Michigan CRA Mandates MCT Oil Testing in Cannabis Vape Cartridges

June 27th, 2024 Legislation & Policy Updates
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The Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) in Michigan has announced a significant update to its Sampling and Testing Technical Guidance for Cannabis Products. Starting October 1st, 2024, medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil will be included as a target analyte for vape cartridge testing. This update aims to enhance consumer safety by identifying and eliminating potentially harmful ingredients in inhalable cannabis products.

MCT oil, often derived from coconut or palm oil, is widely used in food and oral supplements. However, its safety as an inhalable substance is questionable. When aerosolized and inhaled, MCT oil can pose respiratory health risks. Consequently, any cannabis vape products that test positive for MCT oil will not be eligible for remediation.

"From a public health and safety standpoint, the potential for adverse effects with MCT oil underscores the importance of safety guidelines for product development," stated CRA Executive Director Brian Hanna. "Michigan’s licensed cannabis businesses must prioritize respiratory safety when formulating or using inhalable products, opting 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."

Robin Schneider, executive director of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, highlighted the proactive measures taken by some retailers. "Several of our retail members have been proactively pulling and testing their inventory to ensure the brands they showcase on their shelves do not contain MCT oil," she said. "Moving forward, this testing will take place before the retailers purchase inventory from producers, easing the burden on retailers and ensuring that the products they sell are safe. Required testing for MCT oil will further protect cannabis customers from vape-related lung illnesses and is a win for both the industry and consumers."

MiNORML Executive Director Anqunette Sarfoh expressed strong support for the new regulations. "The health and safety of cannabis consumers must always be our top priority. Emerging evidence suggests that inhaling MCT oil can pose serious respiratory risks, and it's imperative that we take proactive measures to prevent potential harm. By enforcing stricter regulations on vape product ingredients, Michigan is taking a significant step towards ensuring a safer cannabis industry for everyone, and we commend the state's commitment to protecting consumers."

Anton Harb Jr., an Iraq combat veteran and founder of the Veteran Access Program in Michigan, also praised the decision. "As the cannabis industry matures, so will the scientific and regulatory safety measures protecting it. This regulatory decision helps ensure the continued safety and well-being of all Michigan cannabis consumers."

The CRA is dedicated to evidence-based decision-making in its regulatory practices. As ongoing research into cannabis use, safety, and testing evolves, the Sampling and Testing Technical Guidance for Cannabis Products will be updated to reflect the latest findings and best practices.

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