MAR 21, 2024 4:40 PM PDT

Cannabis Vaping Liquids Contain Nano-Sized Toxic Metal Particles, Study Finds

Do vapes pose health risks on par with the very tobacco and cannabis products it’s using to safeguard against? This is what a recent study presented at the ACS (American Chemical Society) Spring 2024 meeting hopes to address as a team of researchers investigated the potential health risks that vaping devices could pose, specifically pertaining to the vaping liquids that possess toxic metal nanoparticles, with both regulated and unregulated vaping devices. This study holds the potential to help researchers, medical professionals, and the public better understand the long-term health risks by vaping, which until now have been deemed a “safer” alternative to smoking cigarettes or cannabis.

“Cannabis vapes are newly regulated products in Canada, so we don’t yet have much scientific data about them,” said Dr. Andrew Waye, who is an Acting Manager at Health Canada | Santé Canada and who presented the research at the ACS Spring 2024 meeting. “This is an opportunity for us to look at some of the questions concerning the risks and unknowns of cannabis vapes.”

Vaping devices work by heating liquid whose evaporative products can be inhaled, which has been touted as a “safer” alternative to smoking since the latter results in the smoker inhaling dangerous carcinogens. To determine the health risks posed by vaping device liquids, the researchers analyzed 41 cannabis vape liquids, of which 20 were legal and regulated while the remaining 21 were not, for the existence of 12 metals, including vanadium, lead, nickel, copper, chromium, and cobalt.

In the end, the team discovered some metals were within health limits, including cadmium, mercury, and arsenic, other metals greatly exceeded health thresholds, specifically lead, which some unregulated vaping liquids were found to contain quantities greater than 100 times in the regulated vaping device liquids, and far greater than health thresholds, as well. The team also raised concerns for future testing of vaping liquids, ss they found varying levels of metallic quantities among the samples. Finally, they discovered the lead quantities were discovered in vaping devices that were produced within the last six months and never been used.

“Different types of cannabis products present different risks. Our research doesn’t answer whether vaping is riskier than smoking, it just underlines that the risks may be different. Previously uncharacterized risks with cannabis vaping are still being identified,” said Dr. Waye.

For future work, the team aspires to focus on the specific amount of metal nanoparticles that vaping users inhale, as these metals could travel to the user’s lungs, posing serious health risks.

What new discoveries will researchers make about the health risks of vaping in the coming years and decades? Only time will tell, and this is why we science!

As always, keep doing science & keep looking up!

Sources: ACS Spring 2024, EurekAlert! 

About the Author
Master's (MA/MS/Other)
Laurence Tognetti is a six-year USAF Veteran who earned both a BSc and MSc from the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. Laurence is extremely passionate about outer space and science communication, and is the author of "Outer Solar System Moons: Your Personal 3D Journey".
You May Also Like
Loading Comments...