Health & Wellness

CBD Vape Pens—What You Need to Know

By Josh Hall
Maria Badasian/Unsplash

Given the rapid rise in popularity of CBD, it’s no surprise that a multitude of devices and options for usage have flooded the market. Drops or sprays of CBD that users apply under the tongue, better known as oral tinctures, have historically been the most common method of consumption.

However, with the advent of new approaches like the CBD pen comes benefits that simply weren’t possible through tinctures. By using CBD vape oil and a vaporizer pen, users feel the CBD’s effects faster than ever before, including rapid relief from anxiety and chronic pain.

What is a CBD pen?

A CBD pen’s mechanics closely resemble those of an e-cigarette, a common replacement for smokers trying to quit tobacco. Though it’s small in stature, a CBD pen comprises complex parts that include a heating element called an atomizer, a tank, and sometimes automatic sensors.

These pens offer a discreet and convenient way for users to get their dose of CDB more effectively than other alternatives.

How to use a CBD pen?

Usage of your CBD pen will depend on whether it’s a rechargeable model or a single-use vape.

If your CBD pen is rechargeable, you’ll need to charge the unit’s battery before using it. Vapes with an internal battery component will come with an easy-to-use charger that connects via USB cable, while those with external batteries that look like standard AAs will fit in a compatible external charger.

Depending on the vape model, your device could take anywhere from three to five hours to fully charge.

Disposable devices don’t have the hassle of charging and upkeep, as they come with a pre-charged battery and a sealed tank of oil. However, if you’re environmentally-conscious, you should know that they can also result in an extraordinary amount of waste. Since the devices are purely for one single use, you must dispose of the entire device after using it as opposed to just the cartridge. Some disposable pen manufacturers do offer recycle programs, which helps to lessen the environmental footprint.

Your CBD pen will either have a tank or a pre-filled cartridge. These contain vape juice, or liquid. Tanks allow the user to add strain-specific or flavor options, though they need regular maintenance and cleaning.

Pre-filled cartridges are easy to handle and disposable after use but come with limitations to the strain or flavor included in that cartridge. Once you load your tank or cartridge, the battery power enables the atomizer to heat the device to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, which causes the oil to evaporate into vapor.

Some CBD pens have automatic sensors that the user triggers by inhaling, while more basic models have buttons that you must hold down prior.

How to measure a dose with a CBD pen?

One of the most important things to remember with dosing is to do what works for you. Each of has a different biomechanical make-up, which means our bodies will react in different ways to the CBD oil and the mechanism in which we administer it. Start small and watch for any side effects before increasing dosage.

Factors like the condition you’re trying to treat by using a CBD pen and the composition of the oil you’re using are important when deciding on a dose. Your medical history, diet, body weight, metabolism rate, and activity level can also all play a role in determining the right dosage level for you. A disposable CBD pen is the easiest and most convenient way to measure a dose with a vape because it comes pre-packaged with detailed labels that spell out the specifics of the CBD content.

For devices that have a refillable tank, you’ll first need to know the capacity of your tank. From there, a simple equation using the concentration of the CBD oil will give you a CBD content number measured in milligrams.

For instance, if the cartridge you’re using to fill your tank lists the oil as 1000 mg 20% CBD, you would multiply those numbers and arrive at 200 mg CBD content. This number may be able to help you determine how much or how little of a dose you should take each time you use the device, based on past experiences.

What are the benefits of using a CBD pen?

One of the biggest advantages to using a CBD pen is that the way the oil enters your body is fast-acting and more effective than other methods.

When it’s taken orally, like you would with a tincture, the CBD must first travel through the liver before entering the bloodstream. In what is known as the “first-pass effect” with oral CBD consumption, the liver can absorb much of the beneficial aspects of the oil—or it may even get stripped away by enzymes.

On the contrary, vaporizing enables a more effective ingestion since there is direct access to the bloodstream through the lungs. That means you may be able to get the same results with a smaller dose from a CBD pen than when using tinctures. Because of the way a CBD pen accelerates the oil into your bloodstream, you’re more likely to receive benefits faster and more powerfully.

Scientific research also links vaping CBD with a reduction in cigarette consumption. In one study, cigarette smokers took a puff from a vaporizer each time they felt an urge for a cigarette—though no one explicitly told them to try to quit smoking. The segment of the experiment which received a placebo in its vaporizer reported no change in the number of cigarettes smoked, while those who received CBD cut the number of cigarettes smoked by 40% throughout the week-long study. So, in addition to relieving pain and anxiety, using a CBD pen may be able to help you kick your smoking habit.

What are the negatives of CBD pens?

Because CBD pens involve the inhalation of vapor, people with lung conditions should not use them. Depending on your experience vaping and the temperature of the oil, coughing fits can be common, which may be especially detrimental if you have a lung disease. Chemical agents used to thin the oil so that it can more efficiently pass through the vape device may also be a concern. Chemicals like polyethylene glycol and propylene glycol, two common thinning agents, can break down into carcinogenic compounds under excessively hot conditions.

What else should I know about CBD pens?

CBD pens and cartridges are readily available and legal in all 50 states; however, you must be at least 18-years-old to buy them. High-end vapes can cost several hundred dollars, but as with most products, you get what you pay for. Many of the inexpensive or disposable products are created in China and lack the same standards of a quality device.

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