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USA ‘Lung’ Outbreak Commentaries

More information is coming to light about the rash of lung incidents in the United States

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Following a handful of ‘spice’ cases in the UK, American media was swamped with stories relating to lung problems. Initially blamed on vaping, it became readily apparent the problem lay at the foot of black-market synthetic cannabis-style pods. Earlier this week, Dr Milton Teske was one of the first to deliver an honest appraisal - now others are truth telling.

An article in Medical Daily narrows the problem down to “Dank Vapes” branded cannabis oil cartridges and links the outbreaks to a chemical “used in Nazi Gas Chambers”. The company’s website is a basic WordPress offering with no physical address [link].

Mark Hoashi, founder of cannabis-focused Doja App, is quoted as saying: “They act like a cannabis company but they actually don’t exist. They’re in the packaging industry. These are just people filling cartridges as ‘Dank Vapes.’ It’s not a singular facility.” He told journalists that the cartridges are made by random people in garages.

Myron Ronay, CEO of BelCosta Labs, a cannabis testing lab, reports that some Dank Vapes products being purchased contain unsafe levels of myclobutanil, a compound that produces hydrogen cyanide.

IU Health Arnett Doctor Marc Estes confirmed that vaping isn't the problem: "It seems to be probably some sort of runoff or random event. Probably not directly correlated to the vaping itself opposed to what these individuals are vaping. The problem is that people are getting more creative as to what they are putting into their vaping devices. If this is new to you just don't do it. You don't need to vape nicotine; you don't need to vape THC."

Chad Myers, The Fog Foundry in Lafayette: “Vaping is not the problem it's the homebrews that people are buying. There are THC extracts out there that are not being regulated by state governments. That people are home brewing some of these concoctions and you don't know what's in those.”

Konstantinos Farsalinos agrees with Dr Estes’ opinion: “Things start clearing up in relation to the severe lung disease cases in the US, which involve mostly young vapers. I think this is also a good lesson for everyone:

  1. For the pseudo-innovators who develop and release products with ZERO testing. This has been the norm for all these years, and eventually something went wrong.
  2. For vapers. Stick with conventional, simple and trusted products. Don't experiment with untested products from the many "geniuses" which may exist in the e-cigarette industry, and don't get obsessed with searching for and trying new, fancy liquids and products.”

Farsalinos added further clarification on his stance: “My position has been clear for years. I don't trust the industry with the ‘innovations’ that have never been tested before released. I have said it repeatedly, it is pure luck that cases like this did not happen in the past, and that is because e-cigarettes are by nature quite safe. Products have been developed and marketed for years with zero testing. So, when you look for ‘innovations’, new flavours with complex mixtures of many different compounds, or other fancy ‘innovative’ products that none ever tests before releasing to the market, you are looking for trouble.”

“These were liquids that contain cannabis extracts. And they were used in e-cigarettes. Vapers found them, tried them and paid the price. But the issue is not cannabis itself, it is the development and sales of products that have not been tested at all.”

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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