Vape cartridges prefilled with marijuana extracted oil, typically with potency levels of over 80% THC, peaked in popularity around September 2019. This was a time when THC oil cartridges were still relatively new to people, and people would get them confused with nicotine vape pens. The popularity of marijuana pens first dipped in 2018, after news of the biggest cannabis oil vape cartridge brand called Brass Knuckles Vape Cartridges being sued because of their products getting tested positive for unsafe amounts of pesticides. This company was sued in a class action lawsuit.
It was shortly after the peak for THC cartridges when the nose dive happened thanks to the national hospitalization due to counterfeit 510-thread cartridges prefilled with contaminated cannabis oil. However, as you can see from the above data which shows the interest for THC cartridges has declined steadily by nearly half in recent years.
12 deaths from mysterious lung illnesses and 805 hospitalized in 46 states, all linked to FAKE THC vape pens. A young aspiring singer based in California was one of the few that experienced adverse effects from using a fake THC cartridge. His uncle introduced him to marijuana vape to help him with his severe anxiety. Little did they know that the vape was fake and it would eventually lead to him fighting for his life.
“I can’t breathe or talk, or move my hands”, he said. Even after 8 weeks at the hospital, he still struggles to breathe. X-ray later showed that this young man suffered from severe lung damage.
(Criminals even have their own labs to make and fill empty vape cartridges with containment THC oil.)
CannaSafe, a certified cannabis testing facility based in California – not too far from the UCLA Health Center, where the young man was hospitalized – tested 18 THC cartridges from dispensaries nearby: three THC vapes from legal dispensaries were tested negative for heavy metals, pesticide, and residual solvents such as Vitamin E. However, 13 out of the remaining 15 vapes collected from local stores tested positive with Vitamin E. According to pulmonologists, Vitamin E although good for the skin, can damage the lungs, if inhaled. New York has reported around 34 cases of severe lung disease associated with vitamin E acetate found in vape cartridges from the black market.
There were 32 patients in Wisconsin reported by Public Health officials that used fake THC e-cigarettes. These cartridges may have been contaminated with additives that were unsafe and unregulated. Unfortunately, the number of cases keeps rising across North America.
A toxin that is particularly concerning, that has been found in fake cartridges, is the fungicide called myclobutanil.
Myclobutanil is used as a fungicide because this chemical disrupts a critical component of fungal cell membranes. However, this chemical can become deadly when heated, because it decomposes into corrosive fumes such as hydrogen cyanide. For this exact reason, Myclobutanil is banned for cannabis cultivation in Canada, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Oklahoma. Human exposure to hydrogen cyanide can lead to cardiovascular, respiratory and neurological illnesses. Although small doses are not lethal, hydrogen cyanide is very toxic when inhaled.
How do you identify a fake THC oil vape cartridge? The Department of Public Health has urged customers to stay away from buying cannabis vape from unlicensed dispensaries. Simply, if your vape is from the black market – ideally in states where cannabis is illegal, your vape has probably not been tested. Unlicensed shops are usually open with unfixed times and they change locations often. These pop-shops do not follow regulations or safety precautions and sell cannabis at an extremely cheap price. Spotting and avoiding these unlicensed dispensaries will ensure you stay away from fake cartridges.
There are many online groups that share experiences and provide tips on avoiding fake cartridges. To name a few, reddit communities (e.g. r/CleanCarts) have been trending recently that allow people to share their experiences, provide tips and advice to other reddit members. Stay safe by simply buying from a licensed dispensary and brands that provide lab tests from reputable labs. The steps involved just to obtain a clean 510-thread cartridge with THC oil will tire you out!
Raw Garden Becomes The Choice For THC Cartridge Vaping Option and the below data from Google trends proves it!
Unfortunately, there are fake raw garden carts being sold with counterfeit packaging that is sold from overseas. Make sure to always buy from your local and licensed dispensary. If you have questions or experiences you like to share, please comment below. Leafipedia would love to hear your thoughts.