A new test for cannabis products is being offered by an Oregon analytical laboratory to detect the presence of vitamin E acetate, an additive that has been involved in the rash of vaping-related lung diseases that have sickened hundreds and caused at least six fatalities. According to a report in local media, Pixis Labs in Portland started the test for consumers on Monday.
Pixis Labs developed the test after it was announced that state and federal health authorities were investigating the possibility of associating vitamin E acetate, also known as alpha-tocopherol acetate, with hundreds of reported pulmonary diseases in dozens of states. The substance, a supplement intended for oral or topical use, is sometimes used in vape cartridges to thin or dilute cannabis oil.
Derrick Tanner, Pixis Labs' general manager, said the company had tested several cannabis oils from current customers to validate the method, although he declined to tell whether any vitamin E acetate was detected in the given samples. He also said that he expects the new test not only from customers but also from the cannabis industry to create significant interest.
"Anyone who's […] not even just generating cartridges and oils, anybody who's ancillary in this service line is interested in having this as an additional test for their product," Tanner said. "Everyone's concerned about it right now."
Tanner said that the cannabis industry is not limited to diluting commodities to boost profits. In the food industry, the practice is also sometimes performed, with notable examples of honey and olive oil.
"Any time you have a commodity that's highly valued, and there's a way to increase your profits one way or another, there's going to be certain people who may take advantage of that and try to [stretch their commodity] out."
Tanner also disclosed that the new Alpha-tocopherol and Alpha-tocopherol acetate test is available at a price of $140 and needs a sample of 3 grams to perform.