I have already told you that cannabidiol is a passion of mine. (A sin confessed is a sin no more, right?)
When I don’t research a topic or write an article, I have this unusual habit: I hang around with my favorite groups and participate in discussions about CBD oil.
Or answer questions regarding it.
“What about vaping CBD oil” is the third most frequent question after the quality issue and serving sizes, people ask me.
I recently realized that it’s useless trying to squeeze tons of information in the space and time I am given in the groups. Time and space are always against me.
So, I decided to stop talking and start writing an article that will answer as many questions as possible.
What is vaping?
Vaporizing is the act of inhaling and exhaling vapor which is produced by an electronic device containing a special liquid.
Do you think that vaping is a contemporary trend?
You are wrong!
If you follow the traces of vapor in history, you will be brought to the 5th century BC in Egypt and you will watch a bunch of Scythians vaping.
They used to put hemp seeds or other herbs on hot stones and inhale the aerosol (vapor) produced by the vaporizing herbs.
Back to nowadays, the first vaporizers were introduced in the mid-2000s and became an immediate hit!
Vaporizers were promoted as an alternative to smoking tobacco since vaping is regarded as much safer than conventional cigarettes.
The CBD industry offers a great variety of products infused with cannabidiol. Vaping products are among them.
Yet, consumers are confused by the plethora of these products and are often wondering what is what.
Let’s see the most confusing ones: there are CBD tinctures and CBD oils and CBD vaping oils and CBD e-juice and CBD e-liquids…
Go on reading and you will get all the information you need.
I will start by answering one of the most common questions regarding vaping CBD:
Can I vape CBD Tinctures or CBD oils?
No, you can’t.
To be precise, you shouldn’t.
You are wondering why, right?
Let’s take a look at these two CBD products: CBD tinctures and CBD oils.
The terms CBD tincture and CBD oil are used interchangeably because they describe two products with subtle differences.
They are both liquid dietary supplements which contain cannabidiol extract.
According to the Hemp Industries Association :
…CBD extracts are produced either directly from cannabis flowers that are up to 15% CBD (150,000 ppm), or indirectly as a co-product of the flowers and leaves that are mixed in with the stalks during hemp stalk processing for fiber.
CBD oil is a solution that contains the cannabinoid. Cannabidiol itself is not an oil. As soon as it gets extracted, it is mixed with a base or carrier oil. This is done so it can be absorbed more efficiently by your body.
Producers use various carrier oils. Here are some examples from the brands I, personally, trust:
Both Endoca and VerifiedCBD mix the extracted CBD with hemp seed oil while Elixinol uses coconut oil. Avid Hemp’s suspension choice is MCT oil (medium-chain triglyceride oil) which is extracted from coconut oil. Joy Organics use a combination of grape seed oil and hemp seed oil as a carrier oil. Nganic has chosen hemp seed oil for their non-flavored oils and a blend of grape seed oil and hemp seed oil for their flavored products.
CBD tinctures are -in a degree- similar to CBD oils because they also contain an amount of carrier oil. A CBD tincture, though, is made from dissolving the cannabinoid in alcohol.
So, CBD oils contain CBD dissolved in carrier oils (fatty oils) and are made to be consumed orally. (you are right! The best method is the sublingual administration!). CBD tinctures are designed to be used in the same way and contain fatty oils and alcohol.
Why shouldn’t I vape CBD tinctures or CBD oils?
For two specific reasons!
- It’s bad for your health. CBD tinctures contain oils and alcohol. CBD oils contain fatty oils. When the oil is heated, it burns and produces smoke and not vapor. The smoke has a not only unpleasant taste but it is extremely unhealthy.
Chronic inhalation of oil can put your health at great risk even if it’s not in the form of smoke. Your lungs and bronchial tubes cannot dissolve it and the presence of lipids in your bronchial tree can cause a form of lung inflammation (pneumonia) called lipid pneumonia.
Furthermore, when it comes to CBD tinctures you should always remember that vaporizing them can be pretty harmful because prolonged inhalation of alcohol can cause changes in the brain, can be addictive and injure your lungs.
- It’s bad for your vaporizer’s health. Vaping a CBD tincture or a CBD oil will not only affect your health but your vaporizer’s health as well. Oil and water don’t mix. Oil tends to remain on the surface and no matter how hard you shake it before use, it will clog your wick and coil and destroy your vaping device.
Don’t be in a hurry! I know what your next question is and I am ready to answer it now!
Which CBD products can be vaped?
Since neither CBD oils nor CBD tinctures are suitable for vaping, the industry has developed specific products that can be inhaled.
You may have come across the terms CBD vape juice, CBD e-liquid, CBD e-juice, or even CBD vape oil. These terms are used to describe products that contain cannabidiol and are designed to be vaped.
There is a slight difference between them: CBD E-liquid is the term used to define the product you will use with your vaporizer while we call CBD e-juice the product pre-filled cartridges contain.
Whether it is an e-liquid or an e-juice, your product contains (or should contain)
- Cannabidiol in various concentrations.
- Flavor additives (for flavored products)
- Thinning agents
I am sure you are aware of what flavor additives are. And by now, you know well the magnificent properties and effects of CBD on your health and wellness.
The teacher inside of me can’t skip terpenes without giving you further information regarding the nature and the role of these botanical substances in the so-called “entourage effect”.
What are terpenes?
Terpenes are volatile hydrocarbons existing in plants. Apart from adding fragrance, they are packed with significant healing powers.
Cannabis sativa is estimated to contain around 120 of these molecular compounds.
The most commonly found terpenes in the cannabis plant are:
Myrcene. The most abundant terpene has potent anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and analgesic properties. It is also known for its relaxing effects.
Limonene. Known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties, limonene relieves from stress and anxiety and helps with gastric problems. It is believed to increase mental focus, to benefit sexual health and to boost overall wellness. Scientific research has associated it with the inhibition of tumor growth and has been investigating its anticarcinogenic properties.
Linalool. Appreciated for its sedative and relaxing effects, linalool is used to treat anxiety, insomnia, agitation, and depression. It is believed to possess anti-epileptic and pain-relieving properties. Its ability to treat certain types of cancer is currently being investigated.
Caryophyllene. If you have ever treated a toothache with cloves then you are aware that this terpene (cloves contain high amounts of it) has potent topical painkilling and anti-inflammatory effects. It is also believed to have anti-fungal and antioxidant properties.
Pinene. It is considered to be a powerful anti-inflammatory substance with bactericidal qualities. Furthermore, it acts as an expectorant and has the ability to widen the bronchi. According to scientists, it can improve your memory, enhance your energy levels and increase focus and concentration.
Terpineol. It belongs to the group of terpenes with calming and sedative properties.
Trans-Nerolidol. Known for its relaxing qualities, it is also considered to have anti-fungal effects.
Borneol. It has been used for centuries to handle stress and weakness by Chinese medicine. It is believed to have anesthetic and antispasmodic properties.
Cineole (Eucalyptol). It is believed to have analgesic, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. It is also a strong cough suppressant. A recent study has found that it can help improve lung function and diminish dyspnea in asthma sufferers.
Humulene. Another analgesic terpene with antibacterial properties. Currently, humulene is being researched for potential anti-inflammatory effects.
Terpenes and cannabinoids work in synergistic harmony aiming at the improvement of your health and well being. The so-called “entourage effect” is based on the combination of the potential of both cannabinoids and terpenes to boost your wellness!
Now that you are familiar with the benefits of terpenes contained by every full or broad spectrum CBD product, let’s concentrate on the last ingredient of your e-liquid or e-juice: thinning agents or carriers.
What is a carrier or thinning agent?
CBD extract is way too viscous to be used in vaping devices. Thinning agents are used to dissolve the concentrate in order to make it suitable for vaping.
The carriers used for CBD vapes are PEG (Polyethylene Glycol) PG (Propylene Glycol), VG (Vegetable Glycerin), and MCT (medium chain triglycerides).
PEG (Polyethylene Glycol)
Even though it is the least common among the thinning agents, there is the possibility that your vape juice might contain it. The formulation used for e-liquids is called PEG 400 and is chosen because of its flexibility in terms of viscosity: it can be waxy, thick or thin -whatever manufacturers want it to be!
PG (Propylene Glycol)
Propylene Glycol is a common ingredient of CBD e-liquids and e-juices. It is a thick and transparent substance. It’s odorless and tasteless which make it a suitable tempering agent for flavored e-liquids and e-juices.
PG tends to be runny and to drip faster into your e-cigarette wick and atomizer; as a result, your e-liquid burns faster than you might expect. The good thing about its consistency is that it won’t gunk up your vaping device making the cleaning and maintenance of your vaping device an easy and fast task.
VG (Vegetable Glycerin)
Vegetable Glycerin is a colorless, scentless, and viscous natural dissolving agent, derived from plants like soybeans and palm. It is thicker and a bit sweeter than PG.
This thinning agent produces richer and better plumes of vapor when compared to propylene glycol.
At the same time, its thick consistency makes the cleaning of your vaping device a bit more tricky. PG tends to stick to the sides and the coil of your tank clogging them. This means that high VG e-liquids might reduce the life span of your atomizer faster than a high PG e-liquid unless you clean it carefully and more often.
MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides)
MCT is a transparent and unscented synthetic oil which is laboratory-obtained from coconuts or palm kernels (most CBD manufacturers prefer the former).
As its name suggests, it is a substance containing three medium-chain fatty acids.
Now that you have detailed information regarding the ingredients of your CBD e-liquid or e-juice, let us take a look at the reasons people choose to vape cannabidiol.
What are the pros of vaping CBD?
1. You improve your health
Scientific research has been investigating the beneficial effects of cannabidiol on human health and wellbeing intensively.
CBD is known to possess
The above list is just indicative. Cannabidiol’s potential hasn’t been fully revealed yet. (explore my blog to learn more about its benefits)
Researchers suggest that CBD has numerous health benefits. Its relationship with and its impact on the Endocannabinoid System indicates it may play a crucial role in the promotion of overall health.
2. The effects are instant
The “key” word that explains why vaping CBD has been gaining popularity is bioavailability.
Bioavailability is the degree to which or the rate at which a drug or other substance is absorbed or becomes available at the site of physiological activity after administration. It determines how much of whatever medicine or substance you took is present in your bloodstream and can provide you with the desired effect
The bioavailability vaping is estimated to be 34-46% (recently reported up to 56%). This means that the effects of CBD are delivered faster than those of CBD tinctures or oils.
Vaporizing produces beneficial effects with a smaller amount of CBD product, much more quickly. It is considered a very effective and efficient way to consume CBD.
When you vape, CBD passes through your lungs to enter your bloodstream. It avoids your digestive system and isn’t metabolized by your liver.
This reduces the time of absorption and the substance delivers its alleviating effects more rapidly. Whether you have an anxiety flare up or pain is killing you, CBD is there to help relieve your symptoms.
3. Vaping devices are convenient and discreet
You are walking in the park or sunbathing on the beach (summer is here!) and pain or anxiety knocks on your door.
Nasty feeling, I know.
Your vaping device is right there, in your pocket or your bag. A couple of puffs and you are good as new! No need to run to the bathroom, to find a mirror and administer your CBD oil drops sublingually (aka under your tongue).
I am sure no one will ask you what you are inhaling. Vaping is a widespread practice.
But even if they do ask you, don’t hesitate to reveal your secret. On the contrary, please do!
CBD isn’t psychotropic; it is a legally “tolerated” substance with beneficial properties for health and wellness. Think that you might help another human being treat his health issues and avail of the magic of cannabidiol. (knowledge should be shared and spread!)
4. CBD can quit help you quit smoking
People have turned to vape to avoid the harmful ingredients of traditional cigarettes and tobacco.
Yet, most conventional e-liquids contain nicotine, which is known for its addictive properties.
According to several scientific studies, CBD might help you quit smoking and at the same time enhance your health.
Moreover, vaping devices possess a psychological and behavioral aspect needed by smokers trying to eliminate their harmful addiction.
Inhalers simulate the hand-to-mouth compulsion. Smokers still feel the subconscious satisfaction of putting an e-pen in their mouth and inhaling. They experience the comfort of smoking without smoking!
What are the cons of vaping?
1. Potential health risks
When I am talking about potential health risks I am not referring to CBD but to the additives all e-liquids and e-juices contain.
According to a study Propylene glycol (PG) and polyethylene glycol (PEG) when heated to the point of combustion ( 446˚F /230˚C) are converted to carbonyl compounds.
Carbonyls are cancer-causing chemicals. Formaldehyde, acrolein, and acetaldehyde are known thermal breakdown products of PEG and PG and known carcinogens.
Analyses showed that PEG 400 produced significantly higher levels of acetaldehyde and formaldehyde than PG, MCT, and VG. Formaldehyde production was also significantly greater in PG compared with MCT and VG. Acrolein production did not differ significantly across the agents.PG and PEG 400 produced high levels of acetaldehyde and formaldehyde when heated to 230°C. Formaldehyde production from PEG 400 isolate was particularly high, with one inhalation accounting for 1.12% of the daily exposure limit, nearly the same exposure as smoking one cigarette. Because PG and PEG 400 are often mixed with cannabis oil, individuals who vaporize cannabis oil products may risk exposure to harmful formaldehyde levels.Troutt WD, DiDonato MD.
Vegetable glycerin has been classified as safe. According to the SIDS assessment profile, it has low toxicity when consumed and the possibilities to irritate skin or eyes are insignificant. Yet, there is a limited number of studies on glycerol effects on health when it is inhaled. The results of a 2008 study on the toxicity of inhaling vaporized VG indicate minimal risks.
In contrast with PEG and PG, vegetable glycerin isn’t allergenic. This makes it a valid alternative for consumers who experience allergic reactions when vaping a PG vaping product.
MCT is considered a much safer dissolving alternative. It has been associated with several health benefits; it may increase glucose levels Type 2 diabetes sufferers and control appetite.
Yet, there is some controversy regarding its safety.
There are claims that excessive usage of vaping products containing MCT can cause lipid pneumonia. The condition can be avoided if the user makes sensible use of his vaping device.
On the other hand, medical professionals suggest
And no, MCT oil is not significantly associated with lipoid pneumonia. So go with MCT oil as the carrier for your THC and CBD.Dr. Gary Rodziewicz. Neurosurgeon
Last but not least, flavorings!
Are you aware of the term popcorn lung and the shock it caused some years ago?
Workers in factories producing popcorn were found suffering from an incurable condition called bronchiolitis obliterans, (more commonly popcorn lung). The substance responsible for the disease was diacetyl, a chemical flavoring used to add flavor to popcorn.
The origin of the popcorn lung terror came from the fact that the first nicotine vaping cartridges used to contain diacetyl in small amounts (up to 9 micrograms.)
The information swept the web and initiated endless debates regarding the safety of vaping flavored products ( Surprisingly, I haven’t found any tobacco users scared to death by the fact that a pack of cigarettes contains diacetyl in amounts above 6000 micrograms!)
2. Addiction risks
No, there is no risk of getting addicted to CBD.
It’s the act of vaping itself that can be addictive. Users predisposed to dependencies may develop the habit of vaping and may consider trying other compounds like nicotine e-liquids.
If you are a non-smoker and susceptible to addictions perhaps you should consider a more conventional way of consuming the cannabinoid.
3. CBD oil drug interactions
The method you use to make CBD enter your bloodstream doesn’t change the fact that there are potential risks of cannabidiol interacting negatively with your prescribed medications.
You can find more information on the way CBD influences the absorption and the performance of drugs by interfering with the cytochrome P450 pathway in your body in this article of mine.
If you are on over-the-counter drugs, remember to consult your trusted physician before starting vaping CBD.
4. Heavy metal poisoning risks
These hazards are associated with your vaping “hardware”, aka your vaping devices.
All vaping devices contain a metal coil that turns the liquid to vapor by heating it up. The poisoning risks are linked to the kind of metal the coil is made of. Several health professionals have expressed their worries on the possibility of these metals leaching into the vapor causing health complications.
According to a 2015 study
“overall exposure to metals from EC ( electronic cigarette) use is not expected to be of significant health concern for smokers switching to EC use, but is an unnecessary source of exposure for never-smokers.”Konstantinos E. Farsalinos, Vassilis Voudris, and Konstantinos Poulas
As a result, it is advisable to research all types of vaping devices, avoid lower quality vaping pens and tanks and choose the best vaping hardware you can afford.
Is it Safe to Vape?
I would say that vaping is quite safe as long as you keep some rules in mind.
- Be an informed consumer of CBD e-liquids and juices. Verify that the tempering agent isn’t PEG400 or PG. You want to hear that the thinning agent is either MCT or a combination of PG and VG.
- Get informed on the temperature your vape device runs at. Vaping temperature really matters; beneficial vaporization is achieved in low temperatures. The ideal combustion point that will preserve the terpenes and cannabinoids and give you the maximum potential of a full or broad spectrum vaping product is around 330˚F (165˚C) and no more than 392°F (200°C).
- If you choose a flavored vaping product, make sure there is no diacetyl in the flavoring additive.
- “Google” any additional additive present in the ingredients list.
- Opt for organic products. The company should be transparent and give you all the information you need about organic sourcing and extraction methods.
- You want to avoid pesticides, bacteria, heavy metals and fungus in your CBD vaping product. Choose a brand that proudly makes third-party lab results available to its customers.
- Holding your hit long won’t make CBD more effective. On the contrary, you deprive your brain of oxygen. After each puff, remember to inhale and fill your lungs with air to increase the amount of oxygen present in your system.
- Same as ingesting cannabidiol, when you start vaping you should comply with the rule of microdosing. When inhaled, CBD not only enters your system rapidly but the amount of the substance in circulation is 4 times higher than an ingested product
For this reason, a low CBD serving is around 3 mg. With a 300 mg cartridge or e-liquid, you will get about 3 mg of CBD with every hit. It’s a sufficient amount to start out with. Initially, it is suggested that you shouldn’t exceed 10 mg a day. 3 hits are enough for the day; remember to distribute them according to your needs and their effects. If your condition demands a higher dose, slowly increase CBD serving by adding a hit or two in the total daily intake.
- Be sure to purchase a CBD product designed and manufactured for vaping and DO NOT put your edible CBD oil or tincture in your vaping device.
- Consult your trusted doctor in case you are on prescribed medication or you have any allergies that could be related to vaping. Remember that your physician should be your best friend. After all, it’s your health we are talking about!
Are you wondering which brand to choose?
When it comes to CBD and health, you should be careful to choose a brand that is reliable, trustworthy and transparent.
Here follows a list of my personal brand choices. Their sourcing, extraction methods, lab tests, clients reviews, and my readers’ personal positive experiences prove their claims regarding the quality of their products.
Joy Organics and Avid Hemp offer vaping solutions to their consumers.
GET 10% OFF sitewide from Joy Organics.
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If vaping isn’t the administration method you prefer, you can always opt for the products made to be ingested by my favorite brands.
If you have any questions or want to share any personal experience regarding vaping CBD, please, leave a comment below.
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DISCLAIMER: The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information provided is not meant to cure any disease or disorder. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider for any medical condition.