to 15, Greenhouse is running a promotion where people can bring in any nicotine vape product—even if it’s empty—and exchange it for CBD or THC products at no cost. Greenhouse only sells state-licensed and lab-tested cannabis products, including its THC vape pens. Michiganders without medical cannabis cards can also participate in the promotion. They’ll get CBD products for their nicotine trade-ins. “I think vaping THC or CBD is way better for you than nicotine,” said Greenhouse owner Jerry Millen.
Still No Definite Cause to Vape-Linked Lung Illnesses
Public health officials are getting closer, but right now there’s no definite cause to the increasing number of vape-linked illnesses. That’s why health experts across the United States and Canada are urging people to refrain from vaping, especially unregulated, untested products, until scientists can provide an answer.
For cannabis consumers like you, the best thing to do is make sure you know what you’re inhaling when you vape. Buy from licensed sellers who can show you verified lab test results of vaping products. Make sure you can tell what’s inside your vape pen. Avoid products with vitamin E acetate. As the tragic death in Oregon shows, this isn’t foolproof, but it will increase your chances of avoiding a trip to the hospital or worse.
The post [UPDATED] Everything We Know So Far About The Recent Vape-Linked Deaths and Illnesses appeared first on High Times.
1. What is CBD? What is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring constituent of industrial hemp/cannabis. Its formula is C21H30O2 and it has a molecular mass of 314.4636. It is the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and is being scientifically investigated for various reasons.
CBD oil is a cannabis oil (whether derived from marijuana or industrial hemp, as the word cannabis is the latin genus name for both) that has significant amounts of cannabidiol (CBD) contained within it. Our CBD products and extracts are derived from industrial hemp, so they could be considered CBD-rich hemp oil, hemp derived CBD oil, CBD-rich cannabis oil, or plainly “hemp extracts” since they typically contain much more than just CBD. Again, cannabis doesn’t mean marijuana, but is the genus name, and general umbrella term which all forms of marijuana and hemp fall under. The form of cannabis we use for our CBD and hemp extracts is industrial hemp; we do not sell marijuana.
2. If a hemp extract is 40% cannabinoids, what’s the other 60%? What’s in your hemp extracts besides the naturally occurring cannabinoids?
Our Kentucky hemp extracts contain over 80 different phyto-cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), CBC, CBG, CBN, etc.. In addition to the cannabinoids naturally present in our agricultural hemp extracts, there are also many other types of natural molecules and phyto-chemical compounds such as amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins (including B1, B2, B6, D), fatty acids (including omega 3 & 6), trace minerals (including iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium), beta-carotene, chlorophyll, flavanoids, ketones, nitrogenous compounds, alkanes, glycosides, pigments, water, and terpenes. The most common terpenes in our hemp extracts are Myrcene, Beta-caryophyllene, Terpinolene, Linalool, alpha-Pinene, beta-Pinene, Nerolidol og Phytol, trans-alpha-Bergamotene, Limonene/ beta-Phellandrene (Co-elution), and alpha-Humulene.
3. What’s the difference between Hemp and Marijuana?
Scientifically, industrial Hemp and Marijuana are the same plant, with a genus and species name of Cannabis Sativa. They have a drastically different genetic profile though. Industrial Hemp is always a strain of Cannabis sativa, while marijuana can be Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, or Cannabis ruderalis. The major difference is how industrial hemp has been bred compared to a marijuana form of Cannabis sativa. Typically speaking, industrial hemp is very fibrous, with long strong stalks, and barely has any flowering buds, while a marijuana strain of Cannabis sativa will be smaller, bushier, and full of flowering buds. However, newer industrial hemp varieties in the USA are being bred to have more flowers and higher yields of cannabinoids and terpenes, such as our Kentucky hemp we’re now using!
99% of the time marijuana has a high amount of THC and only a very low amount of CBD. Hemp, on the other hand, naturally has a very high amount of CBD in most instances, and only a trace amount of THC. Fortunately, the cannabinoid profile of hemp is ideal for people looking for benefits from cannabis without the ‘high.’ Hemp is used for making herbal supplements, food, fiber, rope, paper, bricks, oil, natural plastic, and so much more, whereas marijuana is usually used just recreationally, spiritually, and medicinally. The term cannabis oil can refer to either a marijuana or hemp derived oil, since marijuana and hemp are two different forms of cannabis.
In the USA the legal definition of “industrial hemp,” per Section 7606 of the Agricultural Appropriations Act of 2014, is “INDUSTRIAL HEMP — The term ‘‘industrial hemp’’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
4. Are hemp derived cannabinoids such as CBD as good as CBD from marijuana?
The short answer is yes. CBD is CBD, whether from marijuana or hemp. Most marijuana has a very low non-psychoactive cannabinoid profile (like CBD, CBC, CBG), so most of the time hemp would be much more preferable for anything besides THC. Marijuana is usually very high in THC (gives people the high) but usually very low in other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.
Nowadays in the USA, many farmers are growing industrial hemp flowers that are just as beautiful, odor-producing, and terpene rich as the best marijuana strains, such as our partnered farmers in Kentucky.
5. Why don’t you source your Hemp and CBD from within Colorado?
We feel that the hemp program in Kentucky is more well suited for our company in regards to growing hemp, and that because it’s 100% compliant with Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill (and the 2016 Agricultural Appropriations Act), procuring it from there is perfectly legal at the federal level. Kentucky’s ecology is perfect for hemp just as it is for tobacco. The growing season is longer than in Colorado, and the soil is richer, so the quality of the hemp and the yields are better.
6. What’s the percentage of cannabinoids and CBD in your product?
Our raw extracts have varying percentages of cannabinoid and cannabidiol (CBD) content, the range being 10%-99%. Each product has a unique formulation and uses varying ratios of our extract types. Our CBD Isolate is over 99% pure CBD.
7. What is the best method of use?
For our dietary supplements we can only recommend them for internal consumption. Our CBD isolate is for research purposes only. If you don’t like the flavor of the oil supplements, you can mix with something sweet like apple sauce or honey to cut through the flavor.
8. What’s the ideal serving size for me, and how often should I take it?
There is no easy answer to this. Our starting recommended serving size is 15 drops but we generally recommend experimenting to see what feels best to you. Some prefer 5 drops, some prefer over 50 drops per day.
9. What is the safety of your hemp extracts? Are there negative side effects?
Hemp is considered by many to be generally safe. We’ve never seen or heard of any significant or negative side effects in our years in the industry. That said, we can’t rule them out. Please consult with your physician before using any dietary supplement including Hemp extract supplements.
10. Which of your CBD and hemp products should I get?
As a company who sells various dietary and food supplements, we can’t suggest any of our products for the prevention, treatment or cure of any disease or ailment.
When considering our different dietary hemp products, know that they all come in two strengths. Our Original Hemp blends (Classic Hemp Blend, Hemp Complete, Brainpower oil, & Signature Blend) all have 250+mg of cannabinoids per fluid ounce, and our concentrated blends have 1,500+mg per fluid ounce, six times the potency of our traditional oils. We’ve found that sometimes less is more, but nevertheless, some people like to take very large serving sizes of our hemp extracts.
The main difference between the four Original Blends is the additional herbal ingredients besides hemp. We suggest you research the separate components of each blend to determine which product may be most appealing to add to your dietary regimen. If you know it’s solely the hemp extract that you are looking for, with no additional ingredients, then Classic Hemp Blend or Classic Hemp 6x is what you’re looking for.
For dabbing and vaporizing or for research you can try our CBD Isolate.
THOSE WHO SUSPECT THEY MAY HAVE A DISEASE OR ARE SEEKING HELP FOR A DISEASE SHOULD CONSULT A QUALIFIED MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.
11. Why do people use Hemp Extracts and CBD? What are the benefits and uses of CBD?
In accordance with federal regulations we cannot make health claims regarding our dietary supplement products. We can only recommend our products for general wellness.
12. Is a standard hemp seed oil the same as a high-CBD hemp extract?
Absolutely not. Standard hemp oil, which can be found very cheaply at a grocery store, is a much different product than our CO2 hemp extracts (not from seed). Standard hemp oil is produced by cold pressing the seeds, whereas our hemp extract is a supercritical CO2 extraction of the hemp plant itself, not the seeds. Hemp seed oil is considered to be a great nutritive food, but it doesn’t have the naturally occurring terpenes, cannabinoids and other components that our extracts do have.
13. Do I need to move to Colorado to get your Hemp Extracts and CBD? Where do you ship?
No. We actually source our hemp from Kentucky, as it’s legal to ship across state lines. Many people are under the impression that the only way to acquire hemp extracts and CBD for themselves or a loved one is to move to Colorado or another cannabis-friendly state. Many major news outlets are misinformed and are unfortunately spreading the idea that you can only get CBD oil in the states where medical marijuana has been legalized. This is simply not the case though. Because our extracts comes from hemp instead of marijuana, we can and do ship to all fifty states, and no medical marijuana card is needed. There are some exceptions, like with Indiana, Missouri and South Dakota we can’t sell our concentrated products due to state legislation.
We also ship to Japan, Australia, the EU, Switzerland, and Brazil. For all EU orders contact our exclusive distributor there, Cannawell.
14. Is your Hemp Extract Oil similar to Rick Simpson Hemp Oil?
Not quite. Ours are from hemp and RSHO is usually using marijuana, a different form of cannabis than industrial hemp. Our industrial hemp extracts are more standardized and will usually have a much higher content of non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD than one produced through the Rick Simpson method. And oils produced through his method will usually have a much higher THC content, as it’s typically marijuana that is used for RSHO.†
Generally speaking, most marijuana producers and sellers (especially on the black market) don’t test for contaminants (metals, pesticides, bacteria, etc.). Rick Simpson Hemp Oil is actually more a method of extraction than it is a specific product. People use the Rick Simpson method with hundreds of different strains of marijuana, so the THC, CBD and other cannabinoid content of the final oil is always varying greatly, depending on the cannabis the consumers are acquiring. Usually what’s used for Rick Simpson oil is a strain with an inferior CBD content (and high THC), because that’s what the vast amount of marijuana is nowadays.
15. Where do you source your hemp and CBD from?
We have partners in Kentucky who grew a dedicated plot for us this year (2016) which is being used in our products now. We also currently source from Europe but we’ll be changing that soon.
16. What kind of testing/analysis is performed on your products?
We have an industry leading quality control system, and we have third party laboratories analyze all of our hemp extracts and our final products for cannabinoid potency, heavy metals, bacterial and microbial life, mycotoxins (fungus), and pesticides.
17. What is CO2 extraction? What’s the difference between subcritical and supercritical CO2 extractions?
CO2 extraction is an extraction process that uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract phyto-chemicals (such as CBD, CBG, or terpenes, flavonoids, etc.) from a plant. CO2 at certain temperatures and pressures acts like a solvent, without the dangers of actually being one. It is the most expensive extraction method, and is widely considered the most effective and safest plant extraction method in the world.
Many hemp and CBD companies boast about their supercritical CO2 extractions, but that’s actually only one (and perhaps an inferior) method of using a CO2 extraction machine. There are also subcritical CO2 extractions, and ‘mid-critical’, a general range between subcritical and supercritical. Subcritical (low temp, low pressure) CO2 extractions take more time and produce smaller yields than super-critical, but they retain the essential oils, terpenes, and other sensitive chemicals within the plant. Supercritical, on the other hand, is a high pressure and high temperature process that damages most terpenes and heat sensitive chemicals, but can extract much larger molecules such as lipids (omega 3 and 6), chlorophyll, and waxes. A truly full-spectrum CO2 extract includes first performing a subcritical extraction, separating the extracted oil, and then extracting the same plant material using supercritical pressure, and then homogenizing both oil extracts into one. In the essential oil industry, an extract made using this specific process is referred to as a CO2 Total.
18. What is the endocannabinoid system (ECS)?
“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems, consisting of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors.” Wikipedia
There are two main types of receptors in the ECS, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily located in the central nervous system and brains of mammals, and CB2 are generally found in the peripheral nervous system. There are two main cannabinoids mammals produce- 2AG and Anandamide (named after the Sanskrit term “ananda” which translates to “peace”).
For hundreds of millions of years every vertebrate on Earth has been equipped with this ECS, a crucial system in the body, and it has been known about in the scientific and medical communities since the 1980’s. However, it’s still not taught about in most medical schools.