CBD vape products, including cartridges, juice, and disposable vapes, are growing increasingly popular. Despite this, many people are unaware of the exact ingredients in CBD vape e-liquid.
This information is important to:
- Confirm that your product contains as much CBD as advertised
- Verify there are no potentially harmful ingredients
- Maximize CBD’s benefits
Most CBD vape juices contain three core ingredients: pure CBD isolate and flavoring dissolved in a base of VG/PG. However, things aren’t always so simple. Here’s a closer look at what’s inside your CBD e-liquid.
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The most important ingredient in any CBD vape juice is of course cannabidiol (CBD) itself, the popular, non-intoxicating hemp cannabinoid. However, CBD can come in several different forms that you should be aware of:
- Isolate: pure CBD.
- Full-spectrum: CBD plus all of the compounds in hemp.
- Broad-spectrum: Same as full-spectrum but with THC removed.
In most cases, the CBD in your vape e-liquid will come in a form called CBD isolate. This crystallized powder is a >99% pure version of CBD that contains no other hemp compounds.
CBD isolate is the preferred form for use in vape juice because it’s cheap, easy to formulate, and contains zero THC. Manufacturers simply mix the pure CBD powder in VG/PG, add any desired flavors, and call it a day.
Vape products can also be made with full-spectrum CBD. this type of whole-plant extract contains not only CBD but small amounts of many other cannabinoids (including <0.3% THC) naturally present in hemp.
It also includes terpenes: aromatic compounds found in cannabis and many other plants, which possess various health benefits of their own (1). In addition, whole-plant extracts contain fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and other minor phytochemicals (plant chemicals).
Full-spectrum CBD is rare in vape products because it’s more expensive and harder to formulate. However, full-spectrum CBD has greater benefits than isolate because of the synergy between all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other hemp compounds: the “entourage effect” (2).
If you want to get the most benefits out of vaping CBD — whether it’s for reducing anxiety, pain, stress, or something else — you should look for full-spectrum CBD vape juice.
Additionally, some companies use broad-spectrum hemp extract, which is the same thing as full-spectrum but with the THC removed (although trace amounts may remain). Broad-spectrum CBD vape products are ideal for people who are drug-tested or highly sensitive to THC.
The other key ingredient in CBD vape juice is a carrier agent, which accounts for most of the liquid you see.
This cutting agent is what the active substance — in our case, cannabidiol — is dissolved in. They also help produce the vapor that makes vaping so enjoyable. Let’s look at the most common cutting agents used in CBD products.
The most popular solvent carrier for both regular and CBD vape e-liquids is a mix of vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG).
These compounds are considered safe to consume by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and have advantageous properties, such as being water-soluble, which is why they’re so widely used in vape products (with and without CBD).
Although CBD isolate does not dissolve very well in VG and can stay in its crystal form, it does mix readily with PG. For this reason, it’s usually dissolved in PG first before VG is added.
The vast majority of CBD vape juices contain a mix of VG/PG.
Another CBD vape carrier that’s sometimes used is medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil derived from coconut oil. MCT oil is cheap and relatively healthy, which is why it’s the most common carrier oil in CBD oil and capsules.
While MCT oil is safe to ingest and works great in CBD in tinctures, the jury is still out on its safety in vape products. There have been concerns about MCT oil causing a serious condition called lipid pneumonia. However, to this day, there isn’t much evidence to say whether it’s dangerous or not.
If you don’t want to take any risks, it’s better to avoid CBD vape products made with MCT oil until more substantial evidence comes to light.
TEC Temper Oil
TEC Temper Oil is the newest dissolving agent used in CBD vape e-liquids. It’s an odorless, tasteless food-grade ingredient made out of terpenes.
TEC Temper Oil promises a safer vaping experience thanks to containing antioxidant and anti-irritant compounds. Although there isn’t much info about it online, TEC Temper appears to be a safe ingredient.
The last major ingredient in vape juice is flavoring, which can be either natural or artificial.
Flavoring won’t have a huge impact on your health, but if you want to avoid sugar or artificial substances, be sure to check the ingredients list.
Cannabis Terpenes (Optional)
Some CBD vape products also contain a blend of cannabis terpenes for added flavor and health benefits.
These are typically named after a strain of cannabis with that specific terpene composition. That’s why you’ll often see CBD vape juice with flavors like OG Kush, Pineapple Express, and Sour Diesel — names typically used for strains of cannabis.
Terpenes are a class of aromatic compounds whose beneficial health effects are currently being explored by researchers. They’re found in cannabis and other plants.
Terpenes are automatically included in full-spectrum CBD products.
Does CBD Juice Contain Nicotine?
To clear up a common misconception: no, CBD e-liquid does not have any nicotine in it. Having said that, some companies do sell CBD juice infused with nicotine.
However, such products clearly state that nicotine is present, so you don’t need to worry. You can also add nicotine juice to your CBD e-liquid and vice versa.
Be Aware of What’s in Your CBD Juice
As one final tip, be sure to only buy CBD vape e-liquids that come with third-party lab test results. That’s the best way to confirm that your product actually contains as much CBD as the company claims it does.
You may be surprised to know that inaccurate CBD content is a common issue. That’s why I recommend actually looking at these third-party reports to make sure the levels of CBD are close to (within 10%) of the labeled amount.
And if you bought a full-spectrum CBD vape product, the tests should also show other cannabinoids like THC and CBG.
Gleb is a freelance writer from Vancouver, Canada specializing in CBD and cannabis. He’s read thousands of studies on CBD and other supplements, helping him translate complex science into plain language. Gleb has tried and reviewed dozens of CBD brands and products, written third-party testing reports, and knows the CBD industry inside and out. When not writing, he likes to kickbox, travel, and tell everyone how awesome intermittent fasting is.