In the last decade, vaporizers have become a popular alternative to smoking both tobacco and pot. Early adopters of this technology were optimistic that without combustion, vaping substances was a safe choice. However, recent revelations about the potential health risks of vaporizers have challenged this belief and made many question the safety of commercial vape products, such as cannabis cartridges.  

Vaping-Related Ailments on the Rise 

A recent statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has brought troubling information to light — vaping may be the cause of a rising number of lung diseases in teenagers and young adults. 

This summer, 153 cases of respiratory illnesses across 16 states have been linked to vaping either nicotine or THC. Of these cases, nearly 100 are in teenagers. Some were so severe that treatment required hospitalization, oxygen, and ventilators. 

The precise cause of these respiratory illnesses is still unknown. No one product or device is associated with all the patients, and because e-cigarettes and the like are relatively new, very little is understood about their long-term effects. While it is well-established that nicotine is harmful to health in all its forms, not much research has been done on the other ingredients in e-cigarettes and how they may be related. Given that these cases have been seen in people vaping both nicotine and THC, many are pointing to other components of vaporizers. 

In fact, a recent study from scientific journal Radiology found that inhaling vapor (without any nicotine or flavors) immediately has a negative impact on the vascular system. Subjects of this study experienced worse circulation, stiff arteries, and less oxygen in their blood, all of which can contribute to serious health issues over time. While normal vascular function returned to these patients after a couple of hours, the concern lies in what long-term, chronic use could do to the cardiovascular system. 

Cannabis Cartridge Vaporizers: Are They Safe?

Given these recent revelations about vaping, many cannabis enthusiasts are understandably concerned about the health implications of the vape cartridges they purchase at their local dispensary. Are they really safe? 

The key, as with the enjoyment of any substance, is understanding exactly what you’re consuming. Just as with e-cigarettes, some of the cartridge-style weed vaporizer pens contain chemicals that may have serious consequences when inhaled. While these products are convenient, it’s essential to understand the risks of using them. Be skeptical about any product that is not transparent about their ingredients, as it may contain chemicals that are harmful. To fully understand what you are consuming, investigate the brand and its products. What solvents are they using to make their cannabis concentrate? What additives are included? Are they distilling from plants? What is the heating element made of? This information will help shed light on exactly what you’re vaping when you use these cartridges. 

The Solution — Grow Your Own Cannabis 

If you prefer to vape but are concerned about these commercial cartridges, why not grow your own organic cannabis and make a vapeable concentrate from that? This way, you have complete control over where the product is coming from and how you extract it, empowering you to make more informed decisions about your health while still enjoying pot in your preferred form. 

You can avoid using harmful chemicals in this process with a solventless extraction process using heat and pressure to create rosin from flower or hash. You can then vape this rosin with a concentrate pen. 

If you opt for this route, invest in a quality concentrate vape pen. You can find pens on the market that have refillable chambers where you can pack your own cannabis concentrate. Look for one with a heating element made of stainless steel and ceramic for a healthy option. One such product is the Yocan Evolve Plus, but there are others as well.

Feeling overwhelmed with the process? You may benefit from our cannabis cultivation service. Alternatively, if you need guidance on how to grow cannabis in Massachusetts, we’re happy to speak to you. Feel free to reach out to Home Grow Community for more information. 



The Boston Globe