The culprit for the vaping crisis may have been found…
Questions remain, but a breakthrough by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may strengthen the case for cannabis legalization and save lives.
The mysterious vaping sickness sweeping the United States now has caused over 2,000 people to get sick and has caused at least 39 deaths.
But there is finally good news on the progress against this terrible outbreak.
The illness, which scientists have named EVALI (e-cigarette product use associated lung injury), looks to be strongly associated with vitamin E acetate.
Scientists examined fluid samples from 29 EVALI patients and found that every single one of them tested positive for vitamin E acetate.
Of the samples, 82% contained THC, and 62% of the samples contained nicotine. Importantly, none of a host of other candidates for the cause – mineral oil, MCT, terpenes, and the like – appeared in the samples.
That’s pretty strong evidence.
But the scientists want some more before reaching a conclusion.
Finding the Culprit for the Vaping Crisis
For example, they want to make sure that it isn’t vitamin E acetate in combination with some other chemical before they make a statement about what exactly is the full cause of the issue.
Now, some people are surprised vitamin E acetate could be the culprit.
After all, vitamin E is in a lot of foods and cosmetic products. You can even buy vitamin E supplements off the shelf in your pharmacy.
But not everything safe to ingest is also safe to inhale.
Vitamin E acetate is fairly thick – that’s why illicit operators are using it in the first place. Well, it appears that when vitamin E acetate is heated to a vaping temperature, it thins out and travels into the lungs. There, it coats the lungs and re-thickens, blocking normal lung function.
Finding a cause of EVALI would obviously be great news if its confirmed. For now, the CDC is sticking with its recommendation that consumers stay away from all THC-containing vape products, even those that do not have vitamin E acetate.
There’s more good news.
The number of new EVALI cases is falling. Some of that is statistical noise – it takes time to get a new case report though the system. But even adjusting for that, the number of cases appears to be in decline.
Here’s what you have to know as an investor.
Vaping and Cannabis Investing
First, few legal vaping companies ever used vitamin E acetate.
A few small ones did, but they have all stopped.
The larger companies we invest in have never used the additive. If vitamin E acetate does indeed turn out to be the sole cause (not in association with other chemicals), the legal cannabis vaping industry is in the clear.
But second, as I mentioned, the CDC is still telling people to stay away from THC vaping products. It recommends you “consider” abandoning all vaping products, even nicotine-containing ones.
Reading between the lines, it looks like the CDC doesn’t go further on the nicotine vapes because it is concerned about driving former smokers back to combustible cigarettes, which it considers worse than vaping.
It appears that the CDC’s advice is having a small effect on lower-end vape companies – KushCo Holdings Inc. (OTC: KSHB) talked about some weakness in its recent earnings report.
But for higher-end vape companies, it still appears that consumers are abandoning illicit vapes and, where they are available, embracing legal, tested products that they know do not contain vitamin E acetate.
Executive Director, National Institute for Cannabis Investors
7 responses to “This Could Be the Cause of the Vaping Crisis”
November 12 2019