Which isn’t to say that no one is testing CBD products. As the Hemp Roundtable’s Miller said, “some very well-meaning companies will try to promote the best practices.”
Benowitz said the effects of vaping MCT oil, however, is an understudied area.
People like vaping because it’s a smokeless, convenient, and fast-acting way to consume pleasure-inducing chemicals including THC and nicotine. It’s also potentially quite dangerous—and that’s also true when it comes to vaping cannabidiol, the popular cannabis-derived compound known as CBD. In fact, thanks to a regulatory no-man’s-land, a consumer craze, and manufacturers who dilute extract with oils better suited for salad dressings, CBD vapes are uniquely risky.
A brief legal primer
As of Oct. 10, more than 1,200 cases of a mysterious vaping-related illness, and 26 related deaths had been reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is advising consumers to “consider refraining” from vaping altogether. Of the 771 patients the CDC previously reported data on, the majority reported vaping THC and/or nicotine. Only about 17% reported having vaped a CBD product, but there is still good reason for CBD enthusiasts to take note—and even to be especially cautious.
We can’t reasonably expect dealers of illegal cannabis vapes would test their products for safety or share ingredient lists with customers. The thing is, consumers can’t necessarily expect that sort of testing or transparency from manufacturers of hemp-derived CBD vapes either—even if they’re buying them from vape shops, specialty stores, or websites that don’t appear to be breaking the law. The category is completely unregulated. And reckless players are not limited to labeling their products as THC. In September, the Associated Press tested 30 vape products marketed as CBD from brands that authorities had flagged as suspect, and found that 10 contained dangerous synthetic marijuana and many had little to no CBD at all.
“I’m concerned about it,” he says. “But I don’t have any data.”
Some of those companies are those that come from the cannabis industry, and therefore have years of experience with extraction and testing.
Part of the draw to CBD oil in areas where marijuana has been legalized is the fact that it has been touted as helping treat a host of medical problems. Some of the medical issues people claim that the oil treats include epileptic seizures, anxiety, inflammation, and sleeplessness. However, there is very little evidence backing up these claims with the exception of treating epilepsy.
In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved only one CBD-based medication, which is used to treat seizures associated with two severe forms of epilepsy. But, when it comes to CBD in general, they stress that it cannot be added to food, drinks, or dietary supplements. And although the FDA has warned manufacturers against making unproven health claims, it has not done much to stop the sale of CBD products.
What Is CBD Oil?
Their testing was completed by Flora Research Laboratories in Grants Pass, Oregon, which is licensed and inspected by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. What they discovered is that 10 of the 30 vapes contained synthetic marijuana while others had no CBD oil at all. Additionally, eight oils had no detectable level of CBD while 14 were less than 0.3% CBD by weight. The other six ranged between 1.07% and 8.87% CBD by weight.
And despite the fact that the 2018 Farm Bill removed CBD from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act, it is still subject to the same laws and regulations as other substances monitored by the FDA. Unfortunately, though, there is very little regulatory oversight of CBD oil in general—even though vaping is one of the most popular ways of using the oil. In fact, the FDA has not yet determined how to regulate CBD vaping products just yet.
Because this testing was a such a small sample, the AP noted that their sampling is not representative of the entire CBD market. However, their testing does show just how risky it is to vape CBD oil when there is little to no regulation of the product. Vapers have no idea what they are getting when they take a puff.
Medical cannabis can be consumed in a plethora of ways, depending on your preference. You can consume it in baked goods or drinks, with a water pipe or rolling papers, in pill form or as a nasal spray, and of course, with a vaporizer.
You can select the best strain of cannabis in the dispensary, but it won’t matter much if your vaporizer doesn’t perform well or isn’t safe. By now, a few brands, in particular, are well known for the quality of their vaporizers, and some are answering the call for vaporizers that are safer, cleaner, and more versatile.
Does Vaping Offer Health Benefits Over Smoking?
Any time you consume cannabis in an edible, sublingual, or suppository form, start with a low dose and be patient if you don’t feel the effects right away. For sublinguals and suppositories, wait at least 20 minutes before upping your dose. For edibles, wait at least three hours.
Instead of adding dry herb to the vaporizer, an oil concentrate that is extracted from the cannabis plant is added to the oil pen. During the oil extraction process, the cannabis oil is often cut with other carrier oils, such as hemp oil. As a result, vaporized oil is typically less potent than wax but more potent than vaporized herb.
As of Feb. 1, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the manufacture and sale of flavored vaping products (excluding menthol and tobacco).