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Acetylated Cannabinoid Study Response

Which study?

“Vaping Cannabinoid Acetates Leads to Ketene Formation”
- Department of Chemistry, Portland State University, Portland, OR


Didn't someone already write something about this?

Yes, /u/Delta8Girl wrote a post that inspired this one. This has additional information added but I would like to give full credit to Delta8Girl for discovering this discrepancy. You can read her original post here.

What in this study are people scared of?

The potential of ketene gas production when you vaporize acetylated cannabinoids.


Why are they scared?

There was a study from the University of Portland that, at a glance, seems to be very scary stuff. The paper shows ketene gas being produced when vaping it! Scary, right?

The truth is, the real answer is not quite as flashy as that and doesn’t fit into a sumg, quippy Reddit comment. There were a large number of issues with this study that I will go over, chief among them being the absurdly high temperatures they used in their testing. The temperature range was between 700F and 1000F. Beyond that, the study used tubing that was not rated for over 600F.

The long and short of it is that this study, in my opinion, neither proves nor disproves anything. If you ask me, the data is null and void. I will go over more of the issues in the coming section.

How founded are these fears?

Listen, if you know the facts and decide you are still spooked about vaporizing acetylated cannabinoids, I 100% understand. The fact is that there was ketene gas detected, even if the methodology was flawed, it’s understandable that ketene detection would make acetylated cannabinoids just not worth the mental tax of worrying for you. Like I’ve said before, if you are someone who is prone to thinking “is this safe am I safe is this ok” over and over while using drugs, you are going to want to avoid these new cannabinoids in general, but especially so with acetylated cannabinoids. The uncertainty is combo’d with a study that says there could be danger, which could set a certain kind of person off and make them panic.

If you ask me, there isn’t much to be afraid of. If they do cause issues, believe me, I’ll be the first one to drop dead. I suck down acetates like a slushie.


What kinds of errors were made?
  • Unrealistically high vaporization temperature (700-1000F)

  • The tubing used was only rated for 600F

  • Using a cotton coil like you would for vape juice

  • Getting product from a vendor who does not even list a COA for their products (At the time of testing, they may have updated things since)

  • Not distilling of the sample

  • No documentation on how the sample was made

  • Using a cart at 10 Watts

  • The gas-detecting compound also can react with acetic anhydride, which is used to synthesize THCo, meaning a flase positive from a poorly synthed product is very possible.

  • Not testing the sample until after the experiment


What does this mean about the safety profile of acetylated cannabinoids?

Nothing. An annoying answer, I know, but just because this experiment doesn’t prove ketene production doesn’t mean acetates are safe. This study effectively tells us nothing other than how important it is that people who are actually in the community to weigh in. There are far, far, too many strange variables that non-users would just never even think about.

How do you consume acetylated cannabinoids?

Many of my blends have around 20% acetylated cannabinoids, and I vape them just like I would any other cannabinoid - with my enail at 630F. While that may be a bit spicer than some prefer, it’s more of a practical choice for me. Frankly, taking a 50-100mg dab at 400F can be a 5-10 minute long affair that I am fully over at this point. It does taste better, and you get more out of the dab, but god damn, I got shit to do! At 630 that same dab is a minute or less.

I don’t usually have acetates in high concentrations, capping it off at around 30% most of the time. This is because for one, acetates take a while to hit and are more of a supporting set of cannabinoids. Reason two is to hedge my bets. I think that acetylated cannabinoids are probably safe, but even I get a bit spooked about betting on something being “probably” safe. If there comes out a study in 10 years that acetylated cannabinoids make your dick fly off, at least I wasn’t smoking very much of it per day.

I have in the past combusted blends with acetates in them. Don’t do this. It’s stupid and gives you a weird cough. You won’t die, as I smoked 50 blunts that I infused with the blend. Negative effects seemed to last for a few days after I finished smoking them and then was totally fine.

When it comes to acetates, hedge your bets. Keep it under 50% in blends and keep the temp under 700F.

Additionally, remember that there is nothing wrong with just saying “you know what, it’s not worth the worry”. That is a perfectly reasonable stance and I don’t blame you in the slightest. There are still so many non-acetylated cannabinoids out there for you to try out and enjoy.

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