Vaping is in the news and for all of the wrong reasons. What at first seemed to be a handful of isolated cases has turned into a legitimate outbreak. Vaping appears to be the common denominator when it comes to an outbreak of serious lung-related illnesses. But beyond that, things get murky. Here is what you need to know:
Over 500 cases reported: In a September 2019 news release, the CDC said over 500 cases of vape-related lung injuries have been reported, with 7 confirmed deaths. While the numbers may still be small compared to the number of people who vape, this appears to be a legitimate health issue.
What are the symptoms? Reported symptoms include: shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The symptoms can be associated with other conditions, which is why some people ended up not seeking medical care until their cases became severe at which point they required hospitalization. If you vape and are experiencing these symptoms, please seek prompt medical attention.
Cause remains unknown: The CDC says that while most cases involved those vaping THC, health officials have not determined a specific cause or product that is causing the illnesses. There is speculation that in some cases, vape liquids containing Vitamin E acetate may be linked to the illnesses, but no one element has been confirmed as a cause.
What about vaping CBD? While CBD products haven't been directly linked to the lung injury outbreak, they haven't been cleared either. Health authorities are focused on the components in vape oil which could be triggering the lung injuries. Those ingredients could appear in vape oil with THC, CBD or nicotine.
Should consumers stop vaping? I'm not a health expert and do not make medical claims or recommendations. Whether you continue to vape is a personal decision. Even though I have confidence that the product I've been vaping in recent months is of the highest quality, I am refraining until more is learned about this outbreak. To me, the moderate benefits I receive when vaping CBD to relieve my anxiety do not outweigh the potentially deadly risks that appear to be associated with vaping.
Will the vaping issue impact the FDA's regulation of CBD? I have been leery of the FDA's pending regulation of CBD, and I am concerned that officials could use the vaping issue as a reason for heavy-handed regulation of all CBD products. However, this emerging health crisis is a sign that the vape industry needs to be better regulated. My hope is that the focus of any regulations is on weeding out companies producing bad products, and not on CBD or hemp products in general.
What are some vaping alternatives? If you still want to use CBD but avoid vaping for now, there are plenty of options. You could take an oil-based tincture, pop a gummy, sip a CBD-infused beverage or use a topical application.