Marijuana and Vaping
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Marijuana and Vaping
Posted by CN Staff on October 21, 2019 at 05:59:07 PT
By Matt Richtel
Source: New York Times 
San Francisco -- For years, a divisive debate has raged in the United States over the health consequences of nicotine e-cigarettes. During the same time, vaping of a more contentious substance has been swiftly growing, with scant notice from public health officials.Millions of people now inhale marijuana not from joints or pipes filled with burning leaves but through sleek devices and cartridges filled with flavored cannabis oils. People in the legalized marijuana industry say vaping products now account for 30 percent or more of their business. 
Teenagers, millennials and baby boomers alike have been drawn to the technology — no ash, a faint smell, easy to hide — and the potentially dangerous consequences are only now becoming evident.Most of the patients in the outbreak of severe lung illnesses linked to vaping — which has left 1,479 people sick and 33 dead so far — vaped THC, the ingredient in marijuana that makes people high. Until more information is known, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned people not to vape cannabis products.To some scientists, and even industry leaders, warning signs have been apparent for years as vaping cannabis grew in the shadows, propelled by a patchwork of regulations, a wave of state-by-state legalization and a soaring supply of low-cost marijuana.While the government and researchers poured resources into studying e-cigarettes, federal rules sharply limiting research into the health effects of cannabis — because it is classified as a controlled substance with a high potential for abuse — have left a void in scientific knowledge about what THC vaping does to the lungs.Last year, Dr. Neal Benowitz, a professor of medicine and a researcher on nicotine and vaping at the University of California, San Francisco, sent a letter to Congress warning of the risks posed by leaving a hugely popular practice unstudied.“Very little is known about the safety or effects of vaped cannabis oil,” he wrote, cautioning that some ingredients mixed into the oils “could have harmful, toxic effect on users, including the potential for causing and/or promoting cancer and lung disease.”“It’s disgraceful,” Dr. Benowitz said in a recent interview as reports of hospitalizations and deaths from vaping-related lung illnesses mounted. “I’m not able to take products we think are potentially harmful and do analysis. I can buy a vape device around the corner, but I can’t bring it into the lab and test it.”Even members of the legalized marijuana industry acknowledge the lack of hard science about the cannabis vaping products they sell.“There’s a glaring gap in trying to understand this product,” said Jerred Kiloh, president of the board of the United Cannabis Business Association, which represents 165 marijuana dispensaries in California, where marijuana was legalized for recreational use in 2016.Mr. Kiloh, who owns the Los Angeles dispensary Higher Path, said he believed that the vape pens sold in his stores and in other licensed and regulated stores are likely safe because the ingredients were measured and tested by the state. The Bureau of Cannabis Control did not return calls asking for comment.Vaping oils typically include other additives, solvents and flavor enhancers, and health investigators believe some such ingredients, including vitamin E acetate, could be responsible for some of the lung illness cases. The problem of unknown and potentially dangerous additives, Mr. Kiloh and others said, is vastly worse in a soaring black market in the nearly 40 states where recreational marijuana is still illegal.Even in states where the drug is legal, counterfeit cartridges are cheaper than the licensed, tested and taxed products. It is hard for legal players who pay taxes to compete. A regulated vape pen with half a gram of THC costs $55, compared with $25 or less on the street for an untested product.“We don’t know what the chemical composition is,” Mr. Kiloh said, “and we especially don’t know what the chemical composition is once it’s been combined, heated and inhaled.”No Ash, No Rolling PapersIn the earliest days of cannabis vaping, a small group of innovators saw the technology as a safer way to help medicinal marijuana patients. They hoped that vaping — which entails heating THC so that it turns to an aerosol — would be less harmful to the lungs than inhaling combusted marijuana.But that ethos quickly gave way to a different lure: the pure convenience of vaping, which allowed users to avoid rolling joints, spilling ash, giving off a telltale smell — or getting caught. Vape pens brought the sheen of high technology to a drug associated with hippies and grunge, along with the discretion of, say, texting beneath the dinner table.“You could vape in a police station and no one would even know, not that you’d want to do that,” said a 35-year-old man outside Harvest, a marijuana dispensary in San Francisco, who declined to give his name because he said he did not want to hurt his job-hunting prospects.Other Harvest customers said they once embraced vaping but now have doubts. “It’s convenient, neat, easy. No lighter,” said Michael, who, with his wife, Laurie, both in their 70s, declined to give a last name because they didn’t want their teenage granddaughter to know about their habit.With news of vaping-related hospitalizations and deaths, though, Laurie was growing concerned. So this time she came to Harvest to buy flower, the old-fashioned bud rolled in joints. It was a switch the couple said they would continue while they await more vaping science.Others were undeterred. Cynthia Valdivia, 34, bought a THC vape cartridge after using one to try marijuana for the first time this summer. She said she was not worried about what she bought from a legal store.“There’s someone behind the brand and they don’t want to kill people,” she said. “They want their money.”The VolcanoThe market has flourished in the absence of regulation, said Eric N. Lindblom, a former tobacco official at the Food and Drug Administration. The federal government, he said, has been unsure of how to respond to state legalization of marijuana, and the uncertainty has left a void of regulation, research and enforcement.“Only now that we have this special, extra weird mystery crisis with the disease and deaths is there now interest in doing something,” he said.Some think it may be too late.“The market has run amok,” said Carlos de la Torre, the owner of Cornerstone Wellness, a dispensary in Los Angeles.Mr. de la Torre came to the cannabis business in 2007 after a career in television advertising. That year he opened his shop in a Los Angeles suburb, selling marijuana flower and edibles to customers with medical cards.“At the time, I don’t think vaping really existed,” he said.Not commercially, at least. There was a rich and informal history among a narrow band of regular marijuana users who bathed weed in alcohol to extract THC — so-called honey oil or hash oil. That was the domain of the “biker, LSD, hippie crowd,” said David Downs, the California bureau chief of Leafly, a cannabis news and product website.The first commercial marijuana vaping brand was called the Volcano, and it was the brainchild of a German entrepreneur, Markus Storz, who obtained a patent for it from his native country in 1999.The Volcano came to the United States in 2003, and it is aptly named. It is built on a sturdy, triangular-shaped base — “the kind of thing that sat on a coffee table and weighed a pound,” Mr. de la Torre said.It heated marijuana flower until the THC baked off as vapor. A user then inhaled the aerosol from a large plastic bag attached to an inhalation pipe.Industry insiders thought it might be healthier than smoking a joint because burning marijuana contains carcinogens like tar and carbon monoxide. “If we were really helping cancer patients, then adding carcinogens was not helpful,” said Mr. Kiloh, who in 2003 opened his first medical dispensary, Green Cross, in San Francisco, seven years after California legalized marijuana for medical purposes.Federal research restrictions allow the study of marijuana under certain conditions, and scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, found that the Volcano produced less carbon monoxide and tar compared with smoking marijuana.The Volcano was built around inhalation of pure marijuana vapor, created by heating the plant itself. In a few years, the technology would change in a fundamental way.“What happened was that the oil came next,” Mr. Kiloh said.Entrepreneurs began to extract oil by bathing the leaf in ethanol or butane, filtering out the solid material that remained and then evaporating the solvent to leave the concentrated oil. Another method used carbon dioxide, which, when pressurized, creates a fluid that can used to extract the oil. (There is no “toxicological” research about the relative health effects of the different methods, according to Christopher Havel, an analytical chemist at U.C.S.F. who works with Dr. Benowitz).Once extracted, the THC oil could then be heated up using a small battery, kept in a cartridge or penlike case, creating aerosol, which is then inhaled from one end of the device. Consumers fell in love.As marijuana became legal in a growing number of states, a new area of entrepreneurship burgeoned. Businesspeople found they could use the entire plant to extract oil rather than throw away stems and other parts discarded by smokers, which maximized the value of the crop.The oil also could be mixed with other additives to give flavor, to create the effect of big puffs of smoke or just to cut the THC to substitute less expensive chemicals.At the time, Mr. Kiloh was dubious: What was in these things? The packages either did not list ingredients or, if they did, the labels seemed untrustworthy, he said, because the oil sometimes smelled off.Sometimes he would test the product and discover the THC had been watered down, initially with propylene glycol, which is used in fog machines, to add a smokey luster.“People started getting greedy,” Mr. Kiloh said, describing the early vape pen manufacturers around 2012. “You didn’t know how much was propylene glycol and how much was THC.”After initially carrying the vape pens in his dispensary, Mr. Kiloh temporarily pulled them from his shelves.“I didn’t want to sell them,” Mr. Kiloh said. “What people said for the next three or four months was, ‘Can you bring them back?’” But he told them he wasn’t sure the pens were safe.Mr. Downs, of Leafly, said the worry was valid. “It’s very clear innovation has eclipsed the sophistication of consumers as well as regulators and investigators,” he said. “We’ve been engaging in an uncontrolled mass experiment with inhaling concentrations of cannabinoids.”In states that legalized marijuana, farmers could grow the crop openly, creating a vast, lower-cost supply that flooded not just legal markets but spilled into illegal ones, said Beau Kilmer, director of the Rand Drug Policy Research Center.Prices plummeted. While national figures are hard to come by, Rand’s research shows that an oversupply in Oregon caused the price per pound to fall more than 50 percent, from $1,250 in 2016 to $500 in 2018.Much of the product went to oil.“The fastest growing segment of the market is extract for inhalation,” Mr. Kilmer said.And researchers remain in the dark. In August, the Drug Enforcement Administration loosened rules to allow some scientific institutions to apply to grow their own marijuana for study. However, the restrictions still prevent researchers like Dr. Benowitz from examining the kind of THC oil sold widely on the legal and black markets.He summed up what little is known about vaping THC oil: “All we know is that there weren’t many problems until recently.”Matt Richtel is a best-selling author and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter based in San Francisco. He joined The Times staff in 2000, and his work has focused on science, technology, business and narrative-driven storytelling around these issues.  mrichtelA version of this article appears in print on Oct. 21, 2019, Section A, Page 1 of the New York edition with the headline: Cannabis Oil And Vaping: Hazy Hazards. Source: New York Times (NY) Author:   Matt RichtelPublished: October 21, 2019Copyright: 2019 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #22 posted by FoM on November 12, 2019 at 17:50:22 PT
Afterburner and John Tyler
Thank you. We just got home a few hours ago. I am so grateful for the care he received at this hospital. It will be a long recovery from this very serious surgery and hopefully he will not need any chemo or radiation. We will know more when all the tests are back. It has been a long 6 months to get to this point and he had a great Thoracic Surgeon and the surgery was done robotically.
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Comment #21 posted by John Tyler on November 12, 2019 at 08:25:09 PT
You take care of what you have to take care of. Don't worry about us. We will still be here. Best Wishes.
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Comment #20 posted by afterburner on November 12, 2019 at 06:15:35 PT
I join your prayers for Stick's healing by the love of the Father, the power of the Holy Spirit and name of the Son, our Redeemer. Amen
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on November 11, 2019 at 04:12:13 PT
Just a Comment
I am so sorry I haven't posted any articles. Please feel free to post links etc. Been so busy since my husband is sick that I am totally side tracked these days.
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Comment #18 posted by John Tyler on November 07, 2019 at 08:14:02 PT
Elections are important
Virginia recently had an election and the voters voted in a Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate. They already had a Democratic Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General. So now they are talking about implementing a Democratic agenda. One of their agenda items is decriminalization of cannabis. (Industrial hemp is already legal.) I know what you are thinking… Virginia is so late to the game and decrim. is almost old fashioned, but that is the way Virginia is thanks to the conservatives who will soon be out of office and out of power come January. In any case I say “Yeah for Virginia” (It took you long enough to do the right thing.) you are now only two steps away from a sensible policy. So keep up the good work.
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Comment #17 posted by Storm Crow on November 03, 2019 at 00:34:31 PT
If this is a No-no, just delete it, FoM
Just wanted to give a plug to some nice nurses in Colorado. These ladies have started Leaf411, which is a FREE, non-profit helpline for anyone wanting to know anything about the medical uses of cannabis. We REALLY need services like this because there is SO MUCH misinformation floating around! They are just getting started and are working on a "shoe-string budget", but are dedicated to their mission of educating people. Their website is up if you want to learn a little more. 
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on October 28, 2019 at 09:33:28 PT
Storm Crow
I understand that. I use FB for anything other then our issue here. I have a 5000 member Rottweiler Group and 4 wonderful moderators to help me keep it in good order. Thank you for all you have done and still do.
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Comment #15 posted by Storm Crow on October 27, 2019 at 23:34:26 PT
FB page
Nope! No personal Facebook, hon, I have more than enough to keep me busy! On Oct. 11th PubMed, the number of "marijuana" studies dated 2019, surpassed the total for all of 2018 (2,400 studies)!  The Facebook page is actually done by a friend in Australia. I send her an early copy and she does all the rest. She volunteered way back in 2010 and and has done an amazing job! 
At the Northern California dispensary where I volunteer, I have noted that although all legal vaping products have been tested (by law), several of the cartridge companies have sent out letters with additional test results to certify that they are free from Vitamin E (which appears to be one of the major "villains"). Lipoid pneumonia (caused by vitamin E or other oils blocking up the tiny air sacs in your lungs) has been identified in a study as one of the more likely causes of "vaping illness".A second possible factor is pesticide poisoning. Many insecticides are close kin to nerve gas, while one popular fungicide releases cyanide when heated! When plants that have been sprayed with pesticides are turned into concentrates, the pesticides are concentrated to the same degree as the THC!  I do use a vape pen occasionally (they are nice when I want a quick, discrete puff), but I prefer to use either a glass pipe or my "ancient" desk-top vape. I've never had any lung issues with the vape pen, but I've only bought well-known brands at a licensed dispensary.     
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on October 27, 2019 at 15:35:24 PT
John Tyler
I think the world of Bernie. As long as we get Trump out and a Dem in I think it should move fairly fast towards legalization Federally.
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on October 27, 2019 at 15:33:36 PT
Heads Up: 60 Minutes Tonight
They are doing a piece on marijuana in California.
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on October 27, 2019 at 14:03:51 PT
Storm Crow
Great to see you. I found the list on FB! Do you have a personal FB page too?
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Comment #11 posted by Storm Crow on October 27, 2019 at 13:17:41 PT:
Still going on! 
Last night, while on a cannabis forum, some spammer put up a post attempting to sell "Dank Vapes" cartridges. He was quickly banned and the post removed. But it disheartens me that scammers are still trying! And the “New 2019 "Granny Storm Crow's List"!” is out. Just run the quoted text and it will pop up at a couple forums and Facebook. The studies sections are totaling over 5,000 pages of links to just about everything related to cannabis, the cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system. And there was an amazing case study just done in the UK. A gentleman in his 80s with metastasized liver cancer decided to forgo the chemo and started taking CBD. "Striking lung cancer response to self-administration of cannabidiol: A case report and literature review" - the full study is free at PubMed- just run the title to access it. (FYI - it is quite unusual for medical studies to use adjectives like "striking" in their titles!)  
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Comment #10 posted by John Tyler on October 27, 2019 at 08:30:16 PT
Bernie’s plan
Last Thursday Bernie Sanders released his plan to relegalize cannabis. Good for him. Plus it has a component to automatically expunge cannabis criminal records. It has a component to keep the emerging industry out of the hands of big tobacco and big cannabis and a way to compensate the minority communities that have been impacted by the war on drugs. I didn’t notice anything about compensation for the victims of the drug war. Maybe after relegalization that can be included in additional legislation by creating a fund from some of the profits from the new industry. What a giant step forward toward social and economic justice.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on October 27, 2019 at 08:28:51 PT
John Tyler
That's right!
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Comment #8 posted by John Tyler on October 26, 2019 at 17:22:01 PT
Ain’t nothing like the real thing
I think I will pass on the vaping thing. The “real thing” is tried and true, and has withstood the test of time. So, vape with caution.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on October 26, 2019 at 05:50:30 PT
All I can say is Wow! You said it beautifully and that is how I have felt about this issue too. Cannabis has never killed anyone but manipulations of the ways to partake of Cannabis can and probably have killed. It is not this God given plant, that is a tremendous help for so many, but man messing with it.
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Comment #6 posted by BGreen on October 26, 2019 at 04:18:00 PT
Pure concentrates of cannabis aren't the problem
Hi everybody!Cartridges aren't pure cannabis oil. They're mixed with the same carrier chemicals used in nicotine products: Polyethylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Vegetable Glycerin, Vitamin E Acetate, Coconut Oil and/or MCT (Medium-chain triglyceride) oil. These are the carrier chemicals which also allow people to exhale large amounts of vapor (I see very little when I exhale vaporized pure cannabis extracts.) They must also use some sort of emulsifier for the cannabis oils to properly mix with these carriers. All of these may be safe to ingest (food grade) but it is entirely unknown the effect of vaporizing these chemicals into the lungs. This unknown variable is also present with the flavorings. Why anybody wants to mask the wonderful taste of so many different cannabis strains with artificial flavorings is beyond me.Vaporizing properly extracted cannabis oils such as wax, shatter, sugar and live resin is the only way to go. These are no different than vaporizing buds in a Volcano or other plant matter vaporizer. There has never been any reported problems from people vaporizing in that manner.One of the problems with "Vaping" is the generic vernacular of the word. Vaping is so nondescript that it could mean introducing any aerosolized substance into the lungs. It's no different than the way the word "drug" is used interchangeably with cannabis and Fentanyl. Cannabis has never killed and Fentanyl will have killed several people before I can even get this post written.It's interesting that THC is being blamed for these lung injuries and yet none of the states with the highest incidence of lung injuries are legal cannabis states. That flies directly in the face of cannabis being the problem. It makes more sense to once again admit that prohibition has endangered the health of the general population who would be better protected by a safe and regulated market. God only knows what is in any substance purchased on the black market. The willingness of supposedly legitimate companies to sell us contaminated products for profit adds plausibility to the same practices being perpetrated by the "criminal" market.I also believe that mass-hysteria is part of the problem. Our brain is so powerful that fear can manifest itself as physical illness. People have the ability to will themselves to death and it is fairly common for large groups of people to start experiencing the same symptoms when they believe they've been exposed to something. Even when any toxic or biological exposure has been ruled out the fact is that many people truly appeared to be physically unwell. If someone who vapes has a lung issue then of course the fear will make them blame vaping for the problem even if it may be completely unrelated.The only difference between smoking cannabis and vaping cannabis is that you don't heat to the point of combustion. Combustion delivers the same cannabinoid, terpene and terpenoid profile as vaping but adds toxic cancer-causing chemicals such as benzene that aren't present when vaping. If cannabis was the cause of lung disease it surely would have presented itself decades before now.Bud
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on October 23, 2019 at 14:23:42 PT
Thank you
Making food products should be fine but I just don't know about vape pens. I think vaping dry herb should be OK if a person shouldn't smoke in general. My niece was just diagnosed with Parkinson Disease and smoking anything she has never done so full spectrum oil is what I think would be best but she lives in Texas and isn't sure how to get permission to use it medically. I have tried to figure it out for her but I still am not sure.I am glad Trudeau held on. They sure don't need to lose him and get the other side in now.
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Comment #4 posted by Soup Herb on October 23, 2019 at 09:37:57 PT:
Vaping damaged my lungs.
Sure I enjoyed the delivery system of more oil and less hot smoke. Very novel.
Cartridges are a huge advantage. Neat and clean.
I could not tell when the cart was empty and all I inhaled was very hot that time it was too late yet I kept doing it. This is by far the worst issue with the "E vape" system.
The damage was done. I don't by cartridges anymore.
I am happy with the clean new fresh wrap. That's how to roll...(pun intended).
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on October 22, 2019 at 16:33:43 PT
A few things:
Vaping? I don't know. The old fashioned way, YES. The flavored way? with whatever additives? =ARE YOU KIDDING?-I agree with M.-0-However, I stopped by today to acknowledge, Trudeau, just WON another term.I'm not exactly sure how things have turned out regarding Trudeau within the promise / PREMISE of RE-legalizing cannabis in Canada, which inevitably helped Him win His 1st election.-less in touch...BUT, He took that platform & that's an important distinction to Me.Congratulations Trudeau
Congratulations Cannabis-0-I came to this issue attempting to end the policy of caging humans who choose to use cannabis. The policy of caging responsible adults who use what Christ God Our Father indicates He created and said is GOOD on literaly the VERY 1ST PAGE of the Bible.PAGE 1a LOT has been achieved. Other's are needed to step up.Vaping? I don't know.but leave people along who simply smoke pot-0-I don't bring food substances into My home with ingredients which include, "NATURAL FLAVORS".!!!I WANT TO KNOW WHAT I'M EATING.One "natural ingredient" that's not mentioned is CASTOREUM. It's BEAVER BUTT!!!!!!! (don't believe Me, check it out)YUK. EEEEkKsS -are they kidding?SO, if what THEY are adding to flavored vaping stuffs, & THEY should get rid of it, SO BE IT.Pure cannabis = GOOD.Additives? Not in My House!Otherwise leave people alone. GOVERNMENT, THAT's YOU.The Green Collar Worker
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on October 22, 2019 at 16:12:22 PT
This is some of that crap we feared would happen
when people went to isolating elements and synthesizing and scientificating on the good plant some day... because they could and have. It was done to every pleasant, beneficial, healthy, or medicinal plant so far discovered, I think. Oh my Lord.My opinion. They don't have this oil and vape thing down that well to be appealing to me. It's better when there is no doubt about what you are consuming. No doubt.I'm old school. I'm not that into iffy con
coctions purporting to be something maybe it's not. 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on October 21, 2019 at 06:05:48 PT
Just a Comment
I have had concerns about vaping but really am not at all familiar with it. The Volcano and now the not as expensive Arizer made sense to me. I think it is a topic worth discussing. Vaporization as a smokeless cannabis delivery system: a pilot study:
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