In an era of vaping-induced deaths, how can weed lovers ensure that they’re consuming safe pot products? We have a few tips and tricks to help keep your lungs healthy and your high clean.

As the number of people with vaping-induced lung illnesses continues to rise, many consumers are beginning to question the safety of their cannabis products. So far, nearly 1,500 people have fallen ill and at least 33 have died from what’s being called vaping-associated pulmonary injury (VAPI), or more recently, e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI). 

But beyond the link to vaping, health officials are still struggling to find a definitive cause of the illness outbreak. Theories have included cannabis oil additives such as vitamin E acetate or contaminants including harsh chemical pesticides or heavy metals. But the true cause has yet to be pinned down.

Scott Benson, the CEO of Apex Extractions in California, believes that when the cause is eventually determined, the findings will be consistent with the thousands of years of safe cannabis use experienced by humankind.

“My thought is that it’s a combination of factors that aren’t in the natural cannabis product itself, such as pesticides, potentially vitamin E,” he told MERRY JANE. “And when you combine all of those elements together and put heat to them, I don’t think we know what happens.”

Benson notes that the vast majority of EVALI cases have occurred in states that don’t have legal cannabis frameworks in place. In other words, the products were sourced from illicit or unregulated sources. The best way for consumers to ensure their safety, he says, is to buy from a licensed retailer. At Apex, flower is tested before extraction, then the cannabis oil is tested during production, and once again for state-mandated compliance testing.