The Washington Post today reported that officials have discovered the same chemical in most of the samples of marijuana products used by people suffering from the recent illnesses attributed to vaping in recent weeks.
The chemical is an oil derived from vitamin E. Investigators at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found the oil in cannabis products in samples collected from patients who fell ill across the United States. FDA officials shared that information with state health officials during a telephone briefing this week, according to several officials who took part in the call.
Vitamin E is found in many foods naturally. The oil derived from the vitamin, known as vitamin E acetate, is readily available as a dietary supplement and is used in many lotions and balms and other skin treatments. Vitamin E acetate is not known to cause harm when ingested as a nutritional supplement or when it is applied to the skin.
But it is when it is inhaled that this benign-sounding chemical becomes potentially hazardous, according to the article.
The FDA is expected to make an announcement later today discussing their findings, but has yet to disclose whether they will hone in on the commonality in the products tested.
The author also states, "The FDA also told state officials Wednesday that its lab tests found nothing unusual in nicotine products that had been collected from sick patients, according to another person who took part in the call."
This is an important statement, as e-cigarettes and traditional vaping have been associated with this illness in the media, though no link has been found.
Vaping with traditional e-cigarettes has been found to be 95% safer than its combustible counterparts, according to the Royal College of Physicians in England