Fake THC Vape Carts Are Getting People Sick: What You Should Know

Counterfeit Vape Cartridges

Marijuana decriminalization has blazed a trail with over half of the states implementing Medical Cannabis programs. With this vape carts have become an easy, discreet way to consume cannabis. More and more people are participating in medical cannabis programs.

So how do you know if your THC vape cart is safe? Does it contain lead? Are there contaminants? From who and where should I get a real vape cart? I hope to clarify some of those questions with a compilation of information from trusted sources.

Legal States vs. Illegal States

One of the first things to note is the cases that have sent people to the hospital are not from legal state licensed stores.

Nearly all cases are in illegal states. Most importantly, no cases are associated with adult-use or medical cannabis products from legal state-licensed stores. Almost all affected states do not have adult-use legalization in effect. They include Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin. Additional states are pending verification. The California incidents occurred in Kings County, which has banned licensed cannabis stores. Leafly

Black Market Concerns

In California alone, where recreational marijuana is legal, there have been 28 potential cases of acute lung disease among people who had recently vaped cannabis products, according to a spokesperson from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). On August 12th, the CDPH released a health alert regarding a “cluster” of at least seven healthy adults in Kings County, California, all of whom had been admitted to hospitals between July and August 2019, and all of whom had presented with symptoms of severe acute pulmonary disease, including coughing and shortness of breath, and in some cases fever and vomiting. All seven of these cases — including an additional one reported following media coverage of the initial press release — were linked to THC vapes that had been purchased off the black market, Nancy Gerking, assistant director of public health of Kings County tells Rolling Stone, adding they were purchased at temporary, unlicensed “pop-up shops” in the area.

Rolling Stone

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What is Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission Doing to Ensure Patient Safety?

Recently, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission released a statement to warn of the risks associated with vape carts. Please read below...

Maryland Department of Health Investigating Cases of Severe Lung Illness in People Using E-Cigarettes

At this time, no reported cases linked to MMCC patients

Linthicum, MD – (August 29, 2019) – The Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) is assisting the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to investigate several reported cases of severe lung illness in people using electronic cigarettes, also commonly referred to as vapes. MDH has identified five individuals who in the last two months developed severe lung illness after using electronic cigarettes or vapes.At this time, none of the reported cases involve Maryland medical cannabis patients.

According to MDH, the cause of these illnesses is not yet known and has not been linked to any particular vape device, brand, or substance. People who became ill reported using a variety of vaping products, including those containing cannabis or THC. If any individual experiences trouble breathing, the Maryland Poison Center recommends seeking immediate medical attention.

Medical cannabis patients who use vape products are encouraged to report any unexplained serious respiratory illness to the MMCC and their certifying provider. Patients and certifying providers may report suspected cases to MMCC via email at reporting.mmcc@maryland.gov. In addition, patients and providers are encouraged to report suspected cases to their local health department. Any medical cannabis licensee who receives a report of a vaping-related illness must promptly report the incident to the MMCC.

Patient safety is paramount to the Commission, and we are working with the Department of Health and others to determine whether any medical cannabis patients may be experiencing similar symptoms, said Acting MMCC Executive Director Will Tilburg.

The investigation in Maryland follows reports of vaping-related illness in at least 22 states, including one death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that vapes, whether containing nicotine or cannabis, may contain harmful and potentially harmful substances. On June 14, the MMCC issued an advisory notifying patients and other stakeholders of potential lead contamination of cannabis liquids in vape cartridges. Following the advisory, the MMCC instituted enhanced laboratory testing requirements to further investigate the potential presence of lead and other heavy metals in vape cartridges.

For additional information, please see the MDH communication issued on August 28, (attached) or visit https://phpa.health.maryland.gov/OEHFP/EH/Pages/VapingIllness.aspx..

Check out Holistic Minority Cannabis Institute's Cannabis Patient News Updates Page below for more information.

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