Stop order threatened over vape safety

Published on August 6, 2020 by David Wylie

Serious questions are being raised over the safety of cannabis vape products that contain a terpene additive called phytol.

According to StratCann.com, Tokyo Smoke’s vice-president of operations in Ontario sent an email July 31 to vape pen manufacturers in Canada. The email reportedly notified companies they had 48 hours to provide written confirmation that their products do not contain phytol.

Failure to respond would result in a stop-sale order on the company’s vape carts and filled pens, said StratCann.

     • UPDATE: Canopy black lists vapes with phytol

A spokeswoman with Canopy Growth Corp., which owns Tokyo Smoke, told the oz. Thursday the company would provide information by end of day Friday (Aug. 7).

The StratCann article’s author, David Brown, is a former senior policy advisor with Health Canada’s cannabis legalization and regulation branch.

“The email states that Tokyo Smoke’s concern is associated with a 14-day inhalation toxicology study to be published ‘in the coming weeks,’ that Canopy Growth Corporation has shared with Health Canada,” wrote Brown.

“It also states that in their letter to Health Canada, Canopy will be placing immediate stop-orders on any vape products that list phytol as an ingredient and that the company will be following up with any vape pen manufacturers who list ‘terpenes’ as in ingredient to determine if the terpene phytol is used.”

A Health Canada spokesman told the oz. nobody was available to speak about the report, adding he had forwarded the request for information to subject matter experts.

It’s been less than a year since Cannabis 2.0 has come into effect, making new products including vaporizers legal.

Last year, a spate of deaths and hospitalizations blamed on vaping-related lung illness caused alarm just as the new products were about to be released. In some cases, additives to the cannabis oil reacted with the heat in a way that became toxic to the user.

Phytol is sometimes added to vape pen carts because cannabis oil used is too thick to heat and inhale and requires a thinning agent to ensure it is fluid enough to be effective with a pen’s heating coils.

A Health Canada letter sent in mid-July, requested that vape pen producers provide additional information on the “composition of certain vaping products which may be used to determine if products contain substances that are prohibited or that may be injurious to health,” according to StratCann.

Check the oz. site for updates to this developing story.

Listen to David Wylie and Dean Millard discuss this story on the Cannabis 101 Podcast.