CDC, officials tie vaping-related illnesses to 'Dank Vapes' brand in Illinois, Wisconsin

CDC, officials tie vaping-related illnesses to 'Dank Vapes' brand in Illinois, Wisconsin

A number of patients in Illinois and Wisconsin who became sick after vaping reported using THC products sold under the brand name “Dank Vapes,” according to a new report published by state health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Friday.

Of the 86 patients interviewed by researchers in those two states, 66 percent said they used pre-filled THC cartridges sold under the name Dank Vapes.

While researchers said no single brand name was reported by all patients, Dank Vapes was the most commonly reported.

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But, researchers said, Dank Vapes doesn’t appear to be a legitimate manufacturer, but a label or packaging that is used by sellers for counterfeit products.

“Dank Vapes appears to be the most prominent in a class of largely counterfeit brands, with common packaging that is easily available online and that is used by distributors to market THC-containing cartridges with no obvious centralized production or distribution,” researchers wrote in their report.

The 86 patients had used products with 87 different brand names, according to the report. 

Other THC vaping brands identified by patients include TKO, Off White, MoonRocks, Chronic Carts, Cookies, Smart Carts, Kingpen, Dabwoods, Rove, Mario Carts, California Confidential, Cereal Carts and Supreme G.

87 percent of patients interviewed in Illinois and Wisconsin said they had vaped THC before becoming sick; 71 percent said they vaped nicotine, and 58 percent said they used both.

“The high level of use of pre-filled THC cartridges, used in a range of different devices, suggests that the cartridges might play an important role,” the report reads.

The researchers added that some patients might have lied about using THC products. 

While most patients reported vaping THC before getting sick, it is still not known what is causing the illnesses. 

Since most of the THC products are sold illegally, their ingredients are unregulated and often unknown to the buyer. 

"We do not believe consumers can tell what’s in the products and there’s not sufficient information on labels to know," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC.

Eighty-nine percent of the THC products obtained by the patients were obtained through “informal sources,” including off the street or through dealers.

 

Other patients said they bought the products from out-of-state cannabis dispensaries, online or from a vape or tobacco shop.

The Food & Drug Administration and state health officials across the country  has found vitamin E acetate in many of the vaping products it has tested, a product found in lotion and dietary supplements that can be harmful if inhaled into the lungs.

Throughout the U.S., products containing THC, a psychoactive compound found in cannabis, are playing a large role in the outbreak of vaping-related lung illnesses, the CDC stated in a separate report released Friday. But it's not yet known if Dank Vapes is tied to illnesses in other states. 

Of 514 patients interviewed by health officials nationwide, 77 percent used products containing THC, and 57 percent reported vaping nicotine.

Only 16 percent of patients said they exclusively used products containing nicotine, while 36 percent said they only vaped THC.

The CDC noted it still does not know what is making people sick, because THC and nicotine vaping products can include a variety of chemicals. The CDC and FDA hasn't identified a product or substance linked to all illnesses. 

“While this investigation is ongoing, CDC recommends that persons consider refraining from using e-cigarette, or vaping products, particularly those containing THC,” the CDC wrote in its report.

As of Tuesday, 805 cases of vaping-related illnesses had been reported to the CDC, an increase of 275 from last week.

The CDC also reports that 12 people have died.