Counterfeit Marijuana Vaporizer Cartridges Tainted With Pesticide Linked To Hydrogen Cyanide, Tests Show

'We are dealing with a new epidemic,' says a pediatric pulmonologist.

electronic vaporizer cartridges
haiberliu / Pixabay

'We are dealing with a new epidemic,' says a pediatric pulmonologist.

Counterfeit marijuana vaporizer cartridges were tested by a laboratory and found to contain traces of a pesticide linked to hydrogen cyanide, NBC News reports.

Although the majority of users of electronic vaporizers — which heats oil into a vapor that is then inhaled by the user — do so to obtain nicotine, the process is also popular with marijuana users who heat an oil containing THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana. Unfortunately, users of vaporizer products, for both nicotine and for marijuana, are coming down with severe lung illnesses, and in some cases even death, after “vaping.”

NBC News wanted to see if there may be some connection between legal and illegal cannabis vaporizer cartridges, so with the help of the CannaSafe testing company, the network obtained three cartridges from legal marijuana dispensaries in California, and 15 via illegal means via the black market, and then tested them.

The three obtained from legal dispensaries all tested negative for any pesticides, solvents, or anything else untoward. Of the 15 illegal ones, 13 were found to contain traces of Vitamin E, which is sometimes used as a solvent and can be deadly when inhaled. Meanwhile, 10 were found to contain traces of myclobutanil, a fungicide that can transform into hydrogen cyanide when burned.

Antonio Frazier, the vice president of operations at CannaSafe, was quite clear about the implications of those findings.

“You certainly don’t want to be smoking cyanide. I don’t think anyone would buy a cart that was labeled hydrogen cyanide on it,” he said.

a winab exhales vapor from a vaporizer pen
  haiberliu / Pixabay

Meanwhile, people across the country are getting sick from vaping, be it nicotine or marijuana, and answers remain elusive.

Loading...

As of this writing, 805 people in 46 states have come down with severe lung illnesses after vaping.Those illnesses affected people who vaped either marijuana or nicotine. At this point, it is unclear how many of these individuals got sick after vaping nicotine, and how many got sick after vaping marijuana. Nevertheless, 12 people have died from the vaping-related illness, including one Oregon patient who is known to have died after vaping marijuana.

Still, authorities aren’t clear on what’s causing the vaping-related illnesses, or indeed if it’s any one thing.

Meanwhile, several states, and even the Trump administration, are taking steps to address the problem, albeit from the nicotine angle and not from the marijuana angle. For example, as previously reported by The Inquisitr, New York has officially banned flavored nicotine oil, while Michigan and California are working on or discussing similar bans. Similarly, the Trump administration has directed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to stop allowing the sale of flavored nicotine oil. That process could realistically take months to implement and will almost certainly be challenged in court.