Reviewing the Risk of Ketene Formation in Dabbing and Vaping Tetrahydrocannabinol-O-Acetate

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Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research

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In the wake of continued consumer demand despite increasing regulatory scrutiny, there is a need to develop systematic methods for identifying the harm profile of new psychoactive substances derived from hemp. Tetrahydrocannabinol-O (THC-O)-acetate, colloquially known as THCO, is the acetate ester of the principal psychoactive compound in cannabis. The heating of THCO can create ketene gas, which is harmful to the lungs. The research team used a multidisciplinary, iterative process to develop a survey to incorporate consumers' perspectives of semisynthetic cannabinoids. The survey was then distributed across the social media platform Reddit to learn about delivery device preferences and associated use styles when consuming THCO. Most participants (74.9%) vaped THCO and one-quarter of participants (24.3%) dabbed THCO and tended to report higher temperatures for dabbing than vaping THCO. A small portion (12.0%) of participants reported concerns regarding ketene risk. As there are multiple variables associated with the formation of ketene, and consumer responses indicate temperatures use that might enable ketene formation, more research is needed to understand the risk profile of hemp-derived substances like THCO. Further studies are needed to understand the how various routes of administration and delivery devices used with THCO may exacerbate the risk of ketene formation and other potential harms.


© 2023 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.



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Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.