Phytol Investigated as Potentially Harmful Ingredient In Cannabis Vapes

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  • Inhalation Toxicology, the Forum for Respiratory Research’s journal, has conducted a study on phytol, a terpene found in different cannabis varieties.
  • The study found that when used in cannabis vapes, phytol can potentially be harmful.
  • Although not many incidents have been reported related to cannabis vape users experiencing pulmonary issues, the findings have caused alarm among the manufacturers of these products.

Near the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020, cannabis vape pens saw a spike in popularity. This caused concerns from health officials about the safety of these products; most likely the result of illnesses and deaths that occurred from tobacco vape users.

When this happened, manufacturers of these products were quick to defend them, claiming that everything included in the vape is natural and safe. However, a new study published in Inhalation Toxicology has shed new light on the matter.

The original belief was that propylene glycol, a vape additive designed to thin agents in cannabis extracts, was the cause of negative pulmonary effects. However, the new study found that phytol may actually be responsible for the harmful side effects.

“Phytol exposed animals expressed severe clinical signs, body weight loss and mortality after one or two exposure days, leading to termination of all dose groups for this compound,” the study read.

“Propylene Glycol exposed animals did not show any adverse reactions after 14 days of high dose exposure.”

So what exactly is phytol?

Phytol is a terpene that is most commonly-known for its existence in green tea. A powerful antioxidant, phytol is found in high levels in certain varieties of cannabis.

The researchers in the study exposed rats to phytol, finding that it resulted in severe clinical signs such as weight loss and death. The weight of the rat’s lungs were also increased, causing damage to respiratory tissue.

The trials were halted after witnessing the pronounced effects on the rats.

There is no guarantee that federal health officials will act fast on these findings, but they will definitely cause a stir among manufacturers and frequent consumers of certain THC and CBD vapes.



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