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vaping health risks in the news

Vaping Health Risks in the News: What to Know About PA Medical Marijuana

Medically Reviewed by: Christine A. Doerbecker, BS, RPh

Vaping health risks have been an ongoing topic in the national news recently, and we’ve been receiving many patient questions and concerns about their medical marijuana. Trying to understand these risks and how or if they affect you and your medical marijuana can be confusing. Pennsylvania is taking every precaution available to reduce any vaping health risks and ensure the purity and safety of all products sold in PA medical marijuana dispensaries.

Our goal is to help clarify the extensive amount of information around the topic through one-on-one conversations at our dispensaries and providing you with the most up-to-date, evidence-backed information from our PA medical marijuana growers. Patients have a lot of questions concerning the safety of their medicine, and we want to provide more information to help address the topic. In addition to the information below, you can review the statements from PA medical marijuana growers that have been consolidated and posted to the top of the Solevo Facebook page. That was first published on 9/10.

Are there any vaping health risks associated with my medical marijuana?

Like any prescription or medicine, there are possible health risks, but the PA medical marijuana program is dedicated to providing patients with the purest form of medical marijuana regulated under the PA Department of Health. Before medical marijuana is culminated into a vapor, growers must follow specific codes that are upheld by Pennsylvania state law and the PA medical marijuana program. Among other things, the codes prohibit growers from adding any additional ingredients that can alter the dosage level and other attributes of medical marijuana. As outlined in this article from WebMD about the vaping health concerns, “public health officials are narrowing in on two possible links: vitamin E and black-market vape cartridges.” Neither of those are a part of the PA medical marijuana program.

To ensure product purity, the PA medical marijuana program regulations require two rounds of lab testing for all products sold in dispensaries. This means that all PA medical marijuana products are screened twice for 73 pesticides and contaminants before being sent through the doors of any medical marijuana dispensary. Medical marijuana is also tested for potency before hitting the shelves in local dispensaries.

Additionally, growers and distributors must have completed an application process for obtaining licenses to grow and distribute medical marijuana in any form. The grower application process and the distributor application process are strenuous processes that regulate the ability of companies to legally grow and/or distribute medical marijuana to Pennsylvania residents.

Due to all of the regulations and safety precautions set forth by the PA Department of Health, the products sold in PA medical marijuana dispensaries are very different than what is sold on the black market. Those unregulated products are generally untested, and may contain additives prohibited in PA dispensary products.

What is in my medical marijuana cartridges?

In your medical marijuana cartridges, you will find:

  • Cannabis derived CO2 oil or distillates
  • Cannabis derived terpenes
  • Cannabis derived cannabinoids
  • Food grade terpenes

How do I stay safe?

The CDC, FDA, and HHS have advised consumers to avoid buying or using cannabis products off the street. They are unregulated, untested, and could be contaminated. To ensure your medicine is as clean as possible, purchase tested and regulated medical marijuana.

If you are still concerned about vaping health risks or additives in your cartridges, remember that medical marijuana is a very versatile medication. There are other forms of medical marijuana available. You could try tested dry leaf from dispensaries or you can avoid inhaled forms altogether. Alternatives to inhaling include tinctures, distillates, RSOs, capsules, and topicals. Stay informed on all medical marijuana available at Solevo Wellness by checking our PA medical marijuana menus, which are updated daily. Please feel free to address any further questions or concerns with a pharmacist or Patient Care Consultant at one of our dispensaries. Remember that licensed pharmacist consultations are always free and you are under zero obligation to make a purchase after your consultation.

We will continue to follow along with all the vaping health risks as more information is reported from ongoing investigations. While vape pens have been available for close to a decade, respiratory and pulmonary issues have only recently begun being reported. For more information on vaping health risks and ongoing investigations, please visit the Center for Disease Control and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

It is important to stay up to date on PA medical marijuana news to continue to use medical marijuana in a safe and effective way. If you would like to speak to any of our pharmacists or Patient Care Consultants, visit us at any of our Solevo Wellness locations. You can also check out our FAQ page or follow us on Facebook.