Dispensary 33 Vaping Statement

Over the last few days we’ve been receiving a number of emails and phone calls from patients and concerned groups regarding Vaporizer Cartridges and Pens being sold at D33. So far, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has not drawn any conclusions and in the void alarmist media coverage is beginning to rise. Though we agree with the CDC that there is not enough evidence to make a determination yet, we thought some background may be useful. Patients have told us that they are worried about the quality of their medicine. We also know that it can be confusing to differentiate between the many vaporizable products on the market and how they were produced.


So, let’s start by explaining what we do know:

• Illinois has some of the strictest (If not the strictest) requirements for testing cannabis concentrates sold in dispensaries.
• Every batch of products is tested by a third party, State approved laboratory.
• These labs test for microbiological contaminants, mycotoxins, pesticide active ingredients, and undergo an active ingredient analysis.
• Concentrates (like Vape Cartridges) are tested for residual solvents. These are any remaining chemicals used during the extraction process that have not been removed. They are measured in ppm (parts per million) and their use is highly regulated in IL.
• The allowable threshold for Residual Solvents in Illinois is: 10 ppm.
• For reference, the threshold in Colorado is: 5,000ppm


While we can’t speak to every product on the market, we can tell you about what’s sold in our shop:

• Dispensary33 has never carried a vaporizable product that has contained PG, VG, PEG or Vitamin E.
• We know that’s a lot of letters. Our point is simply that it has been in our buyer handbook since the before the day we opened. We’re not saying that these surfactants are the cause of the illnesses but we have always been weary of using certain lipid-based dilutants that were designed for ingestion, as opposed to inhalation.
• That is also why we have always recommended that sublingual oils (like RSO’s) should not be dabbed (vaporized).
• We do carry a small line of cartridges that use medium chain triglycerides (MCT) to carry flavors. We always list any additive used in any of our products along.
• MCT oil is the best studied of these sorts of additives. It has also been studied extensively when inhaled. “According to the Handbook of Pharmaceutical Excipients, MCT, in acute toxicology studies in both humans and animals, “no irritant or other adverse reactions have been observed….” [Id.] “Similarly, chronic toxicology studies in animals have shown no harmful adverse effects associated with medium-chain triglycerides following inhalation or intraperitoneal, oral, and parenteral administration.” [Handbook of Pharmaceutical Excipients, 6th Ed., 2009, MCTs and Coconut Oil, at 429-31 & 184-185.}


We could speculate quite a bit on what may be causing people to become ill but we believe in evidence-based approaches to guide any determinations we make. There is simply not enough evidence yet to point a decisive finger. However, there are some things we believe everyone should consider when purchasing vape cartridges in general:

• Do Not use products for vaping that are not intended for that purpose. Many products made for ingestion have high quantities of lipids or liposomes – which can cause things like Lipoid Pneumonia.
• Do Not modify the device you use to heat the cartridge. Not only can raising the temperature cause certain chemicals like PG to change forms into more toxic compounds, but damaging the heating “coil” in the device can cause it to release heavy metals into the product itself.
• Avoid products that use dilutants or “thickeners” that are not derived from the Cannabis plant itself. We only purchase products that reintroduce Cannabis-Derived Terpenes. One exception is a small amount of MCT in flavored style products.
• Avoid these in particular: Propelyne Glycol (PG) and Vitamin E derived from palm.
There are several types of Vitamin E. Gamma-Tocotrienol in particular has been implicated in pulmonary damage. This homologue is found mostly in Palm.
• Avoid Black Market products. The primary issue is that there is no testing on the black market. Also the type of equipment needed to make a truly high quality cartridge or pen is not available to that segment. Bathroom gin got a lot of people sick too.


What’s likely causing the harm is something that they are putting in to make it easy or cheap to mix,”  – Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

You can find the CDC report HERE.