Vaping: What You Need to Know

As a cannabis wellness advocate, the controversy surrounding vaping is concerning and when asked what I think, I find myself in a difficult position.

Our lungs are very delicate organs meant only for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Inhaling anything other than oxygen into our lungs exposes them to damage that is irreversible. So, if you ask me, is smoking/vaping an okay thing to be doing? My answer is No.  

However, here is the dilemma. For those who are addicted to nicotine and have been smoking for years and years, a switch to vaping is a better option than cigarettes. Ideally, I would like to see that person off nicotine completely but the chemical dependence is so severe with this drug that it is almost impossible.

Regarding cannabis, if you are using cannabis for medical reasons, there is no need to smoke or vape. There are many other options available if you so choose. However, for those who use cannabis recreationally and smoke flower, a switch to a vape could be a safer option. With vaping being a fairly new technology we simply don’t know what it does to our lungs over time however with the rise in lung illnesses my prediction is that vaping does cause some lung damage.

Beyond the use of a vape to replace smoking, there is the balance between protecting the public and freedom of choice. Is it a person’s choice to smoke or vape regardless of the known health affects? If it is the government who must protect the public from these known health affects, then what does that look like? And if we know smoking is dangerous then what about alcohol, and other seemingly “innocent” drugs such as caffeine? It gets complicated very quickly.

What we know right now is that something is going on with how vapes are being manufactured, and there is no doubt that the illicit market is a huge part of this crisis. My recommendation is stop ALL vaping until we know more. Here’s what we know: 12 deaths, over 800 reported lung illnesses.

 The Symptoms

  • The CDC says patients typically experienced coughing, chest pain or shortness of breath before their health deteriorated to the point they needed to be hospitalized.  Others reported symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, fever and weight loss.

  • Many victims have ended up with acute respiratory distress syndrome, a life-threatening condition in which fluid builds up in the lungs and prevents the oxygen people’s bodies need to function from circulating in the bloodstream.

 The Cause

  • Many of the patients, but not all, reported recent use of THC-containing products, while some reported using both THC- and nicotine-containing products.  A smaller group reported using nicotine only

  • No evidence of infectious diseases has been identified in these patients, therefore lung illnesses are likely associated with a chemical exposure

  • No single product is linked to all cases of lung disease

 The Source

  • Many of the products that have been implicated in the rash of lung-related ailments are bootleg THC cartridges from companies of ambiguous origin

  • It has become common practice by bootleg companies making their own oil to add various adulterants as thickening agents, to make the oil in the cartridge look thicker and more legitimate (up to 70% thickening agent and 30% cannabis oil)

 The Warning

  • The FDA says it is too early to tell whether Vitamin E Acetate is the cause

  • The CDC advised the public to refrain from using ANY e-cigarette  — cannabis, nicotine, or otherwise

  • The AMA urges the public to avoid the use of e-cigarette products until health officials further investigate and understand the cause of these illnesses

  • The Department of Health and Human Services are urging people to avoid buying THC cartridges off the street until further testing is conducted

Let Me Introduce Myself

Hi everyone! It’s Malisha here, founder and owner of The Apothecary.

About 2 years ago I started this journey to bring legal, safe medicinal cannabis to Morgan Hill and now here we are…almost there. Over these past months I’ve been working in our community to educate the public on the medicinal uses of cannabis but something unexpected happened. While I did educate many and continue to do so, I have in return learned so much about our town and the people who live here. I moved to Morgan Hill about 10 years ago and both my children were diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease shortly after. So my first years in Morgan Hill were spent at doctors offices, hospitals, teacher conferences and working.

Now that the kids are older and medically stable, my attention has finally had a chance to shift. I knew that the people of Morgan Hill were kind and that this community is close knit but it wasn’t until these past 2 years that I really started to see the true spirit of Morgan Hill. I have met so many people with incredibly interesting stories to tell. So many fun people! So many genuine people. As I continue on this journey, I am looking forward to seeing who else I meet along the way.

I will start blogging about The Apothecary and cannabis so keep checking back to the website for updates. I will talk to you about the latest research and developments in the industry and how you can help bring legal, safe medicinal cannabis to Morgan Hill.

Join me! Cannabis is here…The time is now.