The question ‘is vaping CBD safe?’ is on the lips of many people interested in this method of cannabidiol consumption. Vaporization results in a higher rate of bioavailability, anywhere from 34% to 56%. It compares favorably to other methods of use, including oral consumption, which has an absorption rate below 20%. Vapers also claim that they feel the effects of whatever they consume faster than other methods.
However, the entire industry is in turmoil. The vaping epidemic, which began last year, has a death toll standing at 60. And, almost 2,500 people have been hospitalized. Vaping is getting the blame, although it is important to note one point. There is seemingly no direct link between a CBD vape pen and the issue. Most affected users consumed e-juices or black-market cannabis oil. An ingredient, vitamin E acetate, is strongly linked with the epidemic.
Does this mean you can continue using CBD vape oil without any worries? Probably not. It isn’t 100% safe to CBD vape because it is an unregulated industry. In September 2019, the Associated Press tested 30 vape products that supposedly contained CBD. Shockingly, a significant number of products contained minimal CBD. Even worse, 10 of them included dangerous synthetic cannabis!
In this article, we look at the CBD vaping phenomenon and help you determine whether it is worth the risk.
Can I Vape CBD Tincture?
As you probably know, there is specific CBD oil vape juice on the market. And, it should work with any CBD vape device. There are also vaporizers on the market that enable you to vape raw hemp or CBD concentrates. You can even vape a CBD-rich marijuana strain such as Harlequin, Cannatonic, or Charlotte’s Web.
CBD vape juice contains food-grade ingredients, so it is suitable for oral or vaporized consumption. It also contains thinning agents such as Vegetable Glycerin (VG), Propylene Glycol (PG), and Polyethylene Glycol (PEG). In contrast, a CBD tincture (or oil) does not contain a thinning agent. As a result, it usually is too thick to flow smoothly through the majority of vape pens.
In summation, you are not supposed to vape a CBD tincture. That’s why manufacturers created CBD vape juice. At the time of writing, the FDA considered the likes of PG as ‘safe for humans.’ As you’ll see a little later, however, research suggests otherwise.
How Does Vaping CBD Make You Feel?
Don’t use CBD vape oil if the goal is to get ‘high.’ Unless you use a strain that also contains THC, you will not experience the famous intoxication associated with weed. A CBD vape cartridge with a maximum of 0.3% THC is legal in a majority of states but not all. Once you go above that THC level, you must have an MMJ card in a state with a medical marijuana program. Residents of 11 states plus D.C. have the option to use THC without an MMJ card. That said, not every recreational legal state has rolled out their program yet.
Those who vape CBD oil do so for a myriad of reasons. Some users report feeling benefits such as relaxation, anxiety & pain relief, and a general improvement in mood. In small doses, the compound could promote alertness. In contrast, consumption of a large amount may result in sleepiness or drowsiness. In theory, you can microdose during the day for energy, and use a large dose at night to promote restful sleep.
CBD also doesn’t provide the adverse side effects associated with excessive marijuana consumption. Users don’t tend to report a heightened feeling of anxiety or paranoia after use, for example. Vaporization is also popular because of the rapid onset. Vaporized cannabidiol reaches the bloodstream faster. It also isn’t metabolized by the digestive system, so more of the compounds get to where they are needed.
Is Vaping CBD Oil Safe?
Unfortunately, we can’t provide a definitive answer on whether CBD vape oil is safe. As discussed above, vaping is linked with dozens of deaths and thousands of hospitalizations. Practically all of the problems arose in the last year. While CBD itself has a good safety profile, it is an unregulated industry. Therefore, you don’t know what is inside a CBD vape cartridge. Unless, of course, you purchase from a reputable brand that provides full third-party lab reports.
Vitamin E acetate is one of the main suspects for the epidemic. However, authorities are finding it tough to identify a single brand, ingredient, or product as the ‘cause.’ Reports state that most of the affected individuals used an illicit, unregulated THC product. Remember, illegal CBD products could contain poisonous synthetic cannabis.
Indeed, it is potentially safer to vaporize or smoke cannabis in a legal state. In places like Oregon, for example, there is strict regulation on THC products. They are subject to testing for contaminants such as solvents, pesticides, and heavy metals. There are few such regulations in place for hemp-derived CBD products. States such as Florida try to regulate CBD, but this action is the exception rather than the rule.
What Do Studies Say About Vaping & Its Ingredients?
The research isn’t good news for the practice of vaping or the likely ingredients. A study by Osei A.D., published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in December 2019, looked at e-cigarette use. More pertinently, the researchers found a link between the use of e-cigarettes and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD).
E-cig users were also more likely to have asthma. Overall, you were six times more likely to develop COPD if you vape and smoke tobacco regularly, compared to those who didn’t use any tobacco products.
You may argue that it is down to the actual e-juice itself rather than CBD. It probably is, and that is the point. While cannabidiol has an excellent safety record as a compound, the method of consumption is all-important. Back in 2010, Betancourt et al. found that using vape oils leads to the introduction of fats (lipids) into the lungs. These fats could block up your bronchial tubes and cause Lipid Pneumonia.
Additional CBD vape oil ingredients usually include PG, PEG, or VG. A study by Lau K., published in Pediatric Research in January 2012, exposed the possible dangers of Propylene Glycol. The researchers found that PG could break down into carcinogenic compounds! It is a problem that takes years to manifest, so you won’t notice any side effects for a long time. The study also discovered that excessive PG levels caused cell death in the developing brains of mice.
Overall, we are not able to confidently tell you that vaping CBD oil is safe. Indeed, the available evidence suggests it is potentially a harmful process. The likely damage comes from vape juice’s ingredients rather than cannabidiol itself. We need much more research to come to an accurate conclusion.
What Are the Side Effects of Vaping CBD?
The potential side effects associated with vaping CBD oil need further research. We urge caution when using CBD oil vape juice. Severe issues such as popcorn lung and Lipid Pneumonia are real dangers. They are likely down to the ingredients in vape juice.
The World Health Organization (WHO) suggested that CBD is relatively safe for use. However, there are a few possible side effects. These include:
You can reduce your risk of suffering a side effect by starting with a small dose. See how your body reacts to CBD before deciding to increase the dosage.
Is Vaping CBD Oil Safe? Final Thoughts
Ultimately, the jury is very much out on whether CBD oil for vaping is safe. Not all products are created equal. Some brands dilute their juice with a carrier fat such as MCT oils. We know that MCT oils are safe to eat. However, there is little evidence to suggest that vaping them is safe or sensible.
We urge caution when vaping CBD oil. If you must try it, only buy from a reputable brand that offers third-party lab reports. Check the list of ingredients to ensure it doesn’t include the likes of vitamin E acetate. Even then, risks remain, and we need more research to draw accurate conclusions. For now, you are potentially better served by trying a CBD oil or tincture. Consume it orally or sublingually for best results.