But those new rules would apply only to tobacco vape products, not those that contain CBD.
That’s a problem for CBD manufacturers, says Miller from the U.S. Hemp Roundtable. Without an FDA-approved list of substances that can be used in vaping, they’re on their own to figure out what chemical combinations work best. “Bad actors seize this gray area of regulation and can put out products solely to make a profit and without concern about public health or safety,” Miller says.
In fact, the FDA does not maintain a list of chemicals that are safe to inhale. “GRAS is a standard that applies to food,” says Stephanie Caccomo, an FDA spokesperson. “The FDA does not have a GRAS standard for tobacco products and/or ingredients.”
Unstudied Flavor Additives
But in at least 26 of the cases, people—like Gilbert—were hospitalized after they reported vaping only CBD, and more people probably went to the ER. In addition, many doctors, scientists, government officials, and even industry representatives remain concerned about vaping, especially CBD, for several reasons.
It’s now legal in the U.S.—thanks to legislation passed in 2018 that allows farmers to grow hemp and extract derivatives such as CBD from it—as long as the product contains no more than 0.3 percent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). That’s the compound in cannabis that can get a person high when taken in larger amounts.
CBD is a nonpsychoactive compound found in cannabis plants, which include hemp and marijuana, that is often used to ease anxiety, insomnia, and pain.
To address the possible danger—and because flavors such as fruit and mint might attract children and teens—the FDA recently banned flavorings except menthol and tobacco in most nicotine vaping products. The agency will now require manufacturers to provide evidence that their flavor additives are safe to be inhaled before they can be marketed and sold.
But many people are hoping those regulations will happen soon. Even the CBD industry is concerned and asking for oversight. For instance, without more regulations, organizations like the U.S. Hemp Authority are unable to certify CBD oils as it does with CBD topicals, tinctures, and edibles. And, until that happens, consumers have very little way of knowing what they are getting when they purchase a CBD oil.
Vaping has been around for more than a decade now and is growing in popularity—especially among teens and young adults. One of the newest trends impacting this growing vape culture is the desire to vape cannabidiol (CBD) oil. In fact, using this oil in vape pens is becoming increasingly popular and the industry is expected to grow exponentially over the next few years according to the Brightfield Group, a firm that studies the CBD market.
And despite the fact that the 2018 Farm Bill removed CBD from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act, it is still subject to the same laws and regulations as other substances monitored by the FDA. Unfortunately, though, there is very little regulatory oversight of CBD oil in general—even though vaping is one of the most popular ways of using the oil. In fact, the FDA has not yet determined how to regulate CBD vaping products just yet.
Is Vaping CBD Oil Safe?
To make matters worse, this lack of certification has lead people to sell vaping liquid they claim contains CBD oil when it actually contains harmful chemicals, which is injuring and killing people in the process. To determine the extent to which this is occurring, the Associated Press (AP) commissioned a study to analyze the contents of nearly 30 oils claiming to contain CBD.
Generally speaking, vaping is an unsafe practice regardless of what substances are in the vape pen. And, CBD oil is no exception. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently linked vaping products to an outbreak of nearly 3,000 lung illnesses that were so serious that even young people were being admitted to the hospital. Meanwhile, nearly 70 people have died from what is now being called EVALI (e-cigarette and vaping associated lung injury). And, the CDC believes thousands more may have admitted to the hospital with lung issues related to vaping.
Sean is a fact checker and researcher with experience in sociology and field research.
Part of the draw to CBD oil in areas where marijuana has been legalized is the fact that it has been touted as helping treat a host of medical problems. Some of the medical issues people claim that the oil treats include epileptic seizures, anxiety, inflammation, and sleeplessness. However, there is very little evidence backing up these claims with the exception of treating epilepsy.