Illegal vape carts contain cyanide, study says

With at least 12 confirmed deaths and thousands of recorded cases of vape-related lung diseases, an independent study has found out that most of the illegal cannabis vape cartridges are laced with a concoction of poisons, including cyanide. It is important to note that the tests carts that tagged to be dangerous are illegal but are still widely available in the black market. 

Out of the 15 cannabis vape carts that were tested, a recent study from NBC News revealed that all samples contained myclobutanil. It is a type of fungicide (used to kill fungi) that when burned, the vape will turn it into hydrogen cyanide, a lethal chemical for human beings. 

“You certainly don’t want to be smoking cyanide,” said Antonio Frazier, the vice president of operations at CannaSafe, the independent cannabis testing center commissioned by NBC news to test the samples. 

“I don’t think anyone would buy a cart that was labeled hydrogen cyanide on it,” he added. 

Moreover, 13 out of the 15 illegal vape carts turned out to have contained Vitamin E acetate, a solvent used to cut cannabis. If the Vitamin E acetate goes into your system and penetrates your lungs, it could trigger an immune response that causes pneumonia.

If that’s not enough, the researchers also tested all the samples, both the illegal and the legal ones, for the presence of pesticides. CannaSafe concluded that 15 out of the 15 illegal samples they tested were positive for the presence of pesticide. 

Nonetheless, the study has also tested three legally dispensed cannabis cart that can be purchased from legitimate and legal pot dispensaries in California. The researchers have found that all three samples have tested negative from toxins are deemed safe. 

The researchers said that the legal carts they tested have no “heavy metals, pesticides or residual solvents like Vitamin E” in them. 

An alternative to smoking, vapes makes a promise to be a healthier option. However, it turns out that it could also have its own health hazard. In most cases, the risks are fatal. 

Federal health officials revealed that there had been a prevalence of vape-related lung diseases across the United States. At least 12 people have already died out of these diseases, and 805 others have been hospitalized in 46 states. 

“We are dealing with a new epidemic,” said Dr. Melodi Pirzada, a pediatric pulmonologist at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, New York, on Long Island.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has referred to the vape-related cases as an onset of a visible “health crisis.” The CDC revealed that most of the patients who contracted the mysterious lung disease have reported that they are using vapes containing THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Health officials hypothesized that the outbreak could be linked to Vitamin E acetate solvent. Coincidentally, 13 out of 15 of the illegal carts tested by CannaSafe contained Vitamin E acetate. 

Nonetheless, the CDC has said that they still weren’t able to conclusively link one single substance or chemical to the mysterious lung diseases related to vape pens. The inconclusive nature of the results in investigating the outbreak has left the medical industry grappling for answers and hold them back fro suggesting an appropriate medical response. 

Even if tests revealed that legally bought cannabis vape pens are deemed safe, the risks are still high especially that regulating the booming billion-dollar industry turns out to be a challenge to state regulators like the Federal Drug Administration and the CDC. For the health officials, one straightforward way of avoiding the mysterious lung disease related to vaping is by avoiding from buying illegal vape cartridges from the black market.

“If you’re thinking of purchasing one of these products off the street, out of the back of a car, out of a trunk, in an alley,” Mitch Zeller, the director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said recently, “or if you’re going to go home and make modifications to the product yourself using something that you purchased from some third party or got from a friend, think twice.”

About the Author

Al Restar
A consumer tech and cybersecurity journalist who does content marketing while daydreaming about having unlimited coffee for life and getting a pet llama. I also own a cybersecurity blog called Zero Day.

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