This Major Health Concern Could Wreak Havoc on the Cannabis Industry’s Growth Potential

Cannabis has sky-high potential, with some estimates projecting the industry in the U.S. growing bigger than the soda industry, potentially reaching as much as $75 billion in revenue by the end of 2030. A big part of that success will depend on how much consumers, patients, lawmakers, and doctors buy into CBD’s purported benefits. The concern right now is that it’s hard to tell fact from fiction…

A big part of the problem is that cannabidiol (CBD) may be overhyped. Curaleaf Holdings (OTC:CURLF) has already gotten into trouble for making potentially misleading claims that CBD can treat cancer, Alzheimer’s and other illnesses, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. But aggressive advertising may not be the greatest risk facing the fledgling industry. Instead, health dangers related to vaping may create the biggest obstacles for cannabis companies today. Vaping is a popular way for people to consume both nicotine and cannabis, and it usually involves either an e-cigarette or a vaping device known as a vape pen. KushCo Holdings (OTC:KSHB) is one of the major producers of vaping products, and the company has sold more than 1 billion units since 2010.

Vaping has given the tobacco industry new life as it has often been touted as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. Some of the big names in the industry have gotten involved as well. Altria Group (NYSE:MO) bought a 35% stake in e-cigarette giant Juul Labs last year and it also owns 45% of cannabis producer Cronos Group (NASDAQ:CRON), with the possibility of upping that percentage to 55%. There’s plenty of crossover when it comes to vaping, tobacco, and cannabis. Meanwhile, Philip Morris (NYSE:PM) developed its own vaping product, IQOS, with the company claiming approximately 8 million people purchased the device so far.

Vaping concerns are on the rise

Earlier this year, a vaping device blew up in someone’s mouth, causing severe damage. While the industry may want people to believe this was an isolated incident, there are still other problems related to vaping that appear more widespread. In just two months, there have been as many as 153 cases of respiratory illnesses related to vaping across 16 states. Many of those impacted are minors, as vaping continues to rise in popularity among teens.

While a cause of the respiratory illnesses being observed has not yet been identified, the concerning part is that these problems are not limited to one type of product or device. It’s also unclear how many of the illnesses are due to vaping tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or nicotine, as users often use the devices for both chemicals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes vaping either substance could be dangerous.

The first death in the country that appears to be related to vaping happened recently in Illinois. The person, having recently vaped, suffered from a “severe respiratory illness.” Although more information is still needed, with rising cases of vaping-related issues, there is definitely some added urgency in identifying the root causes of these problems. However, figuring that out is not going to happen overnight…

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