AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Local marijuana dispensaries are weighing in as state and federal agencies investigate an outbreak of severe lung disease associated with e-cigarettes and vaping.
Many of the illnesses, doctors believe, are tied to a vitamin E additive, an ingredient several local pot shops say they have not and do not use.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified at least 380 possible cases of severe lung disease tied to the use of e-cigarettes or vaping products.
Six people have died.
Some of the patients said they used products that contain THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Others reported only vaping nicotine.
While the exact cause of these illnesses remain a mystery, the FDA is warning devices containing THC may be even more harmful than e-cigarettes, and that many samples of vaping fluid used by sick patients included significant amounts of vitamin E acetate.
The CDC is advising users to stop vaping as these mysterious illnesses rise, but local pot shops are now weighing in.
A statement from Rise Dispensary in Amherst says in part:
"We are closely monitoring the news regarding illnesses being potentially linked to the use of certain vaping products. GTI does not use vitamin E in any of our vape products."
And INSA Dispensary tells Western Mass News:
"Our final products are of high-purity with no harmful chemicals. We are a pesticide-free seed-to-sale company with an extremely detail-oriented production process...nowhere in this meticulous process could vitamin E acetate find its way into our product."
The Cannabis Control Commission says it will soon require more disclosure of additives included in marijuana products sold in the Baystate.
In the meantime, the Department of Public Health says there are at least ten suspected cases of vape-related lung disease in Massachusetts.