Are Cannabis Vape Pens Safe?
Many medical and recreational cannabis users are using vape pens that use cannabis oil cartridges. Some question the safety of the concentrate and the devices themselves. Here at Leafist, we’ll explain the benefits and hazards of cannabis vape pens because we believe it is important for our audience to be as educated as possible – especially in regards to somewhat new cannabis products.
In order to make cannabis oil usable in a portable vaporizer (vape pen), it needs to be thinned with a mixing agent. It is common for the manufacturers of the cartridges to use proplylene glycol as the mixing agent. It is also commonly used for e-cigarette liquid as well.
What’s the big deal about propylene glycol? High voltage heating of this chemical, and others used to make vape pen cartridges, creates carbonyls. A carbonyl is a cancer-causing chemical. It includes ingredients like formaldehyde, which can lead to issues with pregnancies such as low-birth weights and potential spontaneous abortions.
Formaldehyde is categorized as a group 1 carcinogen. Don’t freak out just yet. Propylene glycol has a very low oral toxicity rate. It is often used as a food additive where heat and breathing in the chemical is not present.
Now that I’ve got you worried about using your cannabis vape pen, let me calm you down. The FDA says that propylene glycol, is “generally recognized as safe”, for use as an additive. Every vape pen user inhales a different amount of vapor, so conducting controlled studies is a bit difficult. Vape pen performance also varies by device as some heat at higher temperatures than others do.
It is difficult to gauge your dose when using a cannabis vape pen. Some users inhale more than others, so their effects are stronger. Knowing how much vapor you’re inhaling is nearly impossible, so take it easy until you get a feel for your device. The harder you pull (suck in), the more THC/CBD concentrate you’ll inhale, meaning that you may end up more medicated than you really want to be.
This is one of those things that you want to experiment with at home first because you may require a little extra sitting time before attempting to drive or function. This is one instance where I will absolutely say to try this at home.
Higher heat settings produce more formaldehyde. Disposable cannabis vape pens can’t be altered, so those do not produce the high voltage that e-cigarette vape pen devices do. Studies do show that vaporizing is slightly healthier than actual smoking, especially in regards to tobacco products.
Studies also show that using cannabis may be safer than using tobacco, at least due to the amount of toxins that are present in tobacco products.
Generally speaking, even for cannabis users that prefer only vape pens, you should be fine. It is a good idea to inquire with your dispensary or retail marijuana shop regarding the ingredients in the vape pen concentrate. If you use a dry flower vaporizer, you should be fine because there are no mixing agents involved. If you use cannabis wax in a vaporizer, it is important that you are aware of the mixing agent (BHO as an example) as it can produce additional toxins when heated. As with anything, moderation is key. Vape responsibly.
Please feel free to comment with any questions that you might have. If we don’t know the answer right away, we’ll be glad to do some research to provide you the best answer possible.
See Related Article: Which Method of Marijuana Consumption is Right for You?