JUUL [What’s All the Fuss About?]
If you have been anywhere near a school in the last few years, it is highly likely that you will have noticed an overwhelming quantity of teenagers using what looks like a tiny cigarette lighter. For the uninitiated, those are called JUULs.
Found most frequently in the school bathrooms, you will likely see a veritable gaggle of teenagers using these small, metallic devices, puffing small clouds of smoke out of the windows and having a good time.
But just what are these JUULs, and why are teenagers using them so prolifically? What’s all the fuss about?
What is a JUUL?
For all its seeming complexity and intrigue, a JUUL is nothing more than an extremely portable vaporizer.
At its core, a JUUL is a single small vaporizer which contains just enough power to heat up a cartridge containing tobacco oils, so as to create a vapor that is easily inhaled. The core idea of a JUUL pod is that the vaporizer is sleek and simplistic, easy to conceal up your sleeve in your pocket, making it apparently ideal for use in a school environment.
Each JUUL pod is charged using small cartridges that are about the size of a USB stick, with each one containing roughly 200 puffs and has as much nicotine in an entire pack of cigarettes.
Yes, that’s right; despite the idea that JUUL pods are somehow an entirely different thing to cigarettes, they contain just as much nicotine as regular cigarettes, with the only real difference being that it is easy to conceal them.
The critical element of JUULs is the fact that they are charged with the individual vape cartridges, which look exactly like a tiny USB thumb drive. This not only aids in concealment, but it also means that it is incredibly easy to interchange the cartridges used on the fly, allowing you to take one puff flavored like vanilla, then another puff flavored with orange.
This versatility is one of the main reasons why people are using JUUL pods. By being able to not only conceal the pen in a small pocket but also carry around a multitude of different flavored cartridges, JUUL pods allow people of all ages to keep their vaporizer safe and secure.
Unfortunately, this has led to a massive rise in teenagers using them during school hours, often in places where they shouldn’t be. And, by being able to hide it up their sleeves, there have even been reports of teenagers using them during class time.
One of the reasons why teenagers are using them so frequently, besides the obvious ability to use them whenever and wherever they want, is the strange idea that they are somehow less harmful to use than cigarettes. While it is true that they contain less tar and other dangerous compounds, that accompanies regular smoking, there are still a significant number of problems associated with using JUULs.
For starters, nicotine is obviously pretty terrible for you. Its harmful properties are shown in this landmark study by Mishra et al. for the Indian Journal of Medical and Paediatric Oncology. They found that nicotine poses several health hazards, such as increased risk of cardiovascular, respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders, as well as a reduced immune response.
This is even more dangerous when taken as a teenager, as many studies have demonstrated that teenagers suffer far worse than adults when it comes to nicotine.
However, there is one further problem with JUUL pods specifically, and that is due to something called nicotine salts.
Nicotine Salts & Other Health Risks Associated with JUUL Pods
There is this idea that JUUL pods are somehow inherently safe due to the fact that there is no combustion involved in creating their vapor, but unfortunately, there are far more problems than just those associated with actual smoking.
For starters, JUUL pods are unique in that, instead of using freebase nicotine that is commonly found in other commercial e-liquid products containing nicotine, JUUL pods include nicotine salts. These nicotine salts allow the nicotine to be absorbed into the system much faster than regular e-liquids, roughly at the same speed that you would intake nicotine if you smoked a regular cigarette.
This is excellent news for those that are looking for an easier way to imbibe nicotine, as it not only means that the nicotine hits you faster, but it feels a lot stronger and more sudden as well, as it doesn’t have to go through that long process of being absorbed by the body.
However, this can have some severe health implications, as it can cause an abundance of issues involving nicotine poisoning – if you are taking JUUL pods at too fast a rate, you might find yourself getting way more nicotine than you expected, potentially causing serious health issues
Additionally, alongside the nicotine salts, JUUL pods are made from a 30/60 mix of Propylene Glycol and Propylene Glycerin, two thinning agents that have been frequently associated with a myriad of health implications. These two compounds are used to make it easier to create an easily dispersed liquid vapor that contains the desired chemical compound (in this case, nicotine), but they also pose health risks to your lungs.
Some e-liquid manufacturers understand this, choosing to create more natural – if more expensive – thinning agents so as to make their vape pens usable, but JUUL prefer to use their tried and tested chemicals.
Despite all this, many people are using JUUL pods as an easy and convenient way to imbibe nicotine, as it allows them to experience a variety of tasty flavors, and it has a never before seen level of convenience and secretiveness.
All this begs the question, however, of whether it has to be just nicotine; could an ingenious inventor devise a way to make it possible to use JUUL pods as a way to imbibe marijuana?
Can You Put Marijuana in JUULs?
Despite the persistent fury of the JUUL company, many people have devised ways to, mostly, ‘hack’ JUUL pods into allowing marijuana e-liquid cartridges.
JUUL pride themselves on only selling nicotine products, preferring to avoid the association with marijuana or any of its related compounds. However, that doesn’t stop millions of marijuana smokers from finding a way to be able to imbibe their marijuana e-liquids using whatever vaporizing pens they want.
Some companies, such as PureCBDVapors.com, offer a variety of CBD JUUL compatible vape pods, each with their own flavor profile and quantity of CBD. They are designed to completely mimic the cartridge design of JUUL cartridges, only instead of containing nicotine, they contain CBD.
Others have managed to do the same thing with THC, or even a THC/CBD blend, though there is always the fear that JUUL might come crashing down on the developers for infringing their copyright. As strange as it might seem, JUUL has actually patented their signature cartridge design, making the legality of these marijuana-filled cartridges somewhat uncertain.
However, until JUUL does anything decisive about it, it remains possible to buy all manner of different cannabinoid-filled JUUL cartridges that can be loaded into your JUUL pod, the same as any other cartridge. The only thing to bear in mind is that if you are using your JUUL pod for multiple uses; that is, you are using it for both marijuana cannabinoids and also nicotine products, then you need to be careful.
Thanks to the rather tricky legal situation of marijuana in the USA, you could be putting yourself in serious trouble if you are using a JUUL pod that has traces of marijuana product still within it. This is even a problem if you live in a state that has wholly legalized marijuana, as there are still some jurisdictions that ban any kind of marijuana products in certain areas, such as open public places or in schools.
To be absolutely safe, it is probably best that if you really must use JUUL pods to imbibe both nicotine and marijuana e-liquids, you buy two different JUUL pods and only use your marijuana one at home – make sure you keep them specific to their chosen substance, and that you don’t mix them up.
Final Thoughts on JUUL
JUUL pods represent something that smokers have been wanting for decades: A simple, easily concealable device to imbibe their chosen substance, while at the same time having total control over its features, flavor and look.
JUUL pods are unique in the world of vaporizers due to a combination of their sleek, sophisticated aesthetic and their unmatched concealability and convenience of design. They contain just as much nicotine as regular cigarettes, while also being just as fast as regular cigarettes at getting the nicotine into your system.
The only problem is the health risks that the combination of high-intensity nicotine salts and the use of propylene glycol has on your body; if you are a regular, experienced smoker, then you are probably going to be fine, as you can pace yourself and know what you are getting into. However, if you are a teenager who doesn’t know any better, as so many JUUL pod users are, then you are putting yourself at significant risk of health complications.
If you are instead determined to use JUUL pods as a way to imbibe marijuana, then you are in luck, as long as you remain very careful about where you imbibe your marijuana – even if the outgoing vapor cloud contains no THC whatsoever, you could still be at risk of infringing on the law.
With the combination of a futuristic, convenient design and the possibility of using JUUL pods for marijuana, although not being officially recognized by the JUUL company themselves, it is easy to see why JUUL pods are so famous.
Just make sure you are careful!