Panacea Life Sciences does not recommend the use of any vaping products as multiple reports over time have arisen with health concerns and even deaths related to it. However, exploring the subject and finding new alternatives to vaping is important; over the past few years, there has been an increased interest in CBD products. Short for cannabidiol, CBD comes from Hemp, which is a legal member of the cannabis family based on its THC content is less than 0.3%. People take CBD for a myriad of reasons, including relaxation, insomnia, depression, anxiety, and pain management. Studies have also suggested that CBD may have some other health benefits, as well. Since approximately 2010, there has been a flurry of research, and most of it has been encouraging!
There are multiple ways to consume CBD. Whether you are interested in trying CBD for the first time or if you are a long-time CBD user, you should be aware of the pros and cons of consuming CBD via various methods. In particular, CBD pens (vapes) have become incredibly popular in recent years.
While there certainly have been some negative news articles about the dangers of vaping, many retailers will extol its benefits. However, as with many products, these retailers may be exaggerating the benefits of vaping. To understand why this is the case, we need to first look at how CBD enters the body, how CBD pens work, and what alternatives there are that may or may not be better options for CBD enthusiasts (like CBD tinctures).
How CBD Enters the Body
The human body has an internal regulatory system called the “endocannabinoid” system. The “endo” prefix is Greek, and it means “within.” The term, therefore, means that we have an internal cannabinoid system that helps our body maintain homeostasis.
Typically, our bodies produce cannabinoids that bind with the various receptors throughout our systems. There are cannabinoid receptors in our skin, our brain, and our organs. Our bodies contain cannabinoid receptors all over.
CBD, like other cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, binds with these receptors to help balance the endocannabinoid system and produce some desirable effects. In the case of CBD, the user is likely to feel less anxiety, less depression, and less pain. CBD is also a potent anti-inflammatory, so if there is any inflammation (e.g., from a condition like rheumatoid arthritis), CBD will help reduce that swelling.
All of these cannabinoids have the most profound effects on our bodies once they reach the bloodstream. If you apply it topically in a cream or salve, while it may provide some localized relief from pain, it won’t provide the same benefits from other conditions (like anxiety, for example).
To get CBD into our systems, we need to introduce it into our bloodstream. There are three ways to consume CBD. Either you eat it (ingest), you put some drops of oil under your tongue (this is called “sublingual” administration), or you breathe it in (respiratory delivery).
If you swallow CBD (either the oil directly or through edibles), then it has to go through the digestive system. CBD is lipophilic, or “fat-loving,” and is not water-soluble. Much of the CBD will not be absorbed, and some will find its way into the bloodstream. A percentage will find its way to the endocannabinoid system. Elimination of CBD from the body has been studied. Research has shown that CBD first goes through the liver, where some enzymes break it down. After that, it passes through to the bloodstream. This two-stage process has the effect of mediating how much CBD can reach the endocannabinoid system; a gradual absorption into the bloodstream and delivery to the endocannabinoid system competes with the liver metabolism to eliminate the CBD from the body. People who consume CBD oil through edibles tend to report a gradual relaxation, rather than a sudden “headrush.”
Sublingual administration bypasses the digestive system and enables the mucous membranes in the bottom of your mouth (under the tongue) to absorb the CBD and permit it to pass more directly into the bloodstream. This can provide a higher concentration to the bloodstream, delivering more to the endocannabinoid system before the liver eliminates the CBD. As a result, this method has a much higher absorption rate or bioavailability.
On the other hand, the fastest way to get CBD into your system is through inhaling it. Vape pens enable users to do just that. Once inhaled, the CBD enters through air sacs into the lungs directly into the bloodstream. CBD pens, therefore, are the most rapid way to feel the effects of this substance. Users frequently report that they could feel the CBD’s results within a matter of minutes, not half an hour or longer, like with oral methods.
However, with those intense effects comes a downside. Since the CBD rushes into your bloodstream with high intensity, you will notice the change during both the onset and the elimination of the. As such, users who vape typically report a strong effect that dissipates comparatively quickly. With oral CBD, users may feel it for 5-6 hours, but with CBD pens, they might only feel it for 2-3 instead. Although vaping is undoubtedly a popular method for taking CBD, typically, it may require often vaping to feel the effects throughout the day. The general risks of vaping cannot be overstated here; the lungs are a very sensitive organ that may be damaged easily.
How Do CBD Pens Work?
CBD comes from the cannabis family of plants. It is one of the many cannabinoid chemicals that these plants have. There are a few methods to extract CBD from Hemp, including using liquid solvents, carbon dioxide, and oil extraction. Each one of these methods has its pros and cons.
Once extracted, you will have a liquid substance that contains all the beneficial cannabinoids from the plant. Manufacturers refer to this as Full-Spectrum CBD. However, when you extract just the CBD from this mixture using a process called chromatography. Think of this process as a way to remove all impurities using a fine sand filter to separate the different cannabinoids from the overall liquid.
In the end, CBD is isolated as a crystallized powder that manufacturers may add to anything. People may add CBD Isolate to food, drinks, and even vaping products. Manufacturers add CBD, terpenes (which are responsible for the natural flavor in real cannabis), and potentially some other cannabinoids to a liquid inside a cartridge that you put inside a CBD pen. The pen heats the fluid, so it becomes vapor. You may then inhale the steam and receive a rush of CBD since you may absorb so much of it into your system.
It’s worth noting that some sites incorrectly call these cartridges “CBD oil.” The truth is that there is no CBD oil in them and if you did try and vape real CBD oil, not only would it taste awful, but it may also be quite damaging to your lungs and body. You must consume pure CBD oil through the mouth and never via a vape pen.
Are There Any Issues with Vaping?
For the most part, when used as directed, vaping is believed to be reasonably safe. There have been media reports of damaged lungs and such, but usually, this is due to incorrect usage (e.g., trying to put actual CBD oil or Vitamin E oil in the formula). As a result of recent injuries from vaping fluids manufactured illegally in the THC markets, vaping is under increased scrutiny. Safety studies are underway to determine if common components in the formulation are harmful when used at the frequencies; a typical vape user may inhale the formula.
However, whether or not vaping is right for you depends mostly on what your desired CBD outcome is. Are you looking for a way to reap the potential health benefits of CBD? If so, then vaping is likely not the most rapid way to administer the CBD. The reason is that inhaling the CBD causes a significant amount of it to enter your system at once. That dosage prompts your body to work overtime to eliminate it. After 2-3 hours, your body has removed much of it, and you’re back to not having the relief you seek.
As a quick example, suppose that you were looking to use CBD for stress relief. Maybe you have a difficult job, for example, and would like to see if CBD may help you feel more relaxed. Using a vape would give you a rush of relaxation, but you wouldn’t experience it for long. You could come home, vape at 6 pm, and by 8-9 pm, you would no longer be feeling the effects. Conversely, if you used something like a CBD tincture, you would be able to sublingually take it (or consume it as part of an edible) at 6 pm, feel the effects a 7 pm, and those would last you well until midnight or even longer.
If you’re considering CBD because it may help with certain health conditions, then what you want is something sustainable and long-lasting, not an initial rush followed by a steep decline!
What Are CBD Tinctures? Are They Different Than CBD Oil?
People who are looking to ingest CBD may have seen the word “tincture” before. What may be confusing at first is that both are consumable. You may consume a CBD oil and CBD tincture sublingually, and each substance is a liquid. Therefore, it can be easy to assume that both are the same. In reality, while they are similar, they are different.
Manufacturers extract CBD oil from the plant. This oil (usually Hemp oil) comprises all the cannabinoids that were in the plant itself. When you consume CBD oil, you are taking a pure cannabis product in that all the ingredients come from the plant itself.
A tincture combines all the “liquid extracts of Hemp combined with alcohol, vegetable glycerin or oil like cinnamon or peppermint.” In effect, manufacturers have a similar process to creating the vaping liquid used in CBD pens.
There are a few reasons why tinctures may be better than CBD oil. First, a CBD tincture may have a flavor to it, or it can be relatively flavorless. They might even be sweet if you want. If you are looking at consuming CBD as a habit, you’re going to want a way that is sustainable long-term. Edibles are a great way to ensure that. Baking cookies, granola bars, and other fun snacks in a way that includes CBD will ensure that you have a constant, healthy supply of CBD each day. Tinctures that are made with alcohol and flavoring are flavorful and easy to use. CBD oil may not have a “user-friendly” flavor. The market seems to use Tincture and Oil interchangeably, however. This is a clear misnomer.
Which Should I Try? CBD Pens or CBD Tinctures?
Consuming all forms of CBD may lead to positive health benefits. There’s no “bad” way to consume CBD. However, some methods are more amicable to long-term goals than others.
A CBD pen is primarily for those that want to feel the effects of CBD all at once. If you want a “headrush” feeling where you feel relaxed, less anxious, and have less pain immediately, then a vape may be a good option for you. Be aware of the on-going safety studies, however.
However, if you are looking for sustained benefits, then vaping is not the best way to go about it. Many of the potential health benefits of CBD come from a long-lasting effect. For example, you won’t unlock all the neuroprotective benefits of CBD if you take a large dosage at once, and then it dissipates. You’re going to want that CBD to remain in your system at lower dosages to continuously provide benefits.
In this respect, CBD is very similar to acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin). When doctors are prescribing this drug for heart health, they prescribe it in low dosages. When you have a headache, you want high dosages to feel relief as soon as possible. They also have different pharmacological properties at each dose. A high dosage of Aspirin relieves pain (and does promote, to a degree, heart health), whereas a daily low-dose “thins” the blood, which leads to less clotting in the heart.
Vaping and tinctures have a similar dichotomy. Lasting benefits tend to come from products like oils and tinctures. Different, but still positive, immediate effects come from vaping. In general, though, people tend to find that tinctures provide a more satisfying, longer-lasting enjoyment than vaping. Plus, you may add tinctures to your favorite recipes to ensure you’re consuming CBD regularly.
No matter how you choose to take CBD, the important thing is to try it out! Pick up some tinctures, an oil, and see how it might positively benefit your health and wellness today!