Laura TennantOctober 25, 2019

By now, several Canadians have heard about the slew of vaping-connected illnesses and related deaths that are seemingly sweeping the US. But what does this news imply for Canadians, with our lately 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 solutions. In unique, vape pens have come to be common in several 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 solutions, amongst other folks, became legal in Canada on Oct. 17, 2019, but have not however come to be readily available for sale. Regardless of this, some Canadians are working with illicit industry vape pen cartridges to consume cannabis.

The arrival of legal cannabis vape pens in Canada will bring with it several concerns. How can Canadians vaporize cannabis safely? What must Canadians know about vaping-connected illnesses? And what is Well being Canada undertaking to assure that the legal solutions it will provide are protected?

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 normally incorporate shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, weakness, and tiredness.

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

Scientists are not however confident of the causes of the illness. Most sufferers report working with vape solutions containing THC, but some report working with nicotine-containing solutions only.

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

Early study indicated that a single ingredient may well be the result in of the issues. This ingredient is referred to as vitamin E acetate, and it is normally made use of as a thickener in cannabis-containing vape cartridges.

Even so, 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 may possibly be a lot more than 1 result in. Accessible information recommend THC-containing solutions play a function in this outbreak, but the particular chemical or chemical substances accountable for [VAPI] have not however been identified, and nicotine-containing solutions have not been excluded as a doable result in.”

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

What must Canadians know?

Even though the 1st instances 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 instances of VAPI in Canada.

In an Oct. 11 statement, Well being Canada urged Canadians to “consider refraining from working with e-cigarettes or vaping solutions, specifically any solutions that have been bought illegally, which includes any solutions that include THC.”

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

“Canadian buyers have been working with illicit cannabinoid-infused vape solutions for several years. To date, all of these solutions 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 solutions,” mentioned cannabis skilled Paul Pedersen, CEO of Vancouver-primarily based Nextleaf Options.

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

“In the Canadian legal cannabis framework, buying from a legal supply assures the customer that the solution they are finding has been tested by a laboratory, normally 1 that is independent and third-celebration, which meets the excellent requirements set by Well being Canada.”

Well being Canada and regulated cannabis vape solutions

Well being Canada has been somewhat inconsistent with their position on the vaping illness crisis. With legal cannabis vape solutions on the horizon, Canadians will no doubt have concerns about their security.

In the Oct. 11 statement, Well being Canada advised Canadians to use regulated, authorized legal cannabis solutions, when they come to be readily available:

“If you use vaping solutions, do not acquire them from illegal or unregulated sources, which includes solutions containing THC. Goods obtained from the illegal industry are not topic to any controls or oversight and may well pose more dangers to your overall health and security.”

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

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

“All federally licensed producers of all legal cannabis solutions ought to comply with fantastic production practices, solution 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 solutions in unique.

“… In building the regulations governing the production and sale of new cannabis solutions, which includes vaping solutions, Well being Canada took into consideration dangers related with numerous routes of exposure to cannabis … Some of the regulatory needs pertaining to inhalable cannabis extracts, such as vaping solutions, are even a lot more stringent than these for other non-inhaled cannabis solutions,” she continued.

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

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

“Health Canada will continue to monitor all readily available information sources and surveillance systems and will take more action, if warranted and as acceptable, 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] solution … was discovered to be out of compliance with the regulations, a fast recall technique guarantees that the public was informed of the possible challenge, and an investigation could be completed in a timely manner, hopefully stopping related problems 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 problems connected to vape solutions, I’d advocate buyers wait for legal cannabis vape choices, and stick to vaporizing dried flower till these legal solutions are readily available,” he explained.

In summary: Protected vaping dos and don’ts


  • Purchase only legal, Well being Canada-authorized cannabis vape pen solutions when they are readily available
  • Look at vaporizing dry herb as an alternative of working with a vape pen
  • If you opt for to danger working with illicit industry solutions, appear for components lists and study the components in your e-liquid

Do not:

    • Acquire illicit industry cannabis solutions, specifically THC-infused e-liquids
    • Acquire vape cartridges from corner shops or on the web 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 support other folks make improved-informed possibilities about their overall health and way of life.