Black market cannabis vapes are found to contain hydrogen CYANIDE amid health panic after 13 die from mysterious illness linked to e-cigs
- Eighteen cartridges containing THC, the main psychoactive compound found in marijuana, were tested
- Three that were purchased from legal dispensaries didn’t contain heavy metals or pesticides
- Thirteen of 15 bought from unlicensed dealers contained Vitamin E, which causes lung damage when inhaled and myclobutanil
- Myclobutanil is a pesticide that, when burned, can turn into hydrogen cyanide, a chemical that causes oxygen levels to fall and leads to death within minutes
- The CDC says 805 people in the US have confirmed or probable cases of vaping-related illnesses and 13 people are confirmed dead across 10 states
Cannabis vape pens bought on the black market have been found to contain hydrogen cyanide.
NBC News reported that they ordered a testing of 18 vaping cartridges with THC, the main psychoactive compound found in marijuana.
Three cartridges were purchased from legal dispensaries in California and those were not found to contain heavy metals or pesticides.
But of the 15 that were bought from unlicensed dealers, 13 contained the solvent Vitamin E, which has been found to cause severe lung damage when it is inhaled.
Also found was myclobutanil, a pesticide that, when burned, can turn into hydrogen cyanide – a chemical that can lead to fatal asphyxiation within minutes.
It comes on the heels of the most recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the slew of vaping-related illnesses that have swept the nation, killing 13 Americans and sickening more than 800.
Cannabis vaping pens that are purchased from unlicensed dealers may contain myclobutanil, a pesticide that can turn into hydrogen cyanide – which causes fatal asphyxiation – when it is burned (file image)
‘You certainly don’t want to be smoking cyanide,’ Antonio Frazier, the vice president of operations at CannaSafe, the company that tested the products, told NBC News.
‘I don’t think anyone would buy a cart that was labeled hydrogen cyanide on it.’
Hydrogen cyanide, also known as hydrocyanic acid, is a highly volatile liquid that is colorless or pale blue.
It lowers the levels of oxygen in nearly every organ in the body including the brain, heart and lungs, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Hydrogen cyanide is rapidly absorbed by the lungs and can result in death within minutes if supplemental oxygen is not administered.
David Downs, a bureau chief for Leafly, a website about cannabis, told NBC News that many of these black market vapes come into the US from China.
‘This all starts in China where you can get the empty cartridges both for the THC market and the nicotine market, as well as the additives, flavorings, and thickeners that are being put into these cartridges alongside the THC oil,’ Downs said.
The CDC revealed on Thursday that the national death toll from mysterious vaping-related illnesses has risen to 13.
As of Friday, 805 confirmed and probable cases have been reported, up 52 percent from the 530 reported last week with illnesses reported in almost every state.
There have been two deaths in California, two in Kansas, two in Oregon and one each in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi and Missouri.
While the majority of patients said they had vaped THC before falling sick, others said they had only vaped nicotine.
Since the illnesses began appearing over the summer, several states have taken measures to hopefully prevent more cases.
Michigan and New York have temporarily banned flavored e-cigarettes and Massachusetts has halted the sale of all e-cigarettes for the next four months.
Illinois is currently legislating a flavored e-cigarette ban.
On Wednesday, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Ned Sharpless testified before Congress that the the agency ‘must do more’ to stop the deaths.
Sharplesss said the FDA will not ‘ban’ flavored e-cigarettes – but will soon finalize rules to force companies to take these products off the market until they’ve gone through and been green-lighted by the FDA’s pre-market approval process.