Vaping has not only proven to be an effective method of kicking the cigarette habit for good; it has also provided a convenient way for vapers and non-vapers alike to try the potential benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) from hemp. What are the advantages of vaping CBD, and how does it affect the lungs? Read on to learn more.
What to expect when vaping CBD
Vaping introduces aerosolized CBD directly into the lungs through inhalation. The mechanism is simple: a vaporizer, or vape pen, heats up CBD vape juice and turns it into vapor. Some vape pens automatically trigger the heating mechanism when the user takes a drag on it; others have a push-button heating mechanism.
The CBD vapor is inhaled through the mouth, goes down the pharynx (the back of the throat), through the larynx (the voice box), and then into the trachea (the windpipe). The trachea branches out into two passages, the bronchial tubes, which are directly connected to the lungs.
Vaping allows the quickest route for absorption into the bloodstream, which carries CBD to the brain, where it produces results almost immediately. As it provides a more direct route compared to sublingual (under the tongue) or oral/intestinal uptake, vaping also provides higher bioavailability of CBD; bioavailability refers to the amount of CBD or any substance that is absorbed into the bloodstream. A higher bioavailability means the potential effects of CBD are maximized. But keep in mind that the CBD concentration in the vape juice or any other CBD product also affects the potency of its effect.
When it comes to CBD, the quicker it is absorbed and the quicker the onset of effects, the quicker the effects also wear off. So if you’re looking for prolonged effects, you may opt for oral CBD products, instead.
Does CBD have any effect on the lungs when it is vaped?
The true effects of vaping on the lungs are still largely unknown; and the same is also true for the effects of CBD, whether it’s vaped or taken any other way. However, there are, perhaps, more clinical studies on CBD than there are on vaping.
What does science say about vaping?
The countless success stories of former cigarette smokers who have attempted and failed to kick the habit numerous times using a variety of other methods are undeniable proof that vaping is effective when used for this purpose.
But as vaping also became a widely popular recreational habit, it has caused serious concern about its safety and risks — particularly its short- and long-term effects on the lungs. An outbreak of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI), which caused thousands of emergency department visits and hospitalizations in the U.S., has been associated with vaping e-juices containing THC — specifically THC vape products that contain vitamin E acetate.
The cases have started to decline over the past year, mostly due to increased public awareness and the removal of vitamin E acetate in THC vape juices; but the lasting effects of vaping on health are still largely unknown, mostly because vape products are unregulated, which makes conducting studies difficult.
The proliferation and easy accessibility of vape products that may contain dangerous substances also continue to pose serious risks to public health. It’s important to always choose vape products, including CBD vape juices, made by reputable brands and sold by reputable retailers.
What does science say about CBD and lung health?
There’s limited scientific data on how CBD may affect the lungs, as preliminary studies have been mostly focused on the effects of CBD on anxiety, pain, insomnia, and seizures.
People who suffer from lung problems, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), often rely on aerosolized treatments which deliver medication directly into the lungs. Given CBD’s potential health effects and the fact that aerosolized delivery can be done through vaping, vaping CBD may seem like an effective alternative treatment option, but more studies are needed to determine if and how this option can be beneficial.
There have been some promising results from a few animal studies. One study found that CBD helped reduce inflammation and improve lung function in mice with lung damage. Another study on guinea pigs revealed that CBD can help facilitate easier breathing by opening up the bronchial passages. A recent study used human cells to look at how COPD might respond to CBD oil, and the results confirmed earlier data that support CBD’s potential anti-inflammatory and immune function benefits. There was also a case report involving an 81-year-old man whose lung tumor shrunk significantly while he was taking CBD oil drops.
These preliminary findings indicate that CBD may offer amazing benefits for lung health, but if you’re thinking of vaping CBD for a lung condition or any other medical issue, always consult a doctor first.
Although CBD products derived from hemp are technically legal in all states, keep in mind that the use of CBD for medical purposes has not been approved by the FDA and every state has its own regulations regarding the sale and use of CBD.
CBD is often marketed for its many potential health benefits and although findings from a number of preliminary studies tip the scales in favor of CBD, you must also take into consideration the known risks associated with its use, particularly when it is vaped. Just as importantly, you should not discount the fact that a lot is still unknown with regards to the safety and dangers of vaping CBD.