Vape. Image Credit: G Dawson-2017

CDC: STOP VAPING! Fake THC Vapes Common Denominator In Deadly Pulmonary Condition

The following piece has been syndicated for publication from Cannabistical.com.The fact that we have now re-printed two articles from a pro-cannabis web site does NOT mean that the Staten Islander News Organization condones the practice of illicit cannabis use. Both articles are timely and essential reading for all Islanders. Everyone knows at least one person who smokes or vapes cannabis. And everyone needs to know the facts. We need to know what we’re up against.   knows his stuff. We reprint this article knowing it could save lives. -Archie Frank, Editor.

This is not a scare tactic. People are dying from “the vape.” On September 6,2019, the CDC conducted a telebriefing with CDC’s Ileana Arias, PhD, Senior Scientific Adviser and Acting Deputy Director for Non-Infectious Diseases, as well as other doctors presently handling the crisis, in order to spread the word about what’s known — and not known — about this developing epidemic. An audio recording of the teleconference is available by clicking here. (https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2019/t0906-vaping-disease.mp3)

According to the briefing, a number of deaths (five as of this writing), as well as severe illness, are directly attributable to the now-popular practice of vaping, the practice of using e-cigarette products, as well as cannabis vapes. While leading news organizations have focus their reporting on nicotine-based vapes, according to the CDC, “Many of these patients reported recent use of THC-containing products, and some reported using both THC- and nicotine-containing products.” No answer was provided by the panelists.

Vape. Image Credit: G Dawson-2017

Vape. Image Credit: G Dawson-2017 CC

That means, in reality, that this issue is centered around MJ vapes. Although a small number reported having only vaped nicotine e-cigarettes, these reports are in the very small minority, and considering the illicit nature of cannabis, may be due to self-reporting omissions on the part of patients (“…a *median* age of 19 years”) not wishing to admit having consumed an illegal drug. The CDC stressed that “…products obtained from social sources or off the street…” are of particular concern; this category does not, in any sense, apply to legal nicotine vapes. Mike Stobbes, with the Associated Press, rightly queried the panel with “is it possible they vaped THC, but just didn’t admit it?” Of course, this is a distinct possibility.

The epidemic has spread to 33 states, so far, with over 450 cases that may fit the description. Wisconsin and Illinois were the first States to report on this disaster. Oddly, Colorado, a state with legal “recreational” marijuana and many heavy vape users, reported no instances of this syndrome. The CDC stressed that on single brand, product, or substance, has yet been implicated, however, various laboratories have concluded that Vitamin E Acetate is the common adulterant present in suspect vape cartridges, and the FDA Forensic Lab is now confirming the results brought forth by independent medical testing.

How is this known? Some victims of the lung disorder have provided the vape products to medical professionals for testing; this substance is the one commonality between all samples. This is not normally present in THC, CBD, or cannabis extracts; instead it’s added to “cut” or dilute the product. So far,no legitimate nicotine OR cannabis vapes have been identified. Therefore, the onus of responsibility for this seems to rest on cartel distributed “fake” vapes, often imitating both packaging and product appearance, as well as security features, distributed “on the streets.”

As a consumer, of you are presently vaping THC and NOT purchasing through a legitimate dispensary or legal weed shop, please stop the use of these products. There is a high probability that you are vaping cartel-manufactured vape products, and even if they appear real, often are not. This is a situation that is only exacerbated by cannabis prohibition; however, in even California,where cannabis use is legal, some consumers wishing to save on costs opt for cheaper street vapes, which carry untold risks. If you have been vaping, CDC advises you to begin close monitoring for symptomatology associated with this condition. (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, or others)

While these symptoms are also common among those with an infections disease, if you’ve vaped, it may be the harbinger of something far more deadly than a severe virus or flu. Chest X-rays revealed striking abnormalities; victims could not breathe and required additional oxygen. Noninfectious lipoid pneumonia, the identified issue, is caused by inhaling certain oils. While THC and CBD are the oils that comprise marijuana and hemp, respectively, lipoid pneumonia has never been associated with use of these substances.

Some questions health investigators should be asking themselves pertain to the widespread practice of vaping, now with over a decade of health history, and the sudden appearance of this condition. If Noninfectious lipoid pneumonia is caused by vaping itself, and not an adulterated product, why now the clusters? Why haven’t we seen this happening all along? For those claiming under-reporting is to blame, consider that this is a deadly condition with a rapid onset; something like this has a small probability of flying under the radar for so long.

The probability is that Vitamin E Acetate is to blame. Why would this be added to the mix, when cannabis oil vapes just fine on its own? Profit. Greed. Disregard for consumer safety. All hallmarks of illicit drug cartel operations. And, as stated above, while a very small proportion of affected users claim to have solely vaped nicotine, the majority have either vaped only cannabis or both cannabis and nicotine. Dr. Jonathan Meiman sates in the teleconference,”The goal to try to determine if the cluster of cases we were observing were a true increase or an increase of awareness of recognition by medical providers.”

Of course, this is the scientific way to proceed, and is without a doubt the only way to determine cause with absolute certainly. However, logically, careful reasoning brings us to conclude, tentatively, that this phenomenon is novel, and not a longstanding misclassified condition. Increased doctor awareness is not viable; this is a deadly,debilitating condition that could not have evaded detection for any length of time. Preventing additional individuals from suffering is key here, and so of course, just to be safe, the CDC advises cessation of all vape use by all Americans. With images of Juul® vape pens all over media reporting associated with this issue, most viewers would incorrectly conclude that Juul is at the center of the controversy; nothing could be further from the truth.

Half the patients hospitalized required intensive care, and nearly a third the assistance of mechanical ventilation. This is a serious set of circumstances that could not have evaded health professionals for over ten years, the time vaping has been around. Rather, it seems that cartels control a multi-state conglomerate of street drug dealing; quite possibly, recently, a large cartel decided to further increase profits by cutting street vapes with a non-cannabis oil. Maybe they figured a vitamin would be alright, as vitamin E is generally regarded as safe?

According to Mitch Zeller, JD, director, Center for Tobacco Products at FDA, the government now has over 120 samples of vape products to test that may have been involved in the declining pulmonary health of affected individuals. That’s quite a bit of data to pore over, and what’s being looked for are a variety of substances to gain a more complete picture: “nicotine, THC, other cannabinoids along with cutting agents, additives, pesticides, opioids, toxins.” so far, vitamin E acetate is the only substance reported in all the provided samples. That has to mean something, though such a conclusion is preliminary, awaiting further testing and confirmation.

According to New York state’s Department of Health, lab test found extremely high levels of vitamin E acetate is “nearly all” cannabis products tested in connection with the vaping illness, every suspected sample testing positive. Cannabis, and cannabis vapes, are not legal in New York. Though there is something called “decriminalized marijuana” im the state, all it really means is that cartels can move in and peddle their unregulated wares.

According to a recent report in USA Today, Michael Siegel, tobacco expert and public health professor at Boston University stated, “It is really starting to look like this is a cannabis vaping issue and that it may not have anything to do with e-cigarettes.”

Mitch Zeller, emphasizing the nature of the issue states, ” If you’re, with these increasing reports, if you’re thinking of purchasing one of these products off the street, out of the back of a car, out of a trunk, in an alley, or if you’re going to then go home and make modifications to the product yourself using something that you purchased from some third party or got from a friend, think twice.”

As noted in Cannabistical in the recent past, “decrim” only brings cartels to American cities and towns, peddling their questionable wares to an unsuspecting public. Again, we would like to state that marijuana, as well as marijuana vapes, should not be purchased from  illegal dealers. The consumer just doesn’t know what they’re getting, and the results could be potentially fatal. If this isn’t the latest chapter detailing why the present iteration of the War on Drugs fails, and why cannabis prohibition costs more lives than it (purportedly) saves, nothing will bring light and intelligence to our nation.

This is a wake up call: Stop feeding the cartels by buying their illicit marijuana products! You’re only encouraging criminality! You are not buying weed or cannabis oil, in most cases. “Blasted” weed, cannabis oil tainted by solvents and solvent impurities, as well as adulterated marijuana and vapes are all of issue. Unless you want to wake up by EMTs, resuscitated with nalaxone, wonder,”How could this have happened,” users should stop purchasing, and using street weed and vapes now. They could be adulterated with fentanyl. After all, it only takes a micro-dose to get you feeling a little high, and cartels could use fentanyl in cannabinoid-stripped vapes and weed, to substitute for the lost potency induced when the active psychotropic chemicals have been removed, diverted elsewhere for more significant profits.

You could even end up dead. This is no hype; now it’s true that marijuana can kill. Sure, the specifics are wobbly; it’s not truly the cannabis itself that kills, but that’s not the point. Between Eagle 20, fake vapes, and blasted weed, why bother at all? The idea users have in mind is feeling good; nothing feels good about being poisoned or sickened. Legalize all forms of marijuana now, and increase penalties for illegal dealing, as well a for selling fake products.

30 Comments

  • Avatar Bathtub Gin Fool says:

    WTF? I can’t imagine this is real. Their making the old saying that pot kills come true! Don’t trust the drug cartels. Their right. Avi is smart. U don’t want to lose your life b/c u wanted to vape. Someone needs prison time. But will they ever see it? NOPE. The cartels roll with force & are super protected from the law. I think we reached the point where they were making bathtub gin that was killing people in mass. Time to legalize. I hate the stuff. Vodka is my poison. Weed makes me antsy. But to each his own this is America after all.

    • Avatar KEEP WEED ILLEGAL IN 2019! says:

      KEEP THIS POISON ILLEGAL. All we need now is to add yet another mind alterant to the mix of drugs drivers have in their systems.

      Don’t buy into this hype. Just another BS scare tactic to get the dope legalized. Fight this tooth and nail.

      If we don’t then expect to see car crashes skyrocket as kids smash up their cars and don’t even know what day it is.

      KEEP WEED ILLEGAL IN 2019!

      • Avatar Bathtub Gin Fool says:

        THANKS for the RRS FEED! Now I can see knuckleheads posting in real time. Anyway how many of ur kids or neices or nephews or neighbors kids smoke or vape? Stop living in a fantasy. So many kids use this stuff. Far from a “getaway drug”. If weed vapes and joints were poison then why only now the deaths? Lying coward.

        Like I said I hate the stuff. The smell alone makes me want to puke. But that isn’t my point. I don’t like the smell of fish on the grill either but am I going to tell my neighbors to stick with beef patties and chicken? Get real.

        MORE ACCIDENTS? These kids have been smoking and driving for decades. Do u realize pot is already everywhere? Keeping it illegal enriches the cartels. Maybe u have a hand out also? I am very curious why so many replies on this site and others are so ant-pot.

        Fight it tooth and nail? What for? THis stuff is everywhere and kids can get it right now. I’m all for legalization and selling it to adults only. How about u? Will that somehow mess up ur bottom line? Makes me wonder.

  • Avatar Jed, Shaolin's True Native Son says:

    If you smoke for ANY medical reason, don’t touch this street junk. People have ODed from what they thought was weed. The buds are soaked in poison. That’s not hype, either.

    https://www.wkbw.com/news/local-news/police-issue-warning-after-fentanyl-laced-marijuana-confiscated-in-upstate-new-york

    https://libn.com/2019/06/03/ny-sheriff-warned-of-fentanyl-laced-weed-after-false-positive/

    https://torontosun.com/news/local-news/mandel-were-teens-poisoned-with-fentanyl-laced-pot

    Not buying it. I’m familiar with the ISO 9002 cert kits. Not way weed is going to show up for opiates, without opiates present. Ever!!! If you use these kits in your line of work, you’ll know the horses*** when you hear it. False positive? Nah…

    It must have been a trace amount the field kit detected and the re-test failed because the opiates weren’t distributed evenly throughout the plant material.

    Or, the cartel shut this investigation down. These cartels RUN S***.

    Scary stuff.

    • Jed, I’ll just stick to my cancer sticks and beer. Whiskey on weekends. At least I know what I’m getting. McDonald’s may not be the best burger ever, but I know I’m not getting kangaroo meat like some OTHER cheap spots. (hahah Remember that from around 83 or so? Sheesh, getting old) Point is, would you buy anything else on the street off some skell? How about brake fluid? Gold coins? What about steak? What about cancer meds? You KNOW you’d never getting what they say. Be smart and stick with the legal stuff, kids. You’ll live to be 72 like me. No guarantees there, but at least you’re not taking your life and putting it in the hands of degens who only want to score a buck. I admit I smoked weed back in the late 70s early 80s. Panama Red. Thai sticks. That was some real DOPE. And strong as H***. Weed got weaker. Kids today are suckers. Placebo effect mostly. Very sad. We were into fast cars, hot chicks, strong pot, American beer, JD shots, and fun times. There were junkies even then strung out on H but we all shook our heads and felt sorry. They were the basket cases. Most had been screwed up since anyone could remember. The drugs just made it worse. My brother’s retired now, but when he was on the force, he smoked pot like a chimney. Guess what? Back then, there was no drug testing, either. And, he was a fine officer. The war on drugs is a lot of crap. Just talked with him about the false positive and he said it’s unlikely. Those kits are admissible in court. Very few errors. If anything, you get a false negative, according to him. If the drug is in a small dose, like fentynil would be in tainted weed.

      Good reporting “Mr. Khan”

  • Avatar What Gives? says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIySVxj2UuQ

    why the gov banning flavored e-cigs when the health dept guy says its street thc vapes only? This article is 100% right on.

    big tobacco
    big pharma (nic patches)
    both losing $$ from nicotine vapes

    $$ ka-ching

  • Avatar What Gives? says:

    no such thing as ‘black market’ nicotine vapes.

    it’s THC vapes distributed by the cartel.

    NYS is losing out on tax $$

    https://taxfoundation.org/state-vapor-taxes-2019/

    ciggies make NYS $$ so…….crack down on nicotine vapes even tho its fake street thc vapes that are killing young ppl

    follow the $%$%

  • Avatar What Gives? says:

    %45 on a pack of ciggies—$7.00+

    NYS gets this direct KA-CHING

    NYS get ZERO DOLLARS for vapes.

    follow the $$ NO KA-CHING

    • Avatar Don't Smoke the Vitamin E, Kids! says:

      Exactly. It’s big tobacco that now owns vape companies.

      So…the states don’t want them evading the taxes. Actually the customers.

      The tobacco owners make profits either way.

  • Avatar Marijuana Is Disgusting says:

    I smell this s*** every time I leave my house. I get dizzy and high just with a quick whiff. Makes me have to go lie down. And that’s just SMELLING the stuff for a brief second or two. So imagine how high the people smoking it are getting. I’m sure none of them know what day it is. Keep it illegal. Plus it reeks. What a disgusting odor!

    • Avatar Niagra, Please says:

      Your nuts. Really. See a shrink. Smelling pot for a few seconds won’t do that to you. Maybe your allergic? Otherwise I’m voting for schizo.

      • Avatar G.Moschino says:

        I’ll second your vote. No way is a mere whiff for a fraction of a second going to do anything. I can see being at a Grateful Dead show in 1970. Or maybe in a car with the windows closed.

        As for the “aroma”..not my favorite either. Sometimes I smell it and I swear a skunk died.

  • Avatar addictionkoup says:

    THIS is what prohibition of any sort brings. Want to outlaw ANYTHING? A black market will spring up sure enough. No guarantees of quality. No recourse if black market purchases kill you. Free societies should not limit citizens from smoking or vaping marijuana or any other substance that is practically harmless. When the harm is more from prohibition than the substance prohibited there is a BIG problem.

  • Avatar Don't Smoke the Vitamins E, Kids! says:

    This has nothing to do wil Juul. Poor reporting on the part of 99% of media. Have to wonder what their agenda is. It’s cannabis vapes. Counterfeit ones, at that. Don’t be fooled. It may cost you everything.

    Legalize the weed. Stop the nonsense.

  • Avatar Quit Cigs With Bubble Gum Flavored Vapes says:

    Vaping helped me quit smoking. And that’s no small thing. I smoked daily since 1988. The cost has been way more than I can even think about. Vaping was cheaper. And my bronchitis finally went away. I like bubble gum flavor and I’m no kid. Free countries should let adults do what they want. Why is a republican making nanny sate laws anyway?

  • Avatar NoSense says:

    Agenda here is to keep ppl smoking cigarettes.

    How is any of this going to deal with weed vapes that killed young people they bought on the streets.

  • Avatar not your business says:

    Why are the pot stories on here the ones that get the most comments? It really does say something about Staten Island.

    Honestly, I’m not shocked. This place should be renamed StatenWEEDland! 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎

    • Avatar John Doe III says:

      Actually, it’s about the same anywhere you go in the US or the world. People like MJ. Now I think it’s gross, smells like **** but to each his own. Keeping it illegal props up these cult-like drug cartels. I’ve watched enough on Youtube to know that drugs are a BIIIIIIG business. If you think it’s rampant here, try Bklyn. Those hipsters smoke out in the open. So do native BKers. The police are too busy fighting real crime to care. BK is rough.

  • Avatar How's That Logic says:

    They want to ban vapes now. 100% they stopping the flavors.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MI22_8L5ge4

    Fruit flavors most popular among adults.

    Now they taking my froot loops vapes?

    WHY IS THIS EVEN A QUESTION? It was blackmarket thc vapes.

    Bunch of f****** liars. My boy owns a vape shop. Honest man who saved and now makes a living. Should my man go and drive uber now?

    So let’s think about it/. The issue was blackmarket thc making kids die. So what do they do? Make e-cigarette vapes illegal to make ANOTHER BLACKMARKET.

    Who else sees this is F***** UP?

    17 y.o girl won’t admit vaping thc. Why? She can get into CPS. THC is illegal. So a bunch (actually a few) kids lied. Now no more vapes for anyone? This is getting mad strange.

  • Avatar get real says:

    Kids shouldn’t be vaping anything. At all.

    Not THC. Not CBD. Not nicotine.

    Flavors like froot loops is marketed at kids.

    This needs to stop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    But I see the contradiction. It’s like going after Jack when Joe is the problem.

    Still………………………

    No kid should be vaping either way.

    I am curious tho about the thc vapes. Isn’t that the real problem? I mean kids are dying. Why use this as a chance to go after nicotine? I don’t get it.

    • Avatar MexicanFootballStar says:

      I agree with you. Kids should be exercising. All I did when i was younger is go tot he park and play football (soccer) and didn’t think about drugs or even cigarettes because I knew that stuff would slow me down. If you look at my Name on here I think you could guess that already. LOL Sure we did drink on some weekends not going to lie but that was it. I think kids want to look cool. But besides that they want to do what older people are doing. And kids are stressed and need an outlet. Too bad football isn’t more popular here because it is a fun game and girls and guys can play together when they are younger. Staten Island kids need a place to go. There should be school dances every week and events like this.

  • Avatar Boriqua76 says:

    Yup. It’s official. Their getting rid of flavored vapes. I don’t see honestly what one has to do with the other. Politics never made much sense to me. smh

  • Avatar Quad Vision says:

    Interesting. This article is from Cannabstical.com. Not a well known news site. But I have to hand it to them, they called the miclobutanil Eagle 20 hazard before anyone.

    Good sourcing, editors. I was a bit skeptical at first b/c of the name. I thought it was just a pro-pot site, but turns out you guys reported the story accurately first.

    My question is, how did cannabistical know when even state DOH investigators didn’t?

    This really adds a lot of credibility to Staten Islander. Amazing reporting. Please ramp up the pace of new articles.

  • Avatar StatenIslander.org_Editor says:

    Thank you for appreciating our reporting.

    Most of our articles are original, however, when we see something worth syndicating, we make the effort to bring in those stories.

    Indeed, Cannabistical had the scoop first on the Eagle 20/myclobutanil contamination of fake THC vape pens. I don’t think any website beat them to the story. It’s all over the news now:

    https://nypost.com/2019/09/27/hydrogen-cyanide-found-in-thc-vaping-cartridges-report/

    Thanks again, reader, for your appreciation.

    -Staten Islander New Org Editors

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  • […] “street weed” is contaminated with solvents, according to Cannabistical’s report (http://statenislander.org/2019/09/09/cdc-stop-vaping-fake-thc-vapes-common-denominator-in-deadly-pul…), chemical residue from extraction of the precious oil that is then sold separately by the cartels. […]

  • […] “street weed” is contaminated with solvents, according to Cannabistical’s report (http://statenislander.org/2019/09/09/cdc-stop-vaping-fake-thc-vapes-common-denominator-in-deadly-pul…), chemical residue from extraction of the precious oil that is then sold separately by the cartels. […]

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