Recently the New York State Department of Health sounded the alarm that vitamin E, commonly found in cannabis vape products, may be linked to over a dozen cases of serious pulmonary illness. An alert was issued on Sept. 5 to warn vapers of potentially devastating effects.
Due to reports of multiple cases of respiratory and lung issues linked with cannabis vape products, investigators examined which particular ingredients were common among the incidents. While vitamin E is beneficial to the body when consumed as a tablet or applied topically, it may not be safe at all when it is vaped.
“The cases of pulmonary illnesses associated with vaping are continuing to rise across New York State and the country,” stated Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “We urge the public to be vigilant about any vaping products that they or any family members may be using and to immediately contact their health care provider if they develop any unusual symptoms. In general, vaping of unknown substances is dangerous, and we continue to explore all options to combat this public health issue.” The same department issued an advisory warning last August, but were unsure of what chemical or compound was causing the lung issues.
When cannabis products are “inhaled deep in the lung, [they] can cause problems,” Zucker told NPR. Zucker’s lab found high levels of vitamin E in 13 of the patient-submitted cartridges that were analyzed, adding that it was found at levels “as high as even 50 percent of the liquid that is in the vaping [cartridge].”
Even when a compound or ingredient is organic and naturally obtained, some ingredients should not be vaped. Anecdotal reports suggest that adding D-limonene from other sources can also cause serious lung problems. According to a report from Spectrum Concentrates, for instance, D-limonene is essentially a harsh solvent despite occurring naturally. Just because an additive begins as a natural terpene, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe to add to vape products. Other experts have pointed the finger at other common vaping ingredients including propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, polyethylene glycol and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT oil). Some experts advise against consuming those ingredients.
In the case of vitamin E, similar precautions should be taken. All vape product consumers should take a serious look at the ingredients found in their vape products.