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In the latest episode of Call Me Cannabinoids, we sat down with Jason Sondgeroth of Healthy Market to bust vaping myths and discuss vape safety.

Vape safety is a timely topic; there’s a stigma around vaping that’s associated with injuries, deaths, and safety concerns surrounding vape use. As of October 3, the number of reported deaths due to vape use was 18.

Running the Numbers: Vapes vs. Cigarettes

While one death is one too many, it’s still worth comparing the numbers of cigarette-related deaths to vaping deaths in the interest of perspective. According to a November 28, 2018, CDC report, cigarettes are responsible for over 480,000 deaths in the United States alone, with 41,000 of those deaths caused by secondhand smoke.

The composition of cigarette smoke lends itself to the risks.

“From a technology standpoint, vaping is much safer than burning hemp and then breathing in toxins,” Jason says. “When you burn tobacco, you get hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen oxide gases, formaldehyde benzene, nitrocellulose, which are well-known cancer-causing agents.

“You also get nicotine and components called polyaromatic hydrocarbons–basically, tar. And then you get this tar in your lungs.”

Vaping was created as a solution to cigarette smoking. The first commercial prototype was created and commercialized in China by a pharmacist who had lost his father to lung cancer.

“In a lot of people’s eyes, it was the solution to cigarette smoking. They still have that hand-to-mouth action, and they still have the ability to take in the nicotine,” he says.

The prototype was similar to our vapes now; it contained a heating coil. However, today we know that heating coils in vapes can cause safety issues.

“The coil burns really hot and will start to disintegrate as you’re using the vape,” Jason says. “A lot of the earlier technologies were not very safe at all.”

Vape Cartridge and Battery Safety Explained

Jason says another major contributor to poor vape safety reports is the misuse of vaping devices. Many vape users will mismatch their vape cartridge with a larger battery, which heats the device and the product too much. At best, this results in burned vape product, rather than the clean vapor that’s intended to come from these devices.

“Some of these batteries that you can put on a device may not be the best and may actually be creating a lot of these issues,” he says.

Vape safety education, in other words, should include building awareness of the dangers of pairing the wrong battery with your cartridge.

“Not all batteries are the same not all cartridges are the same,” Jason says. “If you’re mixing and matching, then you’re actually putting your health at risk.”

Vape Oil Safety and CBD Best Practices

Vape oils that contain propylene glycol (PG), glycerin, and even MCT oil can all pose health risks. When a vape heating element burns hotter than 200 degrees Centigrade, for instance, PG turns to formaldehyde.

But the CBD oil in the vape itself is just as important, when it comes to safety and health benefits. CBD with a combination of minor cannabinoids and terpenes is best, Jason says.

“It’s one thing to have a good formulation. It’s another thing to have a formulation that’s readily bioavailable, works well within the system, and provides real release,” he says. “It’s very important to really understand how these different botanical ingredients are working or how they interact.

“You want to have the vape material be as close to hemp products or hemp chemical composition as you can.”