The Product Rundown: General Thoughts
There’s a lot to like about cbdMD’s CBD Vape Oil in general: The flavors are pleasing (we especially liked the vanilla flavor, as it pairs well with many other vape oils and tastes excellent). The vape oil is packaged in childproof bottles (a move we’d like to see more CBD providers making in the future — CBD is medicine and, while it doesn’t carry the same overdose risk of other medications, we feel it should still be packaged responsibly).
The dosage strength is good for therapeutic use, the product is affordable, and the dropper makes adding it to your preferred vape cartridge convenient, especially if you like to customize your vape flavors.
The CBD used in the vape oil is also of great quality: like all of cbdMD’s products, the starting hemp material is non-GMO, sustainably cultivated, and organically grown. It is then extracted using an environmentally friendly method before being formulated into the various CBD products offered by the company. Each product is batch-tested for quality, purity, and potency, and those results are publicly available. There are a lot of positives to these vape oils, but there’s one major downside we can’t overlook: Use of PG (also known as propylene glycol)
Why We Don't Recommend This Product
Despite all the positive points of this CBD vape oil, we can’t wholeheartedly recommend any vape product containing PG, no matter how tasty or effective it may be. PG, also known as propylene glycol, is a common ingredient used mainly in food and cosmetics. It’s generally considered safe for these purposes, which has lead many people to assume that it must also be safe for vaping.
Emerging research, however, suggests otherwise. Unlike oral ingestion or topical application, vaping involves exposing PG to high temperatures, which causes it to break down into toxic compounds like arsenic and formaldehyde, which are toxic to humans in large quantities in addition to being known carcinogens.
More research is needed to know the exact temperature threshold at which this occurs (as there’s some dispute about the relative dangers of low- versus high-temp vaping), but we do know that long-term exposure to carcinogens raises your risk for cancer and other diseases. We also know that vaping PG — particularly at the high temperatures used in many popular models that produce thick, dense clouds of vapor — increases your risk of exposure to carcinogens, and long-term use may elevate your risk of cancer.
While it’s true that we don’t have the same volume of data on PG in vape products that we do for, say, cigarette smoking, we believe that the existing information on PG is sufficiently compelling. Therefore, we can’t in good conscience recommend any vape product that includes PG in its ingredients, and unfortunately, that rules out all of cbdMD’s vape products.
We tested these oils at the lowest temperature possible on our (already very low-temp) vaporizer to lower our risk as much as possible, but we just don’t feel good about reaching for it regularly, and we can’t recommend them to our readers.
Is the Issue With the Brand As a Whole, Or Just This Product?
There is so much about cbdMD as a brand that we support. Their commitment to sustainable cultivation, pure products, and reliable potency are outstanding, as is their effort to keep their products affordable, making quality CBD products accessible to consumers of different backgrounds and income levels. We really like most of their consumable products — their tinctures work well, as do their gummies and their sleep oils — as well as their pet oils and topical products.
The issue is this with this particular product, and specifically with cbdMD’s choice to include PG in their vape products. We love just about everything else about the product, but we can’t recommend any vape product that includes PG because of the risk of exposure to carcinogens during use.
Alternatives: What We'd Use Instead of cbdMD CBD Vape Oil
If you’re in search of pre-filled CBD vape cartridges or vape pens that don’t contain PG, we recommend the ranges offered by CBDistillery and Comfort Leaf. CBDistillery offers more variety of the two in terms of flavor, but both companies’ vape lines are completely free of VG and PG, making the products safer for vaping at even high temperatures.
If you are in need of a THC-free product, we recommend the 99.9% pure CBD isolate from Ambary Gardens. The product, which comes in a crystalline powder form, can be dabbed (which can be accomplished through a traditional rig or with a specially-designed vape pen) or mixed with your own carrier oil like MCT or hemp seed oil to make a custom vape oil or tincture.
You could also choose to smoke or vape a bowl of organic hemp flower from Canna Comforts. Each strain of high-CBD flower looks, smells, tastes, and smokes just like the top-shelf cannabis strains that inspired it. Canna Comforts’ non-GMO hemp flower is sustainably grown under organic conditions and is batch-tested for quality, purity, and potency.
There are plenty of other products from cbdMD that are worth trying, though there isn’t a vape product that we can recommend from the brand. While we can’t recommend a fast-acting systemic product from cbdMD, there are a number of oral systemic products worth trying. We particularly like their CBD gummies and their tinctures, both available in varying dosage strengths.
We also like their CBD oil capsules, which are plant-based, cruelty-free, and fully vegan (a bit of a rarity among capsules due to the popularity of bovine-derived gelatin). The capsules are available in varying dosage strengths and are flavorless and easy to swallow, even for people who tend to struggle with pills.
There are a lot of wonderful aspects to this product and, if the PG were eliminated, we might feel differently about recommending it. Our hope is that, with time and consumer feedback, more CBD companies will reject PG in their vape products in favor of safer ingredients. Vaping is a relatively new phenomenon in terms of the available science, and we feel a responsibility to consider the safety of the ingredients of all products we review, not just their positive aspects.