An analytic laboratory in Oregon is offering additional testing services to detect the presence of vitamin E acetate in cannabis vape products.
Vitamin E acetate has been linked to the hundreds of people who have developed pulmonary illnesses after vaping cannabis oil, and at least six fatalities have been attributed to these tainted cannabis products. The Portland-based Pixis Labs started performing tests for vitamin E acetate on Monday.
The lab developed the test after it emerged that federal and state health authorities were investigating the possibility that the spate of lung illnesses arising after people vaped cannabis oil products could be linked to the additive (vitamin E acetate).
On its own, the additive isn’t dangerous because it is a supplement that people have taken for long either orally or topically. However, when it is combusted, it gets into lung tissues and causes similar problems to what has been reported in the media.
Why, then do people put it in vape cartridges? As media investigations have revealed, some unscrupulous people have been adding this supplement in cannabis oil in order to dilute it or make it thinner.
The motivation for the inclusion of this additive are twofold. First, those making counterfeit vape cartridges may be unable to make cannabis oil whose viscosity is low enough to allow the oil to be vaped. In order to thin the oil, these illicit entities add vitamin E acetate to cannabis oil.
Secondly, cannabis oil is a highly priced product. It is therefore possible that unregulated actors are taking advantage of the high demand for cannabis oil by adulterating it with vitamin E acetate in order to make more money from a small amount of cannabis oil.
Pixis Labs general manager Derrick Tanner revealed that the testing facility had run several tests using samples provided by consumers in order to validate how well the testing equipment works. He was however tightlipped as to whether those initial tests had detected the additive in any of the samples provided.
Tanner added that 3grams of cannabis oil are needed to conduct this test that currently costs $140 at the lab.
Currently, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission hasn’t yet issued any regulatory changes in light of the risks posed by cannabis vape oil tainted with vitamin E acetate. For example, the labelling guidelines still don’t require processors to indicate what additives are present in the vape oil.
However, the state agency has announced that it will not hesitate to take any action necessary in order to protect the public from this emerging public health threat. The Trump administration plans to ban flavored e-cig nicotine liquids.
It isn’t clear whether this ban will also apply to vape cartridges that don’t contain nicotine, such as those having cannabis oil. That notwithstanding, experts think industry participants, such as Youngevity International Inc. (NASDAQ: YGYI) and Cannabis Stragetic Ventures Inc. (OTCQB: NUGS), would welcome any measure taken to bring this latest health threat to an end.
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