The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that it is unlikely a single brand of THC-containing products is responsible for the recent outbreak of serious lung injuries associated with e-cigarette and vaping products.
The CDC's ongoing investigation into the deadly outbreak so far has highlighted the role of THC-containing products with the additive vitamin E acetate. Earlier this month, the CDC announced that it made what it called a significant finding tying the vaping-related injuries to the additive. Patients have reported using 152 different THC-containing product brands as part of the outbreak, which the CDC refers to as e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury, or EVALI for short.
"The nationwide diversity of THC-containing products reported by patients suggests it is unlikely a single brand is responsible for the EVALI outbreak, and regional differences in THC-containing products might be related to product sources," the CDC said in a report released Dec. 12.
As of Dec. 10, 2,409 vaping-related lung injury cases were reported to the CDC from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There were 52 deaths confirmed in 26 states and Washington, D.C. The percentage of patients hospitalized within the preceding three weeks reported to the CDC each week declined to 30% Dec. 3, down from 58% reported Nov. 12.
The CDC recommends not using e-cigarette, or vaping, products containing THC, especially ones obtained from informal sources like friends, family or in-person or online dealers.
"Because the specific cause or causes of lung injury are not yet known, persons should consider refraining from use of all e-cigarette, or vaping, products," the CDC said.
Among 29 patients interviewed as part of a study of cases in Indiana, seven reported using only THC-containing products, seven reported using only nicotine-containing products, 13 reported using both, and two reported using flavored products containing neither THC nor nicotine.
The percentage of Indiana patients who reported using THC-containing products was 69%, which is less than the national figure of 80%, the CDC said. The lower percentage of Indiana patients reporting using THC products could be due to underreporting but could also suggest the outbreak of lung injuries is not exclusively associated with THC use, the agency said.
In the Indiana study, 14 patients reported using THC products from the brand Dank Vapes, two used THC products from Chronic Carts and two others used Exotic Carts THC products. The high proportion of reported use of Dank Vapes may be important because the products are mostly counterfeit, the CDC said.