In July 2019, a Wisconsin man was put in a medically-induced coma after he contracted a strange lung illness after using a vape cartridge containing the psychoactive component of marijuana, THC. The box that held that vape cartridge sparked a public health emergency that could change the future of vaping in the United States.
That dangerous vape cartridge was supposedly made by a THC vape cartridge company called Dank Vapes. Dank Vapes turned out to be “probably the biggest conspiracy” in THC vaping yet.
Dank Vapes has multiple social media accounts, some with over 48,000 followers. But an Inverse investigation found that Dank Vapes isn’t a real company — it’s just a brand name printed on boxes in China, which are then shipped to thousands of black market vape dealers across the United States.
This is #24 on Inverse’s 25 most WTF science stories of 2019
Dank Vapes boxes were used by unlicensed dealers to sell unregulated THC vaping products, some of which tested positive for dangerous pesticides. As Mark Hoashi, founder of the Doja App (a “Yelp for the cannabis industry”) told Inverse at the time:
“These are just people filling cartridges as ‘Dank Vapes.’ It’s just people in their garages filling them and selling them.”
That first case of someone getting sick in Wisconsin as a result of a Dank Vape soon spiraled. As of November 20, 2019, there were 2,290 cases of a vaping-related lung injury.
Other black-market vape brands have been linked to similar injuries, but Dank Vapes played a pivotal role. In-depth reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that Dank Vapes were the most prominent black-market products behind the injuries, particularly in Utah, Wisconsin, and Illinois.
To date, 47 people have died of these injuries.
As 2019 draws to a close, Inverse is counting down the 25 science stories from this year that made us say “WTF.” Some are incredible, some are icky, and some are just plain strange. This has been #24. Read the original article here.