Vaping vs. Smoking CBD
Smoking uses dried plant parts or concentrates while vaping uses concentrated extracts or ground dry herb.
Both methods take effect very quickly as they get CBD into your bloodstream almost immediately. But research shows that the effects of vaping are much stronger than smoking. Because of the concentrate, it seems to be a more potent delivery system.
Some people also prefer vaping because they feel it is safer than inhaling smoke into the lungs. Vaping involves heating a substance in a special cartridge until it vaporizes into a gas. Because it’s not being heated to the burning point as with smoking, you avoid potentially dangerous byproducts of combustion such as particulate matter, tiny particles of soot that can harm the lungs.
What Is Bioavailability?
Bioavailability is a measure of how much a drug or other substance is able to enter circulation when introduced into the body. It tells us how efficiently it can reach its target area and take effect.
Bioavailability depends on two things:
- Absorption — how much of it we get; and
- Secretion — how much we get out.
CBD bioavailability matters because its potency increases when it is absorbed directly into your bloodstream. So vaping CBD gives you a much higher bioavailability than other methods such as ingesting edibles. The lungs are more efficient at getting CBD into your bloodstream than the stomach.
What Is CBD Vape Oil?
CBD vape oil, also known as vape juice, is a form of CBD that has been mixed with a carrier liquid to thin it and formulated to consume through a vaporizer.
It is important to look carefully at the ingredients in CBD vape oil before you use it. The best choices are those with no added ingredients, but you definitely don’t want anything besides:
- PG and VG
- CBD extract
- Terpenes; and
The label should also clearly state that the product is for vaping and should not contain any actual oil. If you don’t see this language, it may not be suitable for inhalation.
One way to be sure you are getting the best and safest CBD oils is to check out our recommendations at Hail Mary Jane.
You can also try making your own oil for a vape pen so you know just what’s going into it.
How Much CBD Oil Should I Vape?
Figuring out how much CBD to vape can be complex. Since CBD is relatively new to the market, evidence-based dosing guidelines haven’t been created yet.
Most experts agree that you should start with the lowest dosage and work your way up as needed.
You need to know how much CBD you will be getting, so always check the label on the cartridge or vape juice container for that information. The amount of CBD should be expressed in milligrams on the label.
So once you know how much CBD is in the oil, how do you figure out your personal dose? Let’s look into some of the factors that will influence that figure.
8 Factors That Will Determine the Right CBD Vaping Dosage for You
Since there is no one-size-fits-all answer for how much CBD oil you should vape, there are no standard dosing protocols for it as there are with other medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
The correct and appropriate dosage for you will depend upon many factors outlined below.
In general, the more you weigh, the higher your CBD oil dose will need to be.
But it really has more to do with your body fat percentage.
Cannabinoids are lipophilic, meaning they are attracted to fats. This can hinder absorption into the bloodstream. So if you have a higher level of body fat, you won’t absorb as much of the CBD you take in. And if your body fat percentage is low, you could feel more intense effects from a lesser dose of CBD.
Since we now know that CBD is lipophilic, we can use this knowledge to help increase its absorption by eating specific types of foods concurrent to ingestion.
A study was conducted that showed people who had a high-fat meal within 30 minutes of taking CBD oil saw their maximum levels of CBD increase an average of 14 times over those who took it without food.
This evidence suggests that if you tend to avoid fatty foods, you won’t get as much out of whatever dose you take. It’s probably a good idea to ingest some healthy fats around the time you vape CBD oil to get the most bang for your buck.
Your metabolic rate, or the speed at which your body breaks down compounds such as CBD, differs based on your:
- Digestive system
- Lifestyle; and
- Genetic profile.
If you have a high metabolism, you will feel the effects of CBD oil quickly but your body will also burn through it at a higher rate. This may mean you will need a higher dose.
Conversely, people who have slow metabolisms may take longer to feel the effects of CBD oil, but it stays in their systems longer. So a lower dose may be advisable in this case.
#4: Additional Medications Taken
If you are on any prescription medications, you will want to check with your doctor before taking CBD and to help figure out your dose.
Prescription medications that have warning labels to avoid grapefruit may interact with CBD, and this could carry potential danger.
Medications including some …
- High blood pressure pills
- Anti-anxiety drugs; and
… are metabolized by Cytochrome P450 enzymes. At high doses, CBD can temporarily deactivate these enzymes. This would lead to increased and unsafe levels of the drug in the bloodstream.
#5: Reason for Taking CBD
There are different strengths of CBD products, and the dosage you choose will depend both on your condition and its severity.
For instance, if you experience mild insomnia every once in a while, you will want to take a low-potency CBD dosage to help with that.
A chronic illness with severe pain may require a high-potency dosage. And something like moderate anxiety or depression may fall somewhere in the middle.
#6: CBD Type/Strength
CBD vape oil comes in three basic forms:
- Full-spectrum — contains other cannabinoids including THC
- Broad-spectrum — contains other cannabinoids but not THC
- CBD isolate — the purest form that contains only CBD
Current evidence suggests that full and broad-spectrum CBD is more effective than isolate because of the entourage effect, which hypothesizes that the presence of multiple cannabis compounds along with CBD increases health benefits.
So you may need different dosages depending on which form you take.
#7: Vaping Dosage vs. Other Delivery Methods
The dosage for vaping will be different than for other CBD products. It can be tricky depending on how much you inhale and the concentration of the vape juice.
Remember earlier when we discussed bioavailability? That also comes into play here. Each delivery method has a different level of bioavailability, with vaping being the highest by far.
Let’s look at the specific numbers to compare:
- Capsules and edibles — 5 to 15%
- Tinctures — 20 to 30%
- Topicals and patches — 35 to 40%
- Flowers and vapes — 40 to 50%
Since vaped CBD can enter circulation in the body so much more effectively, you may find that you don’t need as high a dose to get the full effect.
#8: Tolerance Level
Everyone tolerates medications at different levels. A lot of this has to do with factors we’ve already discussed, but even besides those, some people can take a lot more of a drug before feeling the effects than others. If you don’t already know your tolerance level, you should experiment to see what works best for you.
The best way to find your dosage is always to start low and then work your way up.