Clash of the Cartridges

Mar 13 13:03 2018 Print This Article

A legal dispute between two cannabis companies has big implications for how the industry approaches research and safety.

The popularity of small, portable vaporizer “pens” has become a national phenomenon, with digital concentrate vaping rapidly replacing joint smoking as the entry point for new cannabis users. But are these devices (and the concentrates inside them) safe?

Jahan Marcu, Ph.D., is the chief science advisor at Americans for Safe Access. In 2015 he wrote a piece for Project CBD about vape pen safety that warns “there may be a hidden downside to vape pens.” Within the article, Marcu points out that the pens themselves are primarily made in China without any meaningful regulatory oversight.

The big risk? Low-quality hardware that smolders oil instead of vaporizing it.

“Vape pens contain a battery-operated heating mechanism, which at high temperatures can transform solvents, flavoring agents, and various vape oil additives into carcinogens and other dangerous toxins,” Marcu wrote. “Most of the vape pens that have flooded the commercial market may not be true vaporizers.”

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