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7 Californians hospitalized in ICU after vaping cannabis or CBD oils

Californians hospitalized

Seven people in Hanford were recently admitted in the intensive care unit (ICU) with a potentially fatal lung toxin and King County has been warning people to avoid buying cannabis e-cigarettes on the streets in the name of CBD oil. 

CBD is a widely popular compound that has created a buzz all around the world with its medical benefits. It is an anti-inflammatory and non-psychoactive compound derived from the hemp plant, a cannabis genus plant. Unlike THC, the psychoactive compound found in cannabis which is toxic and causes hallucinations or the ‘high’ that users experience while smoking pot or weed, CBD does not produce any such effects. 

Rather, CBD is known for its health benefits, from treating anxiety, stress, acute pain, ache, inflammation, irritation, swelling to maintaining an overall healthy life, it has helped many people improve their health. But it was only until recently that the product was legalized in several parts of the world. 

The legalization has opened up alleys not just for giant multinationals to enter into the CBD space and launch state-of-the-art products but also for chemists and drug-dealers to curate harmful products and sell them in the name of CBD. 

Many people often fall prey to such dealers who sell and market their products as CBD claiming health benefits. 

The seven hospitalized suffered from severe pneumonia-like symptoms linked with acute respiratory syndrome. The patients suffered from breathing issues like a feeling of not being able to get enough air in their lungs, low blood-oxygen levels, extreme fatigue, confusion, rapid breathing and low-blood pressure as well. 

All of these victims had been vaping either CBD oil or cannabis from cartridges bought at temporary “pop-up shops” in the last month. However, no agent was identified immediately. 

Dr. Milton Teske, a health officer with the Kings County Department of Public Health

advised that if a user wants to smoke CBD oil or vape THC, make sure that it is licenced from a legal store where each and every product is tested. Though it is going to cost almost double at what you get from cheap, pop-up shops, but you won’t end up in a life-threatening situation with respiratory issues. 

Pop-up shops are unlicensed in the markets which do not abide by current regulations for safety practices implemented by the authorities. They do not even screen their products with proper tests for traces of contaminants or ensuring a certain concentration is present in limit. 

Producers of such products usually import empty vape cartridges from China and then fill them up with raw THC oil blended with agents such as vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil and other harsh chemicals that can cause harm to humans. 

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Dr. Teske said that out of the seven patients admitted at Hanford, six were in their 20’s and one was a 60-year-old regular user of marijuana who has simply tried vaping cartridges for the first time. Two of the patients had to be put on mechanical ventilation to save their lives. 

Hanford is situated right outside of Visalia in Central California.

Moreover, the health officials in New York announced a statewide advisory on Friday after 11 people contracted pulmonary ailments after using vaping products. Most of these were in the western portion of the state. 

While some of the patients suffered a “progressive respiratory compromise”- a deterioration in the respiratory function with high chances of rapid progression to respiratory failure and eventually death-  which requires an endotracheal intubation, the state Department of Health stated in a release. 

Ivan writes about Cannabis at The Cannabis Radar. He has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. He likes to spend his spare time reading to his daughter or spending time with his wife.