Guide to vaping CBD

by Tim W. Shaw July 02, 2020

CBD vaping guide cover image

Vaping is a great way to take CBD. It's cost-effective and gets the cannabinoids into your bloodstream quickly and efficiently; however, if you've not vaped before it can seem like a daunting process.

In this guide, you will find lots of information to help you get started, including the answers to crucial questions that will show you what to expect when you vape.

Benefits of vaping CBD
How to vape CBD
How much CBD to vape

What is CBD e-liquid? 

CBD e-liquid, also known as CBD vape juice, is a liquid made up of hemp extract, vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG). When heated in a vaporiser, it forms a vapour that can be inhaled to deliver the active ingredient to your bloodstream, via your lungs. Sometimes flavourings are added to disguise the taste of the hemp and to make it more pleasant.

VG and PG

The proportion and quality of each ingredient can vary depending on the product you're using. The VG and PG are combined to act as a carrier oil for the active ingredient and flavourings. The ratio of VG/PG affects how well the vapour forms and how much flavour it can carry.

Vegetable glycerin adds thickness to the liquid and vapour. Vape juices with more VG are usually smooth to inhale. Propylene glycol is thinner than VG and allows the mixture to carry more flavour. E-liquids high in PG can be tastier, but it’s likely that you'll notice a sharper feeling in your throat.

MCT vs. PG & VG

MCT oil is a food-grade product that can be sourced from coconuts or palm kernels. It is usually found in edible products including CBD oil, but it can also be used in e-liquids as an alternative to the standard PG/VG blend.

MCT-based vape oil creates a smoother vaping experience with minimal catch or rasp in your throat. Research indicates that it’s also likely to produce fewer by-products such as acetaldehydes. We have found claims that if vaped at too high a temperature MCT oil may cause the rare condition lipoid pneumonia. However, we have not found any evidence or studies to confirm this claim so it remains unproven.

Overall, it produces a safer, more user-friendly vape oil that holds the flavour well and doesn’t hurt your throat.

CBD extracts

CBD can be added to e-liquid in different forms:

Isolate is the most common type found in e-liquid. It is pure CBD that has been extracted from hemp and then processed until it contains nothing else. Products containing isolate are usually cheaper to produce and contain no THC. The drawback is that they won't provide the entourage effect, which is the enhanced impact of CBD when it’s taken with other cannabinoids.

Cannabis Sativa plantFull-spectrum CBD has been extracted from hemp plants and still contains small amounts of all the other cannabinoids, including traces of THC. This affects how the CBD interacts with your body and enhances the result. There are fewer vape juices made with full-spectrum extracts. They are more expensive, but are better than those made with isolate.

Broad-spectrum extract also provides traces of the other cannabinoids from the hemp plant, but the THC has been removed. Full-spectrum extracts are the best, but broad-spectrum are a close second.

Flavouring

Like with foods, vape juices can contain natural or artificial flavourings. For them to be suitable for use in an e-liquid, they need a strong flavour and must dissolve without interfering with the texture of the vapour.

Although natural flavourings are better for you, it’s a lot easier to get an artificial flavour to work well in a vape juice. As a result, products with natural flavourings can be hard to find and slightly more expensive.

Other CBD products that can be vaped

As well as liquids, you can vape CBD in other forms. Most of these other CBD products are less available than e-liquid and may need extra or specialist equipment.

Dry herb CBD vape Isolates – Similar to the isolate found in most e-liquids, this is a variety that comes in crystal form. They provide a much stronger vapour because they have no carrier liquids or other diluting ingredients. Crystals can be vaporised in vapes designed for isolates or in dab-rigs. A dab-rig is a form of vaporiser designed to vaporise concentrated hemp or cannabis extracts quickly. 
Wax – This is a concentrated form of CBD extract that manufacturers have processed into wax. Depending on how they make it, it can be full-spectrum or isolate and is often extremely potent. Wax is vaporised and inhaled using specially designed vapes or dab-rigs.
Shatter – Produced in a similar way to wax, but during its production its kept at a constant temperature which allows it to develop a transparent glass-like appearance. It can also be made from isolate, broad-spectrum or full-spectrum extract and you can vape it in the same way as isolate or wax.
Hemp flower – Flowers from the hemp plant can be dried, shredded and vaped. This can be done using a dry herb vaporiser. It's illegal to buy or sell hemp flower before it's been processed into tea, oils or other products. This is because in its flower form it could be possible to extract any traces of THC.

Benefits and effects 

Many people find that once they've tried it, inhaling cannabidiol-based vape oils is their preferred way to take CBD. It has several benefits, including several that can't be achieved with other cannabinoid delivery methods.

1. More CBD reaches your blood

If you swallow CBD, only 4% can be used by your body because your gut and/or liver will break most of it down. When you inhale a vapour, it goes straight into your lungs where it can pass into your blood without being broken down. As a result, with vaping, up to 56% of the CBD can be transported around your body for use in your cells. This makes vaping CBD the most effective way to take CBD.

2. It can save you money

Because more CBD reaches your blood, it makes e-liquids significantly better value than other products. Smaller amounts of vape juice can produce the same strength of effect as a much stronger CBD oil.

3. It works quickly

It's easy for CBD vapour to reach your lungs and enter your bloodstream, so it starts working within 10 to 20 minutes. This is much faster than swallowing it, which can take between 30 minutes to 2 hours to take effect. It's also slightly quicker than letting it absorb under your tongue, which starts to work between 15 and 25 minutes.

4. It's easy to control the amount you consume

Vaping offers you the greatest control over how much you consume. Because each puff only holds a small amount of CBD, you can make minute adjustments to the amount you use.

If you want to start slowly, try two or three puffs a day. As you grow in confidence and begin to learn how it affects you, you can increase the number of puffs and the number of times you use your vape in a day. 

5. It's relatively discreet

Although using CBD is legal and growing in popularity, some people still feel self-conscious about being seen to use it. However, most pen vapes produce very little visible vapour and no noticeable smell. Also, there are lots of small devices that you could easily keep in a pocket or bag. Although your friends and colleagues may see you using a vape, it would be close to impossible for anyone to know that you're using CBD and not another form of e-liquid.

6. E-liquids come in a range of flavours

If you don't like the intense bitter flavour that accompanies most CBD oils, e-liquids are ideal for you. They are much milder in taste and can be combined with some genuinely inventive flavours. With a flavoured e-liquid, you won't be able to detect any hemp taste, you just get hints of your desired flavour as you inhale.

The drawbacks of vaping CBD e-liquid:

While there are many great reasons to start inhaling CBD vapour, there are a few drawbacks to be aware of too. The first is that to get started you much purchase a vape. This is an extra expense not needed with other methods.

A small pen vape will likely only cost you around £30. If you buy one with a refillable tank and you keep it clean, the only other expense should be vape juice and occasionally a new heating coil.

Another issue you may face with CBD e-liquid is that some people simply don't like the idea of inhaling vapour. For someone who's never done it before it can be off-putting, but once you've tried it, you may find that you get used to it quickly.

Does it get you high

CBD, even when inhaled, is non-intoxicating and won't get you high. The high that people experience when using cannabis comes from a plant substance called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Legal CBD e-liquids available in the UK are made from strains of cannabis called hemp that are naturally low in THC. Also, during the extraction process, the presence of THC is minimised to achieve the legal level of less than 1mg THC per container.

How does vaping CBD make you feel? 

When you vape CBD, the first thing you will notice is the flavour of the vapour. It's a milder sensation than when you eat or drink something, but the taste can be just as strong.

Man Vaping Dabbing CBD oil

Then you may feel a slight catch in your throat. Some e-liquids are completely smooth as you inhale them, but others give you a gentle raspy feeling. Many people enjoy this as it lets them know when they're inhaling vapour. Without that, it can be hard to tell the difference between inhaling vapour and a normal breath of air.

As you inhale a few times, the regular breathing allows you to focus and can be calming in its own right. Several minutes after you've inhaled the vapour you may notice a small change in how you are feeling. How CBD affects you varies slightly from person to person, but some refer to it as a 'grounding' sensation.

Is vaping CBD safe?

Good-quality CBD has an excellent safety record. But, in the last few years, several people have been admitted to hospital with lung conditions related to vaping. Now that these cases have been fully investigated it was found that they were linked either to THC e-liquids or fake brands who used additional unsafe ingredients in their products. One of the leading causes of health problems was when vitamin E acetate was added to the vape liquid to dilute it.

While there is still a lot to learn about exactly how e-liquids affect people in the long term, those available in the UK from well-known reputable brands contain simple ingredients with high quality and safety standards.

Can you vape CBD oil?

No, you should not vape CBD oil. Oils and e-liquids are different products. CBD e-liquids are specifically designed to be vaporised whereas CBD oil is designed to be dropped under your tongue or swallowed.

An e-liquid is made specifically to be vaporised at the correct temperature. All the substances they contain have been tested to produce a smooth, safe vapour. CBD oils, on the other hand, are thicker and are not compatible with vaporisers. They also contain carrier oils such as MCT, hemp seed or olive oil.

How to vape CBD

Vaping using Tank Style Vapes The process of vaping will vary depending on the equipment you've selected. The main difference is between vaporisers with tanks, cartridges or disposable vapes.

A vaporiser with a tank is the most cost-effective and allows you to top it up whenever it gets empty. For a cartridge vape, you buy a prepared cartridge which attaches to your battery and can be disposed of and replaced when it's empty. With a disposable vape, you must replace the whole product once it's empty.

What you will need:

    An e-liquid vaporiser
    A bottle or cartridge of CBD vape juice

    Vaping CBD:

      1. Start by familiarising yourself with the vape. Read the instructions, assemble it and test the controls.

      2. Now, carefully pour the liquid into the tank or attach the cartridge. Some e-liquid bottles are easier to pour than others so take care not to get e-liquid in other parts of the vape or let your tank overflow.

      3. Turn your device on; most turn on with 1, 3 or 5 clicks of the power button.

      4. Once it's on, take one small puff. Some models will automatically vaporise the e-liquid as you inhale, others need you to hold a button down each time you breathe in. Hold it in for a second or two and exhale.

      5. Do this 2-3 times and repeat as needed throughout the day.

      Mouth to Lung (MTL) vs Direct to Lung (DTL)

      Now you've used your vaporiser a few times you can make some further choices about how you use it. There are two main methods of inhaling CBD vapour: Mouth to Lung (MTL) and Direct to Lung (DTL).

      DTL vs MTL CBD vaping graph

      Mouth to lung is when you draw the vapour into your mouth, hold it there for a few seconds then inhale it into your lungs. With direct to lung, you inhale the vapour directly from your vaporiser in a continuous breath until it reaches your lungs.

      Direct to lung means that more of the cannabinoids in the vapour reach your lung for quick absorption into your blood. If the vapour stays in your mouth before reaching your lungs, you may notice the flavour more, but some of the active ingredients are absorbed into your mouth.

      MTL is the easiest way to get started with vaping. It lets you have more control over the amount of vapour that reaches your lungs. Until you get used to it, DTL is likely to feel quite intense and may make you cough. Most people who vape CBD end up using a mixture of both methods.

      How much CBD should I vape?

      When you start vaping, e-liquid of any strength can be easily adjusted to suit your needs by taking more or fewer puffs.

      CBD affects each person slightly differently, so starting with a small amount each day will give you time to get used to using your vape and experience its effects.

      Starting with a 1% e-liquid

      Start by adding 1ml of 1% e-liquid to the vape tank. This will include 10mg of CBD and should be inhaled over four days.

      Start by taking two puffs in the morning and two in the evening. Increase the number of puffs and how often you vape until the tank is empty at the end of the fourth day.

      If you felt comfortable vaping that amount, aim for 5mg (1/2 millilitre) per day for four days. It may require up to 60 puffs per day to get 5mg of CBD. To consume more in fewer inhalations, you will require a more potent liquid.

      Starting with a 3% e-liquid

      If you add 1ml of 3% e-liquid to your tank, it will have 30mg of CBD. Use a third of this over the first four days (10mg of CBD).

      On the first day take two puffs in the morning and two in the evening. Then, increase the number of puffs and how often you vape until you complete the first third of the tank by the end of the fourth day.

      If you felt comfortable vaping that amount, aim for a daily amount of 5mg CBD, until your tank is empty.

      Starting with a 5% e-liquid

      With a 5% e-liquid, add 1ml to your tank. This will contain 50mg of CBD. Start by inhaling a fifth of the tank, over the first four days.

      Because each puff delivers a more substantial amount of CBD, you will only need a few puffs each time. Aim for 2.5mg daily which for the average vape maybe two sessions of about three puffs.

      Then finish the remaining 40mg over the next eight days.

      Increasing the strength at your own pace

      If you follow this guidance, you will reach a daily measure of 5mg CBD. Whatever the strength of the oil you’ve chosen, now add another 1ml to your tank and slowly increase the amount you use each day.

      Four days of 10mg, then four of 15mg and so on will help you find the level that’s right for you. Many people who vape CBD, regularly use between 30mg and 40mg, but the correct amount is different for everyone. As soon as you find a routine that gives you the result you want, stop increasing.

      Conclusion

      Vaping CBD e-liquid is a convenient and cost-effective way to consume CBD. If you're new to vaping, the best way to ensure success is to find a high-quality product that's right for you. The consistency and flavour of vape juice can make a significant difference to your overall experience.

      Once you have everything you need, take it slowly and gradually increase the amount you use a little at a time. You'll be amazed at how quickly you get used to it and it will soon become a natural part of your day.

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      CBD vaping for the Ageless

      Tim W. Shaw
      Tim W. Shaw

      Author

      Tim W. Shaw writes extensively about CBD oil, cannabis and other groundbreaking food supplements. He and his wife share their home with two daughters and a lifetime’s collection of books.


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