Update November 2019: In our opinion, vaping CBD tincture oil is not safe and is irresponsible. Following the recent outbreak of vaping related pulmonary injury (VAPI), the FDA has recommended that the public refrains from using any products containing THC, homemade vaping products, or products obtained on the street. Read the full FDA report here.
For many consumers of e-liquid products, vaping is about more than getting your daily dose of nicotine. These days, a considerable percentage of vapers use their electronic pod mods, shisha sticks, and tank systems to medicate a variety of illnesses and disorders. This is done with CBD and terpene-infused e-liquids, which ameliorate the symptoms of anything from chronic anxiety to Parkinson’s disease.
But what if you find yourself in a state where cannabis consumption is illegal? In countries like Japan, for example, cannabis and hemp usage are still frowned upon by the government. This means CBD e-liquids are unavailable at vape shops, and can’t be mailed in from overseas. However, CBD oil is legal for medicinal purposes, specifically in tincture form. This has led to some overseas vapers posting on message boards to ask whether or not vaping tinctures is safe. In this post, we go over everything you need to consider before giving it a try.
Are There Major Risks to Vaping CBD Tincture Oil?
To understand why it isn’t recommended that you vape tinctures, it’s important to get familiar with the differences in composition between an e-liquid and a standard tincture product. The average e-liquid base is comprised of a combination of propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG) in varying proportions. On the other hand, most tinctures use coconut oil, which is essentially a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil base.
This is an important distinction to make because both PG and VG are established as “optimized” for vaporization using the nickel, titanium and stainless steel coils used in vape devices. This is not the case for MCT oils, which if vaporized via a vape atomizer could cause a condition known as lipid pneumonia.
What exactly is lipid pneumonia?
Exogenous lipid pneumonia is a condition caused by lipoids (or fat molecules) entering from outside the body via the mouth or nose and reaching the lungs, causing inflammation. Symptoms of lipid pneumonia include fevers, chronic cough, chest pain and serious difficulty breathing. Less common symptoms include dysphagia – which is difficulty swallowing – and hemoptysis, which is the coughing up of blood.
Advanced Vapers & Vaping with CBD Tinctures
There are some who fly in the face of conventional vape wisdom by using unregulated mods, homemade hybrid coils and low vegetable glycerin DIY e-liquids. Vaping with tinctures is no different. Some advanced vapers are confident in their ability to incorporate precise ratios of ingredients and claim to regularly mix standard non-CBD e-liquids with tincture oils in a 10/90 or 5/95 ratio.
However, mixing e-liquid with tincture oil is not recognized as “safe” by the large majority of the vaping community, and will not be mainstream practice anytime soon.
The Verdict: To Try or Not To Try Vaping Tincture Oil
There are certainly a number of vapers who claim to get away with it, but the risks to vaping the MCT oil in CBD tinctures are well-known in the medical and scientific community. Lipid pneumonia and its various symptoms can be extremely detrimental to the human system, and is simply not a risk worth taking in our opinion. In any case, CBD-reliant vapers in states or countries where cannabis is still illegal can always make do with mixing tinctures in tea or water for the duration of their stay.