If you spend any amount of time reading news about vaping, you’ve likely heard about the vaping-related lung illness that has stricken nearly 2,300 people in the United States since summer 2019. Health authorities in the U.S. have worked extremely hard in an attempt to determine the cause of the illness. As of the time of writing, researchers have been unable to pinpoint a single product, device or substance that is causing the illness. However, two important facts have come to light.
- Most of the patients treated for the lung illness have admitted to using vape cartridges containing THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana. Most of those cartridges were produced and obtained illegally. Some patients have claimed not to have used THC products, although it is important to note that some people may be less than willing to admit that they have engaged in illegal activities.
- Vitamin E acetate has been found in most of the THC vaping cartridges submitted for analysis and in all of the lung fluid samples taken from patients.
The fact that Vitamin E acetate has been found in so many samples is important because the lung illness is a form of lipoid pneumonia in which oil settles in the lung tissue and is then attacked by the body as if it were an infection. Vitamin E acetate is an oil.
CBD is a compound that has barely been mentioned – let alone implicated – in information released by health authorities about the lung illness. Nevertheless, it would be wise for anyone who buys CBD vape products to pay close attention to the latest developments surrounding the illness because this news only underscores the importance of making sure that you always buy your CBD products from a trusted seller. THC and CBD are, after all, both products of the cannabis plant.
In this article, we’ll discuss two compelling reasons for vetting a CBD seller thoroughly before you buy. First, though, let’s learn more about why Vitamin E acetate has been found in THC cartridges in the first place.
Why Do Some THC Cartridges Contain Vitamin E?
The reason why THC cartridges contain Vitamin E – and the reason why Vitamin E is almost universally found in black-market cartridges – is because it dilutes THC oil undetectably. It allows illicit cartridge producers to use less THC oil per cartridge, thereby increasing profitability. It takes a lot of cannabis to produce a usable amount of THC oil. Vitamin E oil, in comparison, is inexpensive and easy to buy at any pharmacy. Some of the THC vaping cartridges analyzed by health authorities have been found to contain more than 50 percent Vitamin E – and since Vitamin E looks almost exactly the same as THC oil, buyers have no way to tell whether their cartridges are diluted or not.
Reliable CBD Sellers Don’t Use Undisclosed Diluents
Unlike THC, CBD is a product that’s legal everywhere in the United States. Legitimate CBD sellers have no reason to dilute their products. CBD is so popular, though – and so expensive – that you shouldn’t necessarily trust a no-name CBD vaping product found in a gas station or convenience store. If you’ve never heard of the brand before, what do you really know about that product?
Reliable CBD sellers disclose the ingredients in their CBD vaping products. Plain CBD oil is extremely thick and isn’t appropriate for use with most vaping equipment, so a CBD e-liquid obviously has to be diluted with something. A reliable seller, though, will simply dilute its CBD e-liquid with propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin – the same ingredients used in all standard e-liquids. A few CBD brands also add terpenes to their CBD e-liquids; terpenes are naturally found in the cannabis plant and can enhance an e-liquid’s flavor.
The other way in which a reliable CBD seller differs from fly-by-night CBD brands is that, for a trustworthy CBD brand, the milligram strength listed on a product’s label isn’t just there for show. Reliable brands send their products out to third-party labs to ensure that they’re selling what they say they are. Gas station brands may not necessarily hold themselves to the same standards. A 2017 study of 84 different CBD products found that a significant number of those products were inaccurately labeled with regard to their CBD content. The inaccurate labeling was particularly common among CBD vaping products, 87.5 percent of which were labeled incorrectly. Some “CBD” products analyzed in the study actually contained almost no CBD at all.
Counterfeit Vaping Products Are Rampant and Potentially Very Dangerous
It isn’t just important to buy CBD products from a reliable CBD seller; it’s also wise to buy those products directly from the maker if you can. If that’s not possible, then you should buy products from a seller that obtains its products only from the original manufacturers or from official distributors.
The reason why it is so important to know where you’re getting your CBD vaping products from is because counterfeit products are rampant in the vaping industry and are far more common than you might think. In the United States, for example, the JUUL e-cigarette brand is incredibly popular – and JUUL recently discontinued several of their most popular flavors in the U.S. That has created an opportunity for counterfeit JUUL pod makers to make fake pods in those flavors and ship them here in bulk. If you find a pack of mango or cucumber JUUL pods in the United States, it’s probable that the pods are fake.
If the fake pods taste about the same as the original ones, counterfeit pods may not seem like such an enormous problem to you at first glance. The issue, though, is that just as with illegal THC vaping cartridges, you don’t know what’s in any counterfeit vaping product. South Korean health authorities recently analyzed the contents of 153 different vaping products and found Vitamin E acetate in 13 of those products. One of those products was package of JUUL pods in a flavor called “Crisp” that’s only available in the Korean market.
JUUL, of course, maintains that its pods contain no Vitamin E. If Korean health authorities have truly discovered Vitamin E in JUUL pods, then, there are two possible explanations. Either JUUL is lying, or the Korean researchers analyzed counterfeit JUUL pods. Which scenario do you think is more likely? Our money’s on the counterfeit pods.