The vaping market has rapidly grown over the past two years and is expected to be worth a staggering $32 billion by 2021.
There are many reasons for this, from people taking up the habit of vaping to quit smoking, to those who simply want to boost their social image.
But what about health and wellbeing? More vapers around the globe are now turning to CBD-infused e-liquids as opposed to nicotine e-juice, and there's a damn good reason for it - CBD is non-toxic, non-psychoactive, non-addictive and by vaping CBD, users can enjoy the benefits of this organic compound in a truly convenient and effective form.
With this in mind, here’s everything you need to know about CBD e-liquids and the key considerations when distinguishing between good and substandard products.
What is CBD e-liquid?
In simple terms, e-liquid is the fluid that fuels an e-cigarette during use. It is vapourised by the battery powered atomiser featured in the design of a standard e-cigarette, imitating the process and sensation of traditional smoking for users.
Standard e-liquids feature a number of common ingredients, including a fusion of two primary atomising bases (PG or VG). We’ll have a little more on these later, while it’s also important to note that some products may be compromised of just one atomising base.
Your choice of e-liquid will also include one of many potential flavourings, which will influence the colour of the vapour produced, its odour and the taste that smokers experience.
So where does CBD come into play?
Essentially, CBD e-liquid will feature a concentrated form of Cannabidiol oil, which is added to the atomising base and flavouring prior and central to the fluid that is ultimately vapourised.
This type of e-liquid has become increasingly popular, thanks primarily to the pronounced growth of the global CBD marketplace and the capacity of Cannabidiol for enhancing the function of the body’s endocannabinoid systems and addressing issues such as anxiety, appetite and immune response.
CBD e-liquids have also become one of the most accessible and convenient ways to consume this supplement, while this type of product can also be absorbed directly into the bloodstream rather than having to first pass through the stomach and liver.
Aside from the core ingredients in CBD e-liquids, are there any other elements to look out for? Some products may contain terpenes, which are hydrocarbons found in a variety of plants and include examples such as linalool and limonene. Each terpene has its own unique flavour, scent, and colour, and has a key bearing on the composition of the e-liquids that you use.
As a consumer, you should also keep your eyes peeled for e-liquids that include diacetyl. This is a potentially unsafe element that should be avoided, as accumulated exposure to the compound can trigger chronic bronchiolitis and significant raspatory problems in later life.
How Much CBD will I get from Vaping?
As we’ve already touched on, one of the primary benefits of consuming CBD in an e-liquid form is that it can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream after initially passing through the lungs.
The effects of this are exceptional, with vaping essentially allowing around four-times as much CBD to reach your circulation in comparison with oral consumption techniques.
Vaping essentially translates into a maximum bioavailability of around 50 or 60%, with the equivalent figure for oral consumption estimated at 15%.
So, for every 100 milligrams of CBD that you vape, you can expect between 50% and 60% reach your bloodstream directly.
Ultimately, this means that you can achieve the same physical and mental benefits even when consuming a smaller amount of CBD, which can decrease the cost to customers and enable them to minimise their daily dosage.
More on CBD e-liquid Basis – What are They?
At the heart of every successful CBD e-liquid is the choice of atomising base, which will be comprised of either PG, VG or a combination of both.
While the modern trend is for bases to compromise of a mixture, it’s perfectly plausible for them to be made from 100% PG or VG. Regardless, the base will play a significant role in enhancing your vaping experience, so you’ll need to understand the core composition and the potential benefits of each compound.
PG is also known as Propylene Glycol, while it’s a clear and colourless liquid that is typically used as a carrier in food products. This makes it an exceptionally strong deliverer of flavour, providing a strong throat hit that satisfies users quickly.
Interestingly, PG has also been utilised in asthma inhalers and nebulisers since the 1950s, while it’s also inherently safe for consumption.
One of the cons associated with PG is that it does not produce a particularly high quality vapour, and this is why it’s often mixed with VG (or Vegetable Glycerin).
Interestingly, this is a completely colourless, odourless and tasteless viscous liquid that is exclusively derived from plants, and its relatively bland composition means that it's rarely used as a base without first being mixed with PG.
It is thicker than PG, while it also produces superior vapour and serves as an exceptionally effective sweetener. It’s also been comprehensively tested and proven to be safe and can be used to varying degrees as part of an e-liquid base.
With these points in mind, it’s easy to see why the vast majority of bases are a fusion of PG and VG. These two compounds compliment the others’ deficiencies perfectly, for example, helping manufacturers to create flavourful e-liquids that also produce a satisfying vapour.
Is CBD e-liquid Homogenous?
The dictionary definition of homogenous is “the same throughout”, and when applied to CBD e-liquids it refers to a product that is well blended and uniform in its appearance.
The key question here is whether the individual elements of your e-liquid are likely to separate into different layers, which is a prominent risk when introducing CBD oil into a standard formula.
Make no mistake; manufacturers have struggled to seamlessly integrate CBD oil into an e-liquid formula in recent times, which triggers knock-on issues pertaining to uneven dosages and visually unappealing products.
One step that producers have taken is to reduce the ratio of VG to PG when developing the base, with the former element extremely thick and unlikely to meld well with CBD oil.
This means that there are CBD e-liquids on the market which have been well formulated and superbly blended, but you’ll need to use a keen eye and review the ingredients in order to seek these out.
Is the e-liquid Clear or Cloudy?
On a similar note, the visual appearance of the product should also provide food for thought. As a general rule, a premium e-liquid should always be clear, with its level of transparency a clear indicator of its quality.
In fact, a well-made e-liquid should be crystal clear, allowing any light to pass through the fluid completely unhindered prior to the vapourising process.
The good news is that this is characteristic is almost immediately evident to customers, with its level of clarity apparent as soon as it has been dispensed.
Poorly formulated products will appear cloudy and may even boast a thick consistency, which once again hints at an excess of VG in the base.
On a final note, try not to get confused between the transparency of the fluid and the colour of the e-liquid. Remember, a strawberry-infused will boast a strong crimson shade, but it may still be crystal clear and capable of processing light.
Does your Product Live up to the Claims on the Label?
As with any growth market, the CBD space is being infiltrated by a number of companies and rogue operators who are slashing costs and producing substandard products for consumption.
CBD e-liquids are no exception to this rule, with a number of poor quality products being presented to customers at bargain-basement prices.
Some brands will even lie openly about the composition of their e-liquids, claiming that they boast up to 250mg of CBD oil when it only contains a trace amount.
In this respect, such brands appear as though they are offering exceptional value in relation to cost per milligrams of CBD included, but often the opposite is true and customers are actually being conned.
As a consumer, you can negate this risk by prioritising brands that feature detailed label information and support this with access to third-party testing and laboratory results.
This type of report will verify the advertised composition of the CBD e-liquid in question, while also listing every ingredient included as part of the production process.
These tests are extremely detailed and conducted by an independent body, and if a supplier is reluctant to provide this information (either online or on demand), then you’d be advised to avoid their products.
What About Flavourings?
Every component of CBD e-liquid products is subject to constant innovation, but no single example embodies this better than flavourings.
In fact, we’ve seen the considerable diversification of e-liquid flavours in the marketplace, with terpenes and selected artificial flavourings combining with the atomising base to tailor specific product formulas.
A recent innovation has also seen the development of increasingly unique and exotic flavour combinations, including Mountain Dew, Pear Drops, Blackjacks and even Fruit Loops. In addition, for those of you who are familiar with sub ohm vaping, a new range of CBD has hit the market which is designed specifically for this device - perfect for those big clouds and a great depth of flavour.
In terms of ratios within the composition, CBD e-liquid will typically contain between 5% and 20% of flavourings, with used extensively to provide natural essences.
Try to identify the products that use artificial flavourings sparingly, while also prioritising those that utilise a healthy percentage of PG within the base.
Above all, don’t be afraid to compare the market as it continues to grow, in order to identify the flavour combinations that suit your own unique tastes!
The Last Word
So there you have it; everything that you need to know about CBD e-liquids and the key considerations when trying to identify a truly premium product.
The most important thing is to always be vigilant as a consumer, particularly in relation to the composition of the product, clarity and the provision of third-party testing results.
So, pay attention to the label and visual appeal of any CBD e-liquid that you consider, and invest as much time as you need to identify the very best product for you!