Laura TennantOctober 25, 2019

By now, quite a few Canadians have heard about the slew of vaping-connected illnesses and linked deaths that are seemingly sweeping the US. But what does this news imply for Canadians, with our not too long ago legalized adult-use cannabis?

In the US, cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, but some person states have legalized the substance for either healthcare or adult use. As a outcome, there remains a substantial legacy industry for cannabis merchandise. In certain, vape pens have develop into well-known in quite a few US states as a discreet way to consume THC.

Right here in Canada, adult-use cannabis is legal, but vape pens and concentrates have however to enter the scene. These merchandise, amongst other people, became legal in Canada on Oct. 17, 2019, but have not however develop into obtainable for sale. In spite of this, some Canadians are making use of illicit industry vape pen cartridges to consume cannabis.

The arrival of legal cannabis vape pens in Canada will bring with it quite a few inquiries. How can Canadians vaporize cannabis safely? What must Canadians know about vaping-connected illnesses? And what is Wellness Canada performing to make sure that the legal merchandise it will supply are secure?

What are vaping-connected illnesses?

Vaping-connected illness is a catch-all term to describe a late 2019 outbreak of illnesses believed to outcome from the use of e-cigarettes and vaping.

The symptoms commonly contain shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, weakness, and tiredness.

Scientists have coined the term EVALI, which stands for “e-cigarette, or vaping, item use linked lung injury,” to refer to the syndrome. Leafly and other people refer to “vaping-linked pulmonary illness” as VAPI.

Scientists are not however certain of the causes of the illness. Most sufferers report making use of vape merchandise containing THC, but some report making use of nicotine-containing merchandise only.

Importantly, vaping-connected illnesses are not linked with vaporizing dry cannabis flowers. The illness is linked to vape pens and e-cigarettes which use e-liquid, rather than cannabis flowers.

Early investigation indicated that a single ingredient might be the result in of the complications. This ingredient is named vitamin E acetate, and it is commonly applied as a thickener in cannabis-containing vape cartridges.

Having said that, in an Oct. 18, 2019 release, the CDC insisted that the result in of VAPI has not however been determined.

“No single compound or ingredient has emerged as the result in of these injuries to date, and there could be extra than one particular result in. Accessible information recommend THC-containing merchandise play a part in this outbreak, but the particular chemical or chemical substances accountable for [VAPI] have not however been identified, and nicotine-containing merchandise have not been excluded as a achievable result in.”

For now, the CDC recommends that persons “should not use e-cigarette, or vaping, merchandise that include THC. Persons must not get any kind of e-cigarette, or vaping, merchandise, specifically these containing THC, off the street.”

What must Canadians know?

Despite the fact that the 1st situations appeared in the US, Canada has not been spared in the vaping illness crisis. As of Oct. 17, 2019, there are 5 confirmed or probable situations of VAPI in Canada.

In an Oct. 11 statement, Wellness Canada urged Canadians to “consider refraining from making use of e-cigarettes or vaping merchandise, specifically any merchandise that have been bought illegally, which includes any merchandise that include THC.”

As of Oct. 2019, all vape pen merchandise containing THC are unregulated, as legal merchandise have not however hit the markets. In spite of this, Canadians do use cannabis-containing vape merchandise. An Aug. 2019 report from Statistics Canada indicates that 19% of Canadians who applied cannabis in the 1st half of 2019 applied vape pens.

“Canadian buyers have been making use of illicit cannabinoid-infused vape merchandise for quite a few years. To date, all of these merchandise have been unregulated. The fantastic news is that with Legalization two., Canadian buyers will not have to rely on the legacy industry for cannabinoid-infused vape merchandise,” mentioned cannabis expert Paul Pedersen, CEO of Vancouver-primarily based Nextleaf Options.

“The current difficulties connected to vaping, mostly linked with cannabinoid-primarily based vapes in the US, underscore the value of a effectively regulated marketplace exactly where players need to abide by strict excellent assurance and manage requirements,” Pedersen continued.

“In the Canadian legal cannabis framework, getting from a legal supply assures the customer that the item they are receiving has been tested by a laboratory, commonly one particular that is independent and third-celebration, which meets the excellent requirements set by Wellness Canada.”

Wellness Canada and regulated cannabis vape merchandise

Wellness Canada has been somewhat inconsistent with their position on the vaping illness crisis. With legal cannabis vape merchandise on the horizon, Canadians will no doubt have inquiries about their security.

In the Oct. 11 statement, Wellness Canada advised Canadians to use regulated, authorized legal cannabis merchandise, when they develop into obtainable:

“If you use vaping merchandise, do not get them from illegal or unregulated sources, which includes merchandise containing THC. Items obtained from the illegal industry are not topic to any controls or oversight and might pose added dangers to your overall health and security.”

But in the similar breath, the statement urges Canadians to “consider refraining from vaping” altogether. So are government-regulated cannabis vape merchandise secure, or not?

When asked this query straight, Wellness Canada spokeswoman Maryse Durette responded on Oct. 23:

“All federally licensed producers of all legal cannabis merchandise need to comply with fantastic production practices, item formulation restrictions, excellent requirements for components, limits on microbial and chemical contaminants, and mandatory testing needs, amongst other strict needs,” mentioned the spokeswoman.

Durette emphasized the stringent regulations on vaping merchandise in certain.

“… In establishing the regulations governing the production and sale of new cannabis merchandise, which includes vaping merchandise, Wellness Canada took into consideration dangers linked with many routes of exposure to cannabis … Some of the regulatory needs pertaining to inhalable cannabis extracts, such as vaping merchandise, are even extra stringent than these for other non-inhaled cannabis merchandise,” she continued.

Durette assured Canadians that the agency is conscious of the vaping illness circumstance, and will not hesitate to act if it is warranted.

“Health Canada and the Public Wellness Agency of Canada are actively monitoring the vaping illness circumstance in the US and in Canada, and are in close make contact with with the US Meals and Drug Administration and the US Centers for Illness Manage and Prevention to superior fully grasp their investigation into the result in or causes of the vaping illnesses,” she explained.

“Health Canada will continue to monitor all obtainable information sources and surveillance systems and will take added action, if warranted and as proper, to guard the overall health and security of Canadians.”

Echoing these sentiments, Pedersen was also confident that regulation will guard Canadians.

“In the occasion that a [legal] item … was discovered to be out of compliance with the regulations, a fast recall method guarantees that the public was informed of the prospective challenge, and an investigation could be completed in a timely manner, hopefully stopping related difficulties in the future.”

When asked what Canadian cannabis buyers must do in light of the vaping overall health crisis, Pedersen had a easy message.

“With the current difficulties connected to vape merchandise, I’d advocate buyers wait for legal cannabis vape possibilities, and stick to vaporizing dried flower till these legal merchandise are obtainable,” he explained.

In summary: Protected vaping dos and don’ts


  • Obtain only legal, Wellness Canada-authorized cannabis vape pen merchandise when they are obtainable
  • Contemplate vaporizing dry herb alternatively of making use of a vape pen
  • If you pick to threat making use of illicit industry merchandise, appear for components lists and investigation the components in your e-liquid

Do not:

    • Obtain illicit industry cannabis merchandise, in particular THC-infused e-liquids
    • Obtain vape cartridges from corner shops or on-line unregulated retailers, as these are illegal
Laura Tennant's Bio Image

Laura Tennant

Laura Tennant is a Toronto freelance science writer. She has an Honours B.Sc. in Neuroscience from the University of Toronto. She hopes her writing will enable other people make superior-informed possibilities about their overall health and life style.