Synthetic Marijuana Vape Pen Use Is Sending People to the Hospital

Mike G. Hughes
Jul 22, 2016 · 3 min read

If you keep up on news regarding the vape industry, you may have run across some articles lately blaming vape pens for a rise in drug overdoses. Many users of vapor pens for medical marijuana and recreational vaping, who are using them in places where it’s legal, are expressing concern over the safety of vaporizer pens as a result. So what’s really going on? And is there a reason for a responsible vaporizer pen user to be concerned? Read on to find out.

Vape Pens Making Headlines

A number of recent newspaper articles and television news stories have talked about an increase in overdoses. If you look past the headlines and actually read the articles and watch the videos, you’ll quickly find out that the increase in overdoses is not due to vaping cannabis in a dry herbal vaporizer, but rather to vaping synthetic marijuana in a vapor pen. These stories are not an indication that vaping cannabis in a weed vape pen or using an e cig with e-juice to quit smoking is dangerous. In fact, a doctor was even quoted in one of the stories as saying that he believed using an ecig to stop smoking cigarettes was beneficial for people.

About Synthetic Marijuana

In order to understand the stories about overdoses associated with herbal and wax pen vaporizer use, you need to know what synthetic marijuana is. Sometimes called K2 or spice, synthetic marijuana is a combination of incense, herbal materials, and chemicals that is intended to mimic the effects of the THC found in cannabis. It is very inexpensive and easy to find in many parts of the country, this illegal drug can be up to 100 times more psychoactive than THC, making it more likely to cause dangerous side effects than natural cannabis.

Why Vapor Pens and K2 Spice Can Be a Deadly Combination

While an herbal or wax vape pen can be useful to benefits from the medicinal properties of natural cannabis, marijuana vape pen usage with K2 synthetic marijuana is proving to be a deadly combination, especially in the hands of teenagers. The problem is that a vaporizer pen makes it possible for teens to use synthetic marijuana discreetly. Since vape pens do not give off telltale odors and look just like legal electronic cigarettes, it can be difficult for parents and law enforcement professionals to spot them.

A recent study from the CDC showed that the number of teens using vape pens tripled from 2013 to 2014. While some teens use vaporizer pens as a substitute for smoking cigarettes, YouTube videos and social media posts indicate that some of the teens who are using vapor pens are using them for getting high on K2. It’s these teens and unsuspecting adults who are filling up emergency rooms across the country, seeking medical treatment for overdose symptoms.

The Final Takeaway

The stories that have been featured in the news about dry herb vape pen use and a rise in drug overdoses do point to a real problem, but not one that the average marijuana vaporizer pen user who is responsibly vaping dry herbs for medical or recreational use needs to worry about.

It’s clear, though, that online and brick and mortar retailers need to be responsible about only selling vaporizer pens to individuals 18 years of age and older, and that parents, educators, and public health officials need to educate teenagers about the dangers of using synthetic marijuana in a vape pen or in any other way.

References: fox43 | vaporplants