At Least 52 People in Utah Were Poisoned by Fake Cannabis Oil

From Richard Rose via LinkedIn

This was 4-CCB, a synthetic. Not CBD. From a r/CBD Reddit thread:

“Hi i worked for this company. … A good rule to have when buying e liquids with cbd is to avoid anything that looks almost like water with a very very light tint of green, blue, pink, or yellow. And i mean very light tint, normal e liquid with cbd should have a bronze color and should be separting after sitting for a few days without shaking (this is made with cbd oil, typically 25% gold oil, cbd oil does not bind well with VG, it does well with PG but i doubt you want to vape that). getting cbd e liquid that is clear with a light tint like this one means it was not made with cbd oil and was made with something else (could be isolate, but i assure you this is a very difficult e liquid to make and this company does not know how to make it, i know this because i was there when they attempted to, it will almost always come out crystallized). This can only leave one other option which is synthetics. … I also recently made a post warning people to stay away from their cbd “wax”, I actually did see this being made multiple times and poured this as well into those tiny dab containers, its just candle wax and isolate.”

From Gizmodo:

More than 50 people got sick after taking products falsely advertised to be made of CBD oil. The real stuff is seen being processed from hemp above.
Photo: Don Ryan (AP)

A poisoning outbreak traced to synthetic cannabinoids sickened at least 52 people in Utah and sent 31 to the emergency room this past winter, reveals a new report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But unlike other recent outbreaks, the victims weren’t trying to buy synthetic weed: They had bought what they thought was cannabis oil that only contained cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive ingredient of weed. And many had purchased these products from traditional smoke shops.

Around the beginning of last December, according to the CDC report, the Utah Poison Control Center came across five cases of people visiting the ER with symptoms of seizures, confusion, and hallucinations. Just before the symptoms began, the patients had all taken a product marketed to contain CBD. Products that contain only CBD are created to not have the psychoactive effects commonly associated with THC. Eventually, state and federal health and law enforcement officials formed a task force that found at least 52 similar cases had occurred within the state from October 2017 to the end of January 2018.

CBD is thought by some to help treat certain conditions, such as pain and depression (though evidence to support many of these claims is lacking). This April, a committee of outside experts assembled by the Food and Drug Administration unanimously voted to approve the first CBD-based drug to treat certain epileptic seizures. While CBD use can cause some unpleasant side effects, like nausea, it doesn’t cause the sort of symptoms doctors were seeing.

Eventually, lab testing of the products the patients had used found no traces of CBD, but they did find 4-cyano CUMYL-BUTINACA (4-CCB), a synthetic cannabinoid meant to mimic the effects of THC. Of the nine products that tested positive for 4-CCB, eight were branded “Yolo CBD oil.” But the products had no labels indicating who had manufactured them or even what ingredients they was supposed to contain. Four of the five patients whose blood was tested also had 4-CCB in their systems, as did an unopened CBD product purchased by the task force from the same store and brand a patient had bought.

“Synthetic cannabinoids, such as 4-CCB, act on the same receptors as THC, but the effects of synthetic cannabinoids can be unpredictable and severe or even life-threatening,” lead author Roberta Horth, an officer with the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service, told Gizmodo via email. “Based on reported side effects of 4-CCB in case-patients, they appear to be more severe than THC. Fatalities following use of 4-CCB have been reported in Europe.”

In interviews with the victims, all of whom survived, 33 said they had used Yolo-brand oil. Thirty-four people also said they had bought their product from a smoke shop, while eight said they had gotten it from a friend. Thirty-five said they bought it for recreational use, while 15 said it was for medicinal use. And 38 people used the oil by vaping it, while another nine placed it under the tongue.

While the outbreak of CBD poisoning seems to have ended, the CDC officials warn there’s little preventing from it happening again, thanks to lax regulations in how the products are produced or tracked after they reach store shelves.

“Because CBD is illegal at the federal level there is no regulation of product quality at that level. Some states allow for the sale and possession of CBD; however, regulation differs in each jurisdiction,” Horth said. “Products being sold in Utah at the moment are not done so legally so there is no way to ensure that these products are safe.”

As a result, up to a third of CBD products might be incorrectly labeled, Horth added, referencing a 2017 study in JAMA.

Horth noted that Utah’s senate has passed a bill that would allow these products to be sold legally under a new framework. And last December, 4-CCB was also temporarily added to the list of controlled substances via emergency powers invoked by Hawaii law enforcement officials following several drug seizures by officials that same month.

At the moment, it’s thought the 4-CCB was intentionally used as a replacement for CBD in these products, and the investigation to track down where it came from is still ongoing, Horth said. But though some stores have voluntarily pulled their stock of Yolo-branded oils, the threat of more cases is real.

“It is possible that other products could contain 4-CCB or other dangerous synthetic cannabinoids,” she said.


3 thoughts on “At Least 52 People in Utah Were Poisoned by Fake Cannabis Oil

  1. Where is the real issue, lack of acceptance ?

    Survey: 76 percent of doctors approve of medical Cannabis use

    A majority of doctors would approve the use of medical Cannabis, according to a new survey.

    “We were surprised by the outcome of polling and comments, with 76 percent of all votes in favor of the use of Cannabis for medicinal purposes — even though Cannabis use is illegal in most countries,” the survey’s authors wrote.

    The results appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine on May 30. It included responses from 1,446 doctors from 72 different countries and 56 different states and provinces in North America. In addition, 118 doctors posted comments about their decision on the survey.

    Cannabis is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States. The 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) revealed that 15.2 million people had smoked weed in the month before being surveyed, and it was used by 75.6 percent of all illicit drug users.

    Cannabis has also been linked to medical benefits, and has been shown to relieve pain, improve mood and increase appetite for patients who are prescribed it medicinally, but the National Institute on Drug Abuse pointed out that the evidence of its benefits is not enough to give Cannabis Food and Drug Administration approval.

    That being said, 19 states and the District of Columbia currently allow people to be in possession of Cannabis with a doctor’s prescription with Maryland the most recent, and Washington and Colorado have legalized “pot” for recreational purposes following the November elections.

    Doctors surveyed were given a hypothetical case about a woman named “Marylin,” a 68-year-old woman with breast cancer that had metastasized — or spread — to her lungs, chest cavity and spine. They were asked if they would give her medical Cannabis to help her with her symptoms.

    More than three-quarters of the North American physicians approved the use of medical Cannabis in this scenario. About 78 percent of doctors outside the U.S. who responded supported the use as well.

    Doctors who said they would prescribe it talked a lot about the responsibility of caregivers to help minimize their patients suffering, their patients’ personal choice and the known dangers of prescription narcotics and painkillers. They also pointed out knowledge of personal cases where Cannabis was able to help patients.

    Dr. J. Michael Bostwick, a professor of psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., wrote a pro-Cannabis commentary for the survey.

    “There are no 100 percents in medicine. There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that this is something we should study more. Forgive the pun, but there’s probably some fire where there’s smoke, and we should investigate the medicinal use of Cannabis or its components,” Bostwick said to HealthDay.

    Those who opposed prescribing Cannabis pointed out the lack of evidence, uncertainty over where the Cannabis was coming from, and problems with dosing and side effects.

    Dr. Gary Reisfield, who co-wrote the “against” side for survey, pointed out that Cannabis could hurt the lungs, further exasperating anyone who already had a lung condition.

    “Heavy Cannabis use is associated with numerous adverse health and societal outcomes including psychomotor, memory and executive function impairments, Cannabis use disorders, other psychiatric conditions such as psychosis, poor school and work performance and impaired driving performance,” he said to HealthDay.<= PROPAGANDA

    Both sides argued over whether or not medical Cannabis use should be under a doctor’s discretion in the first place.

    “Common in this debate was the question of whether Cannabis even belongs within the purview of physicians or whether the substance should be legalized and patients allowed to decide for themselves whether to make use of it,” the authors said.
    © 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

    Excerpted from Survey: 76 percent of doctors approve of medical Cannabis use – CBS News


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