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Juice, Liquid, or Oil? A Conclusive Guide to CBD Vape Pens

27/04/2021 13 MIN. READ Alyssha Bal
27/04/2021 13 MIN. READ Alyssha Bal

The ABCs of CBD

Before we explore the ins and outs of CBD vape pens, let’s take a step back and appreciate the broader CBD story so far. Nowadays, iconic hemp logos are stamped onto wellness products as far as the eye can see (including some cheap imitations that don’t actually contain hemp). But what does CBD stand for? We’ve got one word for you: Cannabidiol. 

What Is CBD?

CBD is a natural compound (or ‘cannabinoid’) present in plant matter throughout the entire cannabis family, and most notably found in the hemp subspecies of cannabis Sativa. Christelle M Andre and others have dubbed hemp ‘the plant of a thousand and one molecules’. Additional researchers have commented on its eco-friendly growing style and ‘mellow’ chemistry. Hemp-derived CBD is typically a well-tolerated substance that may even offer some refreshing wellness possibilities. Perhaps, as you read this article, you’re dealing with stress, stiff shoulders, muscle tension, or you simply don’t feel as grounded as you’d like to. While supplementing your lifestyle with CBD can’t “cure” or “treat” you, it may potentially impact some uncomfortable symptoms associated with these issues. 

You may be tempted to dive head-first into the world of CBD vaping, but first, let’s take some time to absorb the basics of cannabidiol.

What Is CBD Oil? 

As we answer this question, it’s helpful to consider what CBD oil isn’t. While most bottled plant oils (such as hemp seed oil) come straight from compressed, high-fat seeds, you can think of CBD oil as more of a lab-supervised assembly job. To make it, manufacturers dilute CBD extract (an amber, oily fluid derived from hemp leaves and flowers) with a plant-based carrier oil (such as coconut or almond oil). Developers typically package CBD oil as a food supplement that you can take by: 

  • Placing one or two CBD drops under your tongue
  • Holding the CBD under your tongue for up to 60 seconds for potential absorption to take place

  • This infusion often appears in a wide variety of other CBD-themed products - from gummies to skincare. Premium CBD vape oils typically contain a vape-optimised version of CBD oil for smooth usage on-demand. 

    Is CBD Oil Legal? 

    The legal status of CBD oil often depends on the controlled substance laws and food safety policies upheld where you live. If you live in the UK or Germany, CBD oil is a legal substance- as long as it meets two critical conditions: it must come from registered hemp crops and contain no more than 0.2% THC per product. The latter rule is because THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) can potentially have psychotropic properties when consumed in excess. Unlike other species of cannabis, hemp is characteristically high in CBD molecules and low in THC molecules. 

    On a similar basis, hemp-derived CBD oil is legal in numerous other countries, but it’s essential to do your research before making any purchases or commitments. Now, let’s consider the possible perks of cannabidiol!

    Potential CBD Benefits

    Looking for accurate information about CBD online can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack or (in a worst-case scenario) a piece of hay in a needle-stack. Thankfully, you are in the right place. There are many misleading voices out there, but our goal with VAAY magazine is to offer you the reliable, fact-based information you deserve. Can CBD magically make all of your problems disappear, as some people might suggest? The short answer is no. However, preliminary evidence indicates that CBD may possibly hold exciting clinical and therapeutic potential that is yet to be fully realised. 

    At a glance, some of the purported benefits of CBD may possibly include:

  • Reducing some symptoms of stress and anxiety (according to a 2019 study)
  • Affecting some signs of inflammation and inflammatory pain symptoms
  • Improving your sleep and impacting your self-perceived sense of wellbeing
  • Influencing some symptoms of muscle-tension

  • There is so much more we can say about CBD and its intriguing potential to support your wellbeing. Some users anecdotally comment on CBD as a supplement that helps them to unwind and calm down. Alternatively, others experiment with the possibilities of CBD for sleep, and even sexual wellbeing. If you’d like to learn more about the potential benefits of CBD, you’ll love our exclusive article: Rest, Relax, Revive. 

    Now, it’s time to explore one of the most popular methods of consuming CBD: vaping.

    Is a CBD Vape the Right Method For You?

    While we can’t answer this question on your behalf, we can share some valuable observations that can help to guide you in the best direction. The three headings below explore some of the key deciding factors that might influence your decision to choose (or avoid) CBD vape products, as well as explain why many people love their CBD vape!

    Vaping May Be The Most Direct Way to Consume CBD

    There are two main reasons why vaping is one of the most straightforward CBD consumption methods:

    Firstly, the practice of vaping allows CBD-infused vapours to enter your airways and make contact with your membranes in as few as ten minutes. This relatively direct passage may enable any potential CBD absorption to take place far more quickly than, say, digesting CBD edibles or applying botanical skin products. 

    Secondly, CBD vape pens are designed for instant and portable use. As a result, they may be a perfect choice for multi-taskers or people with busy calendars. If you’re hoping to nip symptoms of stress or discomfort in the bud, vaping may potentially be a fast-acting and fuss-free way to consume cannabidiol. As a bonus, you can instantly enjoy uplifting scents and flavours as you wait for any possible effects to set in.

    Vaping CBD May Complement Your Current Lifestyle

    If you are already in the habit of using e-cigarettes, you may find it relatively easy to transition to vaping CBD. Likewise, some people with a history of smoking appreciate that CBD vape pens are typically tobacco-free and nicotine-free. The inhalation method also involves familiar rituals (such as deep breathing, or the self-perceived comfort of having something in your hand). According to recent survey results published by the UK organisation Action on Smoking and Health, former smokers may account for over 50% of the current vaping population

    A smaller percentage of vapers come from smoke-free backgrounds. If this sounds like you, there’s no reason to rule out CBD vaping point-blank. However, you may need to allow some extra time to get accustomed to it.

    But Hold On…

    Unfortunately, CBD vape products are not available on a ‘come one, come all’ basis. Both cannabidiol and vaping are still relatively under-researched and highly regulated areas. Not surprisingly, it’s illegal for children under the age of 18 to purchase or use CBD vape pens (along with all other CBD/vape products). If you are an adult living in a country where CBD is legal, you are free to vape as you wish - respecting any rules regarding vaping in public places. However, current evidence suggests that CBD (vapes or otherwise) is not safe for pregnant women or nursing mothers to consume. 

    Suppose you have any underlying health conditions or take any medications. In that case, you should always wait for your doctor to give you the green light before making any large purchases or adding new supplements to your routine. As the saying goes: it’s better to be safe than sorry!

    Understanding CBD Vape Pen Solvents 

    It is very common for the terms ‘juice’, ‘liquid’ and ‘oil’ to be used interchangeably in the CBD vaping community (and in the broader world of vaping). To make matters all the more confusing, you might even hear people referring to cannabidiol-themed vape products as ‘e-liquids’ or ‘e-fluids’. If you’re new to vaping, you may find some of the lingo challenging to follow - but there’s no need to panic.

    In principle, all of these substances are CBD-infused fluids that you can use with any compatible vape pen. As we know, the goal of any vape apparatus is to produce vapour on-demand, so developers often incorporate substances (i.e. thinning agents) that can aid this process. However, not all vape products are equal. Let’s take the time to explore and understand some popular CBD vape solvents:

    What is CBD Vape Liquid (aka. CBD Vape Juice)?

    Put simply, vape juice and vape liquids are one and the same. If you see a CBD vape product described in this way, you should keep in mind that the ‘juice’ might contain common thinning agents, such as PG and VG. A glance at the ingredients list will help you to determine whether either of these agents are present (or possibly both): 

    Propylene Glycol (PG)

    PG is a petroleum-derived solvent with no detectable colour or smell. These factors, combined with its thin consistency, make it a popular substance that manufacturers often add to cosmetics, food products, and vape fluids alike. According to a report by Sharon E Jacob and others, some American researchers satirically referred to PG as their 2018 ‘Allergen of the Year’. Some preliminary studies suggest that PG may produce excess toxins in temperatures of 230 degrees Celsius and above. Understandably, some people are uncomfortable with these possibilities - especially given that the metal coils inside many vape devices can often reach up to 300 degrees.

    Some possible PG emissions might include carcinogenic substances, such as:

  • Acetaldehyde
  • Formaldehyde
  • It’s also helpful to note that some veteran CBD vapers claim that PG vapour can sometimes feel abrasive against the back of your mouth.

    Vegetable Glycerin (VG)

    If you recently enjoyed a bowl of fruit cereal, or applied moisturiser to your face, congratulations - you’ve already sampled VG in action! VG is a widespread compound found in plant oils - particularly from sources such as coconut and soy. It has a slightly thick, syrup-like texture, and a relatively sweet taste. VG is naturally soluble in both water and oil, and manufacturers often utilise its emulsifying properties in a broad range of applications. But is VG a suitable CBD vape solvent?

    Due to its viscosity, VG runs the risk of blocking the passages of your vape pen - which restricts the free flow of vapour and may potentially require more heat to process. To compensate for this inconvenience, some vape manufacturers try to achieve a thinner texture by adding PG. According to a recent clinical trial, vape juices containing VG/PG infusions may possibly have an adverse effect on your inflammation levels.

    A Final Note on PG and VG

    All in all, PG and VG are common CBD vape juice solvents that researchers will continue to explore. Among wellness-conscious audiences, some of the potential health risks associated with these substances may sound off-putting - especially if you plan to vape CBD as part of a more comprehensive self-care strategy. For this reason, many people are choosing premium CBD vape oil. Keep on reading to discover why.

    What is Premium CBD Vape Oil?

    Instead of featuring a glycol or glycerin-based solvent, premium CBD vape oil typically includes a natural, plant-derived oil. Since long-chain saturated fats tend to be solid and hard work to absorb, some manufacturers prefer to use medium-chain fats that can be broken down and absorbed relatively quickly. Processing these lighter fats may potentially be more straightforward for your vape pen and (more importantly) your body. With this being said, let’s take a look at the rumoured ‘king’ of CBD vape oil ingredients: MCT oil. Drumroll, please!

    MCT Oil - Is It The Preferred CBD Vape Thinning Agent?

    You may be familiar with MCT oil as a food-grade supplement that some people add to smoothies, salad dressings, and even their morning coffee. But this substance can also serve as a functional and lightweight thinning agent in CBD vape oil. MCT oil is a concentrate made from the medium-chain fats present in coconut oil - triglycerides, so be specific. Since CBD is a fat-soluble compound, consuming it in combination with substances like MCT oil might affect its potential ‘bioavailability’. What is bioavailability for CBD? Put simply, this means the extent that any possible CBD absorption may take place, usually written as a percentage.

    Manufacturers extract and isolate MCT oil using a careful refining process called ‘fractionation’. This method typically involves selectively separating coconut-derived fatty acids and introducing a triglyceride-generating enzyme called lipase. The result is a colourless oil that can serve as a subtle and effective carrier solvent for CBD. Surprisingly, it may even offer some unique potential wellbeing benefits of its own.

    What Are The Potential Benefits of MCT Oil?

    While coconut oil has a distinctive flavour and texture that some people find unpalatable, MCT oil is a relatively tasteless and odourless substance. Additionally, it may offer some possible antimicrobial and antifungal properties that might help to impact the overall cleanliness of your vape device. Beyond these practical factors, a growing number of studies are investigating the possible effects that MCT oil may have on your body. 

    So far, preliminary research suggests that MCT oil may potentially:

  • Impact your self-perceived satisfaction levels after eating (according to a 2017 study)
  • Contribute to weight-loss schemes due to its possible satiating properties
  • Influence some symptoms of high cholesterol
  • Affect your metabolism and possibly cognition
  • While research is ongoing, MCT oil has become a firm favourite among many fitness-conscious people, as well as many natural wellness fans.

    Are There Any Risks Associated With Vaping MCT Oil? 

    According to a 2017 vape emissions study by Troutt and DiDonato, MCT oil does not appear to produce as many chemicals as other popular vape solvents (such as PG) in conditions of intense heat. Within the context of this comparison, MCT oil might possibly be a less abrasive vape fluid. Since scientists have not reached any final conclusions regarding the long-term safety of vaping in general, it’s important to remember that all forms of vaping may potentially involve some risks. 

    Some experts suggest that vaping with MCT oil in excess (for example, more than 40 times per week) might potentially be detrimental. If you decide that this method of CBD consumption is for you, it’s always best to vape in moderation and choose a premium CBD vape brand with a strong track record and whose products come with a certificate of analysis (COA). 

    How Do CBD Vape Pens Work? 

    CBD vape pens work by applying the same core principles as most e-cigarettes, aside from the fact that the fluid they contain is infused with cannabidiol. While vape pens can vary drastically in terms of design and materials, they typically feature a mouthpiece, a central heating chamber (or ‘tank’ where the juice is placed) with metal coils, and a battery power source. In a nutshell, the electricity from the battery heats the chamber until the substances within the fluid are vapourised. At this point, the vapour travels through the pen and up towards the mouthpiece. Then, it’s simply a case of inhaling it. 

    A premium CBD vape pen should carry out these functions at the push of a button. Therefore, it’s modelled entirely around your convenience without annoying delays or setbacks.

    Disposable vs Rechargeable

    While rechargeable vape pens are designed for longevity, they can often be more complex to operate. For example, you may need to dismantle different parts of the pen to insert dose refills and perform broader maintenance tasks - such as regularly cleaning all of the components. Sometimes, refilling rechargeable pens with CBD vape oil can create a sticky mess - which is not ideal when you’re hoping to unwind!

    Here at VAAY, we’ve carefully designed our CBD vape diffuser pens to be as fuss-free as possible. Here’s what you can expect:

  • A compact, ready-to-use pen with no assembly or maintenance required
  • A pre-loaded measure of premium CBD vape oil
  • A single-use vape pen that lasts for up to 200 puffs

  • How to Spot a Premium CBD Vape Pen

    It’s vital to keep your wits about you when choosing a CBD vape pen. Over the past few years, there have been reports of some cheap and poorly made e-cigarettes exploding. Furthermore, some fake and uncertified e-fluids containing vitamin E acetate have even caused some people to become seriously ill - as the 2019 Colorado EVALI case illustrates

    Next time you are comparing CBD vape products, you can use the table below to help you set high expectations and avoid disappointments:


    Poor-Quality CBD Vape Pen

    Premium CBD Vape Pen

    Price Point

    Low range

    Medium-high range

    Product Design

    Flimsy, faulty, or unattractive

    Sleek, robust and attractive

    Charge

    Needs to be charged

    Comes pre-charged

    Vape Fluid

    Contains PG or VG

    Contains MCT oil

    Ingredients List

    Nowhere to be found

    Clearly stated by the brand

    Certificate of Analysis (COA)

    Unavailable

    Provided without question

    Customer Reviews

    Negative or neutral

    Excellent


    Tips For Personalising Your CBD Vape Experience

    Tip #1: Experiment With Flavours

    As the old saying goes: variety is the spice of life. While vaping is primarily an opportunity to experiment with consuming CBD via inhalation, the experience should also leave a pleasant taste in your mouth - and we don’t just mean metaphorically! Here at VAAY, we use natural terpenes (fragrant plant molecules) to flavour the premium CBD vape oil in our diffuser pens. As you can imagine, many people love to explore different scents and tastes before finding one that suits their preferences and personality. With flavours like juicy tropical fruit, zesty lemon, refreshing mint, and zen herbs, you’re sure to find something to inspire you.

    Tip #2: Find the Right Dosage For You

    CBD dosage can be a somewhat complex topic, but it’s essential to know the basics. Most hemp-derived products are packaged complete with dosage guidelines and recommended limits - it’s wise to take heed of these instructions. However, factors such as your age, BMI, and unique body chemistry may also be worth some consideration. If you are new to CBD (vaping or otherwise), it’s best to start with a modest dose and observe any possible effects over time. As we previously mentioned, vaping in excess may not be helpful for everyone, so it’s also a good idea to exercise moderation. 

    Tip #3: Try a Combined CBD Approach

    As long as you are mindful of dosage, you can introduce some more variety into your CBD routine by adopting a combined approach. For example, some hemp-inspired self-care might help to keep your spirits up during a stressful week of work. You could vape CBD before your morning meeting and enjoy your downtime by taking a relaxing soak with a CBD bath bomb. 

    If you’re reluctant to vape, there’s no reason to feel under any pressure to do so. There are several alternative ways to consume cannabidiol, including: 


  • CBD oil
  • CBD edibles (botanically-infused foods and drinks)
  • CBD balm and other topical cosmetics (even gel and bath bombs!)

  • Closing Points

    Hopefully, this article has helped clear the air when it comes to CBD vape pens, what to expect, and how to use them. Since vaping may be one of the quickest ways to consume CBD, it might also be a speedy way to explore any potential CBD benefits that may interest you. According to emerging research, these possibilities may relate to themes of discomfort, and some symptoms of stress, anxiety, inflammation, and more. As we’ve explored in this text, ‘CBD vape oil’ made with cannabidiol extract and MCT oil may potentially be the most practical choice of vape pen fluid. It may also emit fewer chemicals than other vape liquids. 

    Remember: vaping always involves weighing up the pros and cons before you try it. It’s also vital to avoid cheaply made accessories and fake vape fluids at all costs! Choosing a premium CBD vape pen from a credible and certified brand is your best bet. Alternatively, you may feel more comfortable with consuming CBD via oils, edibles, and cosmetics. Regardless, cannabidiol might just help some of your symptoms of stress to evaporate.

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