Cannabis Vaping: Existing and Emerging Modalities, Chemistry, and Pulmonary Toxicology

Chem Res Toxicol. 2021 Oct 18;34(10):2169-2179. doi: 10.1021/acs.chemrestox.1c00290. Epub 2021 Oct 8.


The outbreak of e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) has been cause for concern to the medical community, particularly given that this novel illness has coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, another cause of severe pulmonary illness. Though cannabis e-cigarettes tainted with vitamin E acetate were primarily associated with EVALI, acute lung injuries stemming from cannabis inhalation were reported in the literature prior to 2019, and it has been suggested that cannabis components or additives other than vitamin E acetate may be responsible. Despite these concerning issues, novel cannabis vaporizer ingredients continue to arise, such as Δ8-tetrahydrocannabinol, Δ10-tetrahydrocannabinol, hexahydrocannabinol, and cannabichromene. In order to address cannabis e-cigarette safety and vaping in an effective manner, we provide a comprehensive knowledge of the latest products, delivery modes, and ingredients. This perspective highlights the types of cannabis vaping modalities common to the United States cannabis market, with special attention to cartridge-type cannabis e-cigarette toxicology and their involvement in the EVALI outbreak, in particular, acute lung injurious responses. Novel ingredient chemistry, origins, and legal statuses are reviewed, as well as the toxicology of known cannabis e-cigarette aerosol components.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols / chemistry
  • Aerosols / toxicity
  • Cannabis / chemistry*
  • Cannabis / metabolism
  • Dronabinol / chemistry
  • Dronabinol / toxicity
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems
  • Humans
  • Lung Injury / etiology*
  • Marijuana Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / toxicity
  • Vitamin E / chemistry


  • Aerosols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Vitamin E
  • Dronabinol