E-Cigarettes with THC Cause Injuries, Tennessee Department of Health Says

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A passage on the Tennessee Department of Health’s website says THC products are linked to lung injury cases associated with e-cigarette use or vaping.

As The Tennessee Star reported, the media and other health officials seem to blame e-cigarettes as originally manufactured for several deaths this year, including a recent death in Tennessee. The Illinois-based Heartland Institute called out the TDH for only reporting hospitalizations due to e-cigarette use or vaping.

TDH spokeswoman Shelley Walker did not answer The Star’s direct questions on the matter Tuesday. However, She did provide us with internet links to her department’s recent statements on vaping.

“To date, national data suggest that products containing THC, particularly those obtained off the street or from other informal sources (e.g., friends, family members, or illicit dealers), are linked to most of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak,” according to the TDH’s website, in a post department officials published last week.

The website went on to say that, as of last week, Tennessee had 57 lung injury cases associated with e-cigarette use or vaping, with two confirmed deaths. Exactly 68 percent of those people are male.

The median age of patients is 24 years and ages range from 16 to 56 years. Exactly 79 percent of patients are under 35 years old, according to the TDH website.

Two weeks ago the THC website said this:

“At this time, no single product or substance has been linked to all the lung injury cases and the specific chemical or ingredient causing these injuries remains unknown. In many but not all cases, patients have acknowledged recent use of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC-containing e-cigarette products.”

In another post, THC officials urge state residents “to have heightened awareness about the use of products derived from Cannabis, including marijuana and hemp, and the risks of harm associated with such products claiming to benefit health.”

Those same officials went on to say marijuana is addictive. They also said that in 2017 there were 2,182 admissions to state-funded substance use treatment services in Tennessee with marijuana as the primary substance — more than heroin or cocaine.

“Today’s marijuana is more potent than before. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the primary psychoactive substance found in Cannabis. Analysis of samples confiscated by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration showed a three-fold increase from approximately four percent THC in 1995 to approximately 12 percent THC in 2014,” according to the THC.

“Marijuana products can now be found with THC concentrations exceeding 20 percent. The long-term health or developmental consequences of exposure to these high concentrations of marijuana are unknown.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to chrisbutlerjournalist@gmail.com.
Photo “Person Vaping” by TBEC Review. CC BY 2.0.

 

 

 

 

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