Published In

ACS Omega

Document Type


Publication Date



Electronic cigarettes -- Composition -- Analysis


Consumption of cannabis by nontraditional methods has surged since the advent of legalization in North America and worldwide. Inhaling cannabis extracts using vaporizers and via dabbing has risen in popularity, while concerns over product safety have not hindered their proliferation. The work herein is the first step toward assessing the safety of vaporizing and dabbing concentrated cannabis extracts as a function of gas-phase reaction products. The gas-phase thermal degradants of Δ9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have not been previously investigated. It was found that users may be exposed to concerning degradants such as methacrolein, benzene, and methyl vinyl ketone when using cartridge vaporizers and dabbing. It was shown that THC alone and mixed with terpenes generated similar degradation products and, most notably, elevated levels of isoprene. Importantly, it was shown that added terpenes led to higher levels of gas-phase products compared to THC alone. To estimate cancer and noncancer risks associated with exposure to these and other degradants, quantitative risk assessment was applied to experimentally determined values for dabbing and vaping and literature-sourced levels of hazardous components in cannabis smoke. Overall, gas-phase aerosol products had significantly lower values in dabbing and vaporizing compared to cannabis smoking, although these results should be interpreted in light of potential variations in degradant levels due to disparate usage patterns and the dangers of the higher aerosol concentration of THC.


This is an open access article published under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial No Derivative Works (CC-BY-NC-ND) Attribution License, which permits copying and redistribution of the article, and creation of adaptations, all for non-commercial purposes.



Persistent Identifier

Included in

Chemistry Commons