Smoking is out, and vaping is in – we can see it all around us. And even the cannabis industry, which is famous for joints, blunts, bongs and other smoking contraptions is moving towards healthier methods of consumption. Despite the arguments that cannabis smoke is not as harmful as cigarette smoke, and the fact that smoking cannabis has been the primary way of using the herb for millennia, advancements in technology mean it’s no longer worth the risk to subject the lungs to hot, carcinogenic smoke.
Not to mention, the world of cannabis has changed remarkably, even since the early 2000s. While research remains somewhat limited, the ability to study the plant in-depth is greater now than at any point in human history. Subsequently, we have learned lots about the various compounds in cannabis, such as the increasingly popular cannabidiol (CBD), and how they are able to administer therapeutic effects. The medicinal properties of CBD and cannabinoids are mostly reserved to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which contains neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids, and a minimum of two cannabinoid receptors.
CBD is best-known in layman’s terms as “the compound in cannabis that won’t make you high,” and while the science is slightly more complex than this, it’s essentially true. The mind-bending, psychoactive effects of cannabis which became synonymous with counter-culture movements in the 1960s are not found in CBD, but the cannabinoid has been found to provide relief from an impressive number of conditions, and even help with illnesses which have stumped medical experts, including intractable epilepsy and fibromyalgia.
Each CBD product offers different benefits. For example, to treat a skin condition like acne, a cream is best suited. For a peaceful, uninterrupted night’s sleep, the prolonged effects of edibles and capsules are preferable. However, for the fastest and most potent relief, one intake method stands above all others: vaping. In the next section, we’ll explore which conditions can be managed efficiently with CBD vape oil and e-liquid.
While vaping is a relatively new invention, medicating via the lungs has ancient roots – there is evidence that indigenous tribes in South America were smoking tobacco as far back as 5,000 BC. Science has since shown that intaking a medicine through the lungs is the quickest way of getting it into the bloodstream and into the appropriate system. In the case of CBD, this also improves the bioavailability, and therefore the potency and efficaciousness of the compound.
The destructive nature of chronic pain is not just in the discomfort that it causes, but the knock-on effect it has on quality of life – for instance, patients who suffer frequent but unpredictable bouts of severe pain find it difficult to go about daily life. Indeed, several studies have found links between chronic pain and depression.
Opioid-based painkillers have proven problematic, due to the high addiction and overdose risks. Strong painkillers such as fentanyl are particularly notorious, accounting for almost 30,000 of the 49,000 overall deaths by opioid overdose – a figure which includes prescription and illegal drugs – in the United States in 2017.
Encouragingly, the ECS regulates pain perception, and the endocannabinoid anandamide is an agonist of the vanilloid receptor, which also controls pain. Many patients are switching to vaporizing to rapidly reduce symptoms when suffering from a flare-up of neuropathic, inflammatory and other kinds of pain. Instead of having to wait up to 20 minutes for medication to kick in, by vaping CBD e-liquid, patients can start to manage symptoms in just a couple of minutes. This speedy form of pain alleviation allows chronic pain sufferers to enjoy a higher quality of life.
Mental health disorders are rightfully receiving much more attention in the past, with the Internet an extremely useful outlet for people to share the realities of living with conditions like anxiety. We all experience times where we feel uneasy or nervous, but for anxiety patients, these mentally crippling thoughts tend to be more prominent and intense. For some, symptoms only arise during specific situations – those with social anxiety often struggle in the presence of others – but generalized anxiety can strike at any point. Once an anxiety attack starts, the paralyzing mental impact affects the ability to function, and can even lead to a panic attack.
Clearly, a treatment that doesn’t work immediately is of little use for somebody with anxiety, hence why many are turning to vaping. Studies have found that a dose of CBD reduces cognitive impairment from anxiety, with the GABA neurotransmitter working to soothe the brain, and stop the over-firing of signals which leads to the bombardment of thoughts.
Therefore, to get the best out of CBD as an anxiety treatment, it’s worth keeping a vaporizer filled with a potent e-juice on hand. Social anxiety sufferers may even be at an unlikely advantage, since they know the scenarios which are likely to trigger symptoms. Taking some CBD just before a social situation will allow for two or three hours of relative comfort.
Anxiety patients should, however, steer clear from products that contain THC, as the psychoactive effects may amplify negative thoughts if they are already present. In fact, some recreational cannabis users choose to use CBD if their “high” goes awry.
Migraines are throbbing headaches that can cause intense symptoms of pain, nausea, dizziness, fatigue and more. The condition is especially frustrating given that researchers have failed to find a definitive root cause, and that treatments can cause side effects. However, in recent years, cutting-edge ECS science has connected migraines to dysregulation of the ECS, and a theoretical illness called Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency. Proponents of this condition argue that migraines – and also fibromyalgia – are caused by an underproduction of endocannabinoids, which prevents the smooth functioning of the ECS.
However, we know that CBD can boost the concentrations of endocannabinoids without causing significant side effects – generally, the worst that can happen from taking CBD is a period of drowsiness.
The science on this is lacking for now, but there are plenty of anecdotes online about people using CBD to improve concentration and focus, which in turn helps to increase productivity. This could be really helpful at work, when trying to get through a long and monotonous day.
How may CBD help in this area? The ECS is known to influence learning, memory and cognition, while the anxiety-reducing and mood-boosting properties may simply work to improve wellbeing. CBD also inhibits the stress hormone cortisol, which may also make those long hours in the office easier to deal with. Perhaps vaping CBD could be a good alternative to a cigarette or cup of coffee while on a break.
The cannabis revolution is full swing, and the popularity of non-psychoactive products is set to increase further as more scientific studies confirm the therapeutic properties of CBD. After almost a century of prohibition, the public is finally becoming familiar with cannabis again, and taking its potential to a new level with vaporizing.
It would be wrong to downplay the medicinal benefits of the plant’s psychoactive properties, as there are some conditions where the presence of THC seems to be crucial, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But it’s clear that THC is not always a necessity, and that CBD alone is often a very effective treatment.