Deaths, illnesses related to vaping cannabis on the rise, health authorities say

(This story has been updated to include more reported deaths and a warning from health officials to consumers to stop vaping.)

Concerns over marijuana vaping-related illnesses continue to mount, as U.S. health officials on Friday again urged people to stop vaping until it’s determined why some consumers are coming down with serious breathing illnesses.

Public health officials say a person in Oregon who recently died of a severe respiratory illness used a vape pen containing marijuana oil from a legal dispensary.

“We don’t know for sure that the vaping death was caused by something purchased at the licensed, legal dispensary, but our investigation has found that a product or products were purchased at one before the individual’s death,” said Jonathan Modie, spokesman for the Oregon Health Authority.

“We’re still looking into it.”

It’s the first death tied to a vaping product bought at a licensed marijuana dispensary.

U.S. health officials on Friday said they had identified 450 possible illnesses – including at least five deaths – in 33 states, related to e-cigarette and cannabis vaping use. The count includes newly reported deaths in California, Indiana and Minnesota.

Dr. Ann Thomas of the Oregon Health Authority said unanswered questions regarding the death in her state include:

  • What sickened the middle-aged adult?
  • Was the product contaminated?
  • Was something added to the liquid in the device after he bought it?

Thomas declined to identify the brand of the product or the dispensary while the investigation is ongoing.

She did say it’s the only known case of vaping-related illness or death in Oregon.

Health officials in some states said a number of people who got sick had vaped products containing THC.

That’s a critical distinction in the Oregon case, according to the American Vaping Association, which blamed the recent spate of lung illnesses on illegal vape pens that contain THC.

Wisconsin public health officials said late last month that 89% of the people they interviewed who became sick reported using e-cigarettes or other vaping devices to inhale THC.

In New York state, 32 cases of vaping-related illness have been reported, with a “vast majority” involving people who vape illicit marijuana.

None has involved medical marijuana products sold in compliance with state law.

New York officials are focusing their investigation on an additive used in black-market vape oils made from vitamin E.

A New York health department spokeswoman said a lab has found “high levels” of vitamin E acetate in “nearly all” the marijuana samples involved.

Officials cautioned, however, that respiratory illnesses have been diagnosed where the vaping product did not contain marijuana.

Mark Pettinger, spokesman for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), which oversees the stage’s legal marijuana industry, said the investigation was in its early stages.

But if it turns out the THC oil was implicated, he noted, the OLCC can track the product back to its origin and review all the testing results.

Bart Schaneman can be reached at [email protected]

Associated Press contributed to this report.

13 comments on “Deaths, illnesses related to vaping cannabis on the rise, health authorities say
  1. Maxcatski on

    It’s the carrier. Propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine were never meant to be inhaled.

    Suddenly, it’s no longer about the product, tobacco or cannabis. It’s the carrier.

    Reply
    • Kearney attard on

      I have inhaled cbd with vegetable oil and cbd with real terpens

      The vegetable was making me sick and making me ill after just two days of vaping after a week of vap it had to stop .

      Cbd mixed with terpines never ever have i ever felt any negative effect on my health

      Reply
  2. Charles E. Elkins on

    I have smoked oils for a long time. The key, I have smoked 100% purged oil. I won’t smoke any other oil than mine. Plus it comes from reputable companies. Never bootleg. I wonder if these black market suppliers even have a clue how to produce it correctly. Some do make awesome oil. So they went legal and stack cash from their hard work. Plus investments in top of the line CO2 extractors. I have never been sick on cannabis or oil. I have saw both. Amazing oil and jars of crap.
    I will always purchase tested cannabis. Plus smoke my own that I grow.

    Reply
  3. Rod Gass on

    I’m glad Oregon has decided to be fair about the real culprit.

    “Officials cautioned, however, that respiratory illnesses have been diagnosed where the vaping product did not contain marijuana.”

    Is it the suckor or the suckee causing these illnesses?

    I believe it to be the device and it’s method of delivery. Of course the contents are at the moment receiving scrutiny. If it turns out to be human error by the operator, so be it, lots of people still smoke tobacco and love their nicotine. Therefore, let’s be truthful, it’s a rainbow of liquids being vaped.

    The devices operate in an unhealthy manner. The lower temperatures don’t sanitize the machine. Buildup accumulates until a harmful secondary substance adapts to the comfortable, cozy surfaces of the device. This accumulation wouldn’t survive a burn, a flame induced combustion.

    These things are newly designed, modern day, labor saving items. THC is thousands of generations deep into it’s proven human symbiosis. We’ve never before used these cheap trinkets from China.

    Please try to understand who you’re hurting before trusting vapes with your life.

    Reply
  4. Rick on

    Yes & why people think glycerin is safe to inhale gets me! One use for it is as a cleaning/restoration agent for rubber. So that means it has strong solvent characterists that don’t bide well in our respiratory system.

    Reply
  5. Branden on

    Guarantee that every single incident came from counterfeit cartridges that were filled with pesticides and/ or some other chemicals that are harmful to vape. I’ve been using these cartridges daily for over a year from a very reliable source and I have yet to have any sort of issue. I am also aware of how easy and cheap it is getting your hands on these cartridges that are unprofessionally made and don’t go through the whole certified process of turning it to the oil. Honestly really scary that people don’t know. Among the biggest names of these pesticides filled carts are DANKVAPES.. dankbusterofficial on Instagram tests all the different brands they can get their hands on if anyone is looking to stay safe.. especially in the states where it’s not legal yet.

    Reply
  6. Cannabis Blog on

    Although CBD and marijuana leaves have their own health benefits but consuming them without proper medical prescription or advice from a doctor can be harmful.

    Reply
  7. Mikelee on

    Good for oregon. Sadly most states that have legalized it have not taken action. That is the problem when the very body (state, county, city) that is supposed to protect you has a conflict of interest when that body also makes money off the thing they are supposed to protect you from. Cali taxes the shit out of weed so they don’t want to lose that money

    Reply

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