US: Report released on cannabis vaping regulations, researchers find 'toxic chemical fumes' as probable cause of illnesses

In the recent wake of vaping-related illnesses and fatalities, the Marijuana Policy Project has released a report, titled Regulating Cannabis Oil Vaporizers, that examines the issue and provides recommendations for policymakers who wish to respond. While the uprise in these incidents is largely attributed to unregulated and untested cannabis oil vaping products obtained through the illicit market, they raise serious concerns that must be addressed. 

MPP’s report discusses current state-level regulatory controls on vaping products and provides short-, medium-, and long-term recommendations that policymakers can implement to further protect cannabis consumers. The conclusion of the report calls on the federal government to take a comprehensive approach to product safety testing that can come with legalization at the federal level.

Read the full report here: www.mpp.org/VapingReport 

Importantly, the Marijuana Policy Project believes that banning regulated and tested products is a short-sighted and harmful approach that will drive a significant number of consumers to illicit products, where the health concerns actually originate. 

Statement from Steve Hawkins, executive director at the Marijuana Policy Project: “The recent issues associated with vaping cannabis oil raise serious concern for consumers and emphasize why it is increasingly important to legalize and regulate cannabis. Unregulated markets are producing unregulated products, which are proving to be detrimental to public health. Consumers who choose to responsibly consume cannabis deserve to know that the products they are using are tested and safe. This is only possible through legal and regulated markets.”

Statement from Chris Lindsey, director of government relations at the Marijuana Policy Project: “A regulatory approach to cannabis use is good policy, and we now have a framework for controlling cannabis products in many parts of the country. These illnesses are a tragedy, but they are also a chance for cannabis programs to increase their effectiveness even more. The recommendations we offer are aimed at doing just that.” 

At the same time, CNBC reports that doctors researching the cause of a sudden respiratory illness that’s killed at least 16 people in the U.S. since July say a mix of “toxic chemical fumes,” not oils as previously expected, may be what’s making patients sick, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic examined lung biopsies from 17 patients suspected of having a perplexing vaping illness that’s sickened more than 805 people since April. Doctors have previously said it resembled a rare form of pneumonia caused by the accumulation of fatty substances known as lipids.

However, none of the cases examined by the Mayo Clinic researchers showed any evidence of lipoid pneumonia, according to the study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. It’s the first formal study examining tissue samples of patients who have fallen ill from vaping.


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