North Carolina health officials warned residents of a contaminated CBD oil circulating in the market that has recently caused an increase in hospital emergency room visits. Ingestion of this “potentially contaminated cannabidiol oil” results to potentially life-threatening problems.
According to the North Carolina Department of Public Health and Human Services, more than 30 people have already shown up at hospital ERs since December due to major health issues that have occurred after using CBD oil.
State health officials noted that majority of the patients have vaped the CBD oil, while a fewer number of them have either mixed the oil with their food or have orally taken the oil.
What’s more, state health director Elizabeth Tilson pointed out that the victims are apparently not using pure CBD oil. Instead, they are using substances that are contaminated.
These CBD oils, according to Dr. Tilson, are not regulated and contain all sorts of other substances besides CBD. “There are some contaminants that are giving people certain symptoms.”
Those who have consumed the supposedly contaminated CBD oil claimed to have suffered a combination of any the following serious symptoms:
- rapid heartbeat or palpitations
- chest pains
- altered mental state, including hallucinations
- difficulty breathing
Dr. Tilson described the situation as “pretty scary” and said that it first occurred among soldiers who are stationed in North Carolina, then quickly spread.
“We first got a signal from the military bases as they began to observe an unusual number of cases,” Dr. Tilson recalled. “Then through our epidemiology branch and our poison control center, we saw more ER cases and more symptoms.” Serious symptoms have also been reported as a result of CBD oil consumption in medical facilities of Camp Lejeune and Fort Bragg.
It can be recalled that in late January, a public health alert was issued by the U.S. Army Public Health Center, stating that around 60 soldiers and Marines in North Carolina have suffered serious medical issues after vaping or using e-cigarettes with products marketed as containing CBD oil.
Chanel S. Weaver, spokesperson for the Army Public Health Center, had stated that they consider the “emerging public health threat top priority.” She assured that the center will “continue to monitor the issue as well as provide updates as new information becomes available.
Weaver further called for consumers to be “extremely vigilant” when it comes to using vaping oils. She also advised people to “seek immediate medical attention if they feel that they are experiencing an adverse reaction to CBD-based products.”
The good news is that there are no deaths reported as a result of ingesting potentially contaminated CBD oil. By issuing a public advisory and warning, NC health officials are hoping that they can put a stop to the problem.
Currently, health officials are working with the Carolinas Poison Center in investigating the ER cases.
CBD oil is made from cannabis or hemp plants and is consumed by vaping, by adding to your food or drink, by applying it sublingually, or by swallowing it directly. It is rich in CBD or cannabidiol, which is a non-psychoactive component in cannabis and therefore does not create a high and does not have mind-altering effects. CBD is used for its wide range of medical benefits.
CBD oil is available under a wide variety of commercial brands and can be purchased in stores or online. Health officials did not identify which specific brands are possibly contaminated, though, or which CBD oil sources are associated with the ER cases.
In North Carolina, cannabis is illegal for recreational use but is allowed for medical purposes with a very narrow exception. In 2015, NC allowed the use of CBD oil for patients with intractable epilepsy.