Is Vaping CBD a Good Idea?
Cannabidiol (CBD) has numerous potential health benefits and could be a powerful treatment for several ailments, including depression, anxiety and epilepsy. Topical creams and sublingual tinctures are fairly safe methods of consuming CBD. But are CBD vaping products safe?
Learn the facts about vaping, including potential health risks and how to choose the right vape product.
What Is Vaping?
Vaping, short for vaporizing, is a cannabis consumption method where people use a battery-operated device to mimic the act of smoking. The device heats liquid cannabis or CBD, transforming it into a vapor that the consumer inhales directly into the lungs where it can quickly be absorbed into the bloodstream. Vaping has come under fire in recent years for its potential damage to the lungs, including a possible increase in lung cancer risk.
Health Risks and Dangers
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warns that:
- Vitamin E acetate should not be added to any e-cigarette, or vaping, products. Additionally, people should not add any other substances not intended by the manufacturer to products, including products purchased through retail establishments.
- E-cigarette, or vaping, products (nicotine- or THC-containing) should never be used by youths, young adults, or women who are pregnant.
- Adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarette, or vaping, products.
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) use has been associated with a wide range of adverse health effects, particularly with prolonged frequent use. The best way to avoid potentially harmful effects is to not use THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products.
- Persons engaging in ongoing cannabis use that leads to significant impairment or distress should seek evidence-based treatment by a healthcare professional.
In short, the CDC strongly advises against vaping. There are also reports of synthetic cannabinoids finding their way into vape products, some of which can have side-effects like nausea/vomiting, dizziness, confusion, agitation and seizures. We at Leafwell also suggest that you consult with your physician to pinpoint a safer CBD consumption method that’s right for your body.
Potential Benefits of Vaping CBD
For some people, the dangers of vaping outweigh the benefits. Perhaps the one benefit of vaping CBD is the quick delivery method. Inhaling CBD through a vape pen sends the chemical compound directly into your bloodstream, sometimes triggering therapeutic effects within five minutes. This makes vaping useful for things like sudden occurrences of pain, anxiety/panic attacks or tremors associated with conditions like Parkinson’s Disease.
But the “quick fix” nature of vaping should not be an enticement. Speak with your doctor before you try vaping and seek out other CBD ingestion methods whenever possible. Inhalers may be a more suitable alternative if you need an onset that’s as quick as vaping.
Choosing the Right CBD Vape Product
Should you decide to vape CBD, the first choice to make before you narrow down a product is to choose among:
- Full-spectrum CBD
- Broad-spectrum CBD
- CBD isolate
Full-spectrum CBD products contain the complete profile of cannabinoids, terpenes and various other compounds of the cannabis plant. Full-spectrum is among the best categories to choose for wide applications and health benefits. The products contain little THC and dominant levels of CBD. Compared to the other categories, CBD full-spectrum delivers better benefits as cannabis works best in unison (the entourage effect). The presence of other cannabinoids helps elevate each other’s effect.
The next category is a broad-spectrum CBD product that contains all cannabinoids except for THC. It is the best choice of product for users looking to avoid THC completely. The entourage effect in the case of the broad-spectrum is quite powerful, just as in the case of the full-spectrum.
CBD isolate is the least recommended CBD product, but is also a potential choice for people who want a pure CBD experience. Isolate products contain just CBD and no other terpenes or cannabinoids, meaning that the entourage effect will not activate.
One of the most common pitfalls people encounter while choosing the product to vape is confusing CBD vape oil with CBD oil. There are differences between the two products, which are essential to understand.
CBD oil is a pure product derived from hemp or cannabis. Its preparation involves only the raw concentrate of hemp or cannabis, and is useful for consuming orally such as in the case of a tincture. The oil is too dense to suit the vaping mechanism, which is why it is not a good idea to use CBD oil directly for vaping.
CBD vape liquid or oil is a chemical preparation available in vape cartridges designed for vaping. They contain certain additives apart from CBD oil that make it appropriate for your vape pens or modules. However, you must be careful with these additives, as they are the main concern for lung injuries.
Therefore, one of the best ways to vaporize is to find a high-quality, well-built wax or concentrate vaporizer designed to heat raw, unadulterated cannabis or hemp wax/concentrate. Vape pens made by legitimate companies for legitimate dispensaries are tested and have fewer health problems associated with them, but they are still a concern to the CDC and many states’ health departments. In February, 2022, for example, the Department of Health in Pennsylvania recalled a number of vaporized medical marijauna products because they included ingredients which hadn’t been approved for inhalation by the FDA.
The origin of the CBD vape oil you are planning to use is also critical, as the source of your CBD oil helps determine the purity and the legal standpoint of the product. Hemp-derived CBD is so far the most legal source as it contains a higher concentration of CBD and little-to-no THC, whereas marijuana-derived oils are more likely to contain traces of THC, which might influence the legal status of the product you use.
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The Bottom Line: Should You Vape CBD?
Even with licensed cannabis dispensaries, there is still a lack of regulation in the hemp-derived CBD market. Some so-called “CBD” products contain synthetic versions of CBD (used because they are cheaper, with some reports stating that up to one in three CBD products may contain synthetic cannabinoids), which are potentially far more dangerous (and untested) than their naturally derived counterparts. Some of the products tested had no CBD at all.
Our conclusion? Listen to the various states’ health departments, and keep a critical eye on vaping products, in particular disposable vape pens. We would also say to generally avoid using these products, as they could be mislabelled or even be an illegal duplicate of a product that is legitimate.
If you want to vape, it is perhaps best to use a high-quality vaporizer that is designed to heat raw flower and concentrate, avoiding pre-filled cartridges and disposable vape pens.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does vaping CBD smell like weed?
Vaping CBD does not conjure up that distinctive weed smell. Instead, you’ll smell whatever aromas and flavors are in the vaping product. Keep in mind, though, that flavored vaping products have been banned on the federal level. However, these products are still available to consumers in some places and should be avoided at all costs.
Is vaping CBD better than nicotine?
Vaping CBD could be better than smoking nicotine only in the sense that CBD is not generally addictive, while nicotine is highly addictive. Otherwise, the same sorts of dangers (i.e. vape pen safety) apply to both.
Is vaping CBD better than CBD drops?
Vaping CBD delivers faster results than placing CBD oil drops under the tongue. But this fact does not make vaping CBD better, only faster.
A medical marijuana card will allow you legal access to a range of cannabis products. Reach out to the doctors at Leafwell and we’ll get you started with the easy online application process.
Vaping Cannabis Oil: Exploring The Pros & Cons
Published: Dec 27, 2020 · Modified: Nov 16, 2021 by Emily Kyle · This post may contain affiliate links, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
In this guide to vaping cannabis oil, we will explore the pros and cons of this inhalation method, discuss important safety considerations, and share a tutorial to show you how to use oil cartridges and pens.
What Does It Mean to Vape?
There are many different application methods for using and consuming cannabis ranging from sublingual absorption, topical absorption, digestion of edibles, and various inhalation methods.
The inhalation method we are focusing on today is known as vaping cannabis oil.
Vaping cannabis oil is a smokeless, low-temperature method of inhaling cannabis vapor.
However, it’s important to note that this method is different than dry herb vaping.
This method continues to be a favorite consumption method among members of my Well With Cannabis Facebook Community.
When done safely, vaping cannabis can be a convenient, discrete way to enjoy cannabis.
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What is a Vape Cartridge?
Cannabis vape oil is a cannabis concentrate that has been formulated to be used in a vaporizer or with a vape pen.
Cannabis vape oil is made from cannabis extracts but can include additional ingredients to make the product physically functional to vaporize with a vaporizer battery.
This mixture is packaged in what is known as a vape cartridge.
The specific additional ingredients used in each cartridge range from product to product, but all vape oils need to contain a mixture of cannabis oil and a thinning agent.
The most common but dangerous thinning agents used in vape oil cartridges are propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, MCT coconut oil, and/or vitamin E acetate.
It is recommended to avoid the inhalation of any of the above thinning agents because they become carcinogenic or harmful when heated.
For this reason, the benefits of vaping cannabis oil are in jeopardy.
It is important to note that all vape cartridges should be purchased from a licensed dispensary or reputable online retailer.
What is a Vape Pen or Battery?
Vape oil will come in a small cartridge, but you cannot do anything with the cartridge without a battery, also known as a vape pen, to turn the oil into inhale-able vapor.
A vape pen is a small battery-powered device that heats the cannabis oil liquid into an inhalable vapor.
There are hundreds of thousands of pens, atomizers, portable devices, e-cigarettes, and even tabletop models that plug into the wall. All of these devices work by heating an electric coil.
When the plant oils reach a certain temperature, they turn into vapor which is in turn, drawn into the lungs and then exhaled. The heating process will decarboxylate CBD-A → CBD or THC-A → THC.
Many vape pens are designed specifically for cannabis consumption as compared to nicotine consumption.
Cheap vape pens tend to have fixed temperatures that are high enough to hit over 350+degrees without combusting, while higher-end and more expensive vape pens allow for temperature or voltage control.
A higher-end vape pen with temperature and voltage control is ideal because all cannabinoids activate at different temperatures.
THC and CBD can be activated at lower temperatures, while CBG & CBN requires higher temperatures.
There is also a noticeable quality difference.
Pros of Vaping Cannabis Oil
There are potential benefits to vaping cannabis as a cannabis consumption method depending on the individual, their certain circumstances, and individual goals.
It is important to remember that cannabis affects each person differently, which is why it is important to take your time and be patient when beginning to use cannabis.
It may take some time to identify your ideal dosage and preferred application method.
Inhalation of cannabinoids has a typical onset of 1-3 minutes with a lasting duration of 1-3 hours.
This is particularly important for those who are using cannabis for fast-acting purposes.
Better Dosing Accuracy
Vape oil can be dosed fairly accurately in comparison to alternative oral consumption methods.
This is especially important when using cannabis for medical health purposes, like in a medical marijuana program.
Higher Cannabinoid Retention
Compared to smoking, vaping has a much higher, cannabinoid retention rate, ranging from a 60-90%.
This means there is less waste of valuable cannabinoids from vaping rather than smoking.
On the other hand, this runs the risk of greatly increasing a person’s tolerance level when vaping high concentrations of CBD or THC.
Vaping May Be Less Toxic
Compared to smoking cannabis flower or nicotine-containing products, vaping cannabis may contain less carcinogenic or toxic byproducts, depending on the product you are using.
On the other hand, many people prefer a dry herb vaporizer over a vape cartridge for a more natural experience.
Cons of Vaping Cannabis Oil
Some potential drawbacks to vaping cannabis oil must be considered before deciding if this application method is right for you.
Vaping cannabis, or any substance for that matter, is contraindicated for anyone, especially those with asthma or respiratory conditions.
There are also potential health risks associated with vaping that may impact the lungs, as described here by the American Lung Association.
Ingredients to Avoid in a Vape Cartridge
Additional ingredients added to vape oil cartridges, like the popular thinning agent propylene glycol, become carcinogenic when heated.
To ensure you are setting yourself up for the safest vaping experience possible, you want to ensure the ingredients of your vape cartridge does not contain:
- Propylene Glycol (PG)
- Vegetable Glycerine (VG)
- MCT Coconut Oil (MCT)
- Vitamin E Acetate
Choose A Safe Thinning Agent
As mentioned above, cannabis oil needs to be formulated with another ingredient in order to be liquid enough to be used in a vaporizer or vape pen.
We know that no PG, VG, MCT, or vitamin E is safe to be added – so what makes a safe thinning agent for vape cartridges then?
Terpenes are volatile organic compounds found in cannabis, and all plants, that give cannabis its distinct smell and other plants their floral aromas.
Natural evolution has been kind to cannabis, as over 200 terpenes have been identified belonging to the plant.
More important to note, research shows that hemp terpenes provide a myriad of beneficial properties.
Through safe extraction processes, terpenes can be derived from the cannabis plant, separated, and then added back into a vape product.
Will Vaping Get Me High?
This depends on the type of vape cartridge you purchase.
You can purchase CBD vape cartridges or THC vape cartridges, and both will induce very different effects.
If you are using pure hemp-derived CBD oil with no added THC, CBD vape oil will not get you high.
This is because CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid and does not produce an intoxicating feeling.
However, some anecdotal reports indicate that vaping CBD oil can intensify the euphoric effects often seen with the use of CBD.
If you are using a THC oil cartridge sourced from a medical or recreational dispensary, the THC oil will likely induce intoxicating effects, as these cartridges contain very high concentrations of THC.
Will Vaping Show Up On A Drug Test?
This also depends on the type of vape cartridge you use.
Vaping any product with THC has the potential to show up on a drug test and cause you to not pass.
CBD vape products can be sold as either full-spectrum or broad-spectrum products.
While the legal considerations for CBD are that the plant must contain 0.3% THC, full-spectrum CBD vape products do indeed contain trace amounts of THC.
If you need to be 100% positive, you will have no THC in your system; you must opt for a THC-free product labeled either broad-spectrum, isolate, or 100% THC-free.
If you are using a pure broad-spectrum CBD vape product with 0% THC, then no THC will show up on a drug test.
Where to Buy Safe CBD Vape Products
You have likely seen many vape oil products on the market as they are legal now, but there are important factors to consider before purchasing one.
For a product that is going to be inhaled into the lungs – it is critical that you are 100% sure the product you are using is safely manufactured and free from potentially harmful added ingredients.
These days there is a CBD vape shop on every corner – but that does not mean the products they are selling are automatically safe.
There is still no regulation or safety standard for CBD products on the market today, and oftentimes the person working the counter has limited knowledge about important safety considerations.
Many CBD vape oils come in a variety of flavors, but I encourage my students to avoid these products.
I exclusively recommend CBD vape products from VivaOil, a company that formulates its products with quality, safety, and purity in mind.
Made with only high-quality CO2 CBD extract and hemp-derived terpenes, these terpenes are naturally occurring compounds extracted from the hemp plant.
They are added to help keep the CBD liquid enough to facilitate vaping.
THC-Free CBD Vape Cartridges
For those who can not have THC, a broad-spectrum CBD vape cartridge contains an array of cannabinoids and terpenes found within cannabis – with 100% of the THC removed.
This extract is paired with only one other ingredient – naturally occurring cannabis terpenes.
Myrcene and limonene are two of the terpenes naturally produced by the hemp plant and are found in these vape products – research indicates that they hold a myriad of beneficial properties.
Full-Spectrum CBD Vape Cartridges
VivaOils new filtration technology has allowed them to create a full-spectrum CBD vape cartridge that holds the maximum concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes while retaining trace amounts of THC below 0.3%, in compliance with federal regulations.
This full-spectrum CBD vape contains a full mix of cannabinoids, including high CBD concentrations and CBG, with trace amounts of THC.
The hemp extract is paired with only one other ingredient – naturally occurring hemp terpenes.