Vaping illness traced to illegal brands that included synthetic drugs
We’re finally getting some concrete information on the vaping illness that has been such an issue in the US the past few months. According to the CDC (which, by the way, is still saying that no one should be vaping anything, THC or otherwise, while the issue is being figured out), there are 1,479 cases so far, along with 33 deaths total. All of the cases are vaping-related, and the majority of them both had THC present in the samples and came from illicit sources (including vapes sold illegally on the street, or from friend or family members who might have gotten them off the street).
The CDC still hasn’t nailed down an exact issue with the carts that did cause a problem, but the latest research points to a few brands, including one called Yolo, that were manufactured and sold illicitly. Originally, the brand was marketed as a CBD product, but without strict testing and regulations, other elements were eventually included — at first, THC, and even drugs like K2 or spice (synthetic marijuana, which is much more dangerous than grown cannabis). Many Yolo products appear to have come from a company based in Carlsbad, California (which, in a weird coincidence, is where we at The Elegant Stoner are also based), but there are also generic brands out there — almost anyone can buy a vape cartridge, put whatever they want in it, and then sell it on the street in illegal states or through unlicensed sources.
No one has specifically been charged for the vaping illness yet, though police are consistently cracking down on illegal products where they can. Hopefully, research will continue on this, and groups like the CDC will be able to nail down exactly what caused these illnesses and how we can avoid this problem in the future. In the meantime, these issues only underscore just how important supporting the legal and regulated market for cannabis is. These vaping issues weren’t caused by legal, tested THC (or tobacco) vape products — they were caused by illegal products that were either completely mislabeled or manufactured incorrectly, and then sold through illicit dealers and channels. The best way to combat and shut down those illegal channels will be, as it has always been, to create legal and regulated channels for those products to go through.