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The art of rolling just got scientific


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There are some cannabis aficionados that swear by smoking joints—they aren’t interested in any other consumption method. Someone who loves smoking joints will also often have a perfected method to roll up. One will swear by preparing bud with scissors and a shot glass while another would prefer an herb grinder—everyone’s got a preference.

But data as to how the consumption method works is lacking. For a long time, consumers only had access to armchair science. Now, a study from Vancouver, B.C.-based cannabis and psilocybin research facility Delic Labs has uncovered real data exposing the best way to guide experience with rolling techniques.

Delic Labs presented data from research on the ideal joint composition at the Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition in Vancouver, Scientific American reported.

“Our lab has been studying cannabis smoking and vaping for some time. And we realized that cannabis smoking is effected by more than just the flower type. Therefore we systematically went through factors that could influence it,” Delic Labs chief science officer and president Dr. Markus Roggen told GreenState.

Figuring out the joint science

Samples of one THC and one CBD-dominant strain were ground into three particle sizes. The “strains” were blends of regulated Canadian bud that the lab keeps in storage. Samples with diameters of one, three, and five millimeters were prepared using a coffee grinder and sieve. After grinding, the shake was weighed into 0.5 grams and packed into cones commonly used in pre-rolls available at dispensaries.

Instead of finding a research participant to smoke joints all day, Delic used a “smoke cycle simulator.” The simulator mimicked six inhalations over three seconds, followed by an exhalation. Filters at the “mouth” part of the simulator collected the smoke for researchers to analyze. The team looked at the chemical makeup of the smoke at the beginning, middle, and end of the joint’s life–figuring out which particle size delivered the highest saturation of cannabinoids.

Turns out size does matter. Shake ground into a one-millimeter diameter delivered the highest concentration of cannabinoids per puff for both strains. Smoke from the five millimeter-sized samples had fewer cannabinoids, but the joints did last longer.

Data also shows that the best flavor comes at the beginning of the sesh while the most impactful effects come at the end. Smoke analyzed at the beginning of a joint had the most terpenes, while the last puffs had the highest concentration of cannabinoids.

Between the CBD and THC joints, CBD was 200-400 percent more present. The CBD smoke sample contained 90-100 mg CBD while THC showed up at around 19-28 mg.

“The amount of cannabinoid that gets to your mouth is higher for CBD than for THC,” Roggen told Scientific American. When prompted for further information from GreenState, Roggen added, “I have no idea. But I am very intrigued. We will look at this very closely in the near future.”

While it’s not likely joints will start being sold by the millimeter size, this data does open more avenues for discovery–especially for medical patients. As doctors figure out how to accurately prescribe the plant, it’s essential to understand the pharmacological implications of methods like smoking js.


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