Data released by state health officials late Thursday night show cannabis vapes purchased from regulated sellers could also be linked to many vaping-related illnesses.
According to data from the state Department of Public Health, health officials have interviewed 49 of the 90 confirmed and probable lung illnesses thus far reported in Massachusetts. Of the interviewed cases, five had purchased THC vapes at one or more Massachusetts cannabis dispensaries. One patient had purchased both THC vapes and nicotine vapes, and said the THC vapes were purchased from a dispensary.
State health officials didn’t disclose from which regulated dispensaries the products had been purchased.
The data linking cannabis vapes to regulated dispensaries remains preliminary and subject to vary . All of the illnesses tied to purchased vapes were linked to “probable,” but not yet confirmed, vaping-related illnesses. it had been unclear whether everything of problematic THC vapes came from from regulated retailers, or if regulated vaping products were purchased along side unregulated ones.
While the info only looks at whether cannabis vapes — and not nicotine vapes — were purchased from regulated sellers, the figures also point to regulated nicotine products as potentially causing illnesses. Patients referenced products like Juul in interviews with state officials.
While Massachusetts regulators suspect legal products are behind several reported illnesses, a bigger number of illnesses were linked to unregulated products.
According to the info , seven patients had THC vapes that weren’t purchased from a Massachusetts dispensary. Another three said that they had purchased both THC and nicotine vapes, and hadn’t used a dispensary for his or her THC purchases. The state didn’t know the acquisition origins for products employed by another three patients. a further three patients purchased nicotine or CBD products that aren’t sold at Massachusetts cannabis dispensaries, consistent with the state.
State health officials also interviewed 33 patients with “probable” yet unconfirmed vaping illnesses. Of those, six had THC vapes that weren’t purchased from a Massachusetts dispensary. Another six had purchased both THC and nicotine vapes, and said they didn’t use a dispensary for his or her THC products. The source of 1 patient’s THC vape wasn’t known, and another 14 nicotine vapes weren’t sold at dispensaries. These numbers are additionally to the six patients that reported purchasing from a regulated dispensary.
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The data is current through Nov. 22. The figures, derived from interviews with patients, also are only approximately half the 30 confirmed and 60 probable cases of vaping related illnesses reported in Massachusetts.
While the info linking regulated products to illnesses is preliminary, the numbers could tame critics of Gov. Charlie Baker, who instituted a ban on all cannabis and nicotine vaping products on Sept. 24 in light of the statewide vaping crisis. Critics said the ban, which is about to expire Dec. 11, was pushing people to the unregulated market, the likely the source of the crisis.
It was unclear what the newly released data would mean for the event of nicotine vaping regulations. The state’s Public Health Council said they might discuss at their Dec. 11 meeting permanent regulations overseeing nicotine vapes. Baker’s office didn’t immediately answer requests for comment.
The disclosure of knowledge comes after Massachusetts cannabis regulators repeatedly demanded information on the source of the problematic vapes. Cannabis regulators issued their own quarantine on all cannabis vapes in early November, but said they needed data from public health officials about where the problematic vapes were coming from to develop longer-term regulations.
A Cannabis Control Commission spokeswoman said the regulatory authority is reviewing the Department of Public Health information. “Immediately the Commission will use this new data toward its ongoing investigation into whether marijuana products manufactured by Massachusetts licensees contain substances or contaminants of concern and thoroughly explore the origin of the products identified by DPH,” the spokeswoman said during a statement.
The vaping crisis has thus far sickened over 2,000 and killed 48 nationally, including three in Massachusetts. Yet many nations have blamed the unregulated marketplace for the epidemic. the middle for Disease Control and Prevention has even pointed to additive vitamin E acetate as being a standard culprit in many vaping related illnesses and deaths, and said people should particularly steer beyond vapes obtained from informal sources.