If you’ve been following this site for any length of time you’ll know that we’re all about nicotine and how to use it in safer ways. Our main focus is Heat not Burn systems, of course, but recently we’ve diversified a bit and started looking at pod systems and nicotine salt liquids, too. If it delivers nicotine without the harm of smoking, we’re happy to look at it.
So if we’ll look at any safer way of using nicotine, why not other drugs? Recently we were talking about the growing popularity of CBD – cannabinoid – vapour products, which a lot of people are now using for medicinal purposes. Traditionally, most people who use cannabinoids have gone for a variety of smoked products. Obviously we’re not supporters of these, because as well as involving inhaling smoke – which is bad for you – they’re also illegal. Vaped CBD, on the other hand, is a reduced-harm product, so we decided that was right up our street.
So what’s CBD all about?
Cannabinoids are a class of chemicals found in various plants, but the best source of them is Cannabis sativa – the marijuana plant. This plant has been used medicinally for centuries, but it’s now possible to process out the chemicals with medicinal benefits and turn them into an e-liquid.
Our bodies actually produce endocannabinoids, chemicals similar to the cannabinoids in marijuana, and they perform a range of important functions. Among other things they help regulate our temperature, control stress and relieve pain. Our cells have receptors for these endocannabinoids, and these receptors can also be activated by cannabinoids you inhale.
Cannabis? So this stuff gets you high?
No, that’s THC. CBD has no psychoactive properties, just medicinal ones. You can vape as much of it as you like and you won’t get even slightly stoned. Which is why…
Is it legal?
Yes, totally. Since 13 October 2016 CBD has been recognised as a medicine in the UK, and legal to sell over the counter. The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority classes any product that contains CBD as a medicine, so they have to meet official standards for quality and safety.
The psychoactive substance in cannabis is THC, and that isn’t legal – it’s a Class B controlled drug. That’s why cannabis, despite its medicinal qualities, hasn’t been available in the UK. Thanks to CBD liquids you can now use the beneficial CBD without the illegal drug.
What is CBD oil?
The key ingredient in CBD liquids is cannabidiol. This is the most abundant active component of the plant after THC – up to 40% of the extract from the plant. It’s also the component that’s licensed as a medicine. There are about 120 known cannabinoids in cannabis, but this is the one we’re interested in.
Luckily, the different components of the plant are found in different places. THC is most concentrated in the buds, but the highest levels of CBD are in the stems. These have been grown commercially for a long time, because they’re also the source of hemp fibres. Happily, they’re perfect for extracting CBD too.
OK, so what does it do?
People have been using cannabis for its medicinal properties for thousands of years, but the medical establishment has always been sceptical. That’s changing now, though. More recently, clinical trials have been done on a wide range of illnesses, and there are some promising results. Here are some of the diseases that have been treated with CBD:
- Chronic pain
- Crohn’s disease
- Diabetes (Type 1)
- Eating disorders
- Multiple sclerosis
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
These are all conditions that could benefit from CBD. That doesn’t mean it’s going to cure them – the bottom line is that it might not help at all. On the other hand there’s growing evidence that it can help manage the symptoms, and improve quality of life. Millions of people around the world use CBD to treat the symptoms they suffer from, and they’re convinced it helps. Medical science is starting to agree with them.
Sounds good, but are there any side effects?
There hasn’t been enough testing to be totally clear on this, and pretty much all drugs have some side effects, but – like nicotine – CBD seems to be remarkably safe. Some users have reported tiredness, and others say their appetite has changed, but overall it looks like most people tolerate it very well. There have been no reports of serious side effects, which is more than you can say for most medicines.
And this stuff works in e-cigs?
Yes – and very well, too. The vaporisation point of CBD oil is about 200°C, which is right in the temperature range an e-cig can generate. If you add CBD oil to a liquid and vape it, you’re going to get the CBD.
A big advantage of vaping CBD, of course, is that you’re inhaling vapour instead of smoke. That makes it a reduced-harm way of inhaling CBD. While the drug itself looks to be safe, if you smoke it you’re getting exactly the same lungful of harmful combustion products as you would from a cigarette.
Another big advantage is that vaped CBD enters your bloodstream very easily. If you’re looking for rapid relief of symptoms, vaping is the ideal way to get it.
Does it matter what strength I use?
Yes, it does. If you use too much CBD you can build up a tolerance to it, so you need more to get the same relief from your symptoms. The way to avoid that is to use the lowest strength you can get away with. Start at the lowest available, and see how it works. If it’s not quite strong enough you can move up a level (or vape more). The key is that you’re not inhaling more CBD than you need. You won’t get any extra benefit from it, and you risk building up your tolerance too quickly.
So there you go – our handy introduction to CBD e-liquids. We’re looking more closely at these right now and might be adding them to our range soon. If we do, we’ll keep you informed!