From 2019 to 2020, the vaping community across the United States experienced a lung-related illness (EVALI) that affected thousands of individuals.
Eventually, the culprit was discovered: contaminated cannabis vaporizers and vape cartridges. Unlike regulated and lab-tested vapes, illicit vape products are untested and contain questionable substances.
Whether anti-medical marijuana lawmakers or manufacturers are to blame, we’ll discuss how legal medical marijuana access inherently decreases the risk of vape-related injuries.
What is EVALI?
EVALI, also known as e-cigarette or vaping product-use-associated lung injury, is a severe respiratory-related issue.
In 2019, a flurry of respiratory illness cases surged across the United States. As doctors frantically searched for a cause, researchers soon found a potential culprit: illegal e-cigarette and cannabis vaping products.
Individuals affected by EVALI all experienced similar symptoms, such as shortness of breath, coughing, chest pain, fever, shallow breathing, rapid heartbeat, and vomiting. Furthermore, EVALI can lead to severe complications resulting in death.
The Hidden Ingredient in Illegal Marijuana Vapes
From California to Florida, illegal vapes flood the illicit market while advertising high THC content and mouth-watering flavors.
Most illicit marijuana vape carts contain a common ingredient that’s proven to harm the lungs and cause EVALI: vitamin E acetate. Vitamin E acetate is a synthetic form of vitamin E used as a thickening agent within vape cartridges.
However, vitamin E acetate is known to cause respiratory problems that can also affect cardiovascular (heart) health. Vitamin E acetate is cheap and makes the liquid within cannabis extracts thick enough to vaporize.
Therefore, many illicit manufacturers use vitamin E acetate as the primary thickening agent. Aside from vitamin E acetate, studies found that nearly 75% of illegal vaporizers contained undisclosed additives.
Ultimately, the illicit marijuana vape trade is filled with dangerous products because of the extreme prevalence of unknown chemicals. With this in mind, you should always buy lab-tested medical marijuana vapes from licensed dispensaries near you.
How Medical Marijuana Access Plays a Significant Role in Vape Safety
According to researchers from John Hopkins, the American Heart Association, and New York University, states with legal medical marijuana experience fewer instances of EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping product-use-associated lung injury).
Specifically, the research found that “an inverse relationship between state-level cannabis vaping prevalence and EVALI caseload is consistent with a prior study by Friedman, which also found that states with higher rates of cannabis use, in general, had lower EVALI prevalence.”
The primary reason behind these findings is fueled by the fact that higher cannabis vaping prevalence is found in states with legal medical or recreational marijuana. States with legal medical or recreational cannabis have strict product testing policies that result in fewer EVALI cases.
Alternatively, the study found that “cannabis vaping prevalence was low in states with prohibitive cannabis laws, individuals from such states may more likely obtain cannabis from illegal sources, increasing their risk of using contaminated products and hence the higher prevalence of EVALI cases in such states.”
As you can see, the likelihood of EVALI increases in non-legal states because all cannabis users must source illegally produced vape products.
Who’s to Blame for the EVALI Epidemic?
With dozens of deaths and thousands of injured individuals — who is to blame?
From illicit vape producers to anti-cannabis lawmakers, there are many places to point the finger. However, lawmakers can legalize medical marijuana vape carts while enforcing strict production and testing laws.
By allowing access to medical marijuana, illicit cannabis vape cart manufacturers will have less demand because consumers can legally buy lab-tested medical marijuana vape products. In other words, legal medical marijuana is far more convenient compared to sourcing illegal marijuana.
As the study from John Hopkins found, legal medical marijuana resulted in fewer EVALI cases. Thus, reducing EVALI cases and other future vaping-related issues is inextricably tied to a state’s medical marijuana accessibility.
Why Legal Medical Marijuana Vape Access is Essential for Medical Patients
Medical marijuana patients in states with legal MMJ laws consume cannabis to assist with a wide range of mental and physical issues.
In other words, MMJ users consume cannabis to reduce symptoms — not increase them. However, patients in states without legal access to medical marijuana vapes may find themselves exacerbating issues after consuming contaminated products.
As a medical patient, it’s essential to avoid illegally produced vaporizers at all costs. Whether you live in a state with legal medical marijuana or not, illicit vaporizers have the potential to make your current condition far worse.
How Nationwide Medical Marijuana Laws Need a Unified Approach
Researchers and lawmakers far and wide have called on the federal government to implement sound medical marijuana and recreational cannabis laws to protect public health.
Recently, researchers at Arizona State University presented data showing the need for a nationwide approach regarding contaminants in cannabis products. From pesticides to additives, cannabis users are prone to consuming contaminated marijuana products — especially in states without legal access.
Luckily, President Biden recently announced that he was considering removing cannabis from the Schedule I classification. By doing so, Biden would pave the way for a unified cannabis regulatory framework that would drastically reduce the chances of another EVALI outbreak.
However, there is no indication that cannabis will be federally legal this year (or next). Therefore, the best way to avoid contaminated marijuana vapes is by purchasing legal products in a state with medical or recreational cannabis laws.
Sign-Up for A Legal Medical Marijuana Card for Safe Access to Vapes
Luckily, the vast majority of states in the US offer medical marijuana programs.
If you live in Florida and want to experience marijuana vaporizers without worrying about contaminated vapes, it’s time to apply for a medical marijuana license. Florida is home to the most popular and trusted medical marijuana brands, such as Trulieve, Vidacann, and Curaleaf.
With many high-end and affordable medical marijuana vape products, Floridians can rely on stringent testing requirements to avoid contaminated vape products. Whether you’re in Naples, Miami, or Orlando, Florida offers access to some of the best medical marijuana vapes that money can buy.
Sign up for a medical marijuana license with Compassionate Healthcare of Florida and experience the difference of lab-tested medical marijuana vapes today!