In anticipation of the introduction of new standards and regulations governing the manufacture of vape cartridges and vape devices, the cannabis industry has been waiting with bated breath since the beginning of the 2019 Vape Crisis. Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) released new guidelines for the manufacture and sale of cannabis oils on July 1, making it the first state to do so after becoming the first to enact new limitations.
Regulatory marijuana concentrate in a vaporized delivery device must be checked for metals contamination by emissions testing before being released for sale, according to the statement of adoption issued last year (CCR 212-3).
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO CONDUCT TESTS FOR CANNABIS EMISSIONS?
Heavy metal contamination in products such as e-cigarettes, cannabis and hemp extracts, and other items is not a new occurrence in the industry. Heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, and arsenic have been routinely found in marijuana and hemp extracts, according to scientific evidence. It is possible for heavy metals to infiltrate the cannabis and hemp growing and production processes through a variety of routes, including those listed below:
Farming makes use of a variety of inputs, including fertilizers, nutrients, and pesticides.
Cultivation Equipment & Implements are available for purchase.
Manufacturing processes are used in the manufacturing industry.
Packaging and shipping equipment are two types of equipment.
Devices for the administration of drugs (inhalers, vaporizers, transdermal patches, bottles, and containers)
Introduction of these chemicals into the oils themselves may be due to phytoremediation, but specific metals used in the building of the machines that consume them may also be a source of introduction into the oils themselves. Metals used in the manufacturing of vape cartridges in countries other than the United States may represent a concern to cannabis consumers, in the same way that BPA from plastics may leak into foods and beverages.
In the case of plastics and BPA, for example, repeated exposure to heat increases the risk of contaminant buildup. Prolonged exposure to BPA, an endocrine disruptor, has been linked to a number of health problems, including cancer. Similarly, repeated exposure to specific chemicals created by extreme temperatures and cannabis has been linked to a variety of health problems, including cancer. If emissions testing is not carried out, it is doubtful that consumers will be aware of what it is that they are breathing.
When it comes to chemistry reactions, cooling is a catalyst.
The science of vaporization is a rather simple subject to understand…. When water is heated to a boil, it changes state from a liquid to a gas or steam. However, heating oil does not actually release any gas into the atmosphere. As a result, heat disintegrates bigger particles into smaller ones, releasing an aerosol of minute droplets of oil as a by-product of the heating process. Moreover, it’s possible that the heat applied throughout the method led these droplets of oil to undergo chemical alterations that resulted in their being different from the original product.
Keep in mind that while using a vape device to evaporate cannabis oils at extremely high temperatures, it is possible for chemical reactions to occur in some compounds. Take, for instance, the discovery that certain terpenes, when heated to high temperatures, may transform into the carcinogen benzene, which is well-known in the medical profession.
Another way of putting it is that what goes into the device at room temperature may not be the same as what comes out of the device after it has been heated. There is also limited information available about the shelf life of vape cartridges, as well as how the product may decay or leach specific metals over time, aside from what is already mentioned. In the goal of bringing some clarity to the situation, emissions testing and expiration date norms have been established.
The cannabis industry, on the other hand, does not have to start from the ground up in order to set standards for the most part. When it comes to testing volatile organic compounds in the nicotine e-cigarette market, there are already established rules and standards in place; in addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) has established guidelines for determining the Threshold of Toxicological Concern (TTC) in the case of chemical exposure.
In utilizing the same techniques and processing that are already utilized for testing nicotine-based devices, the cannabis industry will be able to quickly customize them to match their specific demands and requirements. As a result, heavy metals, carbonyl compounds, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other pollutants will be subject to harsher emission limits in the future.
Today in Colorado, tomorrow in the United States of America
When it comes to the legal market, protecting consumers is the number one responsibility. Despite the fact that Colorado is the first state to require emissions testing, cannabis and hemp farmers around the country may expect the practice to become more widespread in the future. Cannabis cultivators in all legal states should brace themselves for the implementation of comparable legislation in the not-too-distant future.
Additionally, ancillary cannabis businesses such as vape device manufacturers, equipment manufacturers, and packaging producers, in addition to companies that deal directly with the plants, must evaluate the materials used in their manufacturing processes. It is inevitable that new entry points for potential contamination will be discovered as the testing process continues, as the testing standards grow more stringent.