In recent weeks, we’ve watched the number of “vaping-related” deaths and illnesses increase. Government agencies, health officials, and scientists are scrambling to solve the mystery behind the outbreak. Individual states and the FDA are running their own tests, analyzing hundreds of samples from multiple sources.
When the results came in, the focus of the investigation shifted towards the black market as more evidence piled up, revealing that the vape-related deaths and lung injuries were most likely caused by Vitamin E acetate.
Vitamin E acetate made a name for itself in certain vaping circles as an effective thickening agent, and it has been used to cut THC oil. Because of Vitamin E acetate’s color and consistency, it could be used to make bootleg vape juices appear high quality. But while Vitamin E acetate can be used in supplements and food, it should never be inhaled because it causes damage to the lungs.
Why the Black Market is to Blame
Since the outbreak, officials have been warning the public to refrain from vaping until the cause of the vaping-related deaths and illnesses has been confirmed. However, as more reports come in, we realize that the culprit isn’t vaping, but the black market.
In a report released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it was revealed that 75 of the 86 patients in Illinois and Wisconsin hospitalized for vaping-related illnesses used e-cigarette products containing THC. None of the patients reported adding anything to their vape juices. A whopping 89% admitted to acquiring their vapes from informal sources such as friends, relatives, dealers, or off the street. However, 66% of the patients did report buying their prefilled THC cartridges from the brand Dank Vapes. According to the CDC, Dank Vapes appears to be “the most prominent in a class of largely counterfeit brands.”
With the legalization of CBD on a federal level and decreasing stigma that once surrounded cannabis, a new, highly lucrative industry has opened up. Unfortunately, the demand for CBD and THC products has also led to counterfeit brands trying to get a piece of the action.
However, purchasing off the street where it is likely cheaper could expose you to vapes that are unregulated and illicit, causing you to become extremely ill or worse. Many people don’t realize how easy it is for counterfeiters to fake legitimate vape juice consistency, adding dangerous ingredients like Vitamin E acetate and other additives.
In Wisconsin, two brothers were running an illegal THC vape cartridge ring. About 31,200 vape cartridges were discovered in a raid of the condo where they operated under a fake name. Another 98,000 empty cartridges were seized, along with dozens of mason jars filled with liquid THC. While the actual ingredients of the vapes remain unknown, this only proves how dangerous it is to purchase vapes from illegal, unregulated sources. The empty cartridges, which can later be filled with a “vape juice” and packaged to look legit, could contain all sorts of harmful ingredients, including Vitamin E acetate, that are used to cut THC oil to make it look high quality.
At URTH CBD, all of our products are tested by certified third party testing facilities and meet all FDA compliance regulations to bring you the highest quality products. We can provide certificates of analysis on all our products. We have also recently started testing for Vitamin E acetate.
CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR LAB RESULTS.