One of the most popular methods to ingest CBD is via an electronic cigarette, more commonly referred to as a vape or vape pen.
A vape pen is an electronic device that simulates the experience of smoking a cigarette. The device heats CBD liquid which creates an aerosol, or “vapor”, that is inhaled by the user. This process is commonly referred to as vaping. The CBD in the e-cigarette, called CBD liquid, CBD juice, or sometimes even oil (which is not accurate) is usually made of vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, CBD, and flavorings.
About CBD Vape Pens
Not all vapes pens are the same but they will all have the same 4 parts:
- A vapor chamber
- A heating element
- A mouthpiece
- A battery
The vape pen uses the heating element to vaporize the CBD in the vapor chamber to allow the user to inhale it.
Vape pens have a chamber with a metal heating coil on the bottom that vaporizes concentrated CBD directly on the coils. Because of the direct contact of the CBD, the coils must be replaced frequently. Pens are great for those who are just starting out. The pens are sold mostly as “all-in-one” kits. With these devices, users can control the type and contents of the liquids that they vape (as opposed to the ones contained in the tank style).
When choosing a vape pen there are many factors that should be considered. Among these are:
- Size – Some people prefer smaller, discrete vape pens, some like larger ones. This is a personal preference.
- The heating process – There are 3 possible heating options these include:
- Convection – the CBD is in direct contact with the heating element. This is because the hot air is passing around and through the CBD.
- Induction- Through this method, heat passes through magnetic fields.
- Conduction – In this case, the botanical chamber is not in direct contact with the heating element, but it is in direct contact with the warm or heated surface.
- Battery life – Vapes have many different types of batteries. Each has different levels of quality and varying sizes. The goal is to obtain a vape pen that will give provide the most use over a single charge. The life of a vape battery is influenced by temperature as well as the frequency of usage. The higher the temperature, the faster the batteries become depleted.
While not considered vape pens, another type of vape exists. This is the tank-style vape. These devices contain a heating coil that is wrapped with nylon or silica to help move the e-liquid into the coils. In these devices, the CBD liquid is located in a tank in the device to be heated and vaporized for inhalation.
Tank vapes come in reusable and disposable varieties.
Disposable tank vapes are usually of inferior quality in both the vape itself and the CBD. They are much cheaper than a reusable tank vape. Many of these devices have issues with the coils and the wicks making the device useless. These devices have the CBD prefilled and are sometimes known as cartomizers.
Reusable style tank vapes are the most popular. The e-liquid is sold separately from the device and must be loaded into the device for each use.
CBD Vape Oils and CBD Liquids
Before purchasing CBD oil to vape, it’s important to know that the term “CBD oil” is a broad term for CBD. The most common form of CBD oil is a tincture. A tincture is a bottle of CBD oil that is taken sublingually (under the tongue). If this type of CBD is put in a vaporizer, it will ruin it.
The term “CBD vape oil” is synonymous with vape liquid or e-liquid. These liquids aren’t as thick as tinctures as they need to be able to move in a way similar to water to vaporize.
So it is important when purchasing CBD for a vaporizer, that the user ensures that it is vape liquid and not a tincture.
CBD e-liquids can vary greatly based on the manufacturer as each has its own process. When purchasing CBD oil to vape, there are 4 things that should be considered:
- Truth in Advertising – A product should match all the claims made by the label. That is especially true with the purity and concentration of the product. CBD isn’t regulated like a prescription drug. Before buying a product, ask to see the 3rd party lab tests regarding the product. A reputable company will either provide anyone the report upon request or have the latest report published on their website for everyone to see.
- Compatibility – Not all vapes work with all e-liquids. They should, but the processes that manufacturers use can cause issues with a vaporizer. Specifically, the vegetable glycerin separates from the CBD oil, it causes problems. The oil causes the wicks to dry out and harden, making the tank unusable. This is part of the reason that buying a homogenized liquid is important. If this is an issue, the solution is to buy a vape with a ceramic heating element. In addition, be sure not to confuse e-liquid bottles and disposable cartridges. Buy the product that vape is designed for.
- Homogeneity – When buying CBD Vape oil, the liquid should not be separated. It should look the same throughout. If the liquid is separated, the dosage will be incorrect and the full effects of the CBD won’t be realized. Because CBD liquids have vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, CBD, and flavorings there is a big potential for separation in the liquid, so this is important to be aware of.
- Clarity – CBD e-liquids are clear. At least they should be. Cloudy liquid suggests impurities in one of the components. Also, the liquid should move around like water, if the liquid is slow to move (like syrup or molasses) then that is also a sign of impurities.
CBD, or cannabinol, is a compound that is found in all cannabis plants and the human body. These compounds are known as cannabinoids. Cannabis contains 113 known cannabinoids.
Cannabis consists of 3 species of plants. These plants are Indica, Sativa, and Ruderalis. Indica is most commonly associated with marijuana, while Sativa and Ruderalis are in the hemp family of plants.
CBD can be derived from all 3 species, but Sativa and to a lesser extent, Ruderalis, are used to produce CBD. This is due to the higher CBD content and low THC content.
THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the intoxicating, psychoactive compound that’s known for making those who consume it high.
CBD, unlike its fellow cannabinoid THC, hasn’t intoxicating effects. Some minor side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth, and dizziness may be experienced by some users.
The chart below shows some of the differences between the 3 species:
|Commonly Known As||Hemp||Marijuana||Russian Hemp|
|THC Content||Less than 0.3%||Up to 35%||Less than 0.1%|
|CBD Content||15% to 20%||5% to 10%||Up to 25%|
|Legal for Medical Use||Legal for medical use in most states. Federal law only recognizes 1 CBD product by prescription.||Legal for medical use in 33 states. Not legal under federal law, however, the justice department is prohibited by law from using funds to prosecute medical cannabis users and suppliers||Legal for medical use in most states. Federal law only recognizes 1 CBD product by prescription.|
|Legal for Personal Use||Ambiguous under federal law||No, although some states have legalized it, it is still illegal under federal law.||Ambiguous under federal law|
|Uses||Medical, Food, Clothing, Rope, Construction Materials, Plastics, Bio Fuel||Medicine, Recreational use, Hashish||Medical, Food, Crossbreeding plant for both Sativa and Indica|
CBD Medicinal Uses
For many years, CBD oil has been touted as an alternative medicine for a number of ailments. Studies dating back the 1960s show that CDB has a number of medical benefits for both animals and humans.
In 1980, a study found conclusively that CBD was an effective treatment for children that suffered from epilepsy and seizures. This study was the foundation of the first CBD prescription drug to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. The drug is called Epidiolex.
In addition, CBD has been found effective in treating symptoms related to:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Back Pain
- Bipolar disorder
- Cardiovascular disorders
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Fifth Disease
- Hip Dysplasia
- Huntington’s disease
- Infectious Arthritis
- Inflammatory Arthritis
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Kawasaki Disease
- Lyme Disease
- Mediterranean Fever
- Mixed Connective Tissue Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Paget’s Disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Pediatric Rheumatic Diseases
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Raynaud’s Phenomenon
- Reactive Arthritis
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
- Rheumatic Fever
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Spinal Stenosis
- Still’s disease
- Systemic Sclerosis
- Temporal Arteritis
- Tourette’s syndrome
In addition, CBD has been found to have a wide spectrum of protective properties. These include:
- Anti-anxiogenic (anxiety)
CBD works with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is a system of neurotransmitters and neuroreceptors that regulate the brain, the central nervous system, and the peripheral nervous system. The ECS regulates many physiological and cognitive processes in the body. Among these processes are:
- Post-natal development
- Pre-natal development
- The processing of cannabinoids in the body
Among the common neurotransmitters that the ECS and CBD help regulate include:
Neuromodulators help regulate cognitive and physical activities like motor learning, appetite, and pain sensation.
Vaping has been around in different forms for over 2,500 years. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus wrote about his experiences while in Egypt with local residents heating stones to extremely high temperatures and then would add herbs and oils. The people would then inhale the vapors of the herbs.
The current trend of vaping didn’t start until 2005 when a Chinese pharmacist who wanted to stop smoking invented the modern e-cigarette. While the design has changed several times in the decade and a half that has followed, the popularity of the device has soared.
As both the vape industry and the CBD industry matures, new and better products are on the horizon that will look to maximize the CBD dosage that a user ingests and to increase the longevity of device use.