What about vaping? Is it safe if product is received from licensed dispensary?

I’ve heard about the vaping crisis and want to know if I’m better protected buying products from a licensed dispensary instead of an illegal source?

Marty G.


I think so. As far as I know it was vitamin E acetate that was causing the problems with the people getting sick. I’d guess that legal dispensaries would ensure this wasn’t in their products, and would have a list of all ingredients.

Joe G. Illinois

I think it’s correct to say that the so-called “vaping crisis” has been driven by products from the illicit market. It left thousands of people with acute respiratory distress syndrome and killed a few others. Vaping-associated pulmonary injury (VAPI), is a lung disease that may be associated with vaping and can cause pneumonia-like symptoms.

As you said, vitamin E acetate (aka tocopheryl-acetate), an ingredient found in canola, soy, and corn oil, is thought to be the culprit. It started appearing in the illicit market in 2018, and allows for THC oils to be diluted without thinning the oils.

Used as an oil thickener, a synthetic vitamin E (tocopheryl-acetate) has also been linked to illicit vape carts. Other dangerous ingredients sometimes found in illicit vaping cartridges could include pesticides, heavy metals, mold, mildew, synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic flavorings, and newer additives not yet discovered by lab testing.

Cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, are not to blame for the crisis. However, more testing needs two be done to prove conclusively that vaping cannabis is safer than smoking. There is some evidence to suggest, for example, that THC may have an effect on lung health. And there is evidence to suggest that vaping is healthier than smoking.

Vaping cannabis involves inhaling heated oil through a vaporizing device. It delivers a much more concentrated or potent form of cannabis experience than smoking, so needs to be used with care. Some vaping pens or cigarettes will deliver measured doses so you can keep on top of how much you are consuming.

To protect yourself from contaminated vaping cartridges, your best bet is to buy from licensed dispensaries in your state, which must adhere to stringent guidelines as far as quality and safety. While vaping cartridges bought from illicit sources may be cheaper than the legal ones, the sellers don’t conform to any regulatory standard and so buyers beware — if you care for your health and safety.

It’s also worth noting that millions of vaping cartridges have been sold over the last few years without any health issues. Indeed, some of the possible benefits of legal vaping of medical marijuana include providing help with chronic pain, nausea and loss of appetite.

Vapes are also easy to use, easy to transport, don’t pose secondhand smoke hazards, can deliver measured, consistent doses, and waste very little cannabis.

Vaping, like smoking, is fast acting. So, for example, if you are looking for fast pain relief using medical marijuana, then this method of consumption may suit your needs. However, if you are looking for long lasting relief, then one or two hours of vaping relief might not be enough, so you might consider another type of medical cannabis, such as edibles or pills.

Peter G.

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