Coughing is a common side effect experienced by most first-time vapers — including those who are switching from cigarette smoking. There are a variety of factors that can lead to coughing when vaping CBD; take a look at each one so you can figure out how to manage this side effect.
Why You Cough When You Vape and How to Resolve It
Proper inhalation of vapor is a technique that one learns through practice; inhaling cigarette smoke is also different from inhaling vapor. Many first-time vapers either do not inhale deeply and long enough or they also inhale a lot of air along with the vapor. Correct vapor inhalation involves a long and slow drag. Learning the correct technique often resolves the coughing.
Vape Juice Ingredients
You may belong to the small percentage of vapers who are allergic to propylene glycol (PG), which is one of the basic ingredients of vape juice; the other basic ingredient is vegetable glycerine (VG). Different vape juices, including CBD vape juices, contain varying VG-PG ratios. PG delivers a “throat hit” similar to that delivered by cigarette smoking; VG helps make the e-juice vapor go down more smoothly. There might also be other ingredients present that cause irritation to the respiratory tract.
If you’re allergic to PG, you can choose a vape juice that has zero or less PG and more VG. Most vapers also eventually get used to vape juice ingredients and stop experiencing irritation after a period of continued vaping.
If you are switching from cigarette smoking, the hair-like projections in your respiratory tract that are supposed to trap irritants eventually grow back. Coughing when vaping may simply be your restored cilia’s natural reaction to the ingredients in the vapor. Cigarettes are also designed with a filter to make for smoother inhalation, whereas most vape devices deliver vapor unfiltered. (Some new vape devices now come with filters.) Again, continued use eventually allows your body to develop a tolerance to the vapor and the coughing goes away on its own.
While it might seem counterintuitive that inhaling vapor — which is basically wet air — can cause your throat to get dry and, therefore lead to fits of coughing, the PG content of your juice actually draws out most of the moisture as you pull vapor into your throat. Vape juices with a high PG content are usually preferred by former smokers or smokers who are trying to quit as the PG gives them a “throat hit” similar to that delivered by cigarettes.
A high PG content also means that the vape juice flavor is not affected, as PG is flavorless and odorless. When vaping CBD juice, flavoring can be tricky as CBD oil has a naturally grassy or earthy taste. Masking this flavor with natural terpenes or artificial flavors may require higher amounts of PG so that the desired flavor is not altered. The trade off, however, is throat dryness.
You may have to experiment with CBD vape juice formulated with varying concentrations of PG until you find a formulation that does not cause too much throat dryness. And, of course, drink lots of water.
If you experience coughing from vaping CBD, it might be caused by any of a variety of factors that do not actually have anything to do with CBD. If you are vaping CBD to take advantage of its potential health benefits, choose a CBD vape juice with as few ingredients as possible, and only natural ones. And make sure the CBD extract used is of high quality and derived from locally-sourced, organic hemp to avoid exposure of your lungs to harmful contaminants.