STATEMENT FROM THE HAWAIʻI EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LICENSED THERAPEUTIC HEALTHCARE (HEALTH) ABOUT RECENT ILLNESSES ASSOCIATED WITH E-CIGARETTE DEVICES

 

 

STATEMENT FROM THE HAWAIʻI EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LICENSED THERAPEUTIC HEALTHCARE (HEALTH) ABOUT RECENT ILLNESSES ASSOCIATED WITH E-CIGARETTE DEVICES

HEALTH is Trade Association for all Hawaiʻi-Licensed Medical Cannabis Dispensaries

Revised Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Today, the Hawaiʻi Department of Health confirmed one case of a minor on Hawaiʻi Island hospitalized for what state officials suspect is the first case of a a severe respiratory illness linked to e-cigarette use in the islands. Hawaiʻi Health Director, Dr. Bruce Anderson, is cautioning Hawaiʻi residents about the risks of using e-cigarettes and is urging people not to use unregulated products that contain THC.

To date, a nationwide investigation has not identified a specific substance or e-cigarette product that connects these cases, but some patients have reported using e-cigarette products to vaporize liquids that contain cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Hawai’i’s state-licensed medical cannabis dispensaries are required by law to submit every batch of flower and manufactured product for analysis by a third party lab, regulated by the State. This mandatory analysis includes screening for the presence of impurities including solvent and pesticide residues. The State of Hawai’i does not allow any solvents, solvent residues, or any contaminants whatsoever in medical cannabis products sold in licensed dispensaries. Any cannabis product that does not pass Hawaiʻi’s stringent lab standards for purity must be destroyed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that as of September 6, 2019, over 450 possible cases of lung illness associated with the use of e-cigarette products have been documented in 33 states and the Virgin Islands. These numbers may change frequently. Current evidence does not suggest an infectious disease is the cause.1

Regardless of the ongoing investigation, the CDC warns that adolescents, young adults, pregnant women, and those who do not currently use tobacco products should not use e-cigarette products. Adults who do use e- cigarettes should never modify the device or add any substance to the liquid made by the manufacturer. The CDC also warns that e-cigarette users of all ages should never buy nicotine or cannabinoid-containing products off the street.

There have been several studies on the safety of vaporizing cannabinoids. Beginning in 2001, Arno Hazekamp, PhD from University of Leiden in the Netherlands has conducted studies on vaporized cannabis flower and extracted cannabis oils for Storz & Bickels, manufacturers of the first cannabis vaporizers. His research showed that cannabis compounds heated below the temperature at which they combust will become a vapor that can be inhaled into the lungs and released in the bloodstream.2 Dr. Hazekamp advised the Dutch national medical cannabis program and is considered one of the world's leading experts in cannabis chemistry and cannabis oil manufacture.

https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html

 

2 Evaluation of a vaporizing device (Volcano) for the pulmonary administration of tetrahydrocannabinol. Hazekamp A, Ruhaak R, Zuurman L, van Gerven J, Verpoorte R.; J Pharm Sci. 2006 Jun;95(6):1308-17.

Pedro Haro