If you’ve been vaping a while, you might have heard about the increasing popularity of CBD e-liquids. Just like with regular nicotine based e-liquids, there’s a huge range of flavours (and strengths) to choose from. Like when you started out vaping, there are a few things you’ll want to know if you’re interested in vaping CBD. We’ll cover everything you need to know from what CBD actually is, how to find the right amount for you and why people are using it.
What is CBD?
If you’ve heard of CBD, you might know there’s a bit of a stigma around it. CBD comes from the cannabis sativa plant and in order to be legal for sale in the UK it must contain less than 0.2% THC. THC is a cannabinoid that gives you a high while CBD is non-psychoactive. Cannabis sativa is more commonly referred to as industrial hemp and contains low levels or no THC at all.
As such, when you’re using CBD derived from industrial hemp they’ll be so low in THC you won’t have any psychoactive effect (or there won’t be any THC at all) so you can use them with confidence. While they both come from a similar plant, CBD does not equate to medical marijuana and it’s safe for most people to use. Most CBD e-liquids you’ll find are also made with CBD isolate, which is the most pure form of CBD and contains no other components from the hemp plant.
CBD, like THC, is a cannabinoid but is becoming an increasingly popular supplement thanks to its anti-inflammatory and calming properties. Your body produces its own cannabinoids that are used in what’s called your endocannabinoid system(1). This system helps regulate pain, inflammation, stress responses and cortisol levels(4). By supplementing with CBD, you can support your body’s natural cannabinoid levels to support its performance.
Why do people vape CBD?
People vape CBD for a few reasons. The first of which is it’s an enjoyable way to administer CBD, especially if you’re used to vaping already. You’ll still get a wide variety of flavours and strengths to choose from, just like regular vape juice. It’s easy to use and is a great option for people who don’t like swallowing capsules or using CBD oils.
Vaping is a great option for taking CBD if you want to microdose a small amount throughout the day. Once you select your strength, you can take a few puffs every hour or so to help boost your body’s cannabinoid levels. It’s calming and can help with things like poor sleep, everyday stress(2), nausea(5) and inflammation from injury or a tough workout(3).
What’s different about vaping CBD than taking it in a drop format?
If you’ve heard of CBD before or seen it in shops, you’ve more than likely seen it in a tincture format. These are little bottles of oil infused with CBD designed to be dropped under the tongue. They’re usually very high in concentration and only need to be taken once or twice a day.
The key difference between the two is how much you absorb and how quickly the CBD will get into your system. Both vaping and drops are great ways of using CBD but vaping offers the highest absorption rate of any CBD product. Just like when you quit smoking and use vaping to do so, inhaling it will get nicotine into your system in seconds. The same principle applies to CBD e-liquids. You’ll also absorb the highest amount with this method, around 60-70%, which is higher than using oral drops. Oral drops take a little longer to take effect (usually 10 - 30 minutes) and you’ll absorb around 40% of the dose you administer.
The other key difference to note is vaping CBD wears off more quickly, usually within an hour or two, while using CBD tinctures means it’ll stay in your system for 4 to 6 hours.
How do I use CBD e-liquids?
If you’re already a vaper, you’re halfway there. Just like with regular e-liquids you can use them in your usual vape though you may want to have one designated to CBD alone. CBD e-liquids have a higher PG content than nicotine containing e-liquids. Your shortfills and nic salts are usually 30 - 50% PG whereas CBD e-liquids are usually 70 - 80% PG. The main reason behind this is CBD can separate from VG because it’s much thicker than PG.
As such, you’re best off using a lower powered kit like a pod mod or mouth to lung pen vape for CBD. We’d also recommend looking for kits that have a capacity of 2mls (or as close to that as possible) to make it easier to regulate and measure how much you vape. The best way to calculate your intake is by looking at the mg per ml. On that topic, we’ll have a look at where to start with your dosage. We’d also always recommend speaking to your GP first to make sure CBD is OK for you, it’s worth checking especially if you’re on any regular prescription medication.
How much CBD should I use?
There isn’t really a cut and dry answer to this question as everyone is going to be slightly different. However, with that being said, we can recommend a guideline as to where you should start. The average CBD user will typically want to vape around 10 - 40mg of CBD a day. Like with nicotine based e-liquids, you’re best off starting at a certain level and experimenting a bit until you find the right strength for you. Unlike regular e-liquids, when the bottle says 100mg that isn’t the strength per ml, rather it’s the concentration for the whole bottle. To figure out how many mg there are per ml:
- Take your mg strength (300mg for example) and divide it by the number of mls in a bottle - usually 10.
- E.g. 300 / 10 = 30mg per ml. If you’re looking to vape around 30mg a day, you’ll only need 1ml per day (which is half a tank if you have a 2ml capacity).
You can start at a certain dosage and you may find you need more (or less) after you’ve been vaping CBD for a week or so. It’s all about trial and error but most people start on the 100mg or 300mg strength thought you can go as high as 600mg or 800mg.
As far as flavour goes, you’ve got plenty of options there. CBD e-liquids have become so popular, plenty of your favourite brands have started making them now too. Naked 100 have made their best selling shortfills into CBD and Dinner Lady released their range this year too. Before you ask - yes, even their best selling Lemon Tart is available as CBD.
- An introduction to the endogenous cannabinoid system - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- The Endocannabinoid System as an Emerging Target of Pharmacotherapy - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- Is cannabis an effective treatment for joint pain? - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- Effect of cannabidiol on plasma prolactin, growth hormone and cortisol in human volunteers - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- Regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov