A Beginners Guide to Vaping
You’ve inevitably seen the billowing clouds of smoke lifting from cars sitting at a traffic light or fallen victim to stumbling down the “vape tricks” rabbit hole on YouTube; don’t be ashamed, that’s how we spent the first 90 minutes of our research. But nonetheless you’ve discovered this newfound infatuation: vaping.
The vape culture has exploded onto the social scene since the early 2000’s and there seems to be absolutely no slowing down in sight. With vape shops popping up on every corner and a box mod in just about every other hand, vapes are here to stay. And while vaping may have first been introduced to help users stop smoking cigarettes, it’s progressed even deeper into the counterculture movement. What started out as a simple design intended for cig smokers has since developed into a full-blown industry that is worth millions of dollars every single year. Companies continue to hop on board the vape train and create new and inventive ways for users to get their necessary relief.
The technology behind vaping was actually developed and patented back in 1963. Despite that fact, e-cigs, as they are commonly referred to, were not sold to the public until 2003. Flash forward just 15 years and the vape industry is predicted to reach a total market value of $50 billion by 2025. In just over twenty years, vapes will have gone from a thought, to a public product, to an entire industry; not many trends are able to say that.
In today’s vape world, vaping is seen as more of a lifestyle as opposed to just a trend or a ‘stop smoking’ campaign. There are now even competitions and “athletes” who compete for sponsors and promotional deals. Just a handful of years ago, you could only go to your local smoke shop to find the popular vape options — and those shops were few and far between. Nowadays, there’s vape shops across from other vape shops in the same shopping plaza and the ease of availability has driven the growth of such a burgeoning industry. Now there are more flavor options, modifications, and types of vapes than ever before. Companies are rapidly looking to expand their product lines to add new flavors, with new additives, that have different desired effects. And with such an influx of cash, companies are beginning to experiment with different types of mixtures they can add. The latest craze to hit this upward-trending industry is CBD.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has quickly emerged as a favorite vape ingredient amongst the collective community. CBD is derived naturally from the hemp plant, which must contain less than 0.3% THC in order to be classified as industrial hemp and be legal for use within the United States. The CBD oil industry, much like vaping, has exploded onto the marketplace and has the potential to become a multi-billion dollar industry. You may have previously heard of “weed cartridges” or those same vape pens coming with cartridges that contain some type of THC concentrate. The best thing about CBD is that it allows vapers to experience all the benefits of the cannabis plant but with absolutely none of the high. Users, at most, share feelings of relaxation and easiness but don’t feel the anxiety that can sometimes affect those who are under the influence of pot. In other words, CBD provides all the natural relief with none of the associated high.
In term of effectiveness, vaping CBD is one of the best ways for your body to immediately feel that sweet-leaf relief. Be it for pain and inflammation or anxiety and stress, vaping CBD can provide a relaxing alternative to other Big Pharma medications. In a day and age when more and more kids are being prescribed medicine before they can do simple algebra, it seems as good a time as any to start researching alternative, all-natural forms of medication. That is precisely where CBD comes into play by delivering concentrated amounts of relief to the right parts of the body. When CBD is vaped, the bioavailability — the degree or rate at which a substance is absorbed by the body — increases exponentially to 30-50%. This simply means that vaping CBD is able to provide concentrated relief directly to areas of the body that are directly affected. In comparison, sublingually taking CBD oil by placing a dropper under your tongue results in 15-25% bioavailability while eating CBD edibles will result in roughly 6% bioavailability. In other words, ditch the desserts and vape to vastly improve your overall health!
Now that you’ve gained some necessary CBD insight, let’s sift through some of the thick clouds of confusion that engulf vaping. One of the biggest issues is what mixture is best: PG, VG, or MCT? This question is still up for debate as vape connoisseurs alike have their own personal preferences. Some believe these ingredients work best on their own, while other advocates think that combining several mixing agents make for the best concoction. More research will be needed to provide in-depth information and analysis.
Propylene glycol, or PG, is considered the most popular mixing agents known for producing a mellow vapor cloud and a clean, smooth pull. Adding PG to your mixture will help maintain consistency and taste but won’t provide that thick cloud of smoke that those “athletes” create while competing. PG has a thin consistency and is a tasteless, odorless substance that won’t affect any additional flavoring. The FDA has deemed PG “generally recognized as safe” although users sometimes complain of throat discomfort and dry mouth if used too frequently. Even though these are somewhat common side effects, you should always be aware of any feeling of discomfort you may feel during vaping. You may want to try another mixture, a different brand, or a different flavor.
The lesser of the two mixing agents, VG, stands for vegetable glycerin and is considerably thicker than PG mixtures. Those large, billowing plumes of smoke you see are more than likely from a VG base. Unlike its counterpart, VG does have a slightly sweeter taste on its own. VG is commonly derived from vegetable oil so there are risks that the mixtures are not quite as pure as some of the other options available. Users tend to complain about phlegm build-up in the throat, but VG is significantly less allergenic than PG mixtures. Each user will react differently to different mixing agents.
One relatively new mixing agent that has been introduced into the vape world is MCT oil, or medium-chain triglycerides. A close cousin of coconut oil, MCT oil is considered “natural” as opposed to other synthetic mixtures and provides a smooth, tasteless mix. MCT oil can be difficult to vape with as it sometimes has trouble heating to the proper temperature. Users sometimes complain of a bad aftertaste in their mouth while some studies suggest inhaling large amounts of heated MCT oil vapor can cause pneumococcal pneumonia. Although “natural,” heating this type of oil can cause some negative health side effects so buyers beware. And since this is one of the newest agents on the market, more information needs to become readily available before any decision can truly be made about MCT oil safety.
Now that you’re a bit more informed on the different vape mixing agents, you can decide what combination is right for you. Most veteran vapers opt for a PG/VG mix as opposed to one or the other, while MCT oil supporters stake their claim on the “natural” alternative. If you ask the most seasoned of smoke vets, they would tell you that the PG/VG combo gives the best overall vape experience. But, the newfangled MCT smokers will tell you that their mixture is best because they know it comes from coconut oil. While there is still much to be researched about the vape industry as a whole, the fact remains that countless users are going to try it as an alternative option to smoking cigarettes. At the same time, many sufferers from a range of symptoms have opted for a more natural, alternative approach to their healing by utilizing the hemp healing powers of CBD. The two are a healing match made by alternatives.
There are still minimal recent studies that take an in-depth look into the potential harmful effects of vaping, so take this information with a grain of salt. Do a bit of your own research and talk with your local smoke shop to better decide which vape is right for you. A knowledgeable and trustworthy staff may be able to point you in the right direction for whatever your vape needs may be. They will also be the people who can give some background information on some of the newer companies who have begun to develop CBD vape products. With so many new players in the industry, it can get confusing which company to go with. Talking to trusted industry professionals and doing your own research will go a long way to providing the much needed relief that you seek.
One thing is for sure, vaping CBD has the power to combat the everyday stress of life. We could all use a little “smoke break” from the daily grind, why not give vaping all-natural CBD a try? You never know, it could be the natural healer you’ve been desperately vaping for.