Is Vaping CBD Safe? March 4, 2019 – Posted in: Uncategorized

In theory, nothing about vaping—which just heats a tincture of a substance at high temperatures to create a vapor to inhale—should change the risk profile of CBD.

The nature of vapes, however, could introduce a few new risks to CBD usage, even if the process of vaping doesn’t. In 2018, a study on vapes at Johns Hopkins University found that, while heating, some of their coils—the metal bits used to heat tinctures—likely leech notable amounts of heavy metals like chromium and nickel into the vapor users eventually inhale.

How safe are CBD oils themselves?

Vape oils are poorly regulated which has resulted in frequent reports of items sold as, say, pure nicotine that are actually adulterated with known toxic substances. Some of these substances, like the buttery flavoring agent diacetyl, are purportedly safe to, say, eat, but when heated in a vape and inhaled, can cause serious lung irritation. 

CBD vape oils are no different: A 2017 study of 10 such products found that seven misrepresented the dosage of CBD found within them and two contained THC, the other well-known cannabinoid in cannabis that often has oppositional effects to CBD. This may speak to mischaracterizations of the source of the CBD in a vape product: isolated and purified CBD extracts or a concoction made of whole plant cannabis that had a high CBD:THC ratio. Some scientists worry that vaporizing as opposed to burning and smoking whole cannabis materials can lead to unique complications, failing to break down a waxy material from the plant’s leaves, which can then build up in a vaper’s lungs and cause irritation.

Health officials seem to consider this rampant, hidden adulteration the greatest risk associated with vaping CBD as opposed to consuming it in any other form. The Army’s health warning called out the risk of adulteration with synthetic cannabinoids and high concentrations of THC in these products in particular as the likely cause of many, if not all, of the CBD vaping illnesses it saw.

As such, conscious and cautious consumption is almost impossible. Nor is it possible for users to make a real and rational gauge of risk, given uncertainty about the scale of adulteration in the industry. The only real solution to this risk—common to all forms of vaping—would be greater regulation of the industry. But with no signs of that in the offing, users can only approach vaping of CBD or any other substance with a degree of caution and a knowledge of the risks involved.

Project CBD lists a number of warnings:

  • Common additives in cannabis oil vape pens, such as Propylene Glycol (PG) and polyethylene glycol (PEG), can result in exposure to harmful carcinogenic compounds when heated and inhaled.
  • PEG, PG, and some pesticides degrade into stronger toxins at temperatures that vape pens can reach.
  • Many thinning agents and flavoring additives have been safety tested for ingestion and topical application but not for inhalation as heated compounds.
  • Avoid vape oil products with with PG, PEG, and flavoring agents that have not been safety tested for healing and inhalation.

We do not recommend vaping CBD oil for the reasons indicated above. Please use caution when considering vaping vs. taking a daily oral tincture of CBD, and rest assured that all of Stono Creek’s oral tinctures have been 3rd party tested for purity and potency, and only include the ingredients listed on the label.