03 March 2015

Vaporising Cannabidiol (CBD)

Cannabidiol (CBD), like ∆9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can be heated and inhaled using a vaporiser.

CBD is usually taken orally as a cannabis-based concentrate or extract. However, compared to smoking or vaporising, ingesting cannabinoids orally poses a number of drawbacks, including inconsistent absorption and a delayed effect. Vaporising is considered a healthier alternative to smoking, and many cannabis users are now starting to switch. Unfortunately, most research involving vaporisers has focused only on THC. In fact, up till now, no study has been conducted on vaporising CBD. The very first study to investigate the process of vaporising CBD was (October 2014) by a team at the University of Wollongong, Australia. Overall, it showed that CBD can indeed be vaporised using conventional cannabis devices. One of the most popular models, the Volcano vaporiser, was chosen for the study. The team conducted experiments using combinations of purified THC and CBD, in order to determine the best way of administering CBD via vaporiser. Here’s what they found:

CBD begins to evaporate at a temperature of around 200°C (392°F), similar to THC, making it possible to release CBD as a gas without burning the plant matter. In the study, vaporising at 230°C (446°F) seemed to release more CBD than vaporising at 210°C (410°F).

Conversion Rate
At lower doses (4-8 mg), as much as 97% of CBD was vaporised. However, the conversion rate dropped significantly as the dose increased. At 200 mg, just 40% of CBD was converted to vapour. Interestingly, when administered together, the dose of CBD seemed to affect the conversion rate of THC. On average, 55% of THC was converted to vapour.

The researchers found 200 mg to be the maximum dose of CBD that could be vaporised efficiently, with higher doses producing a saturation effect. However, the point of CBD saturation seems to be related to the vaporiser and its heating efficiency, meaning that different vaporisers may allow for higher or lower doses to be vaporised at once.

A note: CBD when vaporised produces dense vapour that can be irritating to the throat for some and can generate some significant coughing. Any irritation can be facilitated by small sips of water or juice, ice or sweets to suck and sometimes, unmedicated cough lozenges. Further, the dense vapours produced by CBD are visibly different to the less dense vapours produced by THC.

adapted from an article by 

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