Vaping Weed vs Vaping Nicotine
There has been a drastic rise in teen vaping across the U.S. over the last few years. The younger generation is getting hooked on vapes due to their appealing flavors and low prices.
Vaping is inhaling and exhaling vapors through an e-cigarette or other vaping devices. The vapors result from heating e-liquid containing weed or nicotine. Users consider it a "healthier" alternative to smoking with fewer adverse side effects.
Many people use weed medicinally, and even more consume it as a recreational drug. However, since marijuana is illegal in most places in the world, they often run the risk of failing a drug test at school or work. In these situations, they must ask their friends to provide clean urine, buying it from sites to pass the test and not get fired.
However, because of the outbreak of lung injuries and the health risks it entails, as reported by the CDC, we may be looking at a ban on the vaping industry. The soon shorter substitute has started a 'vaping crisis' in the USA.
The Vaping Crisis
There's been a long history of vaping crisis, aveled with recent cases. In addition, the health crisis related to vaping has soared since last year. It all started in September 2019 when the first case of electronic cigarettes or vaping product use-associated lung injury, EVALI, came to light.
EVALI is a lung ailment that gets triggered by inhaled substances via vaping. It damages tiny air sacs in the lungs (alveoli) to cause pneumonia or leads to an inflammatory reaction called fibrinous pneumonitis.
On February 18, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 2,807 hospitalized EVALI cases or deaths from the U.S. states and its two territories (Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands). In addition, 29 states and the District of Columbia recorded an alarming number of 68 deaths.
It is a common belief that vaping is a safer alternative to smoking. As a result, E-cigarettes and vaping became popular with Juul, an electronic cigarette company.
But recently, in an article, Rolling Stone reported that the e-cigarettes by Juul deliver five times more nicotine than a regular cigarette. It also stated that Juul disrupts the function of the blood vessels the same way as the smoke from cigarettes does.
Weed vapes contain a psychoactive compound that alters the mind and makes the user 'high.'
To ensure you get the highest quality products, buy weed vapes from a licensed dispensary that sells tested and approved products, such as this dispensary in St. Catherines, Ontario, as the government tightly regulates them. Licensed dispensaries also provide the right advice on how to use the product safely.
What led to this crisis?
Most vapes cause lung ailments because of their psychosis-inducing content. This psychoactive compound in weed has led to severe lung injuries.
According to the CDC report, 82% of the cases resulted from using such products, with or without nicotine, and 33% were merely because of psychoactive cannabinoid-containing effects.
E-cigarette liquid contains additives like propylene glycol and glycerine that release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when heated. These fumes, when inhaled, harm your lungs.
Vitamin E acetate in weed e-cigarettes is strongly associated with the EVALI outbreak. It is an oil derivative usually found in foods and cosmetic products and is now used as a thickener in vaping products. Vitamin E acetate is harmless when ingested but can hinder the normal functioning of your lungs if inhaled.
According to Neal L. Benowitz, a cardiologist and researcher at the University of California, Vitamin E acetate is being used in weed vapes as it easily solubilizes cannabinoids.
A recent 2020 study found Vitamin E acetate in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid samples of 48 out of 51 EVALI patients. This was in comparison with the BAL fluid of healthy individuals, where there were no traces of the compound.
Other than this, weed cartridges containing intoxicating cannabinoids from the underground black market pose a more significant threat than the legalized ones. These products include 'dank vapes' with about 90 percent of this cannabinoid. This may lead to psychosis and mental disorders in the long run.
Legislative Action Against Vaping
Earlier this year, the Trump administration announced a nationwide ban on some flavored e-cigarettes. The ban is for mint and fruit-flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes. It is not a full-on ban, as menthol and tobacco flavors delivered in manners other than cartridges will continue.
Juul, a famous vape product company, faced accusations by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of marketing its products as safer than tobacco.
Its 'Make the Switch' campaign ran with no scientific evidence for the claim and proper approval from the agency. Owing to the ban, the company pulled back the campaign and the flavored pods from the market.
In December 2019, the minimum age to buy tobacco products- including cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes raised to 21. It is now illegal for a retailer to sell these products to individuals under 21.
The FDA website also ran a report on it in the wake of a rising number of teens using the product.
The authorities have targeted the black market manufacturers to stop selling and distributing bootleg marijuana cartridges. The Police made a few arrests in this case in Wisconsin and Milwaukee in the past months.
Due to the new laws and federal regulations, there's been a significant drop in the sale of vaping and weed. But there's a fear that consumers might switch back to traditional smoking with the ban.
Health risks of vaping weed vs smoking
The electronic delivery of weed and nicotine has brought several health concerns related to the lungs and heart. Although weed also has health benefits, consuming it in large quantities and through vape cartridges may harm you more than reasonably.
The primary health risk of vaping has to be EVALI. Unfortunately, this lung ailment has gripped numerous people nationwide and continues to rise.
As it exposes you to harmful chemicals, it can induce problems like chronic lung disease and asthma.
Excessive vaping exposes you to formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, which increase cardiovascular disease risk.
Nicotine is a toxic substance that can be addictive if you vape frequently. In addition, it raises your blood pressure and adrenaline hormone to increase your heart rate. This may lead to a heart attack.
How can you counter this crisis?
Here is my experience with vaporizers and vaping. Vaping is no better than smoking. You may consider it an effective smoke cessation tool but still inhales chemicals that are not good for you. Here are a few tips to help you vape safely:
Both weed and nicotine should be consumed in controlled amounts to avoid addiction. Also, you become more prone to health risks with their use.
To save yourself from the health hazards of vaping, you need to be vigilant about the brands and products you buy. There are illicit companies that sell contaminated vape cartridges that have proved to be fatal. Beware of such products.
Research the federal laws thoroughly regarding vaping in your state and follow them.
If you've switched to e-cigarettes, do not quit smoking. The dual use of both can affect your health and delay the process if you decide to quit.
If you're experiencing breathing problems, consult a healthcare professional immediately for timely treatment.
Vaping nicotine vs smoking weed
To conclude, you need to be in control of the amount and frequency of vaping. This is important because one can get addicted to both weed and nicotine.
Further research is required to back up the e-cigarette companies' claim that nicotine vapes are a less harmful alternative to traditional cigarettes.
We know it's challenging to quit altogether but try to educate yourself on the potential dangers of smoking and vaping. This might help you take it slow and eventually stop. Your body will thank you later!