Should I Start Vaping CBD? – All You Need To Know
Vaping is a great way to take CBD. It offers great value and delivers cannabinoids into your bloodstream almost immediately. If you are new to it, you probably have a lot of questions about vaping CBD. Don’t worry we’ve got you covered, with answers to all your questions and more.
Our top CBD E-Juice picks:
What is CBD E Liquid?
Vaping CBD is a popular method of people using Cannabidiol. The CBD is usually dissolved into a mix of PG and VG. Flavourings are added, usually these are the food grade flavours often used in nicotine based e-liquids. Some producers use terpenes and flavonoids found in the hemp plant to add a natural flavour to the product. These can be an acquired taste, and they are less popular. When this mixture is heated in a vaping device it creates a vapour. By inhaling this vapour, you deliver the CBD directly into bloodstream via your lungs.
Should I vape VG, PG or MCT?
Every CBD vape liquid will include either a mix of VG/PG, or MCT. This is used to dissolve the CBD and flavouring into a solution that can be vapourised. The ratio and quality of the ingredients used varies wildly from product to product.
Vegetable Glycerine (or VG) is a thick, sweet solution used to make vape liquids smooth on your throat and chest. It generates thick clouds when you exhale. The problem with VG is that it’s not very absorbent. On its own you couldn’t mix it with CBD, and it doesn’t carry flavour very well either.
Propylene Glycol (or PG) is much thinner in consistency. As it is highly absorbent, it carries flavour very well. However, PG is harsher on the throat and chest. There is a balancing act required to get the best combination. Really, it’s down to personal preference. Some prefer high VG liquids, up to 70%, and some prefer high PG liquids. But, with CBD e-liquids (especially high strength products) you need higher levels of PG to absorb the CBD.
So, whilst the ratio of PG/VG in most cases is personal preference, if you opt for a higher concentration CBD vape juice you don’t have a choice. Some may even be as high as 70% PG.
Medium-chain triglyceride (or MCT) oil is used in supplements as a carrier to dissolve non-soluble compounds. It is usually made from processing coconut oil. Some CBD vape liquids use MCT as opposed to a PG/VG mix. There are mixed reports about the safety of vaping MCT, none of which have been confirmed.
What type of CBD should I vape? Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum Distillate or Isolate?
Most CBD vape liquids contain isolate. In this form the CBD has been isolated from the other compounds in the hemp plant. It is pure CBD, appears as a white powder and has 0.0% THC content. As a bulk ingredient isolate is cheaper than full or broad spectrum, so vape liquids containing isolate are normally the cheapest on the market. The only drawback is without combining CBD and other elements of the hemp plant there is no possibility of the entourage effect. The entourage effect is the theory that by combining all the elements of the hemp plant; 113 cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes and fatty acids these compounds work together to increase the benefits.
Full spectrum CBD contains small amounts of other cannabinoids and elements of the hemp plant, including trace levels of THC. As a bulk ingredient it comes as an oil-based substance with a honey-like consistency. This should be considered if you need to take drug tests or want to avoid THC. Whilst the levels are low, there is no guarantee this wouldn’t show up on a drug test. There are not many vape liquids made with full spectrum.
Broad spectrum CBD is similar to full spectrum with the exception of THC. The THC is removed in the manufacturing process. It contains traces of other cannabinoids and elements of the hemp plant allowing you to benefit from the entourage effect.
Flavours of CBD vape liquids
Most vape juices contain artificial flavours, the food grade flavouring used in sweets. These come in a wide variety of flavours, pretty much anything you can think of you can buy. Some CBD vape juices are flavoured using the terpenes and flavonoids found in the hemp plant. This is not for everyone, but if you want a more natural flavour then this may be for you. Vape juices with natural flavours are generally more expensive.
How will CBD E Liquid make me feel?
There is no need to worry about CBD E Liquid products getting you ‘high’. CBD is non-intoxicating, unlike its infamous counterpart THC. All legal CBD Vape liquids will contain less than 0.2% THC. At this level, you will not notice any effects of THC. If you are worried about THC showing up on a drug test, or have had a bad experience with THC, you should opt for Broad Spectrum CBD. This form of CBD extract has virtually untraceable levels of THC, far less than the 0.2% legal maximum.
What vaporizer device do I need to vape CBD E Liquid?
Nearly all CBD Vape E liquid is compatible with most mouth to lung (MTL) vaping devices, as long as the pods are refillable. These are the standard vape pens. Direct to lung (DTL) vape devices are generally more big, bulky and specialist units. They have bigger batteries (delivering more power) and bigger coils. They are also known as sub-ohm devices. Using an MTL device you first draw the vapour into your mouth, then inhale it into your lungs. Using a DTL device, you inhale the vapour directly into your lungs. You need CBD vape juice that is specifically designed for sub-ohm vaping to use a DTL device.
There is no need to worry about CBD E Liquid products getting you ‘high’. CBD is non-intoxicating, unlike its infamous counterpart THC. All legal CBD Vape liquids will contain less than 0.2% THC. At this level, you will not notice any effects of THC.
Why do people take CBD?
People vape CBD for a variety of reasons. Studies have shown CBD to have a number of therapeutic benefits. The main benefits indicated by these include;
- CBD has been shown to reduce anxiety.
Interestingly, countless studies have shown CBD to be effective at reducing anxiety. For example, this 2010 study used brain imaging to show CBD reduces activity in the amygdala. This being the part of the brain activates the fight or flight response. Those with anxiety disorders generally have an over active amygdala, which results in a bias towards threat related responses. Subsequently, this 2011 study found that CBD significantly reduced the symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder.
- CBD has pain relief properties.
In 2015 a review of previous studies found that 13 previous studies had all found that CBD can offer pain relief. In fact, it was effective even where other treatments have failed.
- CBD has sleep regulating properties.
In this 2013 animal study CBD was shown to have a significant impact on both the length and quality of sleep. Additionally, a long term human study, published in 2019 found that of the 72 subjects, 80% of them had a reduced anxiety score throughout the trial. Moreover, nearly 70% also achieved a higher sleep score. A further 2020 study, concluded that ‘It is becoming increasingly evident that endocannabinoids play a prominent role in sleep and sleep neurophysiology, and cannabinoid drugs alter these processes‘.
- CBD has anti-depressant and mood regulating properties.
A 2010 animal study found that CBD induced anti-depressant effects comparable to imipramine.
Scientific studies have identified many more potential benefits of using CBD, we go over these in more detail on our CBD Knowledge page, so be sure to check it out.
What are the advantages of vaping CBD?
It’s highly bioavailable – Ingesting CBD is very inefficient, as little as 6% can be used by your body. On the other hand, when vaping CBD up to 56% of it can be absorbed into your blood.
It works almost immediately – The CBD will reach your bloodstream very quickly. It’s much faster acting than capsules (at least 30 minutes) or putting oil under your tongue (at least 10 minutes).
You are in control of your intake – The beauty of vaping CBD is that you can pick it up and put it down as you wish. Many people use it to complement other CBD products, like water soluble CBD capsules.
What are the disadvantages of vaping CBD?
There are some obvious and clear benefits of vaping CBD. It is only fair to point out the drawbacks as well. Firstly, whilst the effects can be felt almost instantly, they also disappear much faster. This review of previous studies found that the CBD concentration in the blood reduced by 90% within an hour of smoking CBD.
How safe is vaping CBD?
The World Health Organisation found CBD to have an excellent safety profile during an extensive review. The problem is CBD products being incorrectly labelled by less than reputable companies. You should look for details of where the CBD has come from. Has the CBD been screened for contaminates? Has the vape liquid been tested for CBD content by a 3rd party lab? Companies should be able to provide the relevant documentation.
The long-term health risks of vaping are currently unknown, the NHS states that vaping carries a fraction of the risks of smoking.
Vaping CBD – a final thought
On balance, vaping CBD is an effective and good value method of using CBD. It has high bioavailability and acts very quickly. It may be best suited to smokers, ex-smokers or people who already vape. It would definitely not appeal to everyone. There are plenty of high-quality products from reputable sellers available.
It can be confusing to compare products from different sellers. CBD vape juice comes in different size bottles, with different amounts of CBD. 500mg in a 10ml bottle contains the same amount of CBD as 500mg in a 30ml bottle. However, the 10ml would be a lot stronger. The e-liquid will have a much higher concentration of CBD.
To find the concentration you need to divide the amount of CBD by the volume of liquid. 1000mg is essentially equal to 1ml. It’s not quite the same, as one is a measure of weight and the other is a measure of volume, but it’s close enough. So, the easiest way to calculate concentration is convert ml to mg, then divide the amount of CBD by total volume.
For example, 500mg CBD in a 10ml bottle would be 500/10000=0.05. Or 5%. 500mg in a 30ml bottle would be 500/30000=0.0166. Or 1.7%. Whilst the CBD content in the two bottles in this example would be the same, the strength is very different. One puff on the 10ml bottle would deliver 3 times more CBD than the 30ml bottle.
Most CBD e-liquids start around 1% concentration, up to around 5%. It is difficult to absorb more CBD than this into a vape liquid without it separating. Depending on the reasons why you want to vape CBD, 1% may be enough. If the issues are more acute, you should consider a higher strength.