Concerns surrounding vaping has always been a hot topic. And with CBD on the rise, CBD vape products are being thrown into the spotlight. Are these products safe? Does vaping CBD cause popcorn lung?
What is Popcorn Lung?
Popcorn lung is a slang term for a condition called bronchiolitis obliterans. This disease causes obstruction of the small airways (bronchioles) of the lungs due to inflammation. Fatigue, coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing are some of the resulting symptoms. The term came about after workers at microwave popcorn factories were found to have the disease more often than others.
What Causes Popcorn Lung?
The chemical of concern is called diacetyl. This ingredient is used to give food (including popcorn) a butter-like flavor. In fact, it’s one of the main ingredients that gives margarine it’s buttery flavor. When vaping first rose in popularity, it was used for the same purpose to make some vape liquid flavors. While it is safe for human consumption, it is a possible concern when inhaled.
A 2016 Harvard Study discovered that 39 of 51 samples of e-liquid contained diacetyl. However, those 51 samples only came from 8 different brands. This study quickly caused alarm among consumers, and the media took the opportunity to produce alarmist anti-vaping content. Because of this, it was quickly removed from many e-liquids and its use was even banned in some places, including the UK. Keep in mind that there has never been a verified, reported case of popcorn lung cause by diacetyl, let alone vaping in general.
For comparison, diacetyl has been found in cigarettes at almost 40 times higher than the amounts in vape liquids.
Does Diacetyl Cause Popcorn Lung?
Research into the potential dangers of vaping is still in its infancy and no one should assume that it is 100% safe. But there is little to no evidence to suggest that vaping CBD can cause popcorn lung. If you are concerned, seek out products without flavoring or ask the company if they use flavoring that contains diacetyl. Unfortunately, diacetyl is not something that will be on the label if the company buys their flavorings in bulk, so it’s always a good practice to double check with them.
An Alternative to E-Liquids
Another possible alternative is to vape CBD concentrates instead of e-liquids. Vaping concentrates is a good way to avoid carriers and cutting agents, such as propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG). PG and VG are generally considered safe but carry their own concerns among the public. If you carry this concern, concentrates eliminate their use completely. Not only are concentrates much more potent, but they’re also often a more cost-effective option compared to liquids.