If you are considering vaping CBD oil as a way to address a medical concern, talk to your doctor first. The risks associated with vaping and CBD oil are significant and may not provide the benefits you want.
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.
Generally speaking, vaping is an unsafe practice regardless of what substances are in the vape pen. And, CBD oil is no exception. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently linked vaping products to an outbreak of nearly 3,000 lung illnesses that were so serious that even young people were being admitted to the hospital. Meanwhile, nearly 70 people have died from what is now being called EVALI (e-cigarette and vaping associated lung injury). And, the CDC believes thousands more may have admitted to the hospital with lung issues related to vaping.
Is Vaping CBD Oil Safe?
Although the CDC has traced many of the EVALI hospitalizations back to vitamin E acetate, a substance used to dilute oils used in vaping, the risks of vaping CBD oil are not without risk, especially if the vape pens are obtained from illicit dealers, online sources, or friends. At least 26 of the EVALI cases were hospitalized after vaping CBD oil.
Additionally, numerous scientists, doctors, and researchers are concerned with the safety of inhaling CBD oil because little is known about the long-term effects. What’s more, when vaping devices are heated, a chemical reaction takes place in the vapor, which could pose additional risks to the lungs, especially in young people.
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.
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.
For one thing, beyond the dangers of vitamin E acetate, little is known about the long-term effect of inhaling several other chemicals often found in vaping oils, says Michelle Peace, Ph.D., a toxicologist and associate professor in the department of forensic science at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond who has studied and tested vaping oils.
Still, manufacturers use some solvents that the FDA had given a GRAS (“Generally Recognized As Safe,”) designation, Peace says. “But the chemicals were only considered safe by the FDA to ingest into your digestive tract, and have not been deemed safe to inhale into your lungs,” Peace says.
The risks of vaping have garnered a lot of attention since last August, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked the products to a mysterious outbreak of more than 2,600 lung illnesses so serious that people had to be admitted to the hospital. Sixty people have died. The CDC says several thousand more people have probably been admitted to emergency rooms with complaints related to vaping.
The FDA has acknowledged the risks posed by chemicals leaking from vaping coils. When asked by CR what it was doing to address the problem, agency spokesperson Caccomo said that starting in 2020, manufacturers of new tobacco products, including vape pens, will have to submit applications and that the FDA will review the products’ components and toxicological profiles, and how they are manufactured.
The CDC traced many of the hospitalizations back to vitamin E acetate, used to dilute oils used in vaping. The vast majority of the illnesses involved products that contained nicotine or THC, especially those purchased illicitly, says Brian King, Ph.D., chief science officer with the CDC. After initially warning consumers to avoid all vaping products, on Jan. 17 the agency limited that advice to THC vape pens, especially those obtained from family, friends, online, and illicit dealers─because growing research found “a strong link between these products and the lung injuries,” King says.