Canadian Study Examines Potency, Duration of Joints

The results of a recent study show interesting results regarding the potency of ground flower based on different particle sizes.

Researchers at DELIC Labs recently published a study analyzing how the size of ground cannabis flower in today’s cannabis joints can impact a consumer when smoking.

DELIC Labs was founded by Dr. Markus Roggen and Professor Glenn Sammis in 2018 as a licensed cannabis and psilocybin research laboratory that “seeks to add fundamental scientific insight to the field of cannabis and mushroom production.” 

The most recent study was entitled “Hot Topics and Hotboxing: Latest Research on Cannabis Aerosols,” collaborating with the University of British Columbia, Loyalist College, Via Innovations, and Verdient Science.

According to Roggen, the purpose of the study is to better understand the science behind cannabis consumption. “There’s a lack of quantitative research on joint smoking. I want to understand what happens during inhalation on the chemistry side,” Roggen said in an interview with Scientific American.

DELIC Labs displayed its findings in a PowerPoint presentation that was presented at the Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition in Vancouver, Canada in June. The presentation began at 4:20pm, and began with a lighthearted header “Let’s light one up for science” as an introduction before diving into the subject further.

The presentation explained that more than 209 million people consume cannabis globally, approximately 70% choose joints as their preferred method of consumption. The researchers set out to examine how particle sizes affect the quantity of cannabinoids delivered through smoking.

Researchers utilized a coffee grinder to consistently grind cannabis flower into one-, three-, and five-millimeter (mm)-diameter sizes. The study utilized a Cambustion Smoke Cycle Simulator device, which recorded the life stage of a joint measured as the beginning, middle, and end.

Researchers concluded that “1-mm particle size yielded more potent puffs than 3- and 5-mm particle sizes.” However, they also noted that “5-mm particle size led to longer lasting joints regardless of flower used,” leading them to believe that “improving joint architecture” would lead to a better consumer experience.

Researchers determined that consumption with THC joints ranged between 0.09mg to 0.88mg per puff. They noted that 1-mm joints delivered the highest average of THC per puff, with about 0.67mg, but 5-mm joints delivered a slightly lower amount with 0.51mg. 

For CBD joints though, researchers found that they delivered a range of 2.3mg to 6.1mg per puff. According to Roggen, this study produced very interesting results. “The amount of cannabinoid that gets to your mouth is higher for CBD than for THC,” said Roggen. “I cannot explain it, but I am very intrigued.”

Scientific American also spoke with Portland State University Professor Robert Strongin, who was not involved in the DELIC Labs research. According to Strongin, the results of this study could lead to more effective and accurate ways of dosing for medical cannabis patients. “This information could be particularly useful for medical marijuana patients and clinicians for whom dosing control and consistency is a significant issue,” Strongin stated.

DELIC Labs concluded its presentation by diving deeper into their findings and how they might differ from infused joints rolled with kief, oil, kief and oil, or terpene poppers, as well as cannabis mixed with tobacco, which would involve Strongin’s expertise.

Ultimately, DELIC Labs calls for further investigation of “side stream, aerosol particle size, exhaust temperature, particles,” and things beyond cannabinoids and terpenes.

Not many studies have been conducted quite like DELIC Labs’ and its most recent findings, but these results could prompt other researchers to investigate. Previously in January 2019, researchers from the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Bern found that joints waste 300% more THC than dabs. In April 2019, the National Institute on Drug Abuse announced that it was accepting applications for a contractor to roll thousands of joints.

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