Agency: Studies needed on dangers of ganja in e-liquid

Datuk Suhaimi Abdullah said the agency was not able to clamp down on errant vape users as vaping was beyond its jurisdiction. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Datuk Suhaimi Abdullah said the agency was not able to clamp down on errant vape users as vaping was beyond its jurisdiction. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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PETALING JAYA, Dec 11 — The National Anti-Drugs Agency is not prepared to handle the possible trend of ganja abuse through vape. 

Its director, Datuk Suhaimi Abdullah, admitted yesterday more research had to be done to determine if consuming ganja through e-liquid posed a bigger health threat compared to conventional means.

To do this, he said, it must first be able to detect the target group through urine tests. 

“Currently, we are unaware if ganja consumed through vapes will cause someone to fail a urine drug test, hence the need for more research and information,” he said.

Suhaimi said the agency was not able to clamp down on errant vape users as vaping was beyond its jurisdiction. 

He said the agency would work with the police during raids to screen suspected drug-vape users as it was unable to conduct raids specifically targeting the vaping habit. 

“To me, consuming ganja whether through vape or rolled up cigarettes is hazardous enough,” he said.

“The psychoactive components in ganja react differently in every individual, leaving users vulnerable to potential health risks.”

On Monday, raids conducted by Bukit Aman’s Special Tactical Intelligence Narcotics Group in several locations in the Klang Valley resulted in the seizure of 214 vials of ganja-laced e-liquid packaged into 15ml bottles. 

Police also seized 7.1kg of ganja and arrested seven people, including a married couple. The suspects are under police remand. 

An article released by health.com in August last year said there could be added risks involved when consuming liquid ganja, as opposed to smoking it. 

The article said the psychoactive component, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), had a potency level of about 20 per cent  when consumed in solid form, while liquid ganja may have up to 90 per cent potency. 

“That means inexperienced ganja users could faint or throw up if they take too much of it,” it said.

“Those risks include extreme paranoia and psychosis (hearing voices, seeing things).”

The report said injuries could also happen when someone was under the influence, because of side effects such as slow reaction, short attention span and increased heart rate.

On Wednesday, Harvard University scientists said three in four e-cigarettes or vape were found to use a flavoured liquid  linked to severe respiratory diseases. 

They found 75 per cent of tested samples contained diacetyl which when inhaled had been linked to a disease sometimes called “popcorn lung”.

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