What is in CBD Vape Oil – CBD Vape Juice Ingredients

What is in CBD Vape Oil – CBD Vape Juice Ingredients

What is in Your CBD Vape Oil?

OK   You’ve heard that vaping CBD can give you instantaneous relief for all kinds of discomfort. (My personal experience with vaping CBD has been nothing short of life changing).

You want to try vaping CBD, but you’ve heard some negative things about vaping lately. You’re wondering if vaping CBD is safe.

And you are wondering: “What the hell is in CBD vape oil and CBD vape juice anyway?”

Short answer:

  • CBD or Hemp Extract
  • A Carrier Liquid

It might also have a tiny amount of flavoring. But, no, there is no nicotine in it.

So really, there are usually no more than three ingredients in your CBD vape juice.

Of course it’s not quite that simple, otherwise the article would be over.

Do Your Research!

One little preachy note before we start – this is your health we’re talking about. Find out the ingredients of ANY vape product before you buy. If you don’t see them on the bottle, that’s a red flag.

Look up the product online. Make sure they have recent 3rd party lab reports available. Send the maker an email if you have a question. Any reputable one will be more than happy to answer you.

OK – back to the piece.


CBD vs Hemp Extract

So let’s hope you CBD vape juice has some CBD in it.

Firstly,  when producers extract CBD by itself, It’s called CBD isolate. It’s usually in the form of a crystalline powder – similar in texture to very fine sea salt. They discard all the rest of the hemp plant.

Most CBD vape products on the market have a particular amount of CBD isolate and no other phytochemicals.

CBD Isolate powder
CBD Isolate Powder

Ideally, what you really want is not just CBD but hemp extract which includes CBD and all the other healthful goodies from hemp.

CBD is great, but hemp has so much more to offer. Really, what should be in your CBD vape juice is all the good stuff cannabis has to offer: cannabinoids – CBD, CBN, THC (<.3% legally) and  terpenes – either naturally occurring or added in. You want to get that entourage effect of all the stuff working together.

Of course that may include THC – the psychoactive cannabinoid that – in large amounts – gets you high.

Does your vape juice have THC?

THC is allowed legally in trace amount – under .3 %  (3/10 of 1 percent). This won’t even come close to getting you messed up, but it will work in concert with CBD to increase effectiveness.

If your CBD vape juice is labeled full spectrum, it most likely contains trace amounts of THC. If it contains just CBD isolate, probably not.

Labeling for CBD vape products can be fairly vague, but fortunately, whether an e-juice has THC or not is almost always clearly stated. So if you are concerned about drug test results, check the label.

Hemp extract concentrate
Hemp Extract Concentrate

So CBD or hemp extract is your first and most important ingredient. Let’s assume you have CBD and other good hemp-derived stuff. In order to make it vapable in most devices, other liquids have to be added.

Carrier Liquids

It is possible to vape or atomize concentrated hemp extract. In fact a lot of folks do. But it a bit hard core. Most people find it more convenient to vape liquids

So unless you are vaping a solid concentrate. If it’s in a liquid form, there is some other substance in there. In order to make CBD and its companion phyto-chemicals vapable (yes, that’s a word, I think), producers must dissolve them in a solution.

The liquid they use is called a carrier or solvent. Solvent sounds all industrial, but the most common solvent used in the world is water. The type of liquid also determines whether the finished product is a vape oil or a vape juice – they are two different things.

Additionally, they might use a thinning agent or diluent to reduce the viscosity of the CBD liquid.

Solvents, diluents, thinning agents – sounds scary.

Relax – There are basically only 3 substances used as carriers in CBD vape juice. And there is absolutely no evidence that they are harmful. Plus, usually you’re only going to have one or two in your CBD e-liquid.

So let’s take a look at the three main liquids used.

Vegetable Glycerin (VG)

gallon of vegetable glycerin
Look! It’s even kosher

Cannabinoids and Terpenes are not water soluble. They have to be dissolved in either oil or something like it.

Vegetable glycerin is the main ingredient in vape juice of all sorts. Technically it is a sugar-alcohol.  Is a unique chemical that has some the properties of oil, but is water soluble. It’s kind of half way between oil and water.

It’s made from either palm or coconut oil. You’ll find it in many, many food products, frozen yogurt, toothpaste, soap, anti-constipation products, cosmetics and body lotions.

It’s thick and very sweet.

It is generally considered completely safe. Some people can get skin irritation if they are allergic.

The only other known side effect is that consuming too much will give you diarrhea. (If you’re vaping so much that you have diarrhea, I think you have a problem!)  🙂

As far vaping is concerned – VG is an ideal solvent for CBD. Plus, it makes for wonderful, white, puffy vape clouds. When you see cloud chasers doing vape tricks, they are probably vaping 100% VG.

The only problem with vegetable glycerin is that it is very thick. It’s just slightly less viscous than honey. This makes it difficult to get into an eye dropper or into a tank on a vape mod. To remedy this, manufacturers quite often add a slightly more controversial chemical.

Propylene Glycol (PG)

propelen glycol

Propylene glycol is similar to glycerin in chemical makeup. It is a petroleum derived product.  It acts like an alcohol, is water soluble. colorless and odorless.  It’s got a sweet and slightly peppery flavor.

Additionally, It has a very low freezing point. And, no, it is NOT used in antifreeze. That’s ethelyne glycol.  Which is similar but highly poisonous.

However, It is used to de-ice airplanes and boats and is usually dyed pink to indicate that is is non-toxic and environmentally friendly.

But keep in mind, manufacturers add it to liquid sweeteners, ice cream, cosmetics, body lotions and hair spray.


The FDA recognizes it as safe. The human body metabolizes it quite easily.  And it would be difficult to go through a day in an industrialized country and not come in contact with PG.

There are hundreds and hundreds of uses for PG. One is making fake smoke – i.e. vapor.

It’s been used for many years in theatrical productions and concerts. Ever see Phantom of the Opera? All that fog is propylene glycol.  BTW, there have been no reported lung or respiratory problems  of stage workers or actors who work with the stuff night after night.

Of course the new popular use for PG is vaping. Manufacturers add PG to vegetable glycerin to lower its viscosity. This makes it flow more easily into tanks and coils.  It also heats up more quickly and allows for truer flavor.

PG also has a bit of a bite to it. You can feel it on the back of your throat. It’s called throat hit and a lot vape-heads actually like it.

The classic ratio of VG to PG is 70/30.  So most CBD vape juices will have 30% or less propylene glycol.  Some have 100% VG and no PG.

So if inhaling propylene glycol in your CBD vape juice concerns you, seek out brands that use no PG.

If you are using a vape pen or disposable cartridges, then you don’t have to worry about PG at all – because they use the third type of carrier liquid – MCT.

Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil (MCT)

MCT oil

A very popular way to vape CBD is vape pens, cartridges and pods (JUUL).

These devices use a highly concentrated CBD liquid who’s base is MCT.

Dave Asprey – founder of Bulletproof Coffee – has brought MCT into public awareness. Health nuts and athletes have been mixing this stuff in their coffees and smoothies for the last few years – for energy and mental clarity.

MCT is food. It’s s a highly refined form of coconut oil. It is clear, odorless and tasteless. It’s a rather thin oil that is liquid at room temperature.

The human body rapidly breaks down MCT and metabolizes it.

Further, cannabinoids like CBD dissolves readily in MCT oil and producers can make a highly concentrated solution that is ideal for small devices like vape pens.

It vaporizes at a low temperature and makes very little vapor.

These qualities make it an ideal carrier liquid – safe and capable of containing a high concentration of CBD per ml.

Triethyl Citrate

Some vape pens and cartridges use triethyl citrate as a carrier liquid rather than MCT oil.

It is closer to glycerin in chemical make up and less of an oil. So if you are concerned about inhaling lipids (fats, waxes), products using triethyl citrate are a good alternative.

It is an emulsifier made from citric acid. Food processors use it food additive as a stabilizer for foamy foods.

Triethyl citrate works quite well in e-cigs and vape cartridges.

Is There Anything Else in CBD Vape Juice?

About 98% of the volume of vape oil and liquid is CBD isolate and the carrier juice. You might also find some trace amounts of naturally occurring goodies that hemp produces

Additionally, manufacturers can put in a few more tiny amounts of stuff to improve the quality or the flavor of CBD vape juice and CBD vape oil.

cannabis trichomes
Gooey Funk!

CBD is a cannabinoid. So are THC, CBN, CBG, THCV.  If your vape is full spectrum, your likely to find trace amounts of these. They’re all good, but some people are concerned about THC showing on their drug test. Check the label.


As I mentioned earlier full spectrum CBD vape will have terpenes. Terpenes are essential plant oils that are beneficial, flavorful and aromatic.

They are naturally occurring in hemp extract.

However, manufacturers sometimes add these to CBD isolate to improve the desired effect, to allow for the entourage effect and also for flavoring. These terpenes may come from hemp or are extracted from other plants.


A lot of CBD vape juices on the market have added flavoring – natural and/or artificial.  The amount is miniscule (usually less the 1% of volume) and the ingredients are considered safe.

However if you would rather vape something with natural flavor or no flavor at all, you have a lot of options.


Cannabinoids, terpenes, and other fatty acids found in hemp extract don’t mix particularly well and will separate if left still.  Some vape products use polysorbate to help make a more consistent emulsion.

Polysorbate is an emulsifier and a common food additive.


young man vaping CBD

There it is. All the mystery has been exposed. Not so scary, right?

In our opinion – the benefits of vaping CBD far outweigh any potential risks from vape juice ingredients.

But of course you have to choose for yourself.

Be a good consumer and know what you are vaping. Your health is your responsibility. You don’t want to be nervous using something that is supposed to calm you. That would be silly.

Vape on – and breath in the goodness of CBD.


John Astrab



Neither Hemp nor its byproducts are considered medicine. They are not intended to treat any specific ailment. We can make no claims as such.

All information, content, and material of this blog post is for informational purposes only and not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.

All healthcare decisions are yours and yours alone.


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