The Hazards of Vaping and CBD

Health hazards from vaping

Image Credit: By StunningArt on shutterstock.

In light of the more than 800 cases of lung disease and 15 deaths attributed to e-cigarettes, also called “vaping,” individual states and the Presidential administration are calling for bans on the electronic devices. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar recently announced the Food and Drug Administration is creating regulations that will remove all flavored e-cigarettes from the U.S. market within the next month. Businesses will regain permission to sell flavored products only after they apply to and receive approval from the FDA.

The White House did not issue any statement on whether cannabis e-cigarettes would be banned. But does that mean vaping CBD is safe? If you currently vape CBD, should you reconsider? What does this mean for you?

Vaping Cartridges: What Is in Your Favorite Flavors?

Because the FDA is still crafting regulations regarding the sale of CBD products, there is no federal standard when it comes to how CBD products are made and sold. That means if you are the buyer, you must beware of what is in any CBD you purchase for vaping. While some claim that vaping is the best way to deliver the most cannabidiol into your system, you could also be inhaling toxic compounds into your lungs.

For one thing, hemp plants have an oily, waxy substance that covers the surface of the plant. The substance is called cuticle wax, and it is an outer layer of lipids. They’re good for the plant – not so great for your lungs. Vape pens heat up to a lower temperature than traditional means of smoking, so the waxes don’t burn away and could get sucked down into your lungs.

Some companies add propylene glycol (PG) and polyethylene glycol (PEG) as thinning agents to their CBD vape juice, because CBD resin is too thick by itself. These two chemicals expose those who vape to carcinogenics when the glycols are heated and then inhaled. In fact, PG breaks down into formaldehyde when heated. Project CBD, a cannabis industry watchdog, examined many vape pens and discovered that all of the ones they tested had PG or PEG. Yikes!

Also, vape companies like to add flavors to the vape juice to make it taste good. It’s these flavorings that are believed to be the cause of the rampant cases of lung disease now being reported among e-cigarette users. Patients’ symptoms include cough, chest pain and shortness of breath, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you vape and you have any of these symptoms, the CD and the Surgeon General recommend you stop all vaping immediately.

Researchers are not sure yet what exactly is making e-cigarette users so sick, but the flavorings are believed to be the cause. One 2018 study by the University of Rochester found that e-cigarette flavoring chemicals are toxic to our white blood cells. Cinnamon, vanilla, cream, and buttery flavors ranked the worst. The chemical that makes the creamy, buttery taste is diacetyl, which causes “popcorn lung,” a respiratory illness that can kill you.

Vaping CBD: Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?

When CBD began rising in popularity, you may have gotten the first impression that vaping could be the best way to deliver the most CBD to your body for the maximum benefit. However, even if your vape cartridges are unflavored and the brand you choose can prove there is no PG or PEG or cuticle waxes in it, there are other chemicals and toxic elements to watch out for. The hemp plant is a bioaccumulator. That means it likes to absorb everything from the soil it grows in. If the hemp that produced your CBD was grown in soil that contains heavy metals, you’re inhaling those metals too. If there were pesticides in the soil where your hemp was cultivated, you may be sucking in pure poison. The pesticide myclobutanil, for example, turns into highly toxic cyanide gas if heated past its boiling point.

Studies are proving the potential for us to gain many health benefits from CBD, but there are a lot of ways to take CBD besides vaping. God gave us only one set of lungs, and he instructs us clearly in the New Testament to honor Him with our bodies, because as followers of Christ we have his Spirit within us. Our lungs need to be healthy in order for us to do the work God created us to do.

If Vaping Might Be Dangerous, How Should I Take CBD?

If you want to use CBD for ailments such as insomnia, anxiety, joint pain or inflammation, and other conditions, you can deliver CBD to your body in other ways besides vaping. Many people opt for CBD tinctures, which are just bottles of CBD mixed with a carrier oil like coconut for maximum absorption. A few drops of the tincture should be held under the tongue for at least 45 seconds in order for the oil to be absorbed into the tissue. CBD supplements can also be swallowed, and CBD is also infused into many edible products such as gummies. For skin rashes and dry patches, CBD topicals have also proven to be helpful for many people.

Before taking any CBD products, carefully check out the products you are considering. Make sure they have been tested by a third-party laboratory so you know they are free from contaminants and toxic chemicals. As always, consult with a medical professional who can help you decide which dosages and products might be appropriate. Make sure you tell your doctor all the medications you are currently taking so your medical expert can help you avoid any negative interactions or adverse effects.

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