Vaping cannabidiol (CBD) is relatively new. Since its short beginning, it has been growing strongly in popularity for two main reasons. More and more people are choosing vaping CBD over other products because it offers the highest bioavailability rate and the quickest onset of action. Simply meaning it might be the fastest working and most efficient CBD product available.
The reason vaping CBD works so well is because of the unique way the body interacts with CBD when it is vaporized and inhaled. The CBD adsorbs quickly via permeable membranes in our lungs due to unique aspects of its structure and chemistry. Let’s take a deeper look at how vaping CBD induces such quick effects within the human body.
What is CBD Vaping?
There are several ways to take cannabidiol (CBD). One of the more popular methods is inhalation through the process of vaporizing (aka vaping). This is done with a vape pen, which is a small mechanical device, made up of the following components:
- Battery (usually rechargeable)
- The atomizer (the heating component that vaporizes the CBD)
- The chamber that houses the CBD oil
- A mouthpiece
CBD vape pens always use CBD in oil form. This oil can also be referred to as e-liquid or CBD vape juice and generally comes in the form of a cartridge that is inserted into the chamber. The rechargeable battery provides the power to the atomizer and heats up the chamber until the CBD oil vaporizes.
At this point, you can inhale the vapors through the mouthpiece and then the CBD will begin to enter your lungs. It is important to note that our lungs have hollow structures known as alveoli, which are crucial in the gas-exchanging process of respiration. Furthermore, our lungs also have something that is known as the blood-air barrier. This barrier ensures that air bubbles do not enter our bloodstream and that blood does not enter the alveoli.
However, our blood-air barrier allows for certain gases to pass through the alveoli into our bloodstream, including:
- Carbon monoxide
- Carbon dioxide
CBD vapors can also cross this blood-air barrier, thereby allowing for our bodies to absorb the CBD. Within the structure of our alveoli, the points of entry for these vapors are known as permeable membranes.
CBD Vaping – Bioavailability Rates & Onset of Action
Compared to other methods of administration, CBD vaping is significant in that it has a very high bioavailability rate (40-50%). Bioavailability is the measurement of the rate and extent of which a chemical compound reaches the bloodstream and works within the body. In other words, if a drug and method of administration have high bioavailability, it means that the body is highly efficient at metabolizing the drug in question.
Furthermore, when you vape CBD, it works very quickly. You can refer to this as a very rapid onset of action. Although every person’s metabolism is different, resulting in slightly different onsets of action. In most cases, vaping CBD will take effect within 5 minutes or less. Although many people report feeling the effects within 1-2 minutes.
What CBD Applications Are There?
There are other ways to take CBD, each with their respective pros and cons. These include:
With this method, you take a dropper containing CBD oil (tincture) and drop the liquid under your tongue. Similar to vaping, this method takes effect very quickly. Sublingual administration works in about 5-10 minutes and offers a bioavailability rate of 20 -35%.
With this method, you swallow the CBD in the form of capsules or edibles then it metabolizes in your gastrointestinal tract (GI tract). The onset of action depends heavily on a number of factors, including your body weight, the contents of your stomach, and your overall metabolism. For most patients, it takes between 30 and 60 minutes to take effect and has a bioavailability rate of 6-15%.
This method is unique in that you apply CBD directly to the skin and affected area. Products for topical use include balms, salves, or lotions and may be effective in treating aches or muscle soreness.
Topical applications do not result in the CBD reaching the rest of the body, so it is crucial to apply it liberally to the affected joints or muscles. When using CBD topically the CBD never actually enter your bloodstream, it only interacts with cannabinoid receptors in your skin. For this reason, bioavailability rates for this method do not apply.
It is always best to confer with your physician to determine which form of CBD oil will best suit your particular needs.
How does the CBD work with our ECS?
CBD works within the human body because of its interactions with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is a regulatory system which consists of a series of structures that interact with one another in order to control a number of crucial processes in the human body. These processes include:
- Pain and inflammation
- Thermoregulation (body temperature)
- Mood and emotional states
- Energy levels
- Muscle control
- Motivation and reward
- Eye ocular pressure
Cannabinoid Receptors of the ECS
Furthermore, CBD is a phytocannabinoid, meaning that it comes from a plant source (the hemp plant). It interacts with the ECS via two types of cannabinoid receptors:
- CB-1 – These are found primarily in the brain (especially the hypothalamus, hippocampus, and amygdala) and central nervous system (CNS).
- CB-2 – These are found primarily in the cells of the immune system and the GI tract.
In biochemistry, a substance can interact with a cannabinoid receptor in two basic ways:
- Agonist – The compound binds directly with the receptor and fully activates it.
- Antagonist – The compound binds with the receptor but does not fully activate it and may even block other compounds.
The exact mechanisms of CBD’s interactions with the ECS are still the subject of extensive research and debate, but there have been several studies that have shed some light on this process:
- A 2007 study in the British Journal of Pharmacology concluded that CBD is a CB1/CB2 antagonist. It is also known as having a low binding affinity, though this does not affect its potency and efficacy as these are complex chemical processes with many steps.
- Another 2007 study in the British Journal of Pharmacology concluded that CBD is also an inverse agonist. This means that it binds to CB1/CB2 receptors but has the opposite effect of regular agonists.
This is all just a fancy way of saying that CBD indirectly activates CB1/CB2 receptors. It also means that research is ongoing into the precise biochemistry of the entire process.
Why Does Vaping CBD Work the Quickest?
Vaping CBD is the quickest route of administration. In order to understand why this is the case, it is important to examine the actual structure of cannabinoids, particularly phytocannabinoids like CBD. There are highly aromatic oils in the cannabis plant known as terpenes that make up CBD. This is why CBD, in its most basic form, is an oil.
According to a 2018 study, CBD is a fat-soluble molecule that does not dissolve well in water. To put it in technical terms, it is known as lipophilic or fat-soluble. It is this quality that makes CBD so easily absorbed by the permeable membranes in our lungs. A 2004 paper from the Proceedings of the American Thoracic Society concluded that inhalation via lungs for small, lipophilic molecules is extremely fast (approximately 1 to 2 minutes). In other words, CBD crosses the blood-air barrier very quickly because of its oily qualities.
It is important to note that CBD must also cross the blood-brain barrier in order to act as an antagonist to the receptors in the brain (CB1). That means that it must first cross the blood-air barrier via inhalation in the lungs, then be carried in the bloodstream to cross the blood-brain barrier to enter the brain. If you think about it, CBD has to take quite a journey through the human body in order to do its job, but its lipophilic qualities allow it to move quickly through permeable membranes.
What Are the Best CBD Vape Juices?
There are so many different vape juices available on the market that it may seem overwhelming for some newcomers. You can even make your own CBD vape juice from CBD isolate. However, vape juices produced with vegetable glycerin (VG), propylene glycol (PG), and artificial flavors may have some adverse consequences for your health.
A 2018 study by the University of North Carolina School of Medicine showed that vaporizing VG and PG increased levels of cell toxicity. The study acknowledged that oral consumption of these compounds did not have the same adverse effects; it was the process of vaporizing them that was creating the cell toxicity.
Furthermore, a 2017 study in Current Allergy and Asthma Reports concluded that the vaporization (or “thermal decomposition”) of VG, PG, and various artificial flavors exhibited links to increased rates of asthma. Based on the laboratory research, it appears that the thermal decomposition of VG and PG creates reactive carbonyls, including:
All of these have known respiratory toxicities.
Here at Cheef Botanicals we always strive to create the most health-conscious products. This is why we avoid including questionable ingredients that may come with risks. Our CBD vape juices are produced without any of these various compounds.
We only use a combination of CBD and additional natural terpenes. The added terpenes add flavoring and give the CBD vape juice the right consistency for vaping and optimum absorption in the lungs. Furthermore, our CBD vape juices are made with only full-spectrum CBD which is generally the best, as it will contain all the other phytocannabinoids that accentuate CBD’s effectiveness.