Alison Bauer, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Environmental & Occupational Health, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

According to the 2021 Health Kids Survey (CDPHE), among kids who use cannabis in Colorado, ~16% vape and ~22% dab cannabis. Cannabis vaping and electronic dabbing could lead to emissions of toxicants that are currently not tested, that are known to be present in cannabis smoke, and that are known to cause harmful effects, such as carcinogenicity and adverse lung and cardiovascular effects. One class of these toxicants are the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) that are regulated by the EPA, and of which, many are classified as carcinogens. PAHs are produced by the incomplete combustion of organic material, have been detected in emissions from e-cigarettes, in e-liquids, and in some CBD oils. In addition, terpenes, another common component of cannabis, can produce PAHs when dabbed at high temperatures. Thus, PAHs are already a public health concern, and we will investigate the potential generation of PAHs from vaping or electronic dabbing of cannabis and cannabis-derived products, especially those with high terpene concentrations. This innovative research will be a partnership between academic researchers in several schools at the University of Colorado Anschutz (ColoradoSPH and School of Pharmacy) and Kaycha Laboratories, a national cannabis testing facility, to test samples of vaped or dabbed cannabis products with different concentrations of terpenes for the EPA 16 priority PAHs. These studies will include measuring PAH production at increased vaping/dabbing temperatures (up to 1000oF) as well as exploratory experiments to discover unknown metabolites in high temperature vaping/dabbing condensates. This cutting-edge research can be used to inform policy makers on health-based regulations or guidelines on temperature capabilities of these devices.