Do you use a dab or a mod? A pen or a cart? Oil or juice?
If these terms confuse you, you are not alone. They have to do with smoking or inhaling CBD oil, a substance with exciting possibilities that is still so new to the marketplace that it’s causing a great deal of confusion among consumers.
What is CBD oil and why would people take it in any form? Why inhale it instead of ingesting it with one of the other methods that are available: drinking it (in drops, for instance), eating it in food products (i.e., gummies, protein bars) or rubbing it on your skin? Is there a benefit to taking it into your body as smoke or in vapor form? Is there a downside? Is it legal to smoke CBD oil? What kinds of devices do you need in order to do it?
We’ll get to all of those questions in a moment, but first, let’s take a look at exactly what CBD is, and isn’t.
What is CBD and CBD oil?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a naturally-occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. The two most well-known species of this plant are Cannabis sativa (hemp) and Cannabis indica (marijuana). Although these two horticultural cousins bear a strong resemblance to each other, they are different in some significant ways. Hemp contains a lot of cannabidiol and very little THC, otherwise known as Tetrahydrocannabinol. In contrast, marijuana has almost no cannabidiol and considerably more THC than hemp – up to 30%.
Why does this matter? THC is the chemical compound that causes users to experience a “high” and gets marijuana classified as a psychoactive drug. Many people who use hemp-derived CBD are seeking therapeutic benefits but don’t want a mind-altering effect.
CBD oil is extracted from the flowers, leaves, stems and stalks of hemp plants. CBD oil is not to be confused with hemp oil, which is taken from a different part of the hemp plant and contains little or no CBD and thus, does not have the same potential for improving one’s well-being.
Why take CBD oil?
CBD’s popularity in the health and wellness space is growing by leaps and bounds. New companies are emerging and innovative CBD products are being developed and introduced seemingly every week. Why all the excitement? Among other attributes, CBD is thought to reduce stress and anxiety, prevent nausea, aid in sleep, diminish headaches, lessen inflammation and relieve pain. Although more research needs to be done to fully determine the potential of this still-new substance, anecdotal evidence in its efficacy for treating a variety of conditions is compelling.
Additionally, CBD may be useful in helping people to quit smoking. Participants in a 2013 study1 found that CBD enabled them to drastically reduce the number of cigarettes they smoked – by as much as 40%.
Why smoke or vape CBD oil?
Taking CBD into the body through those methods involves physiological processes and effects that are quite different from those that occur when it’s swallowed, eaten or rubbed on. If you are considering inhaling CBD, there are a few things you should know first.
- CBD oil affects the body much more quickly when it is smoked or vaped, because it goes directly into the lungs and then the bloodstream instead of the digestive system. When ingested, the process by which it ends up in the bloodstream is a slower one known as the “first-pass effect.” Because of the shortcut, someone who vapes or smokes CBD may feel its effects in as little as 30 minutes, although differences in metabolism among individuals mean that it’s impossible to predict the timing with accuracy.
- Due to the fact that smoking or vaping CBD increases its bioavailability – or how efficiently a body is able to make use of nutrients – you need a smaller amount of CBD oil to achieve the desired results.
- CBD oil is non addictive. The World Health Organization has concluded that “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential… To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
What is used to smoke or vape CBD oil?
- Vape cartridges (also called “carts”) are one of the preferred devices for inhaling CBD oil. They are sold pre-filled with CBD oil and used with a vape pen – so-named because of its resemblance to the common writing instrument. Vape pens, which are powered by a battery, are compact and easy to use.
- Vape mods are devices that have been modified to produce more vapor than vape pens.
- A dab rig is similar to a bong and is somewhat more complicated to use and less portable than vape pens or mods (although there are portable dab pens). The dab rig filters the CBD concentrate, or dab, through water.
- CBD vape oils or vape juice have been given a thinning agent so that they are able to flow easily through the vape pen and be transformed into inhalable vapor.
Is smoking or vaping CBD oil legal?
According to TrytheCBD, as long as the CBD that is being vaped is extracted from hemp and not from marijuana and contains no more than 0.3% THC, CBD is legal throughout the U.S. on the federal level. However, some states have restrictions on the concentration levels allowed in CBD vape oil. It’s a good idea to check the specific laws in your state.
Beyond that, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate CBD products, because they are considered supplements, not medications.
Is smoking or vaping CBD harmful?
CBD’s emergence as a key ingredient in health and wellness products will undoubtedly give rise to a great deal of research into its applications – and perhaps its limitations.
A review of existing studies finds that CBD is non-toxic and doesn’t negatively affect appetite, heart rate, blood pressure, digestive health or psychological well-being. “Also, chronic use and high doses up to 1,500 mg/day of CBD are reportedly well tolerated in humans.”2
However, there is some concern in the scientific community about how CBD may affect the lungs, how it might interact with other prescription drugs and how it may affect maternal, fetal and infant health.
One study finds that vaping has a lower risk of creating respiratory problems than smoking, because vaporizers don’t get hot enough to emit the kinds of toxins produced by smoking.