Portland, Oregon reported its first death caused by a severe respiratory illness that has been linked to a vaping device.
Investigators from the Oregon Health Authority reported that the person, whose name has not been released, had “recently used an e-cigarette or vaping device" bought from a cannabis dispensary.
The Oregon man, whose symptoms were found to be consistent with more than 215 cases reported across the United States, died in July, 2019.
Health Authorities are Stumped
While all of these patients were reported to be using e-cigarettes or vape pens, researchers have not been able to isolate which ingredient or which devices are causing the deadly problem.
The country’s first such death was reported on August 23, 2019 in Illinois when an adult woman developed a serious lung disease after vaping.
According to a press release from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), many of the affected patients have ended up in emergency rooms or intensive care units suffering from severe coughing, shortness of breath, chest pains and difficulty breathing. The majority of patients, from 25 states, are in their late teens and early 20s, which happens to be the demographic in which vaping is surging.
Why is this happening?
While many cases involved vaping THC-containing liquids, it’s not clear whether they came from cannabis vapes or nicotine e-cigarettes.
The CDC noted that: “specific substances within the e-cigarette products that cause illness are not known and could involve a variety of substances.”
Fake Cannabis Vapes
Counterfeit cannabis products have become a growing problem in the industry, starting with a surge of knock off vape pens.
Marijuana Business Daily reported in late April that fake marijuana products are turning up all over the place, including legal states as well as legit cannabis conferences.
What’s to be done?
The CDC warns people to be careful and not buy products off the street.
A more reasonable solution
Legalize cannabis at the federal level and control it like alcohol and tobacco. Put a crimp in the black market and let our scientists do the research necessary to make cannabis products safe.