Report: Toxins Identified in the Vapor of Unregulated THC Vape Products

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Van Nuys, CA: An analysis of the vapor produced by unregulated THC and/or CBD vape cartridges by the laboratory CannaSafe has identified the presence of pesticides, vitamin E acetate (oil), and other dangerous chemicals.

Investigators analyzed six vape cartridge products obtained on the illicit market and seven products purchased from legally regulated retailers.

All six of the illicitly produced products contained percentages of vitamin E oil exceeding 30 percent. Recently, the US Centers for Disease Control identified vitamin E acetate as a "very strong culprit of concern" in EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury), and several states – such as Ohio and Washington – have banned the sale of vapor products from containing the additive.

Researchers also identified the presence of other cutting agents, such as propylene glycol, which can produce dangerous toxins when heated. In separate testing of the products' vapor content, investigators identified formaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide, along with various pesticides. Significantly elevated levels of lead were also detected in one of the products.

By contrast, testing performed on the vape products obtained at state-licensed facilities did not test positive for either vitamin E or other toxic chemicals.

Authors concluded: "In this report, CannaSafe was able to quantify harmful compounds and found them to make up a large portion of illicit cartridges whereas legal cartridges were clean. These findings further provide evidence that regulation is working, [and that] a ban would only force patients back into a dangerous and unregulated market, which would surely lead to more illness. We encourage all consumers to buy [only] legal products from licensed dispensaries."

Full text of the CannaSafe report appears online.