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What Vaping and CBD Have In Common

There’s a lot of confusion about vaping and its effects right now, and it illustrates how research can be used, and misused, to craft regulations.

Vaping came quick to the market, with little regulatory oversight.  It also became very popular with kids.  Soon, instead of being used by people hoping to get off nicotine, it became something that people who never smoked before took up.

There are even YouTube videos of people creating art with the vapor from e-cigarettes.  It’s a thing.

Now the idea of vaporizing any substance and sucking it into your lungs doesn’t sound very bright, so regulators began circling the manufacturers looking for ways to limit, or eliminate, the use of e-cigarettes.

The problem is that science is slow.  Studies need to take time, and the negative effects of a drug can take years before they appear in users and study subjects.  It seems that people who vape are part of a 20 – 30 year experiment to see if the effects of vaping are better or worse than tobacco use.

Then people started getting very sick and dying.

Vaping seems to be the cause of this terrible lung disease, so states and nations across the globe are limiting or banning the practice.  Singled out for blame and elimination are flavored oils often used by teenagers and young adults in e-cigarettes.

But a lot of what is being banned cannot be determined to be the problem.

Most of the people who have been stricken ill, or died, used something called “dank vapes.”  These are THC-laced vaping oils that use vitamin E acetate to deliver the drug to the lungs.  The cartridges that hold the drug are altered after-market by people who sell dank vapes on the street.

It’s possible, even likely, that the vapes being banned are not at all the vapes killing people.  The exact cause is unknown.

The regulators have taken aim and fired at something they don’t like, using the ill effect of something only slightly related to the substances and delivery vehicles they seek to take off the market.

Right now, big decisions are being made with little relevant data to support the regulations.

If you think that this is ok, that vaping must be terrible so it must go, consider the market for CBD oil, the cannabis derivative that is all the rage for stress relief and sleep enhancement.

Like vaping, the mass marketing of CBD is recent and unregulated.  No one really knows what the long-term effects of CBD use will be. No one knows what doses are efficacious, or if any dose is truly safe at all.

CBD is also being aggressively marketed to young people and is sold by manufacturers with questionable research to back up safety claims, and uninspected business facilities.

The Vape shops in my neighborhood have big signs that say, “CBD Sold Here!”

I don’t understand why, for so many people, one drug is OK and one needs to be banned.

It seems to me that what we know and don’t know about each is very similar and neither market is effectively regulated.

How this plays out will be interesting to see.  Very large companies have investments in vaping, so they will surely use their clout to keep the products on the market with little regulation.

The CBD market is more diverse and faces little public scrutiny.  Few people are calling for regulatory oversight, despite the lack of proof of any claims made regarding the results of use or safety of CBD.

What it comes down to is one drug is popular and perceived as positive and the other is not. Science doesn’t know yet, for sure, what either will do to you.  But many people insist that they know better, so they’ll tell the rest of us what we can and cannot do.

As for me, I’m not vaping or using CBD.  The ignorance of all to the long-term effects of each keep me away.  I’d rather know a little more about what I put into my body.

What Vaping and CBD Have In Common

George Hofmann

George is the author of Resilience: Handling Anxiety in a Time of Crisis, from Changemakers Books. Visit George's site or join the Facebook group Practicing Mental Illness

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APA Reference
Hofmann, G. (2019). What Vaping and CBD Have In Common. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 20 Sep 2019
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