In recent weeks a number of stories have come out regarding illnesses attributed to vape pen use. Some cases involved consumers that have reported using cannabis vape pen cartridges and others involved consumers that reported having only used nicotine-based vaping products.

Some of the cases involved THC cartridges and others did not. Some cases involved the dilutant additive vitamin E acetate and others did not. All of the cases are unfortunate. Regardless of what is to blame for each case, the popularity of cannabis vape cartridges has declined according to a report by USA Today:

Amid the health scare, the amount of the legal pot industry’s revenue that comes from vape products has dropped by 15% nationwide, with some states seeing decreases of more than 60%.

“It’s having an impact on how consumers are behaving,” said David Alport, owner of Bridge City Collective in Portland, which in two weeks this month saw a 31% drop in sales of vape cartridges that hold the oil that vaporizes when heated. “People are concerned, and we’re concerned.”

Vape pen cartridges have grown exponentially in popularity in recent years. They are convenient, discrete, and create far less odor compared to smoking cannabis. It will be interesting to see if sales continue to decrease. That will ultimately depend on what additional information comes out about the health cases.

Unregulated cannabis vape pen cartridges should be 100% avoided by consumers. Without testing, there’s no way to know what is contained in the cartridges. As for regulated cannabis vape pen cartridges, if they are purchased from regulated outlets that require testing, products should be safe. However, consumers proceed at their own risk.

Stringent regulations are likely on the way for cannabis vape pen cartridges. In Massachusetts, a 4-month ban was recently announced, which is an unfortunate public policy approach that will likely result in many consumers turning to the unregulated market, which is where the health risk is the greatest.