CBD is making a big splash in the UK market, but the industry is still fairly underdeveloped, and it is not yet regulated. Nonetheless, more and more people are discovering CBD and all the benefits it has to offer. With the industry growing rapidly, a vast array of products is hitting the shelves.
One of the products growing in popularity are CBD e-liquids. These, much like regular nicotine e-liquids, are used in an e-cigarette or vaporiser – but they contain CBD instead of nicotine.
This article will explain everything you need to know about CBD e-liquids, including where (if anywhere) you can buy them in the UK.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the 100+ compounds that can be found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Although it is a cannabinoid related to the likes of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which can get you high, this is not the case with CBD.
Instead, CBD is currently being thoroughly researched for its potential health-boosting effects. The human body contains something called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which consists of a network of cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids, which we produce ourselves.
CBD has an indirect influence on the ECS, stimulating the production of endocannabinoids which bind with their corresponding receptors to help regulate a number of the body’s functions. The ECS helps to maintain homeostasis, making it absolutely vital to our survival.
Thus, taking CBD to boost ECS function is thought to promote general wellbeing. This is why it is being sold in health food stores throughout the UK – health gurus nationwide are jumping on the bandwagon.
Why Would You Vape CBD?
Vaping CBD is not for everyone. Most people stick to the likes of CBD oils and edibles, which are simpler to take and more discreet. Vaping is harder to slot into your daily routine than some methods, and it requires the purchase of a vaporiser. So why would you do it?
The main draw to vaping CBD is the fact that it offers a very high bioavailability when consumed via the respiratory system. The effects kick in incredibly quickly, and you can absorb pretty much all the CBD.
With that being the primary advantage, here is a handy list of pros and cons to take into consideration before you invest in CBD e-liquids.
- Very high bioavailability when you consume CBD via the respiratory system – it is estimated to be around 50-60%, which is 4 times that of oral consumption.
- The effects kick in very quickly when administered this way.
- For vapers, using CBD instead of nicotine can keep you in the habit without you having to actually ingest addictive substances.
- This method is not ideal for those with lung conditions. There are also safety concerns for those who do not have lung conditions.
- Not only do you have to buy CBD e-liquids, but you also have to first invest in a vaporiser or e-cigarette. This makes it quite expensive.
- It is hard to dose CBD using e-liquids, unless you vape a whole cartridge in one go.
- For those who are not used to vaping, there are much simpler methods of getting CBD. Furthermore, it is not discreet.
How are CBD E-liquids Made?
To make CBD e-liquids, the CBD must be extracted from the cannabis plant. This is usually done nowadays via CO2 extraction, which involves passing supercritical CO2 over raw plant material to extract the cannabinoids and terpenes from it. The plant material can then be used for textiles and the like, while the cannabinoids are collected to be made into other products. The CO2, meanwhile, is recycled and can be used in the process again.
With this method, though, some other plant material can find its way into the resulting product. This is not necessarily healthy, so many companies winterise their products. This involves suspending the solution in alcohol and then freezing the mixture. The harmful components can then be taken out of the product.
In order to make CBD products like oils into e-liquids that can be vaped, the solution must be thinned out. To do this, thinning agents like propylene glycol are used.
That is the basic process used to make CBD e-liquids.
Is it Safe to Vape CBD?
The health concerns associated with CBD e-liquids are primarily related to how they are produced. First of all, some studies suggest that vaping in general isn’t safe, and that’s with CBD e-liquids out of the question. Since most of the people who will want to vape their CBD will already be vapers, though, in this article we will only be looking at the concerns associated with CBD e-liquids.
Firstly, since e-liquids are derived from CBD oils as mentioned above, it needs to be questioned whether an oil can be vaped at all. Oil is essentially a fat, which means you will be inhaling fat into your lungs. Globules of fat can accumulate in the alveoli and airways, leading to lipoid pneumonia. It is thought that this will only affect very frequent vapers, which is not recommended, but it’s worth mentioning.
The plant matter is another issue. Cannabis plants have a fatty outer layer, and these lipids will end up in your CBD oils. If you vape often, these lipids can accumulate and settle in the lungs. Winterising the oil can remove the cuticle wax and make it safer, but winterisation may leave alcoholic residues behind if not properly performed. These are not safe to use in a vaporising device, so you need to be careful.
Then there is the matter of thinning agents. Propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol are commonly used to thin out the oil and make it possible to be used in a vaporiser. Both of these chemicals, however, are known to break down into carcinogenic compounds, including formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. This happens when they are heated, even at the temperatures used in e-cigarettes. It is safer to use CBD e-liquids if you invest in a vaporiser with a lot of temperature controls and make sure to use a lower setting.
The majority of these risks are likely to only affect those who vape very often, but it’s a good idea to make yourself aware of the risks associated with vaping CBD.
Are CBD E-liquids Legal?
CBD e-liquids must adhere to the same laws as any other CBD products in the UK. This means that they must be made from CBD extracted from industrial hemp, and they must contain less than 0.2% THC.
Buying CBD products from abroad is not a good idea, as you might not be able to import them from the UK due to complicated nuances in the laws surrounding CBD across the world.
As long as you buy from a reputable UK seller and the product contains less than 0.2% THC, you are within the law. To verify this, you should only buy from companies that can provide third-party lab testing reports ensuring that their THC content is within the guidelines.
Can You Buy CBD E-liquids in the UK?
There are plenty of companies in the UK selling CBD e-liquids. Most of these are online sellers, but you might also be able to find cartridges containing CBD in vaping stores.
As we mentioned above, it is perfectly legal to buy CBD liquids, namely since CBD cannot get you high and is safe to take.
Simply type “CBD e-liquids UK” into your browser and plenty of search results will come up. When shopping around, make sure you investigate the company thoroughly and ensure that the product is safe.
Final Thoughts on CBD e-liquids
CBD e-liquids, just like all other CBD products, are growing in popularity lately. If you’re already a vaper, they can be a really great way to get your daily dose of CBD, but you need to be careful and make sure that the product you are purchasing is safe.
For those who don’t vape, it’s probably best to get your CBD in another way, such as through sublingual oil or edibles.
As of yet, more research is probably needed into vaping as a whole to determine whether it is completely safe, but CBD e-liquids are still a viable option for UK vapers looking to get into CBD.