The Product Rundown: General Thoughts
We really enjoyed the flavor of this Savage RIPE Collection Strawnanners Vape Oil (500mg) -- true to its name, bright and fruity strawberry blends beautifully with creamy, sweet banana for a deliciously fruity vapor. The taste almost reminds us of the Strawberry-Banana Bash Trix Yogurt cups from the late 90’s (they’re still available, minus the rabbit). We realize that sounds oddly specific, but multiple testers drew the same comparison.
We also like Savage’s decision to bottle the vape oil in child-resistant packaging. CBD is medicine and, as such, we feel it should be packaged responsibly. At 500 mg of CBD isolate per ounce, the dosage strength is good for providing fast-acting symptom relief within just a few puffs.
That said, there are a couple of issues we had with the product. First, the label does not mention that the product is intended for use in a vaporizer anywhere -- not once. That’s a red flag for sure, but more so is the decision by Savage to use PG in the product (30%, according to their website).
Why We Don’t Recommend This Product
Despite all the likable points of this CBD vape oil, we can’t wholeheartedly recommend any vape product containing PG, no matter how we feel about it otherwise. 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 subjecting PG to high temperatures, which causes it to break down into 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 disagreement 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 Savage CBD’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.
We also took issue with the labeling on this product. While it wasn’t the worst of the items we tried, it failed to mention the purpose of the product anywhere on the packaging at all (a big uh-oh as far as we’re concerned), and the seals used to denote the oil’s THC-free and independently tested status were so small they were rendered difficult to read, even for our testers who don’t need corrective lenses.
Is the Issue With the Brand As a Whole, Or Just This Product?
The use of PG is an issue with all of Savage CBD’s vapor products in both vapor lines, and the labeling is a problem with most everything from their collection as well. Ultimately, while we had good results with their full-spectrum tincture, we didn’t really have the best luck with the rest of the products from the brand. Savage isn’t the worst brand out there (they do take steps to ensure the quality of the CBD in their products), but they aren’t one that we can fully stand behind, either.
Alternatives: What We’d Use Instead
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 Joy Organics. 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 vapor product, we recommend the 99.9% pure CBD isolate from Ambary Gardens or CBDistillery. The isolate, which comes in a crystalline powder form, can be dabbed (which can be done with a traditional rig or with a 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.
Alternatives: What We Like From Savage CBD
To be completely honest, we didn’t have the most positive experience with the products we tried from Savage CBD. While we do like some aspects of the brand (their independent testing and sourcing of organic hemp for their CBD extracts) and we admire their creativity and attention to detail with their flavors, we can’t get behind vapor products that aren’t formulated with customer safety and health in mind, and this includes any product with PG.
The inclusion of PG in vapor products, combined with the unclear (and sometimes downright unreadable) labeling and mixed results with products themselves lead us to suggest, ultimately, that you spend your money elsewhere. While their CBD tincture is tasty, effective, and affordable, there are other alternatives available from brands that are more consistent.
There are a lot of wonderful aspects to this product and, were the PG eliminated, we might feel differently about 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 it’s therefore especially important to take emerging research into account. We feel a responsibility to the community and to our readers to consider the safety of the ingredients of all products we review, not just their positive aspects.