Six weeks ago, an 18-year-old male patient appeared at the NYU Winthrop Hospital on Long Island, complaining of chest pain, nausea, fever, and shortness of breath. Initially, the doctors thought he had pneumonia because his X-rays showed "blurred" in the lungs. Within 48 hours, says Melodi Pirzada, chief physician for pediatric pulmonology in the hospital, the condition of the patient worsened and he was sent to the intensive care unit. There he was diagnosed with ARDS, a condition that has been linked to acute lung injury. He was connected to a breathing tube and placed for a week in a medically induced coma.
The doctors were amazed how a healthy 18-year-old could become so ill until the patient's mother appeared in the hospital with something she had dug up in her son's bin. It was a vaporizer cartridge labeled TKO Extracts, a California-based licensed company that sells THC products. It was later confirmed that the cartridge is a fake version of the company's product, Pirzada said. On request, the man's girlfriend told the doctors that he had used the cartridge three days before his admission to the hospital. After the patient had been treated with steroids, he finally recovered and was discharged from the hospital after two weeks.
Just one day later, a second patient presented with completely different symptoms, including various lung nodules; The 1
Pirzada was at a loss. Although she had treated only two such cases personally in her 25-year practice, she had never seen young, seemingly healthy men become so ill in such a short time. Pirzada says, "Because we did not have that problem three months ago."
What happened to the two men on Long Island happened across the country Cigarettes in general are becoming increasingly apparent, the CDC announced last week that it has informed about 193 potential cases of severe lung disease in 22 states related to vaping (and a death in Illinois officially related to vaping). Potential long-term health risks from vapors And although it is not clear how many of these cases are due to THC-containing products, unlike traditional nicotine-based e-cigarettes, Dr. Ileana Arias, senior scientific adviser, noted and deputy director for non-infectious diseases at CDC, on a Friday fest Te conference, which reported that "in many cases" patients had used THC-containing products, although the CDC refused to specify exactly how many.
In California alone, where marijuana is legal in leisure time, there were 28 potential cases of acute lung disease, according to a California Department of Health spokesman (CDPH) among people who had recently evaporated cannabis products. On August 12, the CDPH issued a warning regarding a "cluster" of at least seven healthy adults in Kings County, California, who had all been hospitalized between July and August 2019 and had symptoms of severe acute lung disease, including cough and respiratory distress, and in some cases, fever and vomiting. All seven of these cases, including one reported after the media coverage of the first press release, were related to THC vapes bought by the black market, said Nancy Gerking, Deputy Director of Public Health, Kings County Rolling Stone was purchased in temporary, unlicensed "pop-up stores" in the area.
Cases of severe lung disease associated with THC vapes have also been reported in Wisconsin and Utah. "In recent months, it's amazing how many cases from all over the country have come into the limelight," says Dr. Raj Dasgupta, Pulmonary and Intensive Physician at the University of Southern California, who has many people with a history of e-cigarette use.
Since the investigation is ongoing, neither the CDC nor the CDPH would comment on which specific products or brands were affected, nor would it comment on the results of tests it had performed. "The investigation is still ongoing. Currently, we can not provide this information, "said a CDPH spokesman for Rolling Stone.
However, Pirzada believes that many of these cases are related to fake THC products and not to e-cigarettes themselves. "E-cigarettes cause their own problems. But this is a completely new thing, "she says.
This revelation is a validation for those, such as the admin behind DankbustersOfficial, an Instagram account that warns cannabis users about the purchase of black market THC cartridges. The administrator, who asked to remain anonymous, said Rolling Stone that while THC cartridges were widely used in piracy since they were launched a little over a decade ago, they have become more widespread The market has exploded in recent years. Vendors promote fake and fake products on Snapchat and Instagram. "People were told by their contacts that this stuff is clean and safe, so I have to rewrite a whole narrative in their mind," says the Administrator . Some products from brands like Mario Carts are completely unregulated and are sold by black market vendors who buy empty packaging, then fill the pens themselves and sell them cheaply.
According to photos, Gerking delivered to Rolling Stone, one of the cartridges included in the reports was called West Coast Carts, an Instagram-popular brand. Another, thanks to Vapes, is a black mark brand with ambiguous origins, according to a recent Inverse research. Neither company appears to be registered with the California Department of Health cannabis safety department. Thanks to Vapes, the cannabis test app Doja contains various pesticides according to laboratory tests. Requests for comments sent to a Hotmail account on the Instagram of the "official" West Coast Brands remained unanswered, as did requests sent to one of the many accounts claiming to be the "official" Thanks Vapes on Instagram his.
Other frequent culprits are counterfeit versions of brands such as Bulletproof Vapes, where traders buy counterfeit pharmacy test labels to make them look more legitimate. In both cases, pesticides such as myclobutanil, a fungicide that converts to hydrocyanic acid when it evaporates, is a substance that is extremely toxic when inhaled. There are also concerns that "heavy metals such as lead from the cartridge and its heating coils can also contaminate the products." says Bonnie Goldstein, medical director of Canna-Centers Wellness & Education and a medical consultant for the cannabis brand database Weedmaps. The DankBusters administrator says he has even seen a house fly in a fake smart cart.
Laboratory tests with the cartridge from Pirzada have shown that it was positive not only on THC but also on vitamin E. Lipoid pneumonitis, a rare condition caused by the inhalation of fat particles in the lungs, says Pirzada. When she presented the results to the Ministry of Health, she informed her that there were two more cases of THC cartridges tested positive for vitamin E oil, although the cartridge is currently being retested for other substances.
The regulated cannabis market in most US states, where marijuana is still illegal for recreational use, creates the ideal conditions for black market cartridges to flourish. Interestingly enough, the states that seem to be flooded by black-market cartridges or fake THC cartridges are those like California, one of the 11 states (plus DC) where marijuana is legal, says DankBustersOfficial Administrator. He adds that the state is currently flooded with counterfeit versions of regulated brands such as Rove and Kingpen. "In the legal markets and states, you can say," Hey, why go to that pharmacy if I can give you the same product for a third of the price?
On Accounts such as DankbustersOfficial and subreddits such as r / cleancarts provide users with tips for distinguishing bootleg cartridges from cartridges from licensed pharmacies, for example, to analyze the consistency and texture of the product Oil (it should be quite thick and move slowly when the pen is turned (upside down) and whether the cartridge has a Certificate of Analysis (COA) that often includes a lot number that refers to the brand's website However, this is by no means easy as black market traders are known to label their products with fraudulent labels and there is in fact no consistent and reliable way to ensure that the cartridge is genuine or safe, says the administrator behind DankbustersOfficial. "If you do not have 800 US Spend dollars on each cartridge to test them, you can not do it 100% w ", he says.