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Hi Reddit, we're Robert Strongin and Jiries Meehan-Atrash of Portland State University! Ask us anything about analyzing the vapors created in cannabis dabbing, including the possible hazard of terpenes.
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ACS AMA Hi Reddit! Robert Strongin and Jiries Meehan-Atrash here from Portland State University. We recently had a paper in ACS Omega entitled “Toxicant Formation in Dabbing: The Terpene Story” (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/acsomega.7b01130). We describe there that “dabbing” means to put a small amount of cannabis-containing liquid such as butane hash oil on a hot surface, then inhale the vapors via a water pipe. This is an example of a noncombustible use of cannabis, i.e. not requiring smoking; Cannabis dabbing has found increased popularity as medicinal and recreational use has increased. Our study concludes “that dabbing, although considered a form of vaporization, may in fact deliver significant amounts of toxic degradation products”. In this Ask Us Anything, we look forward to answering your questions about our research on chemical analysis of the vapors produced by cannabis “dabbing” – this could include the instrumentation we used, the chemical nature of terpenes and their degradation products, and toxicological ramifications. Note that we are not medical experts, but chemists conducting analysis. About us: Robert Strongin, Ph.D.: I am a professor in the Portland State University Department of Chemistry and I have affiliate appointments at the Oregon Health and Sciences University. My research focuses broadly on redox and chromophore chemistry. It encompasses the creation of biosensors and molecular probes for studying oxidative stress and cancer, as well as the investigation of chemical reactions and products associated with the usage of electronic cigarettes and new cannabis formulations. I received my B.A. in chemistry from Temple University, then worked as an industrial chemist at FMC Corporation and SmithKline Beechman. I then obtained a Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, I began my independent career at Louisiana State University, then later moving to Portland State University. In addition to my academic research, I’m a biotech startup founder, an advocate for science funding, a regular grant review panel chairman at the National Institutes of Health, and dedicate much time to improving STEM education. Jiries Meehan-Atrash: I am a Palestinian-American who attended high school at the Colegio “El Estudio” in Madrid, Spain. I then received a B.S. in chemistry at State University of New York at New Paltz, where I also did research in organic chemistry. After working in New York City as a freelance Spanish-English technical translator for two years, I enrolled in the chemistry graduate program at Portland State University. I’ve been working on the cannabis vaporizer toxicology project since its inception in January 2017 in Dr. Strongin’s lab. We’ll be back at 1pm EDT (10am PDT, 5pm UTC) to start answering your questions. We’re online now, taking your questions -acs signed off -acs