How To Vape CBD Oil: Tips, Tricks & More
Vaping CBD oil is becoming more common, in the US it’s one of the most popular ways to use CBD.
Walk down any busy street nowadays and you will probably see someone vaping instead of smoking a cigarette. The vape community is only getting bigger as the truths about the dangers of smoking hit home.
There are various methods to use CBD and vaping it is becoming more popular here in the UK too. As the most efficient way to consume CBD from an absorption and onset perspective it is easy to see interest around vaping CBD is increasing.
Customers ask us questions all the time, and lately we have noticed many of you are asking how to vape CBD. Before we dive into this let’s define the terminology to make things a little clearer:
CBD oil and CBD tinctures are terms which are used interchangeably to describe a CBD oil you use sublingually (dropped under your tongue). Although, technically a CBD oil is an extract diluted in an oil as a base, whereas a CBD tincture is an extract diluted in alcohol.
Realistically, these terms are used interchangeably to describe CBD oil. Tinctures are a historical term for using alcohol as a base diluent for other applications outside of CBD.
CBD e-liquid, e-juice, vape liquid and vape juice are interchangeable terms for a liquid which is only fit for use in a ecig pen. It is usually formulated using propylene glycol (PG) and/or vegetable glycerin (VG).
Concentrates are purified forms of CBD: CBD distillate, crumble and wax are potent forms of CBD which usually contain between 45% – 95% CBD content and are vapourised or dabbed.
Research indicates vaping CBD offers the highest absorption rate (56%) vs any other consumption method. It also delivers the dose quicker, allowing you to feel the effects usually within 4-5 minutes.
Consequently, more people are vaping CBD and other cannabinoids than ever before. However, for people new to CBD and potentially interested in vaping it can be quite confusing.
Which products are fit for vaping? Which ones are the ones i should start with?
These are some of the most common questions we hear everyday at Nature & Bloom and we will break them down below.
What can and can’t you vape?
Firstly, let’s clear up the original question, can you vape CBD oil?
Not all CBD oils are fit for vaping, almost all are used sublingually (exclusively) and if used in a vaporizer you might break it!
When looking at products to vape, you can break up the two related sub categories as noted below.
CBD Vape Juice
Also commonly known as CBD eliquid, ejuice or vape juice. These liquids contain a thinning agent along with CBD extract and are fit for use in an electronic cigarette (ecig). You add the liquid directly to an ecig and off you go!
Thinning agents used in eliquids include:
• Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
• Propylene Glycol (PG)
• Vegetable Glycerin (VG)
• Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
• Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil (MCT). Also used as a carrier oil in sublingual CBD oils.
Fans of ecigs usually search for liquids which taste good, offer the right dose and output the most vapour. If you are looking for big clouds, you want to stick with VG/PG based vape juices. Nonetheless, many people prefer to use products with no additives (Nature leaf included), which moves us onto our next format, CBD concentrates.
Concentrates are very strong forms of CBD, containing up to 95% CBD and usually 0% THC.
Within this category the products are known as CBD crumble, wax , winterized extract or distillate. All of these contain no additives (usually) and are fast becoming the preferred format of choice for vape enthusiasts. We have wrote a whole article on these products so take a glance here , or read the summary below.
The names give it away but CBD crumble is usually a soft rock consistency and yellow in colour, winterized extract and wax is softer still and sticky.
Either of these three product lines can be used sublingually or vaped but dosing sublingually can be a challenge due to the sheer potency. Distillate on the other hand is a viscous liquid, and it is usually bought in pre sized cartridges which you can just add to an ecig pen.
A little goes a long way for these sort of products and they often offer the most value per milligram of CBD. CBD crumble, winterized extract and wax are frequently used in dab/concentrate pens but can also be used in products like the dynavap and PAX 3 (using the concentrates insert).
Just ensure you clean your vape throughly before you use these items for the best experience!
Nonetheless, if you prefer vape juice you can create your own e juice easily and quickly using CBD concentrates such as crumble if you want. This is one of the most economical ways to use e-juice and you can make flavors that work for you!
Now you have decided which way you want to vape, you need a device which works for that specific format. Confused? Don’t worry let’s break it down:
Disposable Vape Pens: These are a good entry point into vaping as they are cheap and don’t require any instructions on how to top up a tank and so on. Usually, you don’t even need to press a button to start them up, you just put the pen to your lips, draw in the vapour and inhale. Disposables CBD pens usually contain e liquids, which are usually a mix of VG/PG and CBD isolate. They usually look something like the image right below this paragraph.
510 Cartridge Rechargeable Vape Pens: Basically the same as the disposable vape pens but they are rechargeable, the cartridge in the top is replaceable and you can either buy pre-filed cartridges (usually for CBD concentrates, filled with CBD distillate), or you can just top it up yourself (usually vape juice).
CBD Pods/Juul Style: Working in a similar fashion to the 510 format but the pen looks different, its more stylish and has a cartridge which specifically fits that pen only (510 formats allow for universial cartridge interchangeability between pens).
Dabbing/concentrates pens: Simillar to the 510 format, these pens just usually have a higher wattage to allow for the more dense material to vapourise. Dabbing pens are great for vaping crumble and are economical too! Check our our post discussing the best dab pens to find the right one for you.
Adjustable Wattage Vapes: These are more customisable, the internal parts can be upgraded and adjusted. Wattage can be flexed as required, which permits for plumes of vapour or easier hits when drawing in vapour.
Pax et al: This refers to the most expensive class of vapes and are usually for CBD flowers but can also be used with concentrates with the right components. Companies include Pax labs, Storz & Bickel, Ghost Vapes.
Vaping CBD? Avoid These Toxic Additives.
The following article (from the longtime experts at Project CBD) explains why propylene glycol and other cutting agents are so risky. If you’re still using iffy vapes, here’s why you should toss them out and how to upgrade your shopping list.
Foria’s pristine multi-botanical CBD vaporizer was designed and built to the highest standards of purity – with broad-spectrum CBD from hemp sun-grown in the USA, plus 100% natural & organic botanicals & terpenes, with ZERO cutting agents or propylene glycol. all in pure, premium hardware for consistent, clean vaping without the leaching or combustion toxins in cheap plastic vapes.
- Common additives in cannabis oil vape pens, such as Propylene Glycol (PG) and polyethylene glycol (PEG), can result in exposure to harmful carcinogenic compounds when heated and inhaled.
- PEG, PG, and some pesticides degrade into stronger toxins at temperatures that vape pens can reach.
- Many thinning agents and flavoring additives have been safety tested for ingestion and topical application but not for inhalation as heated compounds.
- Avoid vape oil products with with PG, PEG, and flavoring agents that have not been safety tested for heating and inhalation.
In the summer of 2015, Project CBD published a report by Dr. Jahan Marcu that exposed the potential hazards of heating and inhaling propylene glycol (PG), a widely used thinning agent in many cannabis oil products, including vape pen cartridges.
Project CBD was the first cannabis industry watchdog to call attention to research showing that when PG is heated in an electronic vaporizer, it can decompose into formaldehyde, a potent carcinogen. They noted with concern that thinning agents such as PG are typically present in hemp-derived CBD oil extracts. Nearly every hemp CBD vape oil brand we examined included PG or, even worse, polyethylene glycol (PEG), another toxic additive.
A recent peer-reviewed article in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (JACM) validated the dangers of PG and presented evidence that PEG is even more hazardous when heated. Scientists at the Medical Marijuana Research Institute in Arizona studied the degradation of PG, PEG, vegetable glycerin, and medium-chain triglycerides (such as coconut oil). They heated these compounds to 230˚C, a high but plausible temperature for a vaporizer. PEG produced a large amount of acetaldehyde and formaldehyde, two carcinogens. Their work also confirmed that PG decomposes into formaldehyde at this temperature.
“[F]ormaldehyde inhalation has been linked to increased incidence of myeloid leukemia and nasopharyngeal cancer,” the scientists noted. They determined that the amount of formaldehyde produced by heating pure PEG is comparable to the amount of formaldehyde one inhales when smoking a single tobacco cigarette. Medium-chain triglycerides produced a tiny amount of acetaldehyde (approximately 33 times less than PEG). And vegetable glycerin did not produce detectable amounts of any of the toxins studied.
Vaporizing cannabis is supposed to be a healthier mode of administration than smoking cannabis. But much depends on the quality of the product. In theory, vaporization is supposed to heat the oil enough to release volatile terpenes and cannabinoid compounds (THC, CBD) into the air, but not enough to create smoke.
Rather than burning cannabis, which occurs at temperatures above 400˚C, vape oil only needs to be heated to around 160-190˚C for the cannabinoids and terpenes to aerosolize.
But the byproducts from chemical reactions that occur around 200˚C aren’t inherently safer than those created by reactions at 400˚C.
In general, very high temperatures are needed to produce carbon monoxide and the many other toxins in smoke. But this doesn’t guarantee the safety of heating unstable chemicals without causing combustion.
Compounds like PEG, PG, and certain pesticides degrade into stronger toxins at temperatures that cause cannabinoids to vaporize. For example, the pesticide myclobutanil, sold as Eagle-20, decomposes into hydrogen cyanide when heated.
Since cannabinoids vaporize at temperatures slightly below 230˚C, it is possible to avoid the harms associated with heating cannabis oil mixed with PG or PEG. But in practice, vaporizers rarely distribute heat evenly. The oil closest to the heating unit often reaches a higher temperature than expected, particularly with vape pens and other handheld electronic vaporizers.
These problems have arisen in part because regulations don’t always account for how chemicals are actually consumed—vaporizing, ingesting, and smoking are all fundamentally different ways of administering cannabis. PG is generally recognized as safe to ingest by the FDA, but heating and inhaling it is a different matter entirely. “Cannabis oil that is produced for vaporization is often mixed with PEG 400 or PG, which may result in exposure to harmful carcinogenic compounds and subsequent health risks… Patients and policy makers should consider these potential concerns and health effects before use and when drafting legislation that regulates cannabis products,” the JACM report concluded.
Many compounds—thinning agents, pesticides, etc.—are safety tested for ingestion or topical application, but until recently little attention has been paid to what happens if they are heated and absorbed.
Some compounds, such as PG and PEG, become more toxic through heat exposure. Others are likely to break down into less harmful components. It is imperative to consider the context in which these chemicals are used, rather than assuming they are safe for the sake of commerce.