Welcome to 2020, a time when marijuana prohibition is crumbling and tons of adults are enjoying the ease, convenience, and options of consuming THC. We’ve really got it all — you can eat THC edibles, drink it in your tea, smoke sweet flowers, or vape. All of which should be safe.
Before getting high, let’s be honest about something: Last year’s vaping crisis was no joke. A lot of people died from vaping products — a method of consumption that was heretofore marketed as safer than smoking flower. The scare remains a real-world issue, one that’s awaken us to the fact we need a lot more education, research, and vigilance around safe vaping — and what we inhale into our lungs in general.
But in the age of fake news, we’re all constantly bombarded with false claims, inaccurate information, and unbridled hype blended with legitimate sources and reliable facts. What can you believe? Who can you trust? And how can you know your next vape won’t hurt you — or worse?
Thankfully, MERRY JANE has the facts to set the record straight. So, chill, read on, and get ready to vape smarter.
What was the 2019 Vaping Crisis All About?
On April 28, 2019, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded its first incident of THC vape-related illness. Since then, the CDC has reportedly tracked 2,290 severe lung-related illnesses as result of vaping (called EVALI), along with 47 deaths. That’s nothing to take lightly. Fortunately, a number of vape companies are responding and taking action. As consumers, we need to do that, too.
Is There a 2020 Vaping Crisis?
So far into 2020, the CDC has reported no new incidents of illness or death caused by vaping THC. Let’s keep it that way by exercising due diligence and patronizing only legitimate companies that are fully committed to safety.
How to choose a safe THC Vape?
One vape company we recently checked out is iKON. The brand just launched a new proprietary vape pen and cartridges in four flavors in LA via a limited release in Connected Dispensaries.
With a deep understanding of the vape crisis, iKON built their hardware and company around consumer safety by using the best manufacturing and thoroughly testing their product. iKON also launched an informational website called Facts About Vapes to help teach consumers how to vape safely and spot a bad vape.
What Caused the Crisis?
Almost all cases of vape related illness were traced back to black market products.
The CDC tested 29 lung samples from EVALI patients and determined Vitamin E Acetate was the leading cause of the vaping injuries and deaths. Vitamin E was found in every sample tested.
CDC tests on black market vapes revealed toxic materials like heavy metals, pesticides, and residual solvents such as Vitamin E Acetate. The brands determined to be most responsible for the harm were Dank Vapes, TKO, Smart Carts, and Rove (a knock off of the real Rove brand).
What’s Dangerous About Vaping Vitamin E?
Bogus vape manufacturers can easily obtain empty vape cartridges and use Vitamin E Acetate to make the oil in them appear thicker. As a result, their counterfeit products look legit.
However, when heated to a high temperature, Vitamin E Acetate vapors are inhaled into the lungs, where they eventually cool into a sticky, honey-like solid that coats and clogs the inner lining of users’ lungs. The result is serious — and for some fatal — respiratory issues.
How Have Vape Companies Stepped Up to Ensure Safety?
Transparent third-party testing is the most effective way to ensure safe products are hitting the shelves. Testing labs are now incorporating stringent searches for Vitamin E and other residual solvents in their processes. On that note: The CDC found no heavy metals, pesticides, or Vitamin E in the three tested products that came from legal dispensaries in California.
What’s the Best Way to Find a Safe Vape Pen?
Only purchase vape products from a legally vetted and licensed retailer, dispensary, or delivery service. In California, legitimate products display an official government symbol. Check every brand by name and verify every credential!
Even after making a purchase, go to the manufacturer’s website and compare your product with what they display online. Use QR codes, serial numbers, and lab test results on the packaging to make sure you’ve got the real deal.
What draws us to iKON is the innovative hardware used along with their brand transparency around the recent health scare.
- iKON THC oil cartridges are proprietary mich makes them hard to tamper with or alter
- The unit has a nice Integrated battery contact for safe & reliable use
- Extra large coil with 4 air holes in-take makes it more efficient use and gives it much longer battery life than other vape pens
- Patented engineering design to prevent back-flow and oil leakage
- It's made in an ISO 9001 certified factory to ensure strict quality control
Learn more about iKON’s industry leading vape design.
What Are Some Red Flags That Might Indicate Black Market Products?
Unreasonably low prices are an instant indicator of stuff to avoid. Any price point that seems too good to be true is exactly that. Also, never buy a cartridge (or anything) that comes without proper packaging.
An instant red flag is if the brand packaging contains your favorite TV or Video Game characters. This includes Mario, Bart Simpson, The Monopoly Man, and Luke Skywalker. Underground vape dealers use unlicensed branding on products to win over aloof users.
And, like we stated previously, if a brand doesn’t have all their lab results posted on their website — or doesn’t have a website at all — they’re probably not legit.
What Are Some Fake Brands to Avoid?
Doing your own research is critical to the education process, and we can’t emphasize it enough. But based on our intensive research, we can also say that our findings on the following brands are entirely reliable.
These brands are 100 percent illegal and can potentially hurt or kill you: Dank Vapes, TKO Extracts, Rove Vape Cart (the knock offs!), Exotic Vape Cart, West Coast Cure Vapes, Dabwoods Vape Carts, VSOP Space Vapes, Heavy Hitters (the knock offs), King Pen (the knock offs!), Stiiizy (again, the knock offs), and Cartnite Vape.
If you see them — ask questions, and whatever you do, don’t consume the vape oil. Getting high isn’t worth risking your life.
Disposable Vape Pens vs. Rechargeables: Is There a Safety Factor?
The short answer is no — as long as you have researched the manufacturer to determine if they make safe and reliable products — but each has its pros and cons.
Disposable vape pens cost less, don’t require upkeep, and are great on the go. However, disposables suffer from relatively short battery life and typically contain smaller amounts of vape liquid. Also, with disposables, we must consider our endangered environment.
Continuing to lead by example, IKON has initiated a recycling program to repurpose their disposable vapes. Vapes are collected from participating dispensaries, helping drive greener initiatives in the cannabis industry.
Rechargeable vape pens cost more up front and provide deeper, stronger draws. Still, you have to be wary of maintenance and recharging. But, rechargeable is sustainable and better for our precious planet.
Smoking Vs. Vaping
Generally speaking, inhaling burnt plant matter isn’t the best way to treat your lungs. Smoking tobacco cigarettes has long been the leading cause of preventable death in the United States — a fact that the Big Four Tobacco Companies attempted to distract the public from in 2019 by exploiting a relatively miniscule number of injuries attached to vaping THC.
According to a Time magazine article published during the peak of the 2019 vape crisis, vaping THC “is thought to be healthier than traditional smoking, since burning substances such as tobacco or marijuana creates byproducts that can harm the lungs and overall health.”
The same article also cites Ziva Cooper, research director of the University of California Los Angeles Cannabis Research Initiative, as indicating “a handful of studies on vaping cannabis have suggested that using e-cigarettes is less harmful to the lungs than smoking marijuana.”
Vaporizers don’t burn cannabis, they heat it up so that it becomes an aerosol, thereby avoiding the harsh effects of carcinogens being inhaled into the lungs. smoking on the lungs. A 2010 study from the International Journal of Drug Policy reported that cannabis users who suffered breathing issues were able to recover some lung functions after switching from smoking to vaping.
In terms of getting high, 2018 research from Johns Hopkins University indicated that vaping THC packs a more powerful punch than smoking it. So, in terms of health and enjoyment, many would consider vaping over smoking a win-win.
Want to Learn More Vape Facts?
Once again, iKON has an informational site called Facts About Vapes. This is where consumers can stay updated on the latest information from regarding vaping and user safety.
This was made in partnership with iKON. Follow them on Facebook.