Generally speaking, vaping is an unsafe practice regardless of what substances are in the vape pen. And, CBD oil is no exception. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently linked vaping products to an outbreak of nearly 3,000 lung illnesses that were so serious that even young people were being admitted to the hospital. Meanwhile, nearly 70 people have died from what is now being called EVALI (e-cigarette and vaping associated lung injury). And, the CDC believes thousands more may have admitted to the hospital with lung issues related to vaping.
In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved only one CBD-based medication, which is used to treat seizures associated with two severe forms of epilepsy. But, when it comes to CBD in general, they stress that it cannot be added to food, drinks, or dietary supplements. And although the FDA has warned manufacturers against making unproven health claims, it has not done much to stop the sale of CBD products.
What Is CBD Oil?
If you are considering vaping CBD oil as a way to address a medical concern, talk to your doctor first. The risks associated with vaping and CBD oil are significant and may not provide the benefits you want.
Because this testing was a such a small sample, the AP noted that their sampling is not representative of the entire CBD market. However, their testing does show just how risky it is to vape CBD oil when there is little to no regulation of the product. Vapers have no idea what they are getting when they take a puff.
To make matters worse, this lack of certification has lead people to sell vaping liquid they claim contains CBD oil when it actually contains harmful chemicals, which is injuring and killing people in the process. To determine the extent to which this is occurring, the Associated Press (AP) commissioned a study to analyze the contents of nearly 30 oils claiming to contain CBD.
In addition to the solvents in vape oils being potentially dangerous by themselves, the byproducts that can be created when the solvents are heated to high temperatures are also dangerous. For example, heating propylene glycol can create formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, and acetaldehyde, a possible carcinogen, both of which are also present in cigarette smoke, Benowitz says.
To address the possible danger—and because flavors such as fruit and mint might attract children and teens—the FDA recently banned flavorings except menthol and tobacco in most nicotine vaping products. The agency will now require manufacturers to provide evidence that their flavor additives are safe to be inhaled before they can be marketed and sold.
Manufacturers sometimes add a solvent to an oil to make it inhalable by vape pens, the battery-powered devices that heat and vaporize the oil, says Neal Benowitz, M.D., a cardiologist and toxicologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who has studied cigarette smoking, cannabis, and vaping.
But those new rules would apply only to tobacco vape products, not those that contain CBD.
CBD is a nonpsychoactive compound found in cannabis plants, which include hemp and marijuana, that is often used to ease anxiety, insomnia, and pain.
Partly to reduce that risk posed by vaping, in December President Donald Trump signed legislation to raise the federal minimum age to purchase any tobacco product, including nicotine vapes, to 21, up from age 18. But, again, the new age rule does not apply to CBD vape products, which the CDC’s King says varies by state.
Two common ones are propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, though manufacturers sometimes also use polyethylene glycol and what’s known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), such as coconut oil.