October 17 marked a celebratory day for Canadian vape companies and their consumers, as the wait for legalization came to a close. However, it hasn't been all highs and rainbows as the industry and those who enjoy the buds of their labour wait on standby as the world attempts to better understand the US vape crisis and its resolution.
The mysterious illness linked to vaping put a halt to one of the fastest growing segments of the now legal cannabis industry. Vaping represents $9.6 billion in sales between 2017-2019 within the US according to New Frontier Data.
Its popularity came from the ease, simplicity and consistent high while avoiding the smoke inhalation from traditional usages. Many are using vaporizers as a vessel for medical marijuana as its perceived to be the safer alternative to smoking joints. Vaping is perfect for the clientele who likes to remain discreet, have convenience and also eliminated the ever so familiar odor.
Andrew Hathawat, a sociology professor at the University of Guelph says “it gave people who weren't your committed chronic pot smokers - your soccer moms, your grandmas - a way to enjoy the benefits of cannabis consumption without the fear of smoke related harm.”
However, since reports of the vape scare, sales have dropped by 15% across the US, with some states seeing decreases of more than 60%. Which means that many consumers are concerned about the safety and regulation of their vape and vape providers.
For those who still want the perks of vaping but don't want to put their health at risk Dr. Hammond from the University of Waterloo makes two key suggestions; buy from a licensed retailer and try a lower risk dried herb over the vaping liquid.If you're buying legal cannabis, it will adhere to all regulations. For instance, Zeus Aresenal, an innovative Canadian cannabis company eliminating the health risk being evaluated with the vape crisis.
What's the difference? What once was perceived as a safer and healthier alternative has resulted in nearly 1,300 cases of lung injuries and 26 deaths throughout the US. The mysterious illness can be identified with subtle symptoms such as shortness of breath and tiredness to those more severe like dizziness and nausea.
The most common and serious are the symptoms that match that of inflammatory pneumonia, which are leading to the increasing death toll.
According to the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, vape products play a major role in the outbreak of the mysterious lung disease. Although not yet legal, Canada has not gone unaffected as a few reported cases of vape-related illness have revealed themselves on health Canada's radar.
These vape products being purchased on the black-market is the greatest challenge for regulating the market. Health Canada is closely monitoring the increase in vape related illnesses and is prepared to take regulatory action if need be, however, has not yet.
The question we have to ask is how can we enjoy the vaping experience while avoiding any long or short term side effects? . First, we need to better understand the perceived cause of this potentially fatal illness and highlight the responsible vape companies that are providing forward thinking alternatives.
While there is no tangible evidence yet, the most likely cause of the illness is the key component Vitamin E acetate, which is used as a suspension fluid in vape pens to thicken the cartridges.
As this is inconclusive, some retailers are still selling and offering the products containing this additive while other companies are eliminating the ingredient all together. The reality is, the ingredient is at the forefront for many vapes especially those found throughout the black market. The FDA tested 225 THC-containing products, 47% were home to the cutting ingredient.
Which is why it is advised to use regulated, legal distributors. Vitamin E acetate is not a new ingredient, it's actually used throughout various nutritional supplements, however has never been cleared as safe to inhale.
A second possibility is the unregulated and unmeasured combination of chemicals that make up the vape liquid. The New England Journal of Medicine identifies that the “mixing of multiple ingredients [...] may result in in-vitro production of new agents that may be toxic”.
One of the most common mixing ingredients are the commonly used flavouring agents such as Diacetyl. The mixing of chemicals combined with the heating process creates concern for health officials. Steve Marks, Executive Direct of the Oregon Liquor License calls for more regulated testing “ac lot of these additives were conceptual at the time when the law passed and the program came into place.”
There is little concrete evidence surrounding the cause and exact formula in which causes the vape related illness but health experts are not giving up. Mitch Zeller, director of The Food and Drug Administration’s Centre for Tobacco Products and his agency will be launching a criminal investigation into the vape supply chain.
There are no regulatory practices in place to ensure that the oil cartridges you are receiving have been tried and tested to be 100% THC. So how do we stay safe?
The state of California as well as Health Canada has urged consumers to eliminate vaping all together until the illness is better understood However, vaping is actually a much healthier and safer alternative, if you find a safe dry-herb vaporizer.
Sometimes, the solution is right in front of us, with an innovative combination of old and new. By taking the traditional raw, unprocessed cannabis flower that we all know and love and using it in our modern-day vaporizers.
By doing so, we are eliminating the less trustworthy ingredients that often come from THC or CBD oils found in most of our vaporizer cartridges. According to Dr Hammond, “you can take away the smoke, or you can take away a huge amount of chemicals.”
As we can deduce elimination of the chemicals removes the risk of unregulated additives. A dry herb vaporizer, when cooking cannabis heats your marijuana at a temperature that allows the psychoactive compounds to release without becoming hot enough for it to burn.
What does that mean? All the perks, none of the smoke. Erick Kaufman, a cannabis doctor out of Oklahoma says “The actual cannabis plant has 100 different active ingredients that work together in what we call the entourage effect, and when somebody isolates THC and sells it to you, you’re missing out on a lot of the really helpful compounds that come from the flower,” implying that dry herb is actually the most medicinal and beneficial high.
Which is the only goal of Zeus Arsenal as they look to make your next vape session safer, more dependable, convenient and worry-free. Three-quarters of Canadians who reported using cannabis during the first half of 2019 said they consumed dried cannabis such as flower/leaf - so why not vape it?
With the recent creation of the Arc Pod, Zeus Arsenal, is keeping the convenience, ease, health and trust in your hands, quite literally. The Arc Pod is a single-use vaporizer pod that allows consumers to enjoy vaping their THC without the risk of oil pens and the chemicals associated. It pairs with the Zeus Arc vaporizer to provide safe and consistent cannabis dosing.
The single use pods are precisely measured so that you're never guessing whether you're on cloud 9, or 19 - no grinding, no measuring.
Zeus is creating the single-serve technology to allow consumers total and complete control of their high. The pods stellar design drops the temperature of vaporization to maximize the production of vapor while using less heat.
This means a consistent session with every use. The single use pods are pre-measured and conveniently packaged so that you can simply pop them in and out of your device. Taking the convenience of vaping to a whole new level.
The award-winning cannabis company values its herbs and their flavors flavour - but not cotton candy or mango. The flavour created with the grower in mind, the Arcpod puts your dry herb at the forefront of your high to ensure the bud is smoked as intended.
Fortunately, for Canadians looking to enjoy the ease of vaping but making safety a priority - companies like Zeus should be top of mind. A single-use cannabis vaporizer gives you control over your health, while enjoying the highs in life that you deserve.