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Experts say they may know the cause of the vape-related lung illnesses and deaths.

By Logan Somers [1]

BELLEVILLE – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [2] (CDC) in Atlanta says it thinks it knows why there are a rising numbers of lung illnesses and deaths related to vaping have been in the headlines in North America.

The CDC have reported that they believe vape products that contain THC may be the culprit. The CDC received data [3] on substances used in vaping products among 514 patients. They found that 77 percent reported using products that contain THC.

THC is a chemical found in cannabis. More people are now using cannabis with vapes.

“The ways we consume cannabis has evolved and grown over the years, the same way we consume nicotine have evolved and grown into vaping,” said Ethan Marshall, general manager of Vapour Canada.

“A lot of people vape their cannabis products now. They vape it in the regular form we think of when we talk about cannabis in the flower form.”

Marshall goes on to say that there is an other form of using cannabis in vapes. He says it’s  called a a wax form. The wax form of cannabis is what most of the concerns are around, because of the chemicals used to make it. This is what is most often used in creating THC vape juice.

One of the chemicals raising concerns is Vitamin E Acetate, a chemical used in some THC vape products. In a CDC press release [4] they quote acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, who said Vitamin E Acetate has been one of the chemicals they have been testing from samples of the lung illnesses they have received for testing so far.

Jordan Brant, Training Coordinator, at Legacy 420 believes people are becoming ill because of Vitamin E Acetate.

“What happens when this vitamin E gets vaporized is it turns into hydrogen cyanide. That’s what’s causing the majority from from all of the cases that I’ve read in the majority of cases, and that’s what’s causing the damage to their lungs. And then later on the respiratory illnesses.”

Brant says Legacy 420 tests all their vape products they have no concerns about harmful chemicals in their products. 

A new study done by The New England Journal of Medicine [5] has also raised similar concerns around THC in vapes. They reviewed lung biopsies from 17 patients. All had a history of vaping and 71 percent of them vaped with cannabis; all of the patients were suspected to have vaping-associated lung illnesses, said the study.

In the study the authors said, that the previous thought was that vapes were causing exogenous lipoid pneumonia [6] a rare form of pneumonia caused by inhalation of a fatal substance.

From their research that is not what they found. Rather they believe the patents are becoming ill by toxic chemical exposure.

However, both the CDC and The New England Journal of Medicine have said they still can not be 100 percent sure what is causing the lung illnesses and deaths.