Michigan Bans Coconut Oil In Weed Vapes In Additive Crackdown

Michigan follows other states like Colorado in banning the use of MCT in distillates

The Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency is moving to ban a potentially dangerous oil from use in the state’s cannabis industry. 

On Oct. 1, the agency will require testing for medium-chain triglyceride, or MCT oil, on all inhalation products, such as vape pens, after growing evidence suggests the oil may pose health risks when vaporized or aerosolized into the lungs.

MCT oil is most commonly made from coconut oil, and, to a lesser extent, palm kernel oil — both of which are approved for consumption by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. But new research shows smoking the oils could have adverse effects on lung function, much like Vitamin E acetate, a previous diluting agent the industry was using prior the state banning it in 2019.   

“From a public health and safety standpoint, the potential for adverse effects with MCT oil underscore the importance of adherence to safety guidelines in product development,” said CRA Executive Director Brian Hanna, in a statement. “Michigan’s licensed marijuana businesses must opt for ingredients that have been thoroughly evaluated for their compatibility with lung health. I look forward to when our new state reference laboratory is up and running, advancing the health and safety of Michigan cannabis consumers with advanced testing for diluents.”

Michigan follows other cannabis legal states, like Colorado, in banning the use of MCT in distillates for vapes and other inhalable products. 

Jonathan Kane, chief scientific officer for Lansing-based processor Lion Labs, said competitors use MCT oil in their distillate to increase margins by lowering the amount of distillate, which is created by dissolving expensively grown cannabis.

“Producers who use MCT oil in their products are essentially creating more oil by combining this non-cannabis additive to distillate, which drives their overall cost down resulting in greater profit.”

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