Is vaping marijuana making people ill?

Dr. Jennifer Ashton joins "GMA" as the CDC issues a new warning about vaping marijuana with bootleg cartridges, which may have connections to serious lung illnesses.
4:19 | 09/03/19

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Transcript for Is vaping marijuana making people ill?
Now to the CDC's new warning about vaping and counterfeit cartridges saying products off the street may be more harmful as health officials investigate vaping marijuana and serious lung illnesses. Paula Faris has that story for us. Good morning, robin. Over 200 people in 25 states have come down with a mysterious respiratory infection. It's so serious the CDC and the fda are now involved. This morning, the CDC is warning that Americans stop buying e-cigarette and cannabis products off the street nor any substances to vape devices that are not intended by the manufacturer. This alert coming after a recent outbreak of a mysterious respiratory-related illness. More than 200 reported cases across 25 states, all appearing to be associated with vaping. Dr. Dixie Harris, a pull mow knoll gist with intermountain health care in Salt Lake City identified 19 vaping-related illnesses. Not all our patients are having or express pulmonary symptoms. Typically fevers are 101 to 104. It's very similar to a flu-like illness. Reporter: These x-rays show the lung damage that has health officials concerned. What you see is these patchy, what we call infiltrates, or cloudy areas. When I see a patient with this much involvement of the lung, I know that they are in severe respiratory distress. Reporter: The CDC is investigating the cases with the food and drug administration and state health departments saying, more information is needed to better understand whether there's a relationship between any specific products or substances and the reported illnesses. At this time there does not appear to be one product involved. The specific stub stances within the e-cigarette products that cause illness are not known and could involve a variety of substances. The vapor technology association and e-cigarette and vaping industry trade group urged public officials to thoroughly investigate the circumstances which might have led to each reported hospitalization before making statements to the public as to whether certain products are implicated in these incidents. And the CDC recommends that if you're concerned about the possible health risks then refrain from using cigarettes or vaping during their ongoing investigation. But here's the bottom line, don't buy products off the street. Also if it's not intended to be vaped by the manufacturer, don't do it. Robin. Common sense there. All right. Thanks so much, Paula. Now Dr. Jen Ashton is here. Tell us what is going on medically. This is pretty dramatic. It's being called this mysterious pulmonary issue. People who have reported this had this violent respiratory distress. They report preceding nausea, vomiting, fever. Almost looks gastrointestinal then looks like infectious pneumonia, chest pain, difficulty breathing, unstable vital signs leading in some cases to low blood oxygenation requiring Ven la tri support and icu admission. This was given to ABC news by a patient. 18 years old. You see on the left her before. Nice black spaces in the lungs showing aeration, on the right, we call that a complete you cannot oxygenate your blood when your chest x-ray looks like this. This is a patient who had admitted to using e-cigs. 18 years old. We don't expect to see that in someone that young. Do we know what's contributing to the illnesses, the nicotine, thc. It is unknown. A lot of the reported case so far do seem to be associated with e-cig use that contains thc but want to be very clear here. There are sol vens that get heated in the process that then can cause these lipoid or fat-like droplets. They do not belong in lungs. We don't know if they're from count fit or bootleg products but I want to be clear, when we don't know, you have to err on the side of caution. Still so many questions. We'll be staying on this as are public health officials. Thanks so much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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