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Are Weed Vape Pens Safe for Health?

Vaping cannabis was once seen as a safer alternative to smoking herb. But in 2019, the rise of questionable vape products gave rise to a serious lung illness that medical professionals attributed to vaping. 


In those affected, the cannabis extract itself isn’t responsible for any adverse lung effects, but rather it’s the inclusion of dangerous additives in the vape cartridges that are responsible. The vaping crisis made everyone take a closer inspection of what was going into their vape carts.


By early 2020 in the US, the CDC reported 2,807 cases of vape related illnesses, with 68 confirmed deaths. If you’d like to buy vape pens online in Canada, then here’s what you need to know to avoid exposure to the potentially dangerous compounds present in certain products.


Should You Stop Vaping?

The decision of whether to stop vaping or not all depends on where you acquire your cartridges from. If you own illicit vape cartridges, then it’s probably best to immediately refrain from using them further. Do you know if they’ve been lab tested? Do you trust the producer behind the name? Remember, THC and other cannabinoids don’t damage lungs, but any additives do. 


Many regulatory and health organizations across the globe have all advised cannabis consumers to avoid buying cannabis vapes off the street as these unregulated and untested products often contain dangerous contaminants.


The issue they cite relates to additives or contaminants that are present in vape cartridges, where in certain instances, they can present an immediate danger to lung health upon inhalation. 


What Symptoms Are Medical Professionals Seeing?

Biopsies of patients afflicted with vape-related lung illnesses present as a condition similar to lipoid pneumonia.


Many of those afflicted by the condition often complain of shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, weakness, and tiredness. In most cases, these symptoms can be traced back to black-market cartridges.


Researchers at the Mayo Clinic stated that the vaping-associated lung illness represents a form of airway-centred chemical pneumonitis from one or more inhaled toxic substances.


What Is The Cause of Vaping Illnesses?

The principal cause of vape related illnesses is the illicit market. Several researchers have indicated that the source is the potential contaminants found in both nicotine and THC vape cartridges. Vitamin E acetate is most widely suspected of being responsible. 


Lung fluid analyses from 29 victims in the US tested positive for the presence of vitamin E acetate at the primary site of injury in the lungs. In these cases, no other potential contaminants were detected.


So while many news stories highlighted the dangers of THC vapes specifically, this was a false lead. It isn’t the THC that’s the issue, as many people with lung damage were vaping nicotine devices. Two years later, all science points to additives. Especially vitamin E acetate.


What is Vitamin E Acetate?

Vitamin E acetate is commonly used in THC cartridges as a cheap thinning agent. Its presence helps reduce the viscosity of the solution that’s required in many modern vaporizers. Medical experts believe that it’s the most likely culprit of lung damage among consistent long-term consumers of vaping products.


In late 2019, Health Canada banned Vitamin E acetate from all vape products after cases were reported in Quebec, New Brunswick, and British Columbia.   


Is Vaping Safer Than Smoking? 

Provided you avoid the harmful contaminants, then vaping cannabis is often viewed as safer than smoking it. This is because smoked cannabis releases unavoidable carcinogens into the body. When we combust any plant, this is an inevitable consequence. 


In many cases, the presence of these carcinogens is known to cause cancer, although there is currently no scientific evidence linking smoked cannabis to lung cancer.


Smoking cannabis also releases tar into the body. And given the duration for which many cannabis smokers hold the smoke in their lungs, many researchers have expressed concern about exposure to tar.


Vaping Isn’t Always Bad

While weed vape pens can be defective, and the cartridges can expose users to potentially dangerous compounds, there are ways to vaporize cannabis that won’t put you at risk.


One such way is to use a dry herb vaporizer. Such vaporizers have a chamber for clean and uncontaminated cannabis flower along with a temperature control function that allows cannabis consumers to avoid potentially dangerous compounds. 


Cannabis flower is heated inside a convection oven before the user inhales the resulting vapour that’s free from both the harmful additives in vape cartridges and the carcinogenic compounds in cannabis smoke.


How Else Can You Protect Yourself?

The best thing you can do is to only purchase regulated and tested vape products. By buying from illicit sources, you run the risk of obtaining contaminated products. Street traffickers commonly fill cartridges with harmful chemicals that adversely affect lung health upon inhalation. Avoid them like the plague and only purchase from trusted sources. 


Another thing you can do is to buy a high-quality vape pen. Cheap vape pens can commonly malfunction and often heat the oil to excessive temperatures. This results in the burning of additives and thickeners that can release a noxious gas that’s immediately damaging to health. 


If your vape device has a form of temperature control, then always run it at a low to medium temperature. 


If you’re still concerned about contamination, then it’s best to forego vaping altogether. The best way to avoid potential contaminants is to use tested cannabis flower from licensed stores. If you prefer to use concentrates, then it’s best to go for solventless forms such as rosin. And for those who wish to avoid inhalation entirely, then there are tinctures, sublinguals, edibles, and topicals for a cleaner administration method.


Buy Vape Pens Online in Canada

If you purchase vaping products, then you should exercise caution. Always purchase a quality vape pen from a trusted company. Cheap vape pens from questionable sources often become defective in time, and countless cases exist where hardware issues related to temperature control can introduce a host of potentially dangerous compounds due to overheating.


You should also exercise caution when selecting your vape cartridge. The presence of certain thinners such as vitamin E acetate can provoke potential lung irritation and even cause damage to the lungs with long-term use.


If you’d like to buy vape pens online in Canada, then at Top BC Cannabis, we stock a wide range of vape-related products that’ll provide you with a clean and effective way to medicate with minimal fuss.


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