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After the recent breakout story about the 21-year-old Californian being rushed to the hospital as a result of his latest cannabis oil cartridge, huge waves have been made in the cannabis community, both online and offline, regarding the potential health hazards vape pens can cause to the human body.

Consumers and enthusiasts alike began wondering whether the vape pen brands they’ve been so committed to were really just poison packed in an attractively-shaped plastic. Online communities such as Reddit and other popular MOM forums started seeing hundreds of new threads a day asking about whether certain brands of vape pen are safe to consume.

Vape pens have been around for a good half-decade now, and saw a huge spike in usage since the legalization of October last year. So, why is this becoming such a big issue all of a sudden?

A Storm Was Brewing

Truth be told, the industry for the better part of 2019 has been in a state due for crisis. As a direct result of the Canadian government’s inability to produce marijuana to an acceptable quality or to licence manufacturers capable in doing so, new micro-manufacturers and hobbyists alike began producing their own cannabis in an attempt to tap into a market that was hugely underserved. These unlicensed vape pens and cartridges, just like all other forms of unregistered items, found their way from Canada down into the United States.

Inexperience, mixed with little to no regulation by the government, lead to manufacturers letting their creativities run wild. While a handful of these micro-dispensaries take the utmost care in vetting their products, few poorly managed dispensaries began producing more vape cartridges than their knowledge of vapes should allow. The positive side of this is the birth of dozens of attractive new flavours. The negatives:

“More than 200 cases of vaping-related illnesses have been reported from at least 25 states, including two reported deaths” – WebMD

Too Many Victims, All at Once

Between late August to early September, there has been 200 cases of vape-related lung illnesses reported in the States, with 2 reported deaths. Official health bodies, along with scientific researchers and government organizations, began frantically searching for the cause of this epidemic. Many of which turned their heads towards local black-market dispensaries.

Tracing back to the source of products, many doctors and health authorities have found additive substances in vape pens that could have potentially led up to the crisis. After a few days of further research on the matter, several affiliated bodies came to a collective conclusion.

Vitamin E Does Not Belong in Lungs

While the above statement is somewhat an oversight, the majority of it is true. Vitamin E acetate, specifically when used in vape pens, can either originate from natural or synthetic sources. Depending on its origin, vitamin E can be categorized into 8 forms, each with different effects on the human body.

Two of these forms, namely alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol, are most commonly found in topical products such as foot creams and back pain roll-ons. Their intended purpose is to prolong the shelf life and to stabilize the products’ oxidization process. Unfortunately, few unlicensed and inexperienced manufacturers began adding them into vape pens.

As a Consumer, What You Should Know

As much as we’d love to conclude that by shopping at Phat Sacks, you are avoiding all possibilities of avoiding lung disease, we feel obligated to inform you of the best practices for shopping for vape pens both online and in-person. While the list of brands misusing artificial additives continues to unfold, as a consumer, it is imperative to stay informed on how to avoid this mess while still getting the vape products you need. Alternatively, you may wish to take this opportunity and try out some pre-rolls until the storm subsides.

First off, if you’re ordering online, be sure to shop at a reputable dispensary, especially at a time like this. Generally, it is best advised to stay away from brands who use non-natural ingredients in their vape pen distillates. With that said, not all manufactures have a list of their ingredients readily available online.

The most important thing to watch out for is vitamin E acetate. Before you place an order on a new vape pen or refill cartridge, we suggest for you to ask the source whether it contains additives associated to vitamin E, or any other potential harmful ingredients.

A full list of suspect additives currently in question include the following:

  1. Vegetable Glycerin
  2. MCT Oil
  3. Vitamin E Oil
  4. Vitamin E Acetate

If the response you get back isn’t satisfactory, there’s always better places to shop at. If you have any questions about anything, feel free to contact our support team, even if you don’t have an order with us. As an online dispensary, we feel obligated to inform each and every visitor of ours of the latest cannabis news. Stay safe out there, and happy shopping!


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