Vaping is generally considered a better alternative to smoking, which can be corroborated from the fact that the market for concentrates and vapor pens increased by 145.6% from 2014 to 2016 in Washington state alone.
A 2017 study found that those who used e-cigarettes or vapes showed significantly lower levels of carcinogens and other toxic chemicals than consumers who smoked.
However, like with all other things, there are pros and cons to vape pens too. In this post, we’ll take a look at the reasons why not all vape pens are safe. So let’s begin:
1) A lot of vape pens use plastic
The majority of disposable vaporizer pens still use plastics near the heating elements. Despite being touted as ‘heat safe’, plastics may emit harmful chemical compounds when heated. Also, some cartridges use heating elements made of impure or poor-quality metals which can further aggravate the issue.
2) The may contain Harmful additives
Propylene glycol (PG) and polyethylene glycol (PEG), the two common additives present in vape pens, may pose health risks. The two chemicals are usually added to vapor cartridges and e-juice to thin out an otherwise thick, viscous material.
Although both these additives are generally marked safe by the US FDA, they both are converted to formaldehyde — a known carcinogen — when heated to the point of combustion for marijuana products (230˚C).
Vape pen manufacturers can instead opt for other benign alternatives like vegetable glycerine.
3) Concentrates contain a highly different terpene profile as compared to dried flower
If you were thinking that concentrates, vapor cartridges and e-liquids would produce the same effects as a dried flower, think again. The extraction process eliminates and modifies many terpenes found inside the whole flower.
This notion can be confirmed via a Washington state study, wherein researchers compared dried cannabis flower to subcritical CO2 extractions — the most common extract used in vapor pens — and found striking differences between the terpene profiles.
4) Concentrates may be contaminated with higher levels of pesticide
Concentrates are extracted from several pounds of flowers, thus they are more likely to contain higher levels of pesticides than a single dried flower.
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Toxicological Sciences found that nearly 80% of over 57 samples of California marijuana concentrates contained unsafe levels of residual pesticide.
If you are concerned about the pesticide levels, consider buying concentrates, vapor cartridges and e-liquids only from companies that publish the reports of their products tested by third-party labs.