Dangerous Additives in THC Oil Cartridges
I wrote a blog recently about the presence of heavy metals such as lead in THC oil cartridges. I am aware of THC being used in cases where a patient is terminally ill or in cancer treatment and to treat epilepsy and I am in no way invalidating those treatments. Doctors are have their reasoning behind using such THC and CBD treatments. I am writing these blogs to inform the public of dangers that have emerged over recent years.
Money is what makes the world go around. Everything revolves around profits. Profits and money also attract corruption and greed, especially in the illegal market. This was evident when cocaine became prevalent in the 1970s and 80s. Drug dealers were not satisfied with the money made from cocaine sales. They began cutting and adulterating cocaine with substances that were similar in texture and mimicked the stimulant and numbing properties of cocaine. They used substances such as lidocaine, laxatives, caffeine, baking soda, and levamisole among many others. These drug dealers—especially those operating at street-level—would use this method to double or even triple the amount of cocaine they had which would then of course result in an increase in their profits. This caused many deaths. Not only did people have to worry about the side effects of the cocaine but they were also subject to the symptoms of substances added to the cocaine that were not meant for human consumption.
Recently, many states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes. For these marijuana consumers, laws were put in place that regulated and made sure THC oils were safe for use. As the market grew, it expanded into the illegal market. Dealers, anxious to make money, started to bring THC cartridges from legal states and resell them in states where marijuana was still illegal. But that wasn’t enough; there was risk involved. The mail could be intercepted, and the cartridges would be seized by police or dealers could be stopped on the way back to their home state and arrested.
Dealers began to extract their own THC oil from marijuana plants. They would then buy empty cartridges and preprinted brand-name packaging in an attempt to make their products look more legit. (Dealers can buy these lookalike cartridges for as little as twenty dollars on the internet or from overseas.) They began to increase their profit by adding chemicals with a similar viscosity to THC oil such as propylene glycol, MCT oil, vegetable glycerin, and other dilutents. The FDA has already proposed to add some of these oils to a list of harmful constituents in tobacco products.
These street dealers also operate in an unregulated laboratory which can add to the danger of smoking these fake cartridges. In addition to that, some black-market cartridges have been found to contain pesticides and synthetic cannabinoids. In legal states, THC cartridges must pass several tests to measure the purity and potency of the cartridges. Unfortunately, this is not the case with these black-market cartridges. These cocktails are basically done in somebody’s kitchen and there is no way to tell what steps in the extraction were done correctly, how sterilized was the equipment that was used, or what exactly was added to the THC oil.
In the past year alone, there has been approximately 215 reported cases of hospitalizations all over the country due to lung-related conditions such as ARDS, and many more are still unreported. Most of the hospitalizations are in states where legalization is not in place. Most of the cases report having trouble breathing, fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pains, vomiting, and diarrhea and most of the patients taken to hospital have admitted to using THC cartridges.
The CDC is currently investigating the link between both and has issued a warning regarding THC cartridges. If you or a loved one have experienced any of those symptoms, see your doctor.