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CBD products are exploding in popularity recently. As more companies enter the market, the selection of products expands rapidly. This is both good and bad news for consumers.
The good is that there are more choices than ever. The bad is that these products are largely unregulated, and many suppliers cut corners and produce products with dubious safety ratings.
One segment of the CBD market that’s becoming quite popular is CBD vape oil products. Various manufacturers are offering CBD vape juice which is designed to be used in e-cigarettes and vaporizers. But is it safe to vape CBD oil?
Is Vaping CBD Safe?
Put simply – probably not.
The reality is that vaping in general – whether we’re talking about CBD vaping or e-cigarette products with nicotine – is quite a new phenomenon. We don’t yet have the long-term research to really evaluate the safety of vaping.
Researchers are starting to warn of the dangers of vaping (1), listing reasons including poor regulation and the use of unknown flavoring agents and potentially carcinogenic additives.
It’s thought that CBD itself is likely safe for consumption, whether taken orally or vaped in its pure form. The problem lies mostly in the CBD vape additives that are commonly used in vaping liquids.
The Problem with CBD Vape Additives
Vape juices typically contain additives, thinning agents and flavorings. Research suggests that these additives could be harmful when used in high-temperature vaporizers. Some categories of these additives include:
Thinning agents, such as Propylene Glycol and Polyethylene Glycol.
- Commonly used as thinning agents to achieve the right consistency for vape juice
- Included in most vape juices, both CBD and nicotine-based
- Generally considered as safe, when used in food products to be ingested
- Lack adequate evidence of safety when vaporized and inhaled
- Known to produce carcinogens including acetaldehyde and formaldehyde, when heated to high temperatures (2)
- May worsen allergy and asthma symptoms when inhaled (3)
Flavoring agents, such as “natural flavors” (there are thousands of different flavoring blends)
- Used in most vape juices to add flavor
- Include ingredients generally regarded as safe for ingestion
- Very little evidence of safety when inhaled
- Span thousands of different flavors, each one of which could have different effects (4)
- Many flavor compounds can suppress immune function – even more than cigarettes (5)
- Several common flavoring agents, including diacetyl, have been linked to severe respiratory diseases (6)
- One study found diacetyl – which can cause severe lung disease (7) in over 75% of vape liquids tested (8)
Looking at these notes, it’s easy to see why you may begin to question the safety of CBD vape products. The unfortunate reality is that we simply don’t have enough evidence to really know the safety of these products – but there’s enough risk involved for anyone to proceed with caution.
An Unregulated Industry
To add to the potential problems, the CBD vaping industry is almost entirely unregulated.
This means that, in many cases, it’s difficult to know what’s actually in your vape juice – and what it might be doing to your body.
Several instances of hospitalizations likely due to CBD vaping have been recorded. Over 30 patients were admitted to a North Carolina hospital with health concerns related to the use of CBD vapors (9).
Separately, about 60 soldiers were hospitalized with health concerns associated with low-quality CBD vape products (10). Interestingly, the press release – coming straight from the United States Army – noted that “pure CBD oil has not yet been associated with adverse health effects”, but warned against the use of unregulated CBD vape juices.
Furthermore, vaporizers themselves are largely unregulated. Many lower-quality vapes may contain plastics and toxic metals within the heating element, which could potentially leach harmful chemicals into the vapor produced. One study found that people who vaped had a higher concentration of potentially toxic chemicals and heavy metals in their urine (11) compared to non-vapers.
In summary – is vaping CBD oil safe?
It could be, but there’s enough evidence of risks and side effects to cause concern.
CBD is generally regarded as safe when consumed orally, so it’s a safer route compared to potentially dangerous vape products. If you’re using CBD products for your health, why take the risk?