I’m a big fan of vaping my cannabis. It’s so easy, in fact too easy and I have to remind myself to only buy cartridges when I have an actual need for the convenience factor, because I’ll smoke mine down within 2 days. Usually, buying even $25-$40 of weed will last me a couple weeks. Not the tasty vapes, though. Being such a big fan, I feel woefully undereducated about them. How come you can’t buy oil to put in a refillable vape? Why doesn’t every shop advertise recycling the cartridges? Are there any other ingredients in the oil? How exactly is the oil produced?
My most curious concern was pointed out to me from a friend’s Instagram story. After hitting a reasonably new looking vape, he zoomed in the camera on the clear plastic mouthpiece on the cartridge, which clearly showed little dark flecks on the inside of the opening, with an accompanying caption, “We don’t even really know all what’s in these and what they’re doing to us in full.”
His point seemed to be that vaporizing cannabis oil, at least perhaps from certain manufacturers, could carry risks of ingesting toxins. I don’t think any weed smoker is too dumb to recognize that inhaling plant matter in any form is not going to be the absolute best choice for your health. Then again, neither is breathing in cities where clouds of pollution and smog hang above. For our vices, we tolerate certain risks to our wellbeing, so we can feel good. However, not every good feeling is worth placing yourself directly in harm’s way.
Earlier this year, California found levels of lead in samples of cartridges tested for heavy metals, a newer regulation we Californians should be grateful was implemented. The World Health Organization states that absolutely no lead, even trace amounts, are safe for exposure. Lead exposure can be lethal to children (who should not be vaping or consuming cannabis of any kind), and still dangerous to adults. Pain, mental functionality, and moodiness are just some of the swell symptoms of lead poisoning. Why do you think lead is banned and products and paints are touted as being ‘Lead Free?’ Because they SHOULD be for our health!
Cannabis products can become cross contaminated with metals, but it’s likely that in the case of cartridges, the lead is directly used in the manufacturing of the cartridges. Many of the electronic pieces are made in China, and as we know, corners are cut to manufacture goods at the cheapest, fastest possible level to save money and thus continue securing their position as the factories able to crank crap out much easier than competitors. In China, it is common practice to add trace amounts of lead to metal for softer, easier molding and save millions. China actually follows extremely high standards in their lead regulations, however, California’s standards are even more stringent. The levels of lead considered “safe” in China is 40,000 parts per million and California’s is only 0.5 ppm.
Before the stricter testing requirements were enforced, more than enough empty cartridges were shown to contain more lead than allowed. As of February 2019, lead-free vape cartridges will become law in California, but if you’re anywhere else… make sure you’re doing your research about what brands have been testing positive for lead and contaminants! Don’t let your love of vaping weed put you at any risk.