Recently, over a hundred cases of “vaping related” lung illnesses have sprouted in a dozen states. Health officials are in a state of panic and headlines run rampant with misinformation regarding what caused these instances of severe lung illness. Anti-vaping groups are salivating at the news and taking advantage.
As of today, the root cause of the problem isn’t proved, but there is a curious commonality in all of them: the use of THC products. In some instances, the patients admitted to using THC products. That begs the question, are these THC oils purchased legally or not?
The rise of counterfeit e-liquids has supposedly taken the vaping market by storm after recent bans and taxes in certain cities which makes it impossible (or more expensive) to purchase e-cigarettes and e-liquids.
The solution is to go to the black market, and thus, the rise of counterfeit products. The need must be met somewhere, and banning it forces users to look under the table and seek other options – legal or otherwise.
These articles that link vaping to every illness fail to mention that a THC distillate pen was used instead of a traditional e-cigarette (in most cases). There have also been reports of watered-down oils and homemade e-liquids made with dangerous chemicals.
It is important to differentiate the two when making a purchase. Illicit cartridges also exist and sell under a different label – tricking customers into thinking they’re purchasing from a known brand, when, in reality, it’s homemade.
— GrimmGreen (@GrimmGreen) August 19, 2019
What is a THC Distillate pen?
Commonly known as vape pens (or hash oil pens), they resemble an e-cigarette. They contain the chamber, a heating element, and a mouthpiece. This chamber is filled with the THC oil / distillate. There are many ways to consume cannabis via vaporization, but this is the one in question.
One of the reasons people use a vape pen is that vaping avoids the tar and carcinogens created by burning the flower – which is the most traditional form of consumption. To avoid this, users utilize a THC distillate pen, instead. It’s also more convenient and discreet (there is barely any smoke).
Some of these pens allow pre-filled cartridges and others are refillable. The oils these pens are filled with can come from a licensed provider, or from a clandestine operation. That’s what you should look out for.
These “vape pens” are made specifically for cannabis extracts. It is highly recommended to check the packaging and interrogate each ingredient used. You want to look at the chemical mix. Sadly, counterfeiters place labels that will not reflect what the oil truly contains.
What is an e-cigarette?
If you’re browsing our blog, you probably know what an e-cigarette is; but for the sake of completeness, let’s talk about a traditional e-cigarette’s anatomy:
- The mouthpiece
- The e-liquid tank
- The atomizer (heating element)
- The battery
So, essentially the same anatomy as a THC distillate pen – hence the confusion. They look similarly but they offer different things. I understand why, for an outsider, referring to a THC distillate pen as an e-cigarette makes sense. It is an important distinction that the media is avoiding (with a few exceptions).
If fast food started sending people to the intensive care unit in droves, you’d want to investigate which chain, what item, which foods, which location, etc., caused this. Before claiming that all fast food places will send you to the E.R., you need this information. The same applies to vaping. What exactly is causing this?
The oils found in THC products, particularly illicit products, are the ones that are being sold illegally (supposedly). While it is not confirmed, it is certainly alluded to it. The use of THC is harming people and there is a correlation with THC and severe lung illness.
There are hundreds of questions that should be asked and answered. Who are they purchasing these products from? Are they all coming from the same seller? From all the years that THC has existed, why all these cases now?
Many assumptions exist, but, until proven, these assumptions should be treated as just that: assumptions.