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2022: The Chemistry of Vaping and Dabbing Cannabinoid Acetates

Kaelas Munger
Portland State University

Co-authors: Robert Strongin1
1Portland State University

Objectives: One of the newer cannabinoid compounds that is being sold to consumers is THC acetate as well as related acetylated products formed from CBN and CBD. During the lung injury outbreak that was first recognized in the summer of 2019, it had been shown that vaping vitamin E acetate led to the formation of ketene. Ketene is a highly reactive poison that was cited as a possible cause of e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI). The objective of this study is to determine if ketene can be produced from vaping cannabinoid acetates.

Methods: Commercial formulations and pure standards of cannabinoid acetates were aerosolized using a temperaturecontrolled ceramic electronic “nail”, a hot surface routinely used for the f lash vaporization of cannabinoid concentrate products. The vaporized aerosol was pulled through an impinger containing CDCl3 (NMR solvent) and benzylamine (ketene trapping agent). The ketene-benzylamine product (N-benzylacetamide) was analyzed by quantitative NMR.

Results: N-benzylacetamide formation was observed for all cannabinoids studied. Exposure levels and toxicological thresholds will be presented.

Conclusions: Vaping cannabinoid acetates leads to ketene emissions. Vaping these products thus could be putting users at risk.

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