Study Summary: Lung Availability of Cannabinoids by Smoking or Dabbing Cannabis

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Welcome to Higher Learning LV's Study Summary series. This series reviews and summarizes peer-reviewed research studies and was developed specifically for cannabis industry professionals. These study summaries provide easily digested quick reads for a variety of important issues regarding the commerce and chemistry of legal cannabis.


A 2019 study entitled "A Preliminary Investigation of Lung Availability of Cannabinoids by Smoking Marijuana or Dabbing BHO and Decarboxylation Rate of THC- and CBD-acids" that was published in the journal Forensic Science International explored the recovery rate for CBD and THC during the vaporization of dabbing and the combustion of smoking.

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The study "investigated the decarboxylation rate of [the acidic precursor for THC], THCA, during artificial smoking of cannabis plant material and simulated dabbing and the lung availability of THC."


The researchers observed a "high recovery of total THC" of 76 percent via dabbing. For smoking, lung availability of THC ranged from only 12 percent "for mixed cannabis material with a rather low THC content" to 19-27 percent for "marijuana flowers."

The researchers observed a "high recovery of total THC" of 76 percent via dabbing. For smoking, lung availability of THC ranged from only 12 percent "for mixed cannabis material with a rather low THC content" to 19-27 percent for "marijuana flowers." The study noted that this rate was "similar for smoked CBD in CBD-rich marijuana."

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The study reported that further losses of target cannabinoids such as CBD and THC are suffered from side stream smoke. The study concluded that the relatively high lung availability of THC via dabbing "can explain the increased psychoactive...effects associated with this new trend of cannabis consumption."


View the original study.


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