Cannabis consumers should be rightly concerned about the health issues swirling around vaping cannabis oil. Thankfully, though the industry lacks significant regulation and oversight, there are many industry-spearheaded safety measures and stopgaps that can help inform consumers on how to make educated choices when choosing which cannabis products to buy.
Here are a few guidelines to help the conscious cannabis consumer choose safe vape products.
1. Buy from Legit Sources.
Identifying a safe point of origin is the first step to purchasing safe and high-quality cannabis products. Thanks to medical and recreational legalization, the products that end up being sold in dispensaries must be tested several times over and go through several layers of oversight before they end up on product shelves.
When it comes to CBD, which is available in normal retail markets outside of dispensaries, including the internet, buying from a reputable retailer with easily identifiable social media, internet and other assets that identify legitimate businesses is another good thing to evaluate. Many of the products being sold that are sickening people come from black market retailers and products that lack branding or legitimacy by being sold from any easily traceable outlet.
2. Read the Lab Results.
Of course, relying on a company’s promotional material is not the best line of defense when identifying high-quality products. If a seller looks to be legitimate, the next order of business is to investigate whether or not the company has a Certificate of Analysis, or COA, as it’s known in the cannabis industry.
All products sold in California, for example, must be tested in a state-licensed lab and have this certificate, which includes the testing laboratory’s name, address and license number; the distributor’s name, address and license number; the cultivator or manufacturer’s name; batch information; sample type and a variety of granular sample information.
Basically, if a company is able to display and produce a COA, it’s a surefire way to know the product being purchased is legitimate, as safe as possible and has gone through multiple layers of oversight.
3. Check the goods.
Once the product is in-hand, inspect it to check for anything strange or inconsistent. Is there branding on the product? It’s not a fail-safe, but it’s another legitimizing signifier. Does the box or any of the child-proof seals look like they have been tampered with? Does the product not smell or taste like it is supposed to?
Another way to ensure quality is to buy refillable tank vapes or individual pen cartridges if the quality of disposable vapes that come attached to a battery isn’t able to be ascertained. With disposable vapes, the apparatus isn’t able to be taken apart without destroying the product, so there’s no way to gauge the quality of the oil, heating system or anything else. When using a tank-style vape and separate oil cartridges, the only aspect of the product that needs to be evaluated is the oil, alone.
4. Check the Hardware.
Finally, additional studies have suggested that certain types of metals used in the heating process are less safe than others. Nickel and nickel-chromium coils should be outright avoided, owing to nickel sensitivity and carcinogens when heating. Stainless steel and borosilicate glass are also good to avoid. Ceramic is largely considered the most effective and safest option for a heating surface, fast replacing wicks and other heating surfaces. In particular, CCell technology is the latest innovation and utilizes a ceramic core to provide even and fast-acting heating effects.
Consumers can inspect vapes to see if a particular product utilizes this technology or uses a cheap substitute–silicone rings in the mouthpiece, six inlet holes (4 at the base of the airway, two at the bottom of the cartridge), a laser engraved CCELL logo and a serial number.
5. If it feels Suspect, it most likely is.
The last rule is to also go with a gut instinct. If it feels sketchy, there’s no need to risk it. There are plenty of above-board CBD and other cannabis product retailers that go through great lengths to let their consumers know they are safe. Seek those out.