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Are CBD Vape Pens Safe? [Learn the FACTS!]

November 6, 2018

NW - Are CBD Vape Pens Safe? [Learn the FACTS!]

Cannabis consumption has progressed far beyond the classic days of just rolling the plant into a joint. We’re sophisticated now; modern tokers can enjoy not only the banal joints and pipes, but also oils, tinctures and even vape pens.

This latter invention, the sleek and seemingly futuristic vaporizing pen, has raised some concern among the scientific community due to its health ramifications. For the use of CBD, more and more people are choosing vape pens over other alternatives thanks to their smooth taste and ease of use.

But are CBD vape pens safe? In this article, we explore the question in detail and highlight a few (potentially) surprising facts about these little devices that so many people consider to be a “healthy” alternative to smoking.

What Exactly are CBD Vape Pens – And Why Do People Like them so Much?

To understand whether or not CBD vape pens are safe, it’s important to understand what vaping actually is. Vaping is simply the act of using a vaporizer, which is a small machine designed to look like a long cigarette, to vaporize smokable substances and allow you to inhale the vapor.

The original purpose of vapes was to help regulate people’s use of cigarettes, as vape pens (or e-cigarettes as they used to be known) do away with a lot of the unpleasant side effects of smoking cigarettes for passersby.

Additionally, vaporizers gained popularity due to the ease with which users can consume cannabis. As the substance is vaporized and mixed into a water vapor, both the smell and overall cannabis residue was reduced, making it a lot easier to imbibe while on the go and in public.

This is helped by the fact that vaping is considered a more socially acceptable form of smoking. This is primarily due to consumers’ ability to buy a variety of different scented vape fluids, producing smoke that doesn’t smell of tobacco or cannabis, but rather like marshmallow or cherries.

There are actually quite a lot of benefits to using a vape pen for the purpose of cannabis, due to the way in which the drug is imbibed. A study published by Abrams et al. for the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics found that, when vaping for the purpose of medicating or enjoying THC, vapes actually increased the amount of THC you received per toke.

Due to the way in which the THC or plant extract within the vape pen is utilized, there was an overall increase of THC per breath when compared to simply smoking it normally from a joint or pipe. The lack of regular combustion, as is the case in normal smoking, means that you gain access to more of the important cannabinoids within your cannabis oil, but you also don’t have to deal with the burnt, acrid smoke associated with smoking.

However, is it all benefits and sunshine and rainbows when it comes to using CBD vape pens? Or are there any medical concerns worth considering? Let’s take a closer look.

CBD Vape Pens and the Accumulation of Cuticle Wax

Regular cannabis users might be familiar with the tell-tale sign of high-quality bud – the faint glimmer of crystals along the surface of the bud itself.

This is usually taken to be an auspice for quality, but what lies underneath the THC-laden crystals is actually something called cuticle wax. This wax is essentially a buildup of lipids created naturally by the plant for the purpose of protecting the exterior of the bud itself. The lipids aren’t a problem when smoking normally, but when you vaporize it… well, then it’s a problem.

During the regular process of combustion with joints or pipes, the layer of fatty wax is easily incinerated, allowing you to access the cannabinoids within it. However, when you vaporize it, it doesn’t work quite the same way. This is primarily an issue for CBD oil vape pens as, during the process of making the oil itself, the CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant  — along with the cuticle wax.

If you are a regular user of CBD oil through vaporization, it’s possible that you might begin to develop a buildup of this wax in your lungs, causing an accumulation in a similar way to excess use of cigarettes. It’s possible that this could eventually lead to lung cancer, as well as generally unpleasant symptoms as a result of a buildup of unwanted lipids (which can solidify into granulomas) within your lung tissue.

This might all sound pretty terrifying, but there is actually a process that can take of this — called winterization.

CBD Vape Pen Safety: Winterization to Save the Day

Though the reality of cuticle wax accumulation sounds awful, winterization is the process by which the producers of cannabis oils combat it. Basically, winterization is an extra step in the production of CBD oil, which involves soaking the extracted tincture in a mixture of alcohol, and then freezing it.

This process allows you to separate out the cuticle wax (as well as other unwanted cannabinoids and plant substances that were extracted along with the CBD during the extraction process), but costs more time and money to complete properly.

Most good, high-quality CBD oil manufacturers should be including this step, but it’s worth making sure that the brand you’re buying does actually do this – you might be exposing yourself to cuticle wax accumulation without even realizing it.

CBD Vape Pen Safety: Increasing the Threat of Lipid Pneumonia?

Another health risk associated with CBD vape pens comes down to what CBD oil actually is on a chemical level. CBD oil is, essentially, pure extracted cannabidiol suspended within inert oil. This oil is usually a specific type, such as coconut oil or hemp oil, and generally speaking it is inert, non-reactive, and not overwhelming to your senses or strongly flavored.

However, when you vape CBD oil, you aren’t exactly doing something super great for your body. When CBD oil gets vaporized, the CBD is instantly vaporized and mixed with water vapor in the air to allow you to breathe it in easily. However, some of the inert oil is also vaporized and, as it turns out, inhaling vaporized oil probably isn’t a good thing for your lungs.

This is because the oil is a lipid – essentially pure fat. While great for holding substances within suspension, it’s not so great for your lungs. A study by Betancourt et al. for the American Journal of Roentgenology found that, when these lipids get introduced to your lungs, they can become caught inside the alveoli, the inner lining of your lung’s internal passageways.

This begins the risk of a condition known as Lipoid Pneumonia, where there are simply too many lipids within your lungs for them to function properly, causing intense respiratory pain and other serious side effects.

It’s worth noting, however, that this condition is rare and probably would require an extremely large amount of CBD oil vaping per day to be really at risk of this.

Of course, this still doesn’t stop it from being a concern. Also, you likely won’t hear much about this from the CBD oil manufacturers, so it’s important to remain informed about the possible side effects of vaping CBD oil.

CBD Vape Pens and the Undisclosed Risk of PEG/PG

CBD oils for vaping and CBD oils for oral consumption are basically the same substance; CBD suspended within inert oil. However, if you try and vaporize normal CBD oil in your e-pen, it will likely either begin smoking, clog the mechanism, or just stop working.

This is because oral CBD oils are too viscous – essentially they are too thick to be properly vaporized and converted into vapor. To help counteract this problem and make a product able to be used in vaporizers, manufacturers typically mix in substances called PEG or PG (polyethylene glycol and propylene glycol, respectively), or other similar substances to thin the oil out.

While this does make the oil less viscous and more easily vaporized, it comes with a few problems. A study published by Lau et al. for the Journal for American Pediatric Society found that PG can actually break down into carcinogenic compounds – specifically formaldehyde – which can potentially cause cancer later in life.

The consequences of this breakdown are most likely long-term, so we probably won’t be hearing about any “vape-induced” diseases for quite some time. However, some say that this actually makes the whole prospect of CBD vape pen safety a lot scarier – if the vape oil has damaged you, there’s likely no way to combat or treat it until it’s too late.

This increased risk of serious illness and carcinogen inhalation has encouraged some CBD oil manufacturers to drop thinning agents altogether, or at the very least minimize their use of PEG and PG. This means you need to make sure that the CBD vape oil you’re buying doesn’t contain any of this dangerous thinning agent; just one more thing you need to look out for.

Final Thoughts: Are CBD Vape Pens Safe?

CBD vape pens are a relatively recent invention, offering the ability to give people access to helpful medicinal CBD within cannabis, which they can use to try and treat a host of medical conditions.

Despite these perceived benefits, CBD vape pens still have established risk factors. Whether it be the risk of Lipid Pneumonia, the dangerous ramifications of thinning agents like PG and PEG, or any other issue we’ve yet to discover with CBD vape pens and vape oils, the fact remains that there is a health risk in vaporizing CBD oil.

However, it’s important to know that the dangers and risks associated with CBD vape oils are extremely rare; while they might sound bad, the dangers and problems associated with not taking CBD oil may be even worse.

At the end of the day, it’s a decision you need to make on your own – are you willing to risk potential health ramifications over the long-term, so as to help combat the problems you wish to medicate in the short-term?

Luckily, CBD oil manufacturers are working endlessly to make the best and safest CBD vape pens and oils possible, so it’s not out of the question that we may one day have an entirely risk-free CBD vape product.

About the Author
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Jonathan Miller
Jonathan Miller, age 53 is an Ex Railyard Engineer who suffers from chronic back pain and anxiety. Jonathan’s goal was to create an unbiased site that would provide anyone who seeks help in CBD oil as a treatment, with accurate and helpful information.
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Getting Started with CBD Oil

If you suffer from anxiety (like me), depression or pain and are looking to get started with CBD oil, you need information on how to buy CBD oil, or you’re simply looking to learn more about CBD products, you’ve arrived at the right place.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, aka CBD, is a compound found in the cannabis plant that has significant medical benefits. CBD can be extracted from two different species of the Cannabis Sativa L plant, which include Cannabis and Hemp. Unlike its rival THC, CBD does not make people feel “stoned” and can actually counteract the psychoactivity of THC.

One of the main advantages of CBD is its non-psychoactive affect making it a great option for people looking for relief from inflammation, anxiety, insomnia, seizures, spasms, and other conditions.
 
As I mentioned above the primary distinction between Hemp and CBD oil is the part of the plant they are derived from and what parts of the plant are used to create the oil. Hemp oil is typically made from pressing cannabis seeds to extract the fatty oil from within, while some that have mastered the CBD extraction process also use the flowers as they contain high percentages of CBD. CBD oil, on the other hand, is usually made from the flowers of cannabis plant through various extraction methods.

How Does CBD Affect Your Body?

The way marijuana affects your body varies from person to person as it will often depend on genetics, tolerance to the cannabinoids, medical health, DNA, and more. It also depends on the way you consume the CBD, for example, the effects of vaping CBD are far different to smoking it in the form of high-CBD cannabis strains. 

CBD and the way it affects us is still of somewhat a mystery to researchers they still try to figure out how it effects the EndoCannabinoid system. During the previous century, it was discovered that our bodies have receptors within the brain and central nervous system. Specific cannabinoids such as CBD bind to those receptors and activate the EndoCannabinoid System (ECS). This then provides a wide range of psychological and physical benefits helping the body.

Without going into specifics, cannabinoids signal to the body to create endocannabinoids and build more receptors. This helps the body to limit things associated with pain and inflammation, repairs cells and provides a wide range of other health benefits. Unlike other cannabinoids, CBD is thought to be the ultimate anti-inflammatory cannabinoid.

Want to learn more about how CBD works read: How Long Does it Take CBD to Work

Medical Benefits of CBD

There is a misconception as to whether CBD can help treat patients, similar to pharmaceutical medicine, but thanks to the internet and a few different medical studies patients and researchers have been exposing their findings on how CBD oil is helping to cure a wide range of medical conditions.

The most popular story was the one of Charlotte Figi. At the time Charlotte was only 6 years old. As a little girl, she was experiencing over 300 epileptic seizures per week until she was successfully treated by a CBD-rich strain oil, later named Charlotte’s Web.

The high-quality CBD oil, changed her life, helping her to overcome a 6-year battle. Since her story hit the news, CBD and other cannabinoids of the cannabis plant are constantly being researched to understand how they can help to treat different medical conditions. As a matter of fact, CBD has been thought to help treat over 170 medical conditions, among them severe conditions such as Anorexia, Cancer, Arthritis, Depression, Anxiety, Chronic Pain, Insomnia, Glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and PTSD.

Recent studies have even shown that CBD, may cure life-threatening diseases by altering genes. Other studies have proven that it might even be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis and chronic pain.

The way that CBD works is that it interacts with receptors located in different parts of the central nervous system. These receptors are called CB1 and CB2. Both reflect the areas of the brain they interact with such as the limbic system. When taking CBD, this cannabinoid locks in on these receptors and affects the body in different ways. For example, it can help to block the pain caused by specific medical conditions.

While numerous studies have shown promising results, it is important to understand that CBD research is still at premature stages. A 2011 study that researched CBD for fibromyalgia showed extremely promising results. 56 of 112 participants who took CBD in the form of oil saw a great reduction in their symptoms and pain, while those using traditional methods didn’t see hardly any improvement.

Can you Buy CBD if you live in an illegal state?

The process is not cut-&-dry, and but thanks to the Farm Bill of 2014, forms of CBD can now be delivered to your doorstep. Those that live in recreational states can purchase CBD cannabis oil which is high in potency and extremely effective for helping to treat severe medical conditions, while those that live in other states that are not medical or recreational can benefit from CBD hemp oil. CBD Hemp oil is perfect for helping to treat a wide range of conditions including anxiety, depression and acute pain. 

Who is NaturalWellNessCBDOil?

My name is Jonathan, and I’ve created this loving resource that is packed with information about CBD oil. I am growing a community on Facebook and are constantly engaging with different people to help them make more informed decisions. I review products on a daily basis and provide unbiased reviews about some of the top CBD oil manufacturers. All the information on the site is FREE; I only ask that you help to share the information you find on the site with other people that are suffering. 

To your health and happiness.