Recently ‘vaping’ has been making headlines with an outbreak of lung problems and deaths south of the border. Sparking a national debate on the safety of vaping and if it should be banned or not. Trump proposed a flavor ban on e-cigarettes, while Trudeau said that Health Canada is engaged with the issue to determine the right path forward, regardless of the leader, people are upset at the possibility of their government banning the devices, and rightly so.
Banning a substance is one thing, but banning an entire delivery method is getting into territory I do not like. There are very few people left that remember, but prohibition did not turn out well. If they were to ban vaping it would take away the delivery method of medicine for many medical users, as well as infringe on some very basic right that I believe everyone has. The freedom to make a choice for yourself.
Cannabis vaping, when done right, is the one of the safest ways to ingest cannabis, and by far the fastest to provide relief. Using pure, undiluted cannabis extracts, you can safely medicate or recreate without worry of causing cancer or developing pneumonia. When produced properly, cannabis extracts can contain extremely high levels of the active ingredients, such as THC or CBD, as well as other compounds, such as the terpene family. Terpenes give most plants and fruits their smells. The smell of a lime comes from limonene, the smell of pine comes from pinene. This family of compounds have also been used medicinally over the years, and can be researched for their individual effects. They are all natural, absorb into the body with no problems and have been used for a very long time.
Vaping nicotine is another thing. There have been many different types of additives used in the pens over the years. You can not vape nicotine without them. Some have caused health issues quickly, some have shown no ill effects, as of yet. The problem with these compounds are that they have not been rigorously tested. They are relatively new and have only been ingested this way for a short time. We have been ingesting tobacco since the beginning of time and only discovered it was harmful in the 1920’s in Germany and the 40’s and 50’s in North America. 20 years later still only 1/3 of doctors believed Tobacco was harmful. So our track record of predicting a harmful compound is pretty bad.
The sicknesses were originally though to be caused from nicotine vaping. Reports now state that it was actually caused from an additive ingredient in ‘black market’ cannabis vape pens. The vape pens, which are produced and sold without regulation, were being diluted with vitamin E acetate. This compound is a greasy substance that resembles oil, but is not. When vaporized the greasy substance vaporizes and re-solidifies on the lung cilia. Unlike oils, the cilia can not absorb the substance, resulting in pneumonia like symptoms.
Just as I am promoting cannabis extracts, some fool has to go and dilute their product with garbage. Although I think that people would not be as greedy if the government didn’t come in and destroy a perfectly good black market industry, I also think that diluting your product is dishonest and dangerous. Certainly in this case. The product they used was reportedly called “honey cut” from an Amherst, NY, company called Honey Cut Labs LLC doing business out of Santa Monica. US Courts have subpoenaed records of the company in an ongoing investigation.
Regardless of the bad press on both cannabis vaping and nicotine vaping, the fact remains that the method is far safer than traditional combustion. As a medical cannabis user, I use concentrates myself. I realized long ago, before any of the concentrates even become a thing, that the potential for diluting the product was extremely high. So I learned to make it myself. 20 years later I make concentrates daily for my own use. The reduction of carbon monoxide in my daily life, from vaporizing instead of smoking, has done wonders for me. I have never felt better.
All we need to do in this case is stop using foreign compounds to dilute the concentrates. Use natural ingredients like terpenes. They are relatively expensive yes, but they are much better quality. Until we can perfect vaping technology we just need to take the hit.. no pun intended.