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CBD’s popularity in the health and wellness market is rising. This non-psychoactive hemp extract is most used in the form of oil, but people consume CBD in a variety of ways. Many people choose to vape CBD, as the compound is widely available in liquid form in pre-filled cartridges. This article will tell you of the ins and outs of vaping CBD.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is a chemical component of cannabis plants. It is part of a group of compounds called cannabinoids, of which there are over 100 types. Cannabinoids provide therapeutic benefits by interacting with the endocannabinoid system in the body’s central and peripheral nervous systems.
The endocannabinoid system maintains our bodies’ homeostasis (balance) and keeps our cortisol levels (stress) immune responses, metabolic system, and sleep regulated.
Because it is non-psychoactive, people can enjoy CBD’s benefits without becoming intoxicated.
CBD is most prevalent in its oil form, but it is also available in the form of capsules, edibles, topical creams, and in vape e-liquids.
CBD Vape Cartridges
A CBD cartridge — a popular method of vaping CBD — is a small container filled with CBD vape juice. These are flavored with a variety of ingredients, from terpenes (organic compounds from plants and conifers) to fruit extracts. CBD vape liquid is also available flavored as natural hemp extract.
Cartridges usually contain between 0.5 and 1 mL of e-vape liquid and can be attached to vape devices such as pens or vaporizers. Some brands of CBD vape liquid correspond to that specific brand’s vape device.
Pros of Vaping CBD
Vaping CBD grants the same effects and benefits as consuming CBD in any other manner. With vaping, CBD enters the bloodstream through the lungs, as opposed to sublingually, through the digestive tract, or through the skin.
Accordingly, vaping CBD can reduce anxiety & depression, insomnia, and stress, as well as reduce inflammation to combat arthritis, cardiovascular disorders, migraines, and pain. Research has shown that CBD can also be useful in treating Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and other serious diseases; however, scientific results vary. Currently, combating certain types of seizures is the only clinically justified use of CBD for severe medical conditions. Further studies have been conducted on animals and cells, but human trials have not been conducted.
Vaping Advantages over Other Products
There is one key advantage of vaping CBD in comparison to any other form of consumption: fast results. Inhaling CBD, you will feel the effects instantaneously. Contrastingly, oils take up to half an hour for the CBD to absorb into your bloodstream, and edibles rely on your metabolic system.
Secondly, as much as 60% of the CBD you inhale is absorbed into your bloodstream (this is how you feel the effects). By comparison, people absorb only 13-19% of the CBD ingested from capsules and edibles, so you feel more of the benefits when vaping.
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Additionally, vaping CBD is easy and convenient, as cartridges can be stored in a pocket. Vaping has also nested itself in social culture, and it can be enjoyable to taste.
Nevertheless, vaping CBD has some drawbacks. First, while the effects are quick to enact, they are also quick to dissipate (usually in an hour or two). In contrast, sublingual CBD oil tinctures’ effects typically last over three hours. Furthermore, not enough evidence exists to verify vaping’s long-term effects and safety.
But is it Legal?
Mostly. CBD is legal in many places, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. CBD’s legality is primarily contingent on its plant source: either marijuana or hemp.
Since hemp plants have very low levels of THC (0.3% or less), the plants aren’t considered to be psychoactive, and many countries produce hemp-based CBD products. In the United States, hemp and hemp derivatives are federally legal.
On the other hand, marijuana plants are psychoactive due to their higher levels of THC. Thus, most countries register marijuana-sourced CBD as illegal.
Obviously, before vaping CBD, you must purchase a cartridge. These are available either pre-filled or refillable.
- Pre-Filled Cartridges
As the name suggests, pre-filled CBD cartridges are packaged with CBD e-liquid already filled. These cartridges are typically disposable, but some are more durable and can be reused.
- Refillable Cartridges
Refillable cartridges are cheaper long-term than rebuying pre-filled ones; however, refillable cartridges are sold empty, which means you have to purchase CBD vape liquid separately. Refillable cartridges are usually made of higher-quality and more durable materials (ceramic, glass, metal, etc.) than their pre-filled counterparts.
To refill your cartridge, unscrew the cartridge and refill it with any CBD vape liquid. Then allow 10 to 15 minutes for the juice to absorb into the wick inside the coil to prevent burning and to maximize the coil’s life. Reattach the cartridge to a compatible vape device, and you are good-to-go!
CBD vape cartridges, like all CBD products, should be stored in a cool, dark, dry area to maximize the CBD’s lifespan.
Just like any other edible product, dosage is not universal. One person may fall asleep with 10 mg of melatonin-infused CBD, and another may only experience the same result with 20 mg of the same product. Dosage is dependent on the type of CBD extract, the CBD potency, the severity of your condition, and your body’s metabolic rate.
It is recommended that you consult a medical professional if you have any questions regarding what dose of CBD is appropriate for you, especially if you are concerned about CBD’s interactions with other medications.
If you are unable to see a doctor, begin by vaping the lowest available dose and increase your dose every few minutes or so based on how you are feeling. Once you feel the desired effects, continue with that dose.
Typically, the average CBD user will consume between 10 and 50 mg of CBD one or two times each day.
While research shows that vaping is safer than smoking, the vaping industry has not existed long enough for the scientific community to study its long-term effects. Current evidence is narrow, but some studies indicate than vaping may increase the chances of a heart attack. Broadly, more studies must be conducted for a definitive conclusion.
Is CBD Psychoactive?
In short, no: you cannot get high off of CBD. Contrarily, CBD can reduce some of the adverse side-effects of THC, like anxiety and paranoia. In full-spectrum CBD, the FDA-approved maximum amount of THC (0.3%) is still not enough to be psychoactive.
Vast amounts of scientific research has shown that CBD is a safe substance; hence, it bypasses FDA regulation. Nonetheless, high enough doses of CBD can lead to fatigue, dizziness, diarrhea, and cottonmouth (temporary scarcity of saliva).
Point of Purchase
CBD products — vape cartridges included — are available online and in brick-and-mortar stores. Some retailers are single-brand, where others offer multiple brands.
Most CBD is sold online because of the convenience and overall lower prices. If you choose to purchase at a physical retail location, it is recommended that you compare prices with online CBD outlets.
Naturally, there is a wide variety of pricing for CBD cartridges, based on quality and potency. An easy way to determine whether the product is expensive or not is to look at CBD cost – the price per milligram of CBD. For example, if a cartridge contains 1000 mg of CBD and costs $100, then the CBD cost is $100/1000mg = $0.10 per mg of CBD.
A CBD cost of $0.10 to $0.20 is the industry average. Generally, larger volumes of CBD have lower per-milligram costs. This information is particularly useful when comparing CBD cartridges of similar quality and potency.
The CBD content of a cartridge impacts its attractiveness to potential buyers. For the most part, CBD cartridges are highly potent, ranging from 100 to 1000 mg per cartridge.
If you are new to CBD, you should pay close attention to potency: a lower strength is recommended for introductory users.
Also, your vape frequency should be considered. If you only vape occasionally, a small (150 mg) CBD cartridge could last a long time; however, if you vape frequently, a higher strength may save you money so that lower doses produce the desired effect.
Looking for High Quality?
Given that CBD is not regulated by the FDA (or MHRA in the UK), there is a broad spectrum of quality for CBD products on the market. It is recommended that you do some pre-purchase research centered on four categories: third-party testing, extract type, source location, and extraction process.
- Third-Party Testing
A quick check for quality products is to look at a CBD company’s third-party test results. Independent labs conduct tests for potency and contamination of CBD products, providing consumers with proof that CBD products are as advertised.
You can find third-party test results on packaging and online, and some companies even offer batch-specific test results. It is recommended that you do not purchase CBD products unless this information is available.
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- Extract Type
CBD extract is usually provided in two forms: CBD isolate or full-spectrum hemp extract. Isolate contains pure CBD and no other ingredients, where full-spectrum hemp has components of all cannabinoids: CBD, phytochemicals, and terpenes found in hemp.
Scientific research has shown that full-spectrum extraction is more effective than isolating pure CBD because the different parts of cannabis work together symbiotically. Thus, generally speaking, a smaller dosage of full-spectrum CBD is needed to attain the effects of pure CBD isolate. Additionally, full-spectrum CBD is known to have fewer side-effects than pure CBD isolate.
However, most CBD cartridges contain the isolate form of CBD because it is easier and less expensive to extract from hemp. Consider this and read the label carefully when purchasing your next CBD vape cartridge.
- Source Location
Since CBD is extracted from hemp, the agricultural conditions under which the plants grow factors into the quality of the end CBD product. The best quality CBD is extracted from hemp that is non-GMO, organic, and free of pesticides.
Accordingly, growth climate matters, too. Colorado tops the chart for best-growing conditions in the United States, followed by Oregon and Kentucky. Countries within the European Union, also, generally have quality hemp. Cultivation location can usually be found on CBD companies’ websites.
- Extraction Process
CBD’s extraction method impacts its efficacy. The two leading methods of extracting CBD and other favorable help components are by using carbon dioxide (CO2) and ethanol.
By using ethanol, CBD manufacturers can isolate CBD from cannabis without compromising quality. It is an expensive process that filters out contaminants. On the other hand, ethanol extraction is cheaper and can leave trace amounts of solvent in the final product if the extraction process is not done correctly.
Companies are generally transparent about their extraction process, and the information is typically found on companies’ websites.
Richard Cowan is co-founder of CBD Seniors, and a former National Director of NORML.