A Simple Guide to CBD Vapes: Legality, Benefits, Safety & Risks
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Cannabidiol, or CBD, has garnered widespread attention as a natural remedy for an array of health concerns. Unlike its cousin THC, CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t cause a high. This quality makes CBD an attractive option for those looking for the therapeutic effects of cannabis without mind-altering experiences.
Among the various methods of consuming CBD, vaping has emerged as particularly popular, especially among young adults.
Approximately 37% of CBD users chose CBD vape pens in the United States in 2023. Moreover, there is a growing interest in CBD vaping products, with about 13% of consumers expressing curiosity about these options in a survey conducted by SingleCare.
This indicates a significant potential for growth in the CBD vaping market – a trend likely to be seen in Thailand. That said, vaping in all forms – including CBD vapes – is illegal in Thailand.
With that in mind, we will explore how CBD vape pens work, their safety considerations, and the essential information you need to know before you start vaping cannabidiol. We aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of CBD vapes, enabling you to make informed decisions about their use.
What are CBD vapes?
CBD vape pens work on the same basic principle as their THC counterparts—by heating CBD oil to a temperature that turns it into a vapour. This vapour is then inhaled, delivering CBD directly into the lungs and rapidly absorbing it into the body. This is particularly appealing to those seeking swift relief from anxiety, pain, or inflammation.
The key difference in the composition of CBD vape juice compared to THC vape juice lies in the cannabinoid content.
CBD vape juice is typically made from hemp extract and contains high levels of CBD with little to no THC. On the other hand, THC vape juice is made from strains of cannabis that have higher concentrations of THC.
What goes inside the CBD vape juice?
CBD vape oils have a carrier liquid that is different from those used in THC vape oils. The core ingredients include:
- Cannabidiol (CBD) – This is available in different spectrums within vape juices – pure CBD isolate or a mix of CBD with cannabinoids and terpenes.
- Carrier agents – These are used to dissolve CBD and create vapour:
- A mix of vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG) is commonly used due to their safe profile and water-soluble properties.
- Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, often derived from coconut oil, is another carrier used in CBD tinctures and some vape products, although its safety for inhalation is still under scrutiny.
- TEC Temper Oil is a newer agent with antioxidants and anti-irritants, offering a safer vaping experience.
- Flavouring agents: CBD vape juices may also include flavour to provide a variety of taste profiles. These flavours can be derived from natural sources or be synthetically created.
Also known as CBD e-liquid, the vape juices come in various formulations for different preferences and needs:
- CBD isolate: These contain only pure CBD and are free of other cannabinoids or terpenes. Ideal for those who want to avoid THC entirely.
- Whole-plant E-liquid: These include the full range of hemp plant compounds, such as other cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils, which work together to enhance the therapeutic effects, known as the entourage effect. They may contain trace amounts of THC.
- Broad-Spectrum CBD Vapes: Similar to full-spectrum, these products contain multiple hemp extracts but have had all THC compounds completely removed. They’re suitable for users who want the benefits of the entourage effect without any THC. This may include cannabinoids like CBG (cannabigerol) and CBN (cannabinol).
Types of CBD vapes
CBD vapes come in various forms, each offering different conveniences and experiences:
- Disposable CBD vapes: These are ready-to-use vape pens, discarded once the CBD e-liquid is depleted. They are known for their convenience and portability, ideal for beginners or those who vape occasionally.
- Reusable CBD vapes:
- Cartridge-based systems: These consist of a rechargeable battery and replaceable cartridges (often called ‘carts’). When the e-liquid runs out, you swap in a new cartridge. This system is user-friendly and allows for exploring different CBD vape formulations.
- Refillable vape pens: These devices have a tank that you can refill with CBD vape juice. They require more knowledge to maintain but offer more flexibility regarding flavour and CBD concentrations.
CBD vapes are illegal in Thailand
Vaping is illegal and banned in Thailand. This includes the business, use, and import/export of any vaping device, electronic cigarette, vape pens, or vape cartridges – including the ones with CBD juice.
In reality, as with many such things, it is common to find people vaping. Vape carts with CBD and THC are also sold in certain dispensaries. Of course, these are illegal, and if the authorities catch you, you must pay a hefty fine.
What are the benefits of vaping CBD?
Inhalation through vaping allows CBD to be absorbed quickly and provides greater bioavailability. This means more CBD is available for your body to use than other methods. It becomes an added advantage when people need a fasting-acting solution with long-lasting relief.
Apart from this, there are benefits of using cannabidiol itself. CBD can assist with the following:
- Relaxation and calmness without intoxication
- Relief from pain and inflammation
- Assistance with sleep in higher doses
- Treatment for epilepsy and seizures
- Increased alertness in lower doses
- Reduced anxiety and stress
- Improved mood and a general sense of well-being
- Potential therapeutic effects for other mental health conditions
How much CBD should you vape?
A general rule regarding CBD dosage is to start low and go slow. You may start with 10 mg of CBD per day, and as you become more used to it, you may increase it to 40-60 mg per day.
That said, the ideal dosage of cannabidiol varies from person to person and depends on factors like metabolism, tolerance, sensitivity, and severity of the condition. The amount of CBD you need for pain will be different from your friend’s. Hence, it will take some experimentation to find the right dose to vape.
Are CBD vapes safe to use?
Vaping is often linked to being a ‘healthier’ alternative to smoking. This is because vaping does not involve the burning process, which gives rise to carcinogens.
However, experts raise concerns about vaping. The CBD juice used for vaping is typically paired with other chemicals for flavour and, at times, nicotine, which introduce their own risks. These additional substances can harm lung, heart, and gastrointestinal health.
A 2023 research by Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center has added to the concerns surrounding CBD vapes. A study comparing the effects of vaping CBD versus nicotine found that CBD vaping can lead to significantly more severe lung damage, causing increased inflammation and oxidative stress after just short-term use.
Similarly, vitamin E acetate – a common additive used in vape juices – was linked to an EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury) outbreak in 2019. While this compound has since been removed from vape oils, other potentially harmful ingredients may circulate.
Vaping products and e-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, or pregnant individuals. There is also a lack of evidence supporting the use of vaping CBD for medicinal purposes.
Overall, the long-term effects of vaping on the body, especially the lungs, remain uncertain due to the relative newness of the technology and the limited research available on the specific effects of vaping CBD.
Side effects of CBD
Keeping aside the health risks of vaping itself, CBD use also comes with its side effects. Although cannabidiol is often well-tolerated, it can cause the following:
- Reduced appetite
CBD can also interact with other medications you may be taking – a phenomenon known as drug interaction. This means cannabidiol can potentially impact the way these medications are supposed to work, thereby changing their effectiveness. In such cases, always speak to your doctor when you decide to add CBD to your daily routine.
Alternative to CBD vapes
Vaping is illegal in Thailand and, hence, is not a regulated industry. This means all vape products you see in the Thai market – including the ones with CBD vape juices – are illegal.
This means there are no quality checks in place to gauge the authenticity of such products. This is particularly important as CBD e-liquids may contain harmful additives or haven’t been made as per the industry benchmarks in the West. Such products are also cheap, which means quality may very well be compromised.
In such cases, it may be better to avoid such products at all – until the time you have access to them in a legal, regulated market. Even then, you must do your due diligence to opt for a product that is reliable, well-reputed, and transparent with its ingredients list.
In the meantime, consider trying safer alternatives like:
CBD vapes offer a fast, convenient, and effective method to get your daily dosage of cannabidiol. Moreover, CBD itself is associated with many potential health benefits like less pain, improved sleep, less stress, and an ease in seizure-related symptoms. As for vaping, it is less harmful than smoking because it does not contain carcinogens.
However, it is worth noting that vape juice – the liquid that goes inside the vape device – may often contain chemicals and additives which can harm the lungs and heart when inhaled. The safety of these vape juices is still being studied, and early research indicates the aerosol from these chemicals can cause breathing problems.
This becomes more important to note in illegal markets like Thailand, where an absence of product regulations means counterfeit CBD vape juices may circulate in the market.
When trying CBD vapes, ensure you opt for a reputed, lawful product with good ratings. Alternatively, you may also consider trying legal, more accessible CBD products like oils and edibles.