In this guide to vaping cannabis oil, we will explore the pros and cons of this inhalation method, discuss important safety considerations, and share a tutorial to show you how to use oil cartridges and pens.
What Does It Mean to Vape?
The inhalation method we are focusing on today is known as vaping cannabis oil.
Vaping cannabis oil is a smokeless, low-temperature method of inhaling cannabis vapor.
However, it's important to note that this method is different than dry herb vaping.
This method continues to be a favorite consumption method among members of my Well With Cannabis Facebook Community.
When done safely, vaping cannabis can be a convenient, discrete way to enjoy cannabis.
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What is a Vape Cartridge?
Cannabis vape oil is a cannabis concentrate that has been formulated to be used in a vaporizer or with a vape pen.
Cannabis vape oil is made from cannabis extracts but can include additional ingredients to make the product physically functional to vaporize with a vaporizer battery.
This mixture is packaged in what is known as a vape cartridge.
The specific additional ingredients used in each cartridge range from product to product, but all vape oils need to contain a mixture of cannabis oil and a thinning agent.
The most common but dangerous thinning agents used in vape oil cartridges are propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, MCT coconut oil, and/or vitamin E acetate.
It is recommended to avoid the inhalation of any of the above thinning agents because they become carcinogenic or harmful when heated.
For this reason, the benefits of vaping cannabis oil are in jeopardy.
It is important to note that all vape cartridges should be purchased from a licensed dispensary or reputable online retailer.
What is a Vape Pen or Battery?
Vape oil will come in a small cartridge, but you cannot do anything with the cartridge without a battery, also known as a vape pen, to turn the oil into inhale-able vapor.
A vape pen is a small battery-powered device that heats the cannabis oil liquid into an inhalable vapor.
There are hundreds of thousands of pens, atomizers, portable devices, e-cigarettes, and even tabletop models that plug into the wall. All of these devices work by heating an electric coil.
Many vape pens are designed specifically for cannabis consumption as compared to nicotine consumption.
Cheap vape pens tend to have fixed temperatures that are high enough to hit over 350+degrees without combusting, while higher-end and more expensive vape pens allow for temperature or voltage control.
A higher-end vape pen with temperature and voltage control is ideal because all cannabinoids activate at different temperatures.
There is also a noticeable quality difference.
Pros of Vaping Cannabis Oil
There are potential benefits to vaping cannabis as a cannabis consumption method depending on the individual, their certain circumstances, and individual goals.
It is important to remember that cannabis affects each person differently, which is why it is important to take your time and be patient when beginning to use cannabis.
It may take some time to identify your ideal dosage and preferred application method.
Inhalation of cannabinoids has a typical onset of 1-3 minutes with a lasting duration of 1-3 hours.
This is particularly important for those who are using cannabis for fast-acting purposes.
Better Dosing Accuracy
Vape oil can be dosed fairly accurately in comparison to alternative oral consumption methods.
This is especially important when using cannabis for medical health purposes, like in a medical marijuana program.
Higher Cannabinoid Retention
Compared to smoking, vaping has a much higher, cannabinoid retention rate, ranging from a 60-90%.
This means there is less waste of valuable cannabinoids from vaping rather than smoking.
On the other hand, this runs the risk of greatly increasing a person's tolerance level when vaping high concentrations of CBD or THC.
Vaping May Be Less Toxic
Compared to smoking cannabis flower or nicotine-containing products, vaping cannabis may contain less carcinogenic or toxic byproducts, depending on the product you are using.
On the other hand, many people prefer a dry herb vaporizer over a vape cartridge for a more natural experience.
Cons of Vaping Cannabis Oil
Some potential drawbacks to vaping cannabis oil must be considered before deciding if this application method is right for you.
Vaping cannabis, or any substance for that matter, is contraindicated for anyone, especially those with asthma or respiratory conditions.
There are also potential health risks associated with vaping that may impact the lungs, as described here by the American Lung Association.
Ingredients to Avoid in a Vape Cartridge
Additional ingredients added to vape oil cartridges, like the popular thinning agent propylene glycol, become carcinogenic when heated.
To ensure you are setting yourself up for the safest vaping experience possible, you want to ensure the ingredients of your vape cartridge does not contain:
- Propylene Glycol (PG)
- Vegetable Glycerine (VG)
- MCT Coconut Oil (MCT)
- Vitamin E Acetate
Choose A Safe Thinning Agent
As mentioned above, cannabis oil needs to be formulated with another ingredient in order to be liquid enough to be used in a vaporizer or vape pen.
We know that no PG, VG, MCT, or vitamin E is safe to be added – so what makes a safe thinning agent for vape cartridges then?
Terpenes are volatile organic compounds found in cannabis, and all plants, that give cannabis its distinct smell and other plants their floral aromas.
Natural evolution has been kind to cannabis, as over 200 terpenes have been identified belonging to the plant.
More important to note, research shows that hemp terpenes provide a myriad of beneficial properties.
Through safe extraction processes, terpenes can be derived from the cannabis plant, separated, and then added back into a vape product.
Will Vaping Get Me High?
This depends on the type of vape cartridge you purchase.
You can purchase CBD vape cartridges or THC vape cartridges, and both will induce very different effects.
If you are using pure hemp-derived CBD oil with no added THC, CBD vape oil will not get you high.
This is because CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid and does not produce an intoxicating feeling.
However, some anecdotal reports indicate that vaping CBD oil can intensify the euphoric effects often seen with the use of CBD.
If you are using a THC oil cartridge sourced from a medical or recreational dispensary, the THC oil will likely induce intoxicating effects, as these cartridges contain very high concentrations of THC.
Will Vaping Show Up On A Drug Test?
This also depends on the type of vape cartridge you use.
Vaping any product with THC has the potential to show up on a drug test and cause you to not pass.
CBD vape products can be sold as either full-spectrum or broad-spectrum products.
While the legal considerations for CBD are that the plant must contain 0.3% THC, full-spectrum CBD vape products do indeed contain trace amounts of THC.
If you need to be 100% positive, you will have no THC in your system; you must opt for a THC-free product labeled either broad-spectrum, isolate, or 100% THC-free.
If you are using a pure broad-spectrum CBD vape product with 0% THC, then no THC will show up on a drug test.
Where to Buy Safe CBD Vape Products
You have likely seen many vape oil products on the market as they are legal now, but there are important factors to consider before purchasing one.
For a product that is going to be inhaled into the lungs - it is critical that you are 100% sure the product you are using is safely manufactured and free from potentially harmful added ingredients.
These days there is a CBD vape shop on every corner - but that does not mean the products they are selling are automatically safe.
There is still no regulation or safety standard for CBD products on the market today, and oftentimes the person working the counter has limited knowledge about important safety considerations.
Many CBD vape oils come in a variety of flavors, but I encourage my students to avoid these products.
I exclusively recommend CBD vape products from VivaOil, a company that formulates its products with quality, safety, and purity in mind.
Made with only high-quality CO2 CBD extract and hemp-derived terpenes, these terpenes are naturally occurring compounds extracted from the hemp plant.
They are added to help keep the CBD liquid enough to facilitate vaping.
THC-Free CBD Vape Cartridges
For those who can not have THC, a broad-spectrum CBD vape cartridge contains an array of cannabinoids and terpenes found within cannabis – with 100% of the THC removed.
This extract is paired with only one other ingredient – naturally occurring cannabis terpenes.
Myrcene and limonene are two of the terpenes naturally produced by the hemp plant and are found in these vape products – research indicates that they hold a myriad of beneficial properties.
Full-Spectrum CBD Vape Cartridges
VivaOils new filtration technology has allowed them to create a full-spectrum CBD vape cartridge that holds the maximum concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes while retaining trace amounts of THC below 0.3%, in compliance with federal regulations.
This full-spectrum CBD vape contains a full mix of cannabinoids, including high CBD concentrations and CBG, with trace amounts of THC.
The hemp extract is paired with only one other ingredient – naturally occurring hemp terpenes.
How to Vape Cannabis Oil
- Vape Battery/Pen
- 1 piece full-spectrum CBD vape cartridge
- 1 piece vape battery/pen
- Choose a high-quality vape cartridge from a trusted and reputable brand. Check the ingredients label to ensure no vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, or other additional ingredients added.
- Choose a high-quality vape battery/pen. Ensure this battery is charged before starting.
- Carefully connect the cartridge to the battery pen by twisting to interlock the threads.
- There will be directions on the back of your specific battery to tell you how to use the pen. Many involve the pushing of the button 5 times to pre-heat, followed by a steady holding of the button while a drag from the device is inhaled.
- When you are done using your vaporizer, be sure to charge it before using again. The pen/battery your purchased should have come with a compatible USB charger.
- Connect the USB charger to a wall connector and charge overnight.