5 things you should know about vaping CBD
To vape or not to vape, is it even a question? Vaping has quickly become one of the most popular methods of cannabis consumption—so much so that the emerging market sees an influx of new CBD vape products each day. With product catalogues being flooded with these products, it’s important that consumers stay informed about CBD vaping so you’re able to find which products are right for your body.
Here are a few key things to know about vaping CBD.
1. There are plenty of safe options
By now you’ve seen the news about people being seriously sickened and even dying from consuming sketchy vape products tainted with vitamin E oil.
As long as you’re buying legal lab-tested products from reputable retailers, there’s no reason to believe this will be your fate. To date, there’s no evidence of a tainted CBD vape cartridge sourced from the legal market (though it is not a 100% impossibility). With such a long history of fear mongering, it can be hard to know what’s dangerous and what’s perfectly safe when it comes to cannabis. The proper way to combat this is through education—and Leafly is here to help you with that.
2. Full spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate
CBD oils can be divided into three types: full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate.
Full-spectrum CBD products contain the full array of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds produced by its source plant. With CBD products, CBD will be the most pronounced cannabinoid, but these products may also include low levels of THC. A CBD product is unlikely to produce a high with only trace levels of THC (less than 0.3%), but it’s important to be aware of if you’re looking to avoid THC altogether.
Many consumers consider full-spectrum products to be the most effective due to the “entourage effect,” which refers to the theory that cannabis works best when all of its natural ingredients work together rather than in isolation. More research is needed to understand the entourage effect and to what extent it does result in more potent benefits—still, many swear by it anecdotally.
Broad-spectrum CBD products contain all of the cannabinoids but with THC removed. Because of this, most (if not all) of these products are produced from industrial hemp, which naturally produces far less THC than traditional cannabis. By retaining cannabinoids and terpenes, broad-spectrum CBD still produces the entourage effect— just without any THC.
CBD isolate products are pure CBD, meaning they contain only CBD and no other cannabinoids or terpenes. Because of this, CBD isolates lose the essence of the plant and have no aroma, but are still able to promote wellness qualities attributed to CBD. Much like broad-spectrum CBD products, CBD isolate products are typically derived from industrial hemp.
3. Vaping CBD flower vs. CBD oil
Vaping CBD can provide a variety of experiences, depending on how you consume it.
For one, vaping flower requires a flower vaporizer—like the portable Zeus Arc GT or the tabletop Volcano—while vaping oil requires a portable 510 thread battery like a Vessel, or proprietary pod systems like the PAX Era.
CBD flower will deliver a less concentrated dose of CBD than CBD oil, but it provides the most complete experience because it hasn’t lost any of its terpenes, cannabinoids, or other active compounds through extraction.
CBD-dominant flower typically has somewhere between 7-15% CBD. CBD flower contains some THC—anywhere from just trace, physically undetectable amounts to more significant levels that will lead to a gentle high.
So yes, vaping CBD flower will give you all of the wellness benefits of CBD, but may also get you high, even if it’s just a baby bit. Great strains to search for this experience include ACDC, Charlotte’s Web, and Cherry Wine.
CBD oil, on the other hand, will have a higher concentration of CBD due to the extraction process that isolates the compound. Many companies add terpenes after this process to encourage a more nuanced and flavorful experience. This is why many CBD oils have between 60-80% CBD, with varying levels of terpenes and other compounds.
Both flower and oil deliver the therapeutic properties associated with CBD, so the choice ultimately comes down to consumer preference. Vaping CBD oil will most likely provide a lighter high than flower, even if its full spectrum, due to the loss of other compounds during extraction. CBD oil is also an easier and more efficient consumption process—it portable, discreet, and easy to dose.
4. How to read CBD labels for potency
CBD vapor products produced from broad-spectrum or isolate oils, will have no THC. Even though they have the highest CBD percentages, they shouldn’t deliver any intoxicating cerebral effects.
Other CBD products have an equal balance of CBD and THC, and can only be purchased at a cannabis shop in areas with adult-use cannabis laws. Vaping these products will get you high, but are less potent than a THC-dominant oil.
It’s important to know the difference when reading labels for potency. CBD flower packaging will always have the CBD and THC numbers on the label. And at this point, in addition to the cannabinoids, some will also provide terpene percentages. Same goes for CBD oil cartridges, but they’ll also be more descriptive with the type of CBD (i.e., full spectrum, broad spectrum, isolate).
5. Where to buy CBD vapes
After learning of the various CBD products, the next and final question is: where should you buy CBD vape products from?
To buy CBD products derived from cannabis, you’d need to be in a legal state with access to dispensaries. This would be the best place to purchase full-spectrum products that are guaranteed lab-tested in compliance with local laws.
Because they contain less than 0.3% THC, you can obtain hemp-derived CBD products from dispensaries, grocery stores, online retailers, and even directly from the producers’ websites.
It is important to note that both products from cannabis and hemp can be labeled as full spectrum, but they are not one in the same. Hemp products as labeled this way because they capture the full chemical profile of the hemp plant. Though technically full-spectrum, these products may not provide the complete experience that many consumers associate with full-spectrum products from the more chemically diverse cannabis plant.
With full-spectrum CBD from hemp, broad-spectrum CBD, or CBD isolate products, the vetting process becomes a lot trickier due to the lack of FDA regulations. For these products, you’d need to purchase from a marketplace with clean, trusted, verified products. To learn more about what to look for when buying hemp-derived CBD, check out this guide.
Everything You Need to Know About Vaping CBD Oil
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Vaping has been around for more than a decade now and is growing in popularity—especially among teens and young adults. One of the newest trends impacting this growing vape culture is the desire to vape cannabidiol (CBD) oil. In fact, using this oil in vape pens is becoming increasingly popular and the industry is expected to grow exponentially over the next few years according to the Brightfield Group, a firm that studies the CBD market.
Part of the draw to CBD oil in areas where marijuana has been legalized is the fact that it has been touted as helping treat a host of medical problems. Some of the medical issues people claim that the oil treats include epileptic seizures, anxiety, inflammation, and sleeplessness. However, there is very little evidence backing up these claims with the exception of treating epilepsy.
In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved only one CBD-based medication, which is used to treat seizures associated with two severe forms of epilepsy. But, when it comes to CBD in general, they stress that it cannot be added to food, drinks, or dietary supplements. And although the FDA has warned manufacturers against making unproven health claims, it has not done much to stop the sale of CBD products.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is extracted from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants. Typically, it does not produce a “high” or intoxication because it contains very little, if any, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In fact, CBD oil is only permitted to contain less than 0.3% of THC. CBD oil is legal in states where medicinal or recreational marijuana is legal. Meanwhile, several other states have CBD-specific laws on the books even though marijuana is not yet legal there.
According to the FDA, it is currently illegal to market CBD by adding it to food or marketing it as a supplement. Despite these guidelines, they warn consumers that some CBD products are being marketed with unproven medical claims and are of unknown quality. They also caution consumers that CBD can harm the liver and may interact with other medications you are taking. And, it may even have a negative impact on male fertility.
Is Vaping CBD Oil Safe?
Generally speaking, vaping is an unsafe practice regardless of what substances are in the vape pen. And, CBD oil is no exception. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently linked vaping products to an outbreak of nearly 3,000 lung illnesses that were so serious that even young people were being admitted to the hospital. Meanwhile, nearly 70 people have died from what is now being called EVALI (e-cigarette and vaping associated lung injury). And, the CDC believes thousands more may have admitted to the hospital with lung issues related to vaping.
Although the CDC has traced many of the EVALI hospitalizations back to vitamin E acetate, a substance used to dilute oils used in vaping, the risks of vaping CBD oil are not without risk, especially if the vape pens are obtained from illicit dealers, online sources, or friends. At least 26 of the EVALI cases were hospitalized after vaping CBD oil.
Additionally, numerous scientists, doctors, and researchers are concerned with the safety of inhaling CBD oil because little is known about the long-term effects. What’s more, when vaping devices are heated, a chemical reaction takes place in the vapor, which could pose additional risks to the lungs, especially in young people.
And despite the fact that the 2018 Farm Bill removed CBD from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act, it is still subject to the same laws and regulations as other substances monitored by the FDA. Unfortunately, though, there is very little regulatory oversight of CBD oil in general—even though vaping is one of the most popular ways of using the oil. In fact, the FDA has not yet determined how to regulate CBD vaping products just yet.
But many people are hoping those regulations will happen soon. Even the CBD industry is concerned and asking for oversight. For instance, without more regulations, organizations like the U.S. Hemp Authority are unable to certify CBD oils as it does with CBD topicals, tinctures, and edibles. And, until that happens, consumers have very little way of knowing what they are getting when they purchase a CBD oil.
To make matters worse, this lack of certification has lead people to sell vaping liquid they claim contains CBD oil when it actually contains harmful chemicals, which is injuring and killing people in the process. To determine the extent to which this is occurring, the Associated Press (AP) commissioned a study to analyze the contents of nearly 30 oils claiming to contain CBD.
Their testing was completed by Flora Research Laboratories in Grants Pass, Oregon, which is licensed and inspected by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. What they discovered is that 10 of the 30 vapes contained synthetic marijuana while others had no CBD oil at all. Additionally, eight oils had no detectable level of CBD while 14 were less than 0.3% CBD by weight. The other six ranged between 1.07% and 8.87% CBD by weight.
Because this testing was a such a small sample, the AP noted that their sampling is not representative of the entire CBD market. However, their testing does show just how risky it is to vape CBD oil when there is little to no regulation of the product. Vapers have no idea what they are getting when they take a puff.
A Word From Verywell
If you are considering vaping CBD oil as a way to address a medical concern, talk to your doctor first. The risks associated with vaping and CBD oil are significant and may not provide the benefits you want.
And if you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area. For more mental health resources, see Verywell’s National Helpline Database.