Vaping CBD: The Complete Introductory Guide

Should you vape CBD? How does it work? Is it safe? What should you know when buying CBD vape oil? In this CBD vaping buyer’s guide, we’ll answer these and other questions about this popular new health and wellness trend.
Written by 
Zora Degrandpre, MS, ND.
|Last Updated:
Vaping CBD

CBD is rapidly growing in popularity worldwide. Although CBD oil remains the most popular type of CBD product, it’s also available in many other forms. One particularly exciting new way of using CBD is vaping.

Note: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend against vaping, as the long-term effects of vaping are still unknown.

What is CBD?

CBD Benefits

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 100 cannabinoids present in the Cannabis sativa plant. Cannabinoids are the main active compounds in cannabis and have a variety of beneficial effects.

CBD and other cannabinoids work by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, a network of receptors located throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. The endocannabinoid system is activated by cannabinoids produced inside and outside the human body. It helps maintain homeostasis — a healthy state of balance — by regulating everything from brain function to immunity.

Most people are familiar with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the cannabinoid responsible for the cannabis “high.” Unlike THC, CBD is non-euphoric. This makes CBD ideal for people seeking the health benefits of cannabis without any of the mind-altering effects.

Human CBD receptors chart

CBD Products

CBD is sold in a wide variety of forms. The most popular type of CBD product is CBD oil, which is made by extracting CBD-rich oil from hemp, a type of cannabis that contains minimal THC levels. CBD is also sold in many other preparations such as capsules, creams and other topical products, edibles, beverages, and vape oils.

Vaping CBD

Vaping, the practice of producing and inhaling vapor containing vegetable glycerin (VG), propylene glycol (PG), and other ingredients such as nicotine, is an increasingly popular alternative to smoking.

Thanks to this, many companies now offer vape oils, cartridges, and disposable vape pens containing CBD. Vaping CBD works much in the same way as vaping regular e-liquids.

A vaporizer device turns CBD vape oil , better known as e-liquid and vape juice,— into vapor that is then inhaled through the lungs, allowing for rapid absorption of CBD into the bloodstream. The effects of vaping CBD are felt right away and remain for 1-3 hours.

Read more about vaping and E-cigarettes from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) website. The Bottom line (quoted from the CDC site):

  • E-cigarettes have the potential to benefit adult smokers who are not pregnant if used as a complete substitute for regular cigarettes and other smoked tobacco products.
  • E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, and pregnant women, as well as adults who do not currently use tobacco products.
  • While e-cigarettes have the potential to benefit some people and harm others, scientists still have a lot to learn about whether e-cigarettes are effective for quitting smoking.
  • If you’ve never smoked or used other tobacco products or e-cigarettes, don’t start.
    Additional research can help understand long-term health effects.

CBD Vaping Products

There are three main categories of CBD vape products: CBD e-liquid, pre-filled CBD cartridges, and disposable CBD vape pens.

If you’re completely new to CBD, disposable pens are the ideal option and you don’t need to know anything about vaping to use them; simply inhale and enjoy the effects. These slim, cigarette-style pens typically last until they’re out of e-liquid.

CBD cartridges are cylindrical tanks that come pre-filled with CBD vape juice. These cartridges usually contain 0.5 mL to 1 mL of e-liquid and can be attached to any 510-thread-compatible vape device.

There are also other kinds of cartridges, such as juul pods, but the basic idea is the same. These pre-filled containers attach to a refillable vape device.

Finally, you can buy CBD e-liquid directly and use it to fill the tank or cartridge of your vape device. CBD cartridges and vape juice are the ideal options for people who already have a vaporizer and want to save money.

Benefits of Vaping CBD

Most people vape CBD for the same health benefits as those who consume sublingual CBD oil and other CBD products. There is a wide range of health conditions and symptoms that motivate people to take CBD, including anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia, arthritis, chronic pain, inflammatory disorders, headaches, and cardiovascular conditions.

In addition, CBD is used by people suffering from difficult-to-treat chronic health conditions such as multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, cancer, treatment-resistant epilepsy, and schizophrenia.

It’s important to note that there are varying levels of medical research evidence supporting these uses. Whereas some uses of CBD, such as improving anxiety, inflammation, and treatment-resistant epilepsy, are supported by animal studies and a growing number of human clinical trials, others health applications for CBD not yet backed up by sufficient research evidence.

As such, more research is needed to conclusively prove all of CBD’s benefits and determine the ideal dosages.

Advantages of Vaping CBD over Oil and Other Products

The major advantage of vaping CBD over other methods is rapid onset of effects.

This is especially useful for people who suffer from sudden, acute health issues such as panic attacks, chronic pain, or seizures. In such cases, you will want to feel relief right away, making vaping a superior method for ingesting CBD when compared to sublingual CBD oil and other types of products.

This advantage also makes vaping CBD popular with people who suffer from insomnia and other sleep issues, since you can take it right at bedtime if you have difficulty falling asleep.

Another key advantage of vaping CBD is high absorption: as much as 60%. By comparison, many other forms of CBD, most notably capsules, have notoriously low bioavailability, which means only a small portion of the CBD reaches your bloodstream where it can exert its beneficial effects.

Vaping CBD is also incredibly convenient: you can take your vape device on the go and use it discreetly almost anywhere. Last but not least, vaping CBD can be fun as you enjoy different flavors and create big vapor clouds.

CBD derived from hemp remains lawful except to the extent that the FDA has determined that CBD should only be available for human consumption by a prescription. The FDA is currently in the process of writing final regulations for hemp-derived CBD products that may relax these restrictions.

CBD is legal in the United States, Canada, and many other countries, but its legal status typically depends on which kind of cannabis it comes from. Generally speaking, there are two types of cannabis plants: marijuana and hemp. The major difference between the two is their THC content.

Marijuana plants contain significant levels of THC (more than 0.3%), which means they can potentially cause mind-altering effects. For this reason, marijuana and products made from it are considered illegal in most places around the world.

By contrast, hemp plants contain 0.3% or less of THC. This small amount is not enough to make you high, which explains why CBD products made from hemp are legal in many countries.

In the United States, hemp-derived CBD was made legal at the federal level with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill.

How to Vape CBD

Vaping CBD can seem intimidating and confusing to new users. However, it’s not much different from regular vaping. For starters, you will want to figure out how you want to vape CBD: with a disposable pen, or with a refillable vaporizer.

Then, you will need to figure your CBD dosage and find the vape juice to match it. Finally, you can buy all your items and start vaping.

Choosing a Vape Device

CBD vapes can be divided into two basic categories: disposable vape pens and refillable, standalone vaporizers. The disposable option is great for beginners, while refillable vape devices save you money over time and offer opportunity for greater customization. Prior to using a refillable device, you should accumulate some vaping knowledge and learn about the maintenance of the vaporizer.

Disposable Vape Pen

If you’re completely new to vaping or CBD, we recommend starting with a disposable vape pen with a low CBD concentration. With these devices, everything is already taken care of for you.

Most disposable pens are draw-activated, which means you don’t need to press any buttons: simply inhale and enjoy the effects. These pens last until they’re out of CBD e-liquid.

Refillable Vaporizer

A refillable vape device typically includes a battery attached to a tank with a coil. Standalone CBD vaporizers are more complicated than disposable pens but offer several advantages. They are more powerful and cost-effective since you don’t need to buy a new one when your e-liquid runs out.

However, they will also require you to possess some vaping knowledge and to learn how to perform maintenance tasks, such as cleaning your tank and changing coils.

If you decide to purchase a refillable vaporizer, you will also need to buy separate CBD e-liquids or cartridges.

Figure Out Your CBD Dosage

After you’ve decided on how you will vape CBD, you need to figure out the dosage.

We highly recommend consulting a qualified healthcare professional before using CBD. This way, you can figure out the dosage that works best for you and be aware of any potential drug interactions.

Many people have trouble choosing their CBD dosage because:

  • There is too little research evidence
  • Everyone has different body chemistry and weight
  • People take CBD for different conditions with varying levels of severity

For example, one person may find relief for their pain by vaping only 10 mg of CBD per day, while another may find doses of 40 mg insufficient for improving their sleep quality.

If you’re new to CBD, we highly recommend starting with the lowest possible CBD dose. You can take a small puff, see how you feel, and vape again a few minutes later. Slowly increase your dosage until you start experiencing the desired effects, and stick to that dose.

Meanwhile, if you’ve used CBD oil before, you can start with a vaping product with similar potency (quantity of CBD per mL of liquid) and use the above method to find the dose that works best.

As a general point of reference, most people take 10-50 mg doses of CBD 1-3 times daily.

Choose Your Flavor

Next, you will need to choose a flavor for your CBD juice. E-liquids come in a wide variety of flavors, and CBD vape oil is no different. These flavors include various fruits and terpenes, natural plant compounds that come with unique aromas and tastes. Pleasant flavor is one of the reasons why vaping is such a fun and enjoyable experience.

Start Vaping CBD

Now that you’ve decided on a device, dosage, and flavor, you can buy all your products. At this point, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the usage instructions for your vape.

If you’re using a disposable vape pen, you can start vaping right away. If you’re using a standalone vape device, attach your CBD cartridge or fill your existing tank with CBD e-liquid and start vaping.

As we noted earlier, start slow with small puffs and gradually increase your dosage until you feel the desired effects, then stick to that dose.

CBD E-Liquid Storage

As one final note, we recommend that you store your CBD e-liquid in a cool, dry, and dark place away from heat and humidity to prevent degradation.

CBD Vaping Temperature

There’s much debate concerning the temperature that is ideal for vaping CBD. Most vape devices operate at around 200°C to 250°C (392°F to 480°F). By contrast, the boiling point of CBD is anywhere from 160-180°C.

Some people argue that you should vape CBD at these lower temperatures to prevent it from degrading along with any terpenes present. However, the only relevant research study reported that temperatures of 230°C (446°F) were ideal for releasing the most CBD.

There isn’t enough evidence to say which works better. For now, we recommend starting at around 180°C and experimenting by gradually increasing the temperature and assessing the effects.

Safety of Vaping CBD

It’s important to mention that health experts are not sure about the safety of vaping. Although an independent review by Public Health England (PHE) found vaping to be far less harmful than smoking, we simply don’t know enough about its long-term health effects.

So far, several studies have shown that vaping may carry some health risks. For instance, one study found a link between vaping and increased risk of a heart attack. However, this evidence is limited and more research is needed.

Ultimately, there isn’t enough evidence to say anything conclusive about the safety of vaping, especially with long-term use.

You may be aware that a dangerous lung disorder has recently been associated with vaping.  Currently, the best research indicates that is mostly associated with illegal THC-containing oils AND with the addition of ingredients such as Vitamin E acetate. One good rule is to always buy from a reputable source that does 3rd party testing, and to read the label!  You can be proactive about your own health and that is one reason we are here—to help you make the best choices possible.

Does Vaping CBD Make You High?

CBD is a non-euphoric substance, which means it does not make you high. In fact, research demonstrates that CBD counteracts the mind-altering effects of its cousin, THC.

It is possible for your vape juice to contain small (0.3% or less) amounts of THC if it uses a full-spectrum formula, but this small amount is not enough to cause mind-altering effects.

Does Vaping CBD Cause Side Effects?

Research shows that CBD is an exceptionally safe substance. However, it can cause minor adverse effects when vaped or taken in other forms.

Side effects of CBD include tiredness, sleepiness, low blood pressure, lightheadedness, dizziness, diarrhea, dry mouth, and changes in appetite or weight. The likelihood of these effects is relatively small unless you’re taking high doses.

Where Can You Buy CBD Vapes and E-Liquids

CBD products, including vape juices and pens, can be purchased both online and in physical locations. Online, CBD is typically available from individual companies and marketplaces that sell products from multiple brands. In physical stores, CBD products are sold in licensed dispensaries and vape or cannabis shops.

The vast majority of people buy CBD vape products online because of the wider selection, lower prices, and ease of delivery. By contrast, physical stores often overprice CBD products and have limited offerings. If you do decide to buy a CBD vape product at a physical store, we recommend comparing what you paid to the price for the same or similar product online.

Buying High-Quality CBD E-Liquid

If you want to purchase an effective, high-quality CBD vape juice, there are several key factors to consider: third-party lab testing, the type of CBD extract used, the hemp source, the extraction process, and the price.

Third-Party Lab Testing

The first and arguably most important way to verify that you’re buying a high-quality CBD e-liquid is third-party lab test results. These tests are performed by an independent, third-party laboratory, and verify that the product contains safe THC levels and as much CBD and other cannabinoids as the company claims.

Also, third-party labs can test for the presence of pesticides, heavy metals, and other potentially harmful substances.

The results of third-party tests should be easily accessible on the product page or in a dedicated section of the company’s website. If they’re not present, this should be seen as a major red flag.

Type of CBD Extract Used: Full Spectrum vs CBD Isolate

Another key factor when it comes to buying CBD vape oil is the type of CBD extract used. There are two main kinds of CBD extract: CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD.

Whereas CBD isolate contains pure CBD, full-spectrum extract also includes a wide range of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other natural hemp compounds.

Although CBD isolate is beneficial, full-spectrum preparations are more effective because of the entourage effect, a term researchers use to describe the holistic synergy between the many natural components of cannabis.

It should be noted that most CBD vape e-liquids are made with CBD isolate. Full-spectrum vape juice is more difficult to find.

Hemp Source

As we noted above, CBD is typically isolated from hemp plants. This means that the conditions under which this hemp is grown have a major impact on the quality of your CBD vape juice.

High-quality hemp is non-GMO, organic, and cultivated without the use of pesticides and herbicides. Notable places that produce high-quality hemp include Canada, the American State of Colorado, and European Union countries. If your chosen CBD brand doesn’t list the source of its hemp, this is another major red flag.

Extraction Method

Another factor that has a large impact on the quality of your CBD e-liquid is the extraction method used to isolate CBD from the hemp plant. This can be done via different methods, some of which are safer and more efficient than others.

Generally speaking, supercritical CO2 extraction is considered the gold standard when it comes to extracting CBD. This method effectively isolates CBD and other active ingredients from hemp without damaging them and leaving behind harmful compounds.

CO2 extraction requires expensive equipment, so if a company uses it, rest assured it cares about the quality of its products. Ethanol extraction is another safe, effective and highly regarded CBD extraction method.

CBD Vape Juice Price

When it comes to choosing a CBD e-liquid, price is undoubtedly one of the most important considerations.

One of the best ways to compare different CBD vape products is to figure out their price per mg of CBD. For example, a CBD vape e-liquid package that contains 1000 mg CBD with a price tag of $99.99 costs $0.1 per mg CBD. This means if you find a different product with a lower cost and similar quality, it may be a more cost-effective choice.

Generally speaking, prices under $0.09 per mg are considered low, $0.1 – $0.14 is average, and anything above that is expensive.

Buying High-Quality CBD Vapes

When it comes to finding a high-quality CBD vape device, there are some additional factors to consider. If you’re buying a disposable vape pen, you will have to rely on reviews of the particular pen you’re planning to buy.

This is why it’s a great idea to check out our reviews and comparisons of different CBD vapes. Generally speaking, most disposable vape pens are not of the greatest quality precisely because they aren’t meant to last you a long time.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to buy a refillable vaporizer, we recommend looking for a device with an adjustable temperature or one that is designed specifically for vaping CBD.

To Vape or Not To Vape CBD

We hope this guide shed some light on the subject of vaping CBD. As you can see, this emerging health and wellness trend provides similar benefits to standard CBD oil.

Vaping CBD also has some unique selling points: instant relief, high levels of absorption, convenience, and a fun, enjoyable experience.

Having said that, there are some concerns over the safety of vaping. Although it appears safe in the short-term, we simply don’t know enough about its long-term health effects.

In the end, vaping CBD offers a viable alternative to standard sublingual CBD oil tinctures but is not without its risks.

Disclaimer: CBD vape products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or ailment. We recommend consulting with a qualified doctor when taking CBD, especially if you already use other medications. The information on our website is intended to provide educational information about CBD and is not to be construed as medical advice or instruction.


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Dr. Zora DeGrandpre practices naturopathic medicine (home visits) in rural Washington and is a professional medical and scientific writer and editor, specializing in naturopathic, functional, botanical and integrative medicine. Dr. DeGrandpre has degrees in drug design, immunology and natural medicine and has extensive research experience in cancer and molecular immunology. In her practice, Dr DeGrandpre has found the use of CBD with elderly patients and others to be safe and clinically effective. She brings to all her writing a straightforward approach that is accurate, clear and authentic.

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