Following a spate of lung disease cases diagnosed over the last few months that were apparently related to vaping THC products, the nation has been gripped by an acute fear of all things vapor.
Last week we reported that the New Mexico Department of Health was investigating eight cases of severe lung disease that were believed to have been caused by using black market THC vaping cartridges. At the time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration were investigating 215 cases of lung disease in 25 states. Since then, that number has risen to 450 possible cases across 33 states. And three people have reportedly died.
Authorities now believe they might have figured out what the problem is, and you'll be relieved to find out that the issue isn't with vaping in general, but with a specific contaminant found in some illegally manufactured cannabis oil products.
According to The Washington Post, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found a similarity between nearly all the implicated product samples taken during the investigation: Vitamin E acetate. This chemical is safely used as an additive in topical treatments, like skin cream and lotion. It's also often ingested orally in the form of a vitamin supplement. But apparently it's toxic when inhaled.
But this is only the first common element to be discovered in the samples, and health officials were quick to warn that there might be other contaminants involved as well. They also point out that not all the samples contained vitamin E acetate.
The FDA sent information regarding the discovery to state health officials last week. They pointed out that nothing harmful was found in the nicotine product samples that were studied, but they aren't yet willing to rule those products out as culprits.
While this is probably good news, and most of us can breathe a sigh of relief, it's important to remember that nothing conclusive has been discovered yet. If you notice yourself having trouble breathing or experience chest pain in the weeks or months after vaping, seek immediate medical attention.
During an interview with CNBC last week, Former GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, of Virginia, said that partisanship will prevent marijuana from being federally legalized any time soon.
The segment featured Canopy Growth CEO Mark Zekulin speaking about the possibility of seeing cannabis legalization in the near future. Zekulin claimed that “no major groups” are in opposition to legislation centering around giving states the right to make their own marijuana laws.
Cantor seemed to disagree. “I think right now the issue of lack of bipartisanship is going to flow over into this,” he told the host. “I think the comment that there is some kind of agreement on states’ rights—I’m not so sure. I know on my side of the aisle there would be that sort of directional trend, but I’m not so sure there’s enough unity on even this issue … Given the opposition to cannabis in general, I'm not so sure this is an easy lift for Congress at all.”
Cantor voted against a number of pro-cannabis reform bills, so we might want to take his comments with a grain of salt. But the truth is he's probably right. Republicans have yet to realize that siding with the majority of Americans on this issue would give them a foot up on the Democrats in the coming election. And even though Emperor Trump recently told the press: “We’re going to see what’s going on … A lot of states are making that decision, but we’re allowing states to make that decision,” when asked if cannabis would be legalized during his time in office, it should be noted that the President isn't exactly a man of his word.
Earlier this year, the state expanded its list of qualifying conditions for application to the Medical Cannabis Program to include opioid addiction. Experts say this could be a great benefit for New Mexico residents, seeing as how the state suffered 16.7 opioid overdose-related deaths per 100,000 people in 2017. In that same year, researchers from the University of New Mexico found a correlation between enrollment in a medical cannabis program and opioid cessation or reduction.
But the program has apparently only seen a few applicants since the expansion. Last week the DOH released its August 2019 statistical report. According to the agency, only 33 patients suffering from opioid addiction have been accepted into the program since the change happened in June.
This week, we picked up a gram of London Poundcake (THC: 25.13%, CBD: 1.15%—$11.50/gram) at Seven Clover (1016 Juan Tabo Blvd. NE).
This trichome-covered hybrid smelled of diesel and pine and tasted sweetly woody. The buds were dense and took some work to burn through but went down smooth. The indica side of this strain seemed to take precedence, bringing on a sense of relaxation and well-being. I felt a calmness settle over my thoughts while my body loosened up and eased into the couch. There was a springiness in my elbows and knees, and my head was swimming.
I recommend this strain to those suffering from joint pain and tension. While not too heady, the relaxing properties would also probably benefit those in need of restful sleep.