Illegal drugs in e-liquid caused lung damage

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has officially announced that THC - the psychoactive substance in marijuana - is the common denominator in the illnesses that have affected over 1600 people in the US.

UPDATE: It has emerged that the common denominator in the lung damage was the substance e-acetate. A substance used to dilute THC in e-liquid.

"Evidence gathered continues to point to products containing THC. We don't know exactly what substance causes the disease but THC may be a marker that points to risks in how a particular type of liquid or container is made or how it is used." says the CDC Director Anne Schuchat i Washington Post

Thc and cannabis

With more than half of the 1600 cases reviewed by the CDC, 83 per cent of the illnesses are directly linked to THC products (as reported by the patients). In some states, the figure is 92 per cent, according to the CDC.

For the rest of the cases, the products are either unknown or, according to the testimony of the injured, linked to certain nicotine products. However, this information, according to several sources, should be seen in the light of the fact that THC and cannabis are illegal in some states and therefore the information does not necessarily correspond to reality.

Unregulated sources

Cannabis is legal to produce and sell in several US states. Ann Schuchat has emphasised that the THC products linked to lung damage come predominantly from unregulated sources.

"Even though the vast majority of people have become ill from THC products, they have also reported that they have used pre-filled tanks with THC which they obtained through informal sources and not through legal outlets. At least that's what we know today, but we are still collecting data" said Anne Schuchat at a hearing in one of the US Congress' health committees, according to the newspaper Marijuana Moment which monitors the cannabis market in the US.

E-cigarettes less harmful

In the UK, where the sale of cannabis is illegal, the Department of Health has warned against THC-filled pods bought on the street. However, they urge vejpers who use regular e-liquid with nicotine. to continue using the regulated products sold in the country.

"Smoking kills 200 people every day in the UK. We remain absolutely confident that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful than regular cigarettes and that smokers should consider switching to e-cigarettes instead" says Mr Bishop. John Newton, The UK Department of Health to The Sun. 

Not linked to regular e-cigs

Public Health England also published a commentary on recent events in the US on its Public Health Matters blog:

"We need to be clear about what this outbreak is about and what it is NOT about: it is NOT linked to long-term use of e-cigarettes with nicotine. If it were, we would see a completely different spread and damage in completely different population groups," writes Professor John Newton on Public Health Matters 

You can read more at Vejpkollen:

UK researchers sound the alarm: misinformation about e-cigarettes is spreading

THC and e-acetate linked to lung damage

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