Tuesday, November 3, 2015

We now have a Cannabis Chemistry Subdivision within the Division of Chemical Health and Safety

From the inbox, a press release:
The Cannabis Chemistry Committee and the Division of Chemical Health and Safety (CHAS) of the American Chemical Society (ACS) are pleased to announce the creation of the Cannabis Chemistry Subdivision (CANN) within CHAS. The Division and CANN are excited about this new relationship and are looking forward to expanded collaboration and education efforts. Growing faster than ever, CANN is eager to offer membership and showcase the benefits of getting involved...
There are subdivisions within divisions in ACS? I did not know that.

Here's the accompanying video and here's the full press release. 


  1. There have been subdivisions within divisions for a long time. In Inorganic Chemistry, for instance, they have Bioinorganic, Organometallic, Solid State, Nanoscience, and Coordination subdivisions.

    That said, Cannabis does seem awfully specific.

  2. @IC - My understanding is that it is the beginning of a process for a group to achieve "Division " status. For instance, I believe TOX used to be a subdivision of DCHAS as well, then they spun off to their own division after a few years.

  3. Astrochemistry has a subdivision within physical chemistry, as I recall. Also, I move that CANN offer Nick Lachey a ceremonial position on the exec board as consolation for the Ohio outcome.

  4. Whoa, dude. What if, like, the Division of Chemical Health and Safety is just, like, a subdivision in a larger division?

    What if the whole Society is just a subdivision?

    I need another puff on that thing.

  5. The Division of Small Chemical Businesses has effectively had a Cannabis Sub-Division for about a year, with programming in Boston this summer and more planned for San Diego in March 2016.

  6. Well congratulations, hippies. Hope you're happy now.

    Looking over the possibilities for ACS divisions not sure why this division is involved. Here's some other possibilities:
    Agricultural & Food Chemistry - This looks as much or more appropriate.
    Agrochemicals - maybe? see also Ag & Food Chem
    Analytical Chemistry - I thought the issue was QC/QA and methods development.
    Biochemical Technology - are we going to see GMO Marijuana? God I hope so, the cognitive dissonance would be amazing.
    Business Development & Management - see also Small Chemical Business.
    Cellulose and Renewable Materials - This also seems appropriate, remember all the talk about hemp cloth?
    Chemical Toxicology - Are we going to pretend marijuana isn't dangerous at all now? Probably.
    Chemistry & the Law - Maybe too late here.
    Environmental Chemistry - see Cellulose & Renewable Materials
    History of Chemistry - or perhaps, The End of History.
    Industrial & Engineering Chemistry - kind of a stretch here
    Medicinal Chemistry - I thought everyone was using the 'it's needed by cancer patients' as a backdoor excuse for legalization, that it was a naturally occuring medicinal plant. If it's approved for medicinal use, doesn't that make it a "medicine"?
    Small Chemical Businesses - I noticed this seemed appropriate just as Peter B posted above.

    Where it's at:
    Chemical Health & Safety - Rainbow demonstrations, Sheri Sangji and marijuana. WTF?

    1. Joking (above) aside, Anon- but DCHAS is a great fit for a number of reasons. First, it is long believed that cannabis is going to come off Schedule I as soon as the feds figure out how to tax the bejeezes out of it - they see Colorado printing money with sales. Second, cannabis workers need occupational protection from overexposure and research is going to be needed to help (pardon the pun) hash out realistic exposure limits for workers. Next, it is my understanding that many of the other divisions didn't want to take the perceived risk (reputation, perhaps?) to consider cannabis as a serious subdivision because it is currently a federally regulated substance, so they have taken themselves out of the picture. Next, there's a boat load of solid analytical chemistry involving the active ingredient separations - and the process safety involved in production-scale separations. Finally, DCHAS has a respected, peer reviewed publication where process safety and exposure limits for cannabis workers can be critically discussed - as all science should be. So, yeah, DCHAS is a good fit.

      DCHAS - it's a ton more than Rainbow demonstrations and t-butyl lithium.

    2. And speaking of it coming off of Schedule I - it looks like the Great Progressive Bernie Sanders took the initial shot across the bow of the Senate today (from Newser): http://www.newser.com/story/215581/bernie-sanders-introduces-senate-bill-to-legalize-pot.html

    3. Yes, joking aside, interesting info there. However, "they see Colorado printing money with sales": a quick Googling shows pot tax revenues $70 million (more than alcohol sales), versus total revenues in CO $10.25 billion, for an increase of 0.7%. Gee.

    4. Anon - I think your comparison is poor. Certainly $70M of consumption tax on cannabis when compared to the total tax revenue of the state ($10.25B) is paltry. The better comparison would be alcohol, cigarette tax revenue, where it compares relatively favorably: About twice amount of alcohol tax revenue, and about half for cigarette tax revenue.

  7. Cannabis chemistry is serious business right now. I'm watching the first lab accreditation process develop in Oregon, and it's kind of a QA nightmare. We have a general sense for what to test and how to do it, but everyone has their own opinion about best practices and what should be required. Also, cannabis presents many unique analytical and processing challenges that has even the smartest chemists I know scratching their heads. To top it all off, we are talking big business here. There's tons of money involved, and a lot of novice or formerly black market business people. To use the old cliche, it's what they call the "wild west" of chemistry. It's chaos. So yeah, I think it deserves it's own subdivision.

  8. This is interesting but the main goal of the subdivision is currently unclear. The chemistry of cannabis, and moreover its relationship with the endocannabinoid system, is a very rich and interesting area. Only recently have scientists been able to pursue this field because of unjust, frankly racist marijuana regulation dating back to such farce media coverage like 'Reefer Madness.'

    However, the tone (or rather monotone) nature of the speaker in the video does not convey the excitement of the science nor the mission of the subdivision. You would think that the first video released for publicity would be more engaging and informative. We will see.

  9. The DEA is busting state "licensed" labs every day. Don't buy into this BS, you are a sitting duck working in a Cannabis extraction lab. Most of the extraction methods are stupid and dangerous anyway. Wiped film distillation is the way to isolate THC from crude extracts. These idiots spend a fortune on expensive CO2 extractors only to end up "winterizing" to get the fat out anyway, then they still have to deal with contaminants. No one realizes you can just take fresh green weed and do an emulsion type "extraction" with nothing more than a blender and hot water. rotovap or freeze dry away the water and take that crude oil and throw it on the Pope still. No need to set yourself on fire with butane, use ethanol, or spend a fortune on a supercritical CO2 extractor. Hell u could get THC from hemp this way because of how easily scaled such a process is.

    Like I said at the beginning, the DEA is watching all these clowns making big noise about selling their "concentrates" and they regularly bust down the doors and cart everyone off to jail, seizing all the cash in the building too.

    They aren't offering any real money to chemists to work in these outfits, do you really think they will come to your rescue and give you money for legal defense to get you out of going to Federal prison. No thanks, learning to become accustomed to forced anal sex isn't my thing!

  10. Another point to remember if you want to get a job at one of these "cannabis companies". It's one thing for some guy that learned how to make weed oil or dab off the internet, but a judge will look very differently upon a university educated chemist with industrial pharmaceutical experience helping these crooks make schedule 1 controlled substances.
    The only way I'd do it is if I worked out of a 53' tractor trailer that got moved to a different vacant lot every month and there was never more than a pound of weed on hand at any given time.

  11. Cannabis chemistry is not attractive option - you screw up your resume, risk expensive prosecution and/or dealing with shady people and idiot potheads. And I never heard of anyone making 80k at a cannabis company, which is what experienced industry chemist should ask in at least, in high-tax state. It is a federal crime currently tolerated by the state authorities (unless some ambitious state attorney or DEA agent decides to make you his biatch) - the expertise is not there in the industry to keep you out of way while there are innumerable laws on the books to get you locked up. Oh and the metabolites of cannabinoids stay in your system forever. Add preposterous conspiracy charges and civil asset forfeiture and you are worse off and more vulnerable than a parolee the moment you take the job


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