Informal THC Sources Now Linked To The Majority Of Lung Vaping Cases

Recently, there has been a serious lung disease outbreak, substantially related to vaping. In particular, this seems to be happening most among individuals who had vaped products containing THC, specifically products that they had gotten from informal sources, be it family, dealers, friends, or online resources. These were the conclusions of a report that the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, issued in the middle of January.

EVALI is the acronym the CDC uses for the current outbreak of vaping, e-cigarette, and electronic cigarette product use-associated lung injuries, and mounting evidence indicates that informal THC sources are serving a primary role in all of this.

Sascha Ellington, Ph.D. serves the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. As a lead author of this report, Ellington claimed that the high rates of THC-containing products from informal sources just go to show the validity of current recommendations to avoid products containing THC from all sources, especially informal sources, in regards to vaping and e-cig usage.

The Conclusions Resulted from an Analysis of Substance Usage among 2000 patients.

Roughly four out of five patients who get hospitalized due to lung injuries related to vaping report that they used products containing THC. Nearly a third of them also indicated the exclusive use of such products.

Approximately half of the patients even offered up information about the sources from which they acquired such products. The overwhelming majority was from informal sources, including online options, dealers, or just friends and family.

Even though the majority of EVALI cases are known to be related to patients tending to use products containing THC from informal sources, it should be noted that commercial sources accounted for 16 percent of the total products, with 6 percent coming from both informal and commercial sources.

Ten Thousand illegal vaping pens were Seized from a Number of Unlicensed Retailers

Having said this, CDC researchers point out that it can be hard to ascertain whether or not particular sources are properly licensed even in the states that have legalized recreational marijuana. For instance, California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control, across two December days alone, seized roughly ten thousand illegal vaping pens from a number of unlicensed retailers.

Also, vitamin E acetate has a strong link to the current EVALI outbreak. This particular vitamin is found often in both samples of patient lung fluid as well as product samples. At the time of writing, it has yet to be found in any lung fluid of those without EVALI. Still, current evidence isn’t enough to rule out other potentially concerning chemicals contributing to all of this, with a number of patients indicating that they only use products containing nicotine.

It needs to be noted that a number of limitations apply to these findings, considering how recall and social desirability bias might impact patient’s self-reporting information about what kinds of products they use, as well as where they got them from. Missing data in several categories is also a concern, so generalizations for all EVALI patients can’t yet be made.

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Kevin Steineman is a Digital Marketer, Entrepreneur, and Producer. Find out more about Kevin @KSteineman on Instagram, Facebook and wherever your heart desires. Be sure to also check out our Dental News Site - The Daily Floss!

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