Harmful Cannabis Oil Cartridges: What To Look For To Avoid
Portable vaporizers are becoming popular as they are easy to dose. Different brands offer different strains, solvents, and additives. You may feel confused, and rightly so — it is not so easy to understand which ingredients are safe, and which ones you should avoid.
Vaporizing means that cannabis is heated without combustion (i.e., burning). The heat releases active ingredients in the form of vapor. Since there is no combustion, there is no smoke. That is why vaping is perceived to be less harmful to health than smoking. However, how safe vaporizers are?
Harmful Agents Inside Your Oil Cartridge
Producers frequently mix cannabis oils with thinning agents to improve cartridge performance. When some of them get hot, it can result in potentially harmful carbonyl compounds.
Research in this field began with e-cigarettes. Cannabis and e-cigs use different kinds of thinning agents, but there are definite parallels that led researchers to study the possible effects of thinning agents found in marijuana vaporizers.
In a 2017 study conducted at the Medical Marijuana Research Institute in Arizona, researchers looked at the byproducts of cannabis vaporizing. They studied these popular cannabis thinning agents:
- Propylene glycol (PG or PPG)
- Vegetable glycerin
- Polyethylene glycol (PEG) 400
- Medium chain triglycerides
Researchers heated thinning agents to 230°C (450°F). They tested the resulting vapors for the presence of harmful compound like formaldehyde or acetaldehyde.
The results showed that polyethylene glycol 400 produced the biggest amount of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde byproducts. Heating of propylene glycol caused the production of formaldehyde byproduct. Thus, individuals who vaporize cannabis oil with these thinning agents may risk their health by doing so.
Is There a Healthier Alternative?
Today, producers of vaporizer cartridges tend to replace these thinning agents due to their health risks. Many are turning to terpenes as they help thin the oil and improve flavor. Others opt out for different extraction methods to produce an oil thin enough to be used in a cartridge without the need for thinners.
When buying oil cartridges, pay attention for ingredients. If there are propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol 400, think twice — and may choose an alternative product that uses terpenes or other health-conscious options.
(Sweedsy in no way encourages illegal activity and would like to remind its readers that marijuana usage continues to be an offense under Federal Law, regardless of state marijuana laws. To learn more, click here.)