Vape Ban In Massachusetts
On September 24, 2019, the Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, declared vaping a public health emergency. As a result, he initiated a ban on all vape products, effective immediately until January 25, 2020.
The circumstances that lead Governor Baker and the Public Health Council in Massachusetts to this decision have to do with an uptick in illnesses linked with vaping in this country. At the time of this writing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 1080 lung injury cases related to the use of vape products (both e-cigarettes and cannabis) have been identified in 48 states and 1 U.S. territory. 18 cases have resulted in death in fifteen states.
At this time, what specific chemicals are causing lung injuries remains unknown. There is not one specific chemical that has been linked to the reported illnesses. All patients report the use of vaping products and no consistent evidence of an infectious cause, such as bacteria or virus, has been discovered. Therefore, the suspected cause is a chemical exposure from using vape products.
According the the New England Journal of Medicine, the illnesses range from inflammation of lung tissue (pneumonitis, pneumonia) to full on acute respiratory distress (ARDS ) crises. Some of these illnesses require admission into an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) as the patients require constant monitoring and oh, need to be on a respiratory ventilator as their lungs are not capable of breathing properly! Folks, that’s life support!
You might be asking yourself what is going on? Why now?
Vaping has been around for a while. Why hasn’t there been a public health emergency declared before now? Well, simply put — the people who are struggling with this array of respiratory illnesses have likely been vaping for an extended period. The diseases they are experiencing are likely related to habitual use of vape products. Scroll through social media and you’ll probably see people claiming that these injuries are due to one substance or another, but the fact of the matter is we don’t know what the long-term impacts of inhaling lipids (fat-based molecules), flavoring compounds, dyes, and cutting agents really are…it unfortunately looks like we’re finding out the hard-way, 10–15 years after the e-cigarette made it’s debut on the market.
I’m a cannabis patient, my vapes help me! What am I supposed to do?
Vaping is one of the most discreet and effective delivery methods for managing symptoms of chronic illness. Unfortunately, the current public health crisis indicates that vaping may not be the safest of delivery methods. So let’s discuss a delivery method that may be a good alternative for patients and consumers who are accustomed to using vape pens and cartridges to relieve symptoms.
Flower (dry herb) vaporizers are devices that heat cannabis flower to a temperature prior to combustion that melts the resin glands (trichomes) into a “vapor.” Lack of combustion means reduced or eliminated exposure to smoke, carcinogens, tar, and other irritating chemicals that are simply no good for the lungs. There are a wide-range of devices on the market ranging from portable options that fit into your pocket for medicating discreetly and effectively on the go, or there are desktop vaporizers if discretion is not an issue for you.
But wait, there’s more!
There is one added benefit to using flower (dry herb) vaporizers. You can save the “spent” flower and use it to make edibles! Yes, that’s right. Flower vaporizers effectively decarboxylate cannabis flower (converts raw THCa to active and available THC for example.) Save those little crispy brown nuggets of goodness for a batch of medicinal brownies, or steep a gram into a cup of hot milk and honey for a high tea. Think of the possibilities and benefits. You can medicate, keep your lungs safe, and enjoy an infused treat later.
It comes down to this…
We get one body to drive through this life. One body that is designed to serve us quite well when nourished and cared for properly. Sure, genes, environment may play a role in trumping the primary design, but for the most part, we tend to have a lot of room to make good decisions for the purpose of maintaining our health. At this time, vaping doesn’t seem to fall into the good decision category. Like anything else, it’s important to know what you are taking in to your body, whether it be food, water, or substances. At this time, it appears that it may be best to skip vaping. Your lungs will thank you. And you get to stay out of the ICU. Staying out of the ICU is always a good plan.