You can choose from quite a few different forms of CBD right now, from CBD tinctures to capsules to gummies and special vape pens.
But can you vape CBD oil? Is it the right thing to do?
That depends on what you mean by saying “CBD oil.”
After all, not all CBD oils are the same, and what works for one consumption method may not be suitable for the other.
You can’t just pour your regular CBD oil into a vape tank and use it like your normal vaporizer. Most likely, doing so will either destroy your device or produce toxic compounds that can harm your lungs.
Vaping CBD requires a special kind of CBD oil.
Today, I’ll cover the do’s and don’ts of vaping CBD, including which type of CBD oil you can vape (and which not).
But first, let’s dive deeper into the benefits of vaping cannabidiol.
Why Should You Vape CBD Oil (Distillate)?
There are many reasons why a person would like to switch from their regular CBD oil or capsules to disposable vape pens. Here are the 5 most important benefits of vaping CBD:
1. Vaping Delivers More CBD to Your System
Bioavailability describes the leftover amount of an active compound in your bloodstream after being metabolized. The higher the bioavailability, the more CBD ends up in your system.
For example, the bioavailability of oral products, such as CBD capsules or gummies, can reach 20% at best. This means that your body absorbs a maximum of ⅕ th of the ingested amount.
Sublingual products like CBD oils are more efficient because their bioavailability varies between 25–35%.
Vaping CBD oil is the fastest and most effective way to reap the benefits of CBD because the cannabinoid enters your bloodstream through the lungs — avoiding the first-pass metabolism in the liver.
To wrap it up, you need far less CBD to experience relief from your symptoms while vaping CBD oil than eating a CBD-infused snack.
2. Vaping CBD is More Convenient
Most vaping devices on the market are portable and low-profile, so you can hide them in the pockets of your jacket, and nobody will be able to tell if you’re vaping CBD or using some form of a fancy inhaler to vape an e-cig.
Vapes are also easier to use than CBD oils. When you vape CBD, you just need to set the right temperature or — as it is with vape pens — simply put your lips around the mouthpiece and start inhaling the contents.
3. You Have Precise Control Over the Dosage
CBD oils for vaping should have the total amount of CBD listed on the packaging. A typical vape cartridge can hold 1 mL of vape oil.
If you want to estimate how much CBD is in a single serving of your vape oil, you’ll need to know the amount of CBD in each mL of your product.
For example, if you have a 30 mL bottle of 1000 mg of CBD vape oil, each mL contains 33.3 mg of CBD.
If you generally take 20 mg of CBD daily, you should use a little bit less than 1 mL of your vape liquid.
4. CBD Vapes Act Faster Than Other Forms
When you eat a CBD gummy or take a capsule, you’ll need to wait for a minimum of 30 minutes to experience the effects. That’s because oral forms of CBD need to be metabolized by the liver before being released into the bloodstream.
Tinctures work faster because they are absorbed by tiny capillaries under the tongue, reducing the onset time to 15–30 minutes.
But frankly speaking, nothing can beat the onset time of vaping CBD oil. Vaporized CBD gets diffused directly into the bloodstream through the lung tissue, so you can experience the calming and balancing effects of cannabidiol within minutes.
5. Vaping is Enjoyable
Okay, nothing deep here, but fun is an important element of supplementation with CBD. There are already too many health supplements that you need to swallow or drink down with juice o get your daily dose of these extra vitamins, minerals, etc. CBD oil is far from enjoyable; gummies and capsules have lower bioavailability; vapes, on the other hand, combine fast-acting effects with portability and exciting flavors that you can enjoy thanks to natural terpenes. It’s a win-win as long as you don’t buy CBD vapes with artificial flavorings.
Can You Vape CBD Oil?
Generally speaking, yes — but not all CBD oils are created equal, and thus not every product will be suitable for vaping.
Some CBD oil products are too viscous or contain plant waxes that shouldn’t be vaporized, while others are made exclusively for vaping and shouldn’t be taken orally.
There’s also the third type — one you can either vaporize or take sublingually.
Let’s talk about different types of CBD oil and which are appropriate for vaping.
CBD Oil vs CBD E-Liquid vs. Distillate: Which One Can You Vape?
There are three categories of CBD oil products you may come across when buying CBD online or near you:
- CBD oil suspended in vegetable carrier oils
- Vape oil made with vegetable glycerin
- Cannabis resin oil sourced from the concentrated waxes of cannabis plants.
Here I elaborate on each product.
1. CBD Oils
CBD oils are viscous extracts suspended in carrier oil. They are taken under the tongue or added to meals.
But can you vape this type of CBD oil?
Not if you want to save your device from being sent to a junkyard. Besides clogging your vaporizer, CBD oils can deliver some nasty substances to your lungs when you heat them. That’s because they’re made with triglycerides containing three fatty acids each.
This is part of the process where oil manufacturers can make biodiesel — something you don’t want to happen in your system.
Not to mention that CBD oils are infused into food-grade oils, which also shouldn’t be vaped due to the risk of developing lipid pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs caused by an accumulation of lipids).
2. CBD E-liquid
Also known as CBD e-liquid or vape juice, CBD vape oil is the kind of oil designed specifically for vaping.
As I said before, the extracted CBD oil is too thick to be used in a vaporizer and contains the wrong types of oils and waxes to be considered safe.
To make vape E-liquids, manufacturers remove the fatty acids from the crude extract. What’s left when these fats have been dumped is known as glycerol — commonly referred to as vegetable glycerin. This compound thins down the extracts and allows them to vaporize at low temperatures.
CBD E-liquids usually contain the following ingredients:
- Polyethylene glycol (PEG)
- Propylene glycol (PG)
- Vegetable glycerin
Most cheap CBD vape oils often use PEG or PG. These are dangerous to vape because the glycol molecules can break down into carcinogens upon heating. It’s best to avoid such ingredients in your CBD oil for vaping.
Vegetable glycerin is considered to be the safer option for CBD vape oils. There’s some evidence that VG can damage the soft coverings of the lung tissues in some users. But, in order for this to occur, a person would need to vape very large amounts of CBD liquid from a shady source.
3. CBD Distillate (Resin Oil)
This type of CBD vape oil contains an unrefined, highly-potent cannabis concentrate that has been diluted with terpenes. It can be used either in a tincture or a vape pen. When sourced from hemp, it contains only trace amounts of THC; it’s the CBD that comes as the main ingredient.
This is the least adulterated form of CBD vape oil — and the most recommended option if you have a CBD vape pen. Such products deliver a hefty dose of CBD alongside a bouquet of natural terpenes that amplify the health benefits of cannabinoids.
Potential Risks of Vaping CBD Oil
A small number of CBD consumers can be allergic to some of the ingredients in CBD vape oil. There’s also some evidence pointing to CBD vapes as risky products due to the potential presence of heavy metals and pesticides coming from the lack of regulations on the market.
Here I break down the possible downsides of vaping CBD oil
Heavy Metals Contamination
Vaporizers and vape pens come with heating elements that typically come from metals, such as pure nickel wire, nickel-chromium alloy, or stainless steel.
The authors of a study from the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health expressed their concern about exposure to these metals when vaping devices heat up:
“Overall exposure to metals from electronic cigarette use is not expected to be of significant health concern for smokers switching to electronic cigarette use, but is an unnecessary source of exposure for never-smokers.”
In other words, these materials can release metal nanoparticles that you otherwise wouldn’t inhale. Therefore, it’s of the utmost importance that you do solid research on the materials your vaporizer or vape tank has made to make sure you avoid the toxic stuff.
Allergy to Certain Ingredients
Some CBD users report nausea, sinus irritation, and headaches after vaping. These side effects can be caused by an allergic reaction to propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin — the two main ingredients in vapes besides CBD.
Most symptoms of allergies include breakouts in hives, skin irritation, difficulty breathing, and swelling.
Fortunately, both these allergens are so common in our lives that you should be able to easily tell if you’re allergic to one of them before trying to vape CBD oil.
Unknown Long-term Adverse Effects
Although short-term and mid-term studies haven’t brought any alarming conclusions when it comes to the safety of CBD vapes, we still don’t know much about the long-term consequences.
Sometimes, this argument is enough to convince CBD users to try other formats instead, such as edibles, tinctures, or capsules.
Key Takeaways on Vaping CBD Oil
CBD oil is a broad term that covers different types of CBD-rich hemp extracts.
There’s a major difference between CBD oil that you take orally and the one you can vape. I hope this article has helped you clear the fog surrounding CBD oil terms.
My last piece of advice is to always look for third-party lab reports of any CBD product you’re looking at. The market is very loosely regulated — and I’m being euphemistic here — so hemp companies can put virtually anything they want in their vapes.
Always research your potential vendors to avoid getting ripped off your money and health.
- Huestis M. A. (2007). Human Cannabinoid Pharmacokinetics. Chemistry & Biodiversity, 4(8), 1770–1804.
- Schoedel, K.A., Harrison, S.J. (2012). Subjective and Physiological Effects of Oromucosal Sprays Containing Cannabinoids (nabiximols): Potentials and Limitations for Psychosis Research. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 18(32), 5008-14.
- Millar, S.A., Stone, N.L., Yates, A.S., and O’Sullivan, S.E. (2018). A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans, 9, 1365.
- Farsalinos, K.F., Voudris, V., and Poulas, K. (2015). Are Metals Emitted from Electronic Cigarettes a Reason for Health Concern? A Risk-Assessment Analysis of Currently Available Literature.