The common consensus among vape pen CBD oil users is that it’s a healthier option than other methods of consumption — namely smoking. And indeed, it is true that a quality vape oil might produce more potent (and ultimately effective) therapeutic results for patients that suffer from debilitating chronic conditions like pain, inflammation, and even severe forms of depression and anxiety.
But the thing a lot of CBD vape oil users don’t realize is that not all products out there are the same. On quite the contrary, one has to choose their brands and cartridges very carefully if they want to ensure they’re getting a quality, effective, and most importantly safe product that’s free of contaminants and other health hazards.
In this article, we point out some of the biggest dangers of vaping oil that you need to be on the lookout for. Given the current lack of regulations in the cannabis industry, a lot of companies out there are producing cartridges with virtually no regard for health or safety, so we’re here to try and make sure you know what to look for when choosing the best CBD vape oil for your specific condition.
Cuticle Wax in CBD Vape Oil: What You Should Know
One of the lesser talked about aspects of CBD vaping safety is the potential respiratory hazard of cuticle wax. Cuticle waxes are basically the oily, fatty outer layer of lipids that cover the surface of most flowering cannabis plants, including hemp. When these plants are “traditionally” smoked (i.e. with a bowl, joint, bong, etc) the wax layer is burned away and isn’t believed to cause much concern in terms of respiratory health.
However, it’s known that because vaping incorporates significantly lower temperatures than smoking, it does NOT burn away the wax layer. Rather, it’s believed that the oily, waxy bits may collect together and eventually settle in the lungs, which as you would imagine may produce serious long-terms health concerns.
In fact, as part of a statement to Rolling Stone magazine in October 2017, experts at Steep Hill Labs (an independent cannabis analysis company with several locations across the U.S.) suggested that vaping CBD oil may potentially cause these waxes to collect in the lungs and form solidified granulomas at some point down the road. While this is no more than speculation at this point (there haven’t been any clinical studies to verify whether or not this is the case), it’s definitely cause enough for concern.
In terms of what you can do to avoid CBD vape oils that have cuticle waxes, you can look for products that have undergone a process called winterization. Basically, winterization of CBD oil is a technique that involves removing all (or at least a portion of) the waxes, fatty acids, and lipids, which have higher melting points than other parts of the plant. If you’re unsure whether or not a specific CBD vape juice has undergone winterization, call the company and ask them. If they can’t tell you or they don’t even know what winterization is, then steer clear and look for another brand.
Thinning Agents in CBD Vape Oil: Another Potentially Major Health Concern
A much more talked about safety concern of CBD vape oils that’s discussed far more often than cuticle waxes, is the potential presence of harsh chemicals that end up in the end product as thinning agent residues.
Basically, raw cannabis oil that contains active CBD extract is much too thick, or viscous, to be used in vape pens with electric heater coils. Thus, the concentrate has to be treated in order to reduce the viscosity (make it more liquidy) so that it can be effectively and efficiently vaped.
There are a few different ways in which this can be done, but you need to be extremely wary as many cheap products (that are produced from inexperienced manufacturers) use harsh and even toxic chemical thinning agents in order to cut costs.
Two of the most commonly used chemical thinning agents, for example, are propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol. These are often used in nicotine-containing vape juices, and we all know about the cancerous dangers of tobacco and nicotine.
Moreover, it’s known that both of these chemicals (propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol) can potentially break down into carcinogenic (cancer-causing) compounds like formaldehyde and acetaldehyde – this is particularly true when they’re sublimated in high-temp vape pen cartridges.
And lastly, a 2010 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research found that inhaling propylene glycol – even in low concentrations – can potentially induce asthma, allergic reactions, and other respiratory complications.
How to Vape CBD Oil Safely: What Can You Do?
Ultimately, one of the most important things you can probably do to ensure your health and safety when vaping CBD oil is to invest in a high-quality vape pen. It’s being suggested more and more that the temperature of your pen’s heater coil is, perhaps moreso than anything else, critical in terms of producing efficient sublimation (vaporization) that avoids the breakdown of thinning agents into carcinogens such as formaldehyde.
A lot of products out there – even the best cheap CBD vape pens – essentially use e-coils that sublimate the oil at extremely high temperatures – far higher than what’s even remotely necessary.
At the end of the day, then, if you’re going to vape CBD oil for pain relief or any other chronic condition on a day-to-day basis, it is absolutely in your best interest to invest the money in a quality, reputable, and reliable vape pen – no matter the cost.
As Dr. Jahan Marcu, Chief Scientific Officer at Americans for Safe Access puts it, “the market is flooded [right now] with substandard products that have questionable safety … these companies are [ultimately] doing their safety testing on the public, and on their loved ones.”
And that’s likely putting it nicely.
We put together an article not too long ago on some of the best CBD oils for vaping, as well as the differences between CBD vape oil and “regular” CBD oil, so that may be a good place to start in terms of picking out the best CBD vape cartridge that’s most suited to you and your needs.
Final Thoughts on the Dangers of Vaping Oil (CBD)
Like we mentioned, one of the most important things you can likely do in terms of making sure you’re maximizing health and safety while vaping CBD oil is to invest in a high quality pen. This is particularly true if you’re vaping multiple times a day, such as to provide relief from chronic conditions like pain, anxiety, depression, or insomnia.
The fact of the matter is that very little is actually known in regard to the long-term health effects of CBD vape oil. Much, much more certainly needs to be done in order to learn about potential respiratory complications, and/or other health concerns that may arise further down the road.
For the time being, all you can do is know the contents of your CBD e-liquid, know how it was manufactured, and ensure that you buy from a well-known and reliable company. It’s ultimately best to steer clear of these “CBD stores” that you see popping up on the side of the road, as a lot of them are super questionable outfits that are simply selling glorified nicotine e-juices with tiny extracts of useless “hemp seed oil.” And moreover, the employees that they stick in there are often about as knowledgeable as your pet fish in terms of understanding cannabis and CBD vape oil manufacturing. The majority of the time, you’ll be much better off ordering online from a reliable, reputable, and well-established company.
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