Company Takes Lead in Research to Protect Consumers
IRVINE, CA – October 23, 2019 – Abstrax Tech, a leader in the study and production of botanical and cannabis-derived terpenes, announces its continued research efforts to address the public concern over recent illness, and even deaths, as the result of harmful dilution compounds found in some black market vape cartridges. The company (whose terpenes are used by leading brands in the food, beverage, personal care, and cannabis industries) has noticed a potentially dangerous void in safety information on this topic and is fully committed to educating both the media and the public.
“Abstrax Tech is a team of scientists and pioneers who care deeply – not only about our customers and our industry, but also the public and the safety and efficacy of all products on the market,” says Max Koby, Founding Partner and Chief Executive Officer of Abstrax Tech. “We want everyone to be equally informed so they can make educated decisions about the products they purchase or consume. We hold the position of safety over profits and see this research as critical for the safety of our customers and the community in general.”
In September 2018, Abstrax Tech began developing a $3 million, state-of-the-art research and product development facility, equipped with world class technology and sophisticated analytical tools to study cannabis aroma/flavor compounds that are used in vape products, skincare, wellness products, personal care and food and beverage. With construction underway, the company challenged itself further to address the void of information and established a research collaboration with the University of California Riverside (UCR). This partnership has been studying the safety and efficacy of substances used as carriers, diluents, and stabilizers in the formulation of inhalable products – a partial list of these ingredients includes fractionated coconut oil (MCT oil), propylene glycol (PG), triethyl citrate (TEC), Vitamin E acetate, and “natural extracts.” Abstrax Tech included its own products in the UCR evaluations as well.
Once the research facility was completed in September 2019, the Abstrax Tech team – led by two PHD research scientists – immediately initiated its own lab investigation to characterize the volatile components generated from commonly used diluents under vaping conditions. By shifting significant company resources to this study, the goal is to provide timely answers to two fundamental questions: (1) What are the identities of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) formed from various diluents under realistic vape conditions? (2) What are the potential health impacts of these volatile compounds on human lung cells?
Reports of vaping-related health problems have suddenly become a major issue to the industry and consumers. How did this happen? Over the past decade, the market for inhalable products has grown rapidly. The popularity of these products has led to a proliferation of manufacturers and the introduction of differentiated products for consumer appeal. “A consequence of this growth and differentiation has been an increase in the types of ingredients that are used to adjust the potency and viscosity of these products,” says CEO Koby.
In the inhalable cannabis market, potency is an important consideration. “One simple way that people determine potency is to turn a cartridge upside down and look at the mobility of the air bubble in the cartridge. Since THC is a high-viscosity oil, the faster the bubble moves the more the product has been cut or diluted. In the legal market, a consumer can simply look at the potency sticker to determine the THC content. However, on the black market there are no compliance labels, so instead the consumer must rely on the quick and unreliable bubble test. In response, unregulated manufacturers sought out thickening agents to cut the THC oil while maintaining the viscosity, thus intentionally misleading the consumer. This is where Vitamin E acetate (aka tocopheryl-acetate), a very viscous, oily compound, entered the market,” says CEO Koby.
In addition, as growth in the market for legal, regulated vaping products has accelerated, the black market for these items has grown as well. Black market products appear to be ubiquitous, and since they are unregulated the consumer has very little idea of what these products contain. As regulators, the media, health care providers, and the vape products industry itself have become more aware of the growing health concerns, there has been an active, if somewhat disjointed, effort to identify and eliminate the cause (or causes) of these health concerns.
“Recent reports have suggested that ingredients used to dilute vaping liquids may be the culprit, but other studies have reported that pesticide residues in unregulated vape products may ultimately be the cause. The science behind these claims has merit, but there isn’t yet enough data to make definitive statements about the cause and the cure’,” says Kevin Koby, Founding Partner and Chief Science Officer at Abstrax Tech.
“Initial reports identified Vitamin E Acetate as a potential cause, and a subsequent study showed that black market products disproportionately contained both Vitamin E Acetate and pesticide residue contamination. The presence of pesticide residues, especially Myclobutanil, is of particular concern as it has been shown that Mycolobutanil can potentially degrade under vaping conditions to produce hydrogen cyanide, an extremely toxic chemical. In addition, a recent Mayo Clinic study reports that the lung damage associated with these reports of vaping-related lung problems appears to more resemble damage from chemical exposure rather than exposure to oily substances like Vitamin E Acetate.”
While it is not yet proven that Vitamin E Acetate is or isn’t the culprit in these vape-related illnesses, Abstrax Tech is assuring customers that it has never used Vitamin E Acetate in any formulations and does not use it in any current products. The company is working diligently to provide useful information that will allow the community to make better-informed decisions about the products they choose to use.
“As we complete our studies, it is our intention to publish our peer-reviewed findings so that the entire community can benefit,” continues CSO Koby
In the meantime, Abstrax Tech stresses that consumers should not purchase vape products from the black market or China. In a statement, the FDA is recommending that consumers, “avoid buying vaping products of any kind on the street, and to refrain from using THC oil or modifying/adding any substances to products purchased in stores.” If consumers use THC-containing vaping products, the FDA suggests they monitor themselves for symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain) and promptly seek medical attention if they are concerned about their health.
About Abstrax Tech
Abstrax Tech is a California-based company that leads the study of botanical and cannabis-derived functional flavors and fragrances (also known as terpenes). As the leading innovator in the terpene industry – a quickly growing segment of the global flavor & fragrance world that is expected to grow to $35 billion by 2024 – for the cannabis, skincare, cosmetics, and food and beverage industries, it offers the largest catalogue of award-winning, botanically-derived terpene flavor and fragrance blends in the industry. Abstrax Tech is second to none with its commitment to innovation and purity, state-of-the-art labs, unparalleled customer service, and dedication to offering new (and potentially world-changing) terpene compounds. Its $3 million R&D lab facility leverages proprietary equipment specifically designed to study aroma compounds and to develop product formulations via three-dimensional analysis of strain profiles. The company works with well recognized brands and product developers to create functional flavor and fragrance blends – or custom terpene formulations – for use in vapes, concentrates, skincare topicals, tinctures, alcohol, food, energy drinks, coffee, and more. For more information, visit AbstraxTech.com.
Stacey Kaszton Jones
La Voz Marketing