What David Bienenstock has to say about vape pens
The marketplace for cannabis concentrates within the us is on fire—well, not literally, because fire results in combustion, and combustion results in smoke (instead of vapor).
But it’s figuratively ablaze , as evidenced by a report from Arcview marketing research that shows almost $3 billion in legal concentrate sales in 2018—a 49% increase over the previous year. By 2022, researchers estimate annual sales will reach $8.4 billion, putting concentrates roughly on par with smokable flowers.
As a catch-all term, concentrates can mean everything from BHO to rosin to distillate to hash, but consistent with an equivalent report, 58% of concentrate spending last year came within the sort of pre-filled cartridges designed to figure in vape pens.
Consumers are gravitating to vape pens because they’re portable, easy to use, easy to self-titrate, and potent, with THC levels of 70% or higher.
But what if this ubiquitous symbol of the cannabis legalization era features a dark side? What if everything about your vape game—from the pen itself to the oil inside—is fake?
While it’s undeniable that vape pens deliver discretion and important safety benefits, questions do remain about what exactly is inside those cartridges (popularly referred to as carts). A recent report by Leafly’s David Downs, California Cannabis Labs Are Finding Toxic Metal in Vape Carts, has raised concerns within the cannabis industry, among regulators and for consumers.
Since January 1 in California, all legal cannabis vape carts are subject to stringent new testing for heavy metals. At SC Labs, founder Josh Wurzer reports that about 0.5% of the vape cart batches he’s tested have failed for lead. “We’ve seen some issue,” he said. “Out of the thousands we’ve tested, we’ve had a really small portion over the limit.”
The specter of inhaling heavy metal vapor into your lungs should be of great concern to anyone who has chosen vape pens as a healthier alternative to smoking flower. But it’s also important to acknowledge that we only realize this potential hazard because California’s new regulations are working as intended.
Vape pens (along with all other cannabis products) get tested in an accredited lab where standards are rigorous, and anything that fails for contaminants of any kind gets pulled from the availability chain before it reaches dispensary shelves.
But what if you’re not buying your vape carts at a licensed dispensary, because you don’t sleep in an area with legal cannabis, otherwise you get a far better deal on them off-the-books from a man at your gym? A vape cart may be a vape cart may be a vape cart—right?
Sure, unless your vape cart is counterfeit.
Continue reading: Leafly