With vaping only increasing in popularity thanks to the legalization of cannabidiol or CBD oil, concerns about CBD vape cartridges, along with traditional products are growing. This is because lead contamination has been discovered e-cigarette products which is raising alarm bells about the safety of vaping itself. Whether using a traditional or CBD vape cartridge, contaminants such as lead being present put into question the safe nature of the product itself.

It is the concerns of lead that have raised new issues about vaping, particularly in California. But it helps to understand what vaping is first.

How Vaping Works

vape pen

The traditional method of consuming cannabis is through smoking. However, since cannabis contains properties that are still illegal in much of the country, vaping CBD oil has become a popular alternative. Vaping works on the same principle as smoking, but is different in that vaping is not ignited, but heated to create the vapor which is then inhaled.

Vaping is not only easy to use, it’s also more discreet and does not have the smell or odor of cannabis flower. This means that the CBD vape cartridge offers many advantages which start with its ease of use. For those who have used traditional vaping cartridges, such as those that mimic the taste of tobacco, switching to CBD is no issue.

In addition, vaping is fairly inexpensive, and you can try products outside of CBD if desired. Many use essential oils or other products that change up the vaping experience without the inherent danger to the body. This is because such products are non-toxic in nature which makes them safe to use in public situations. Plus, they are safe to the surrounding environment as well since they are not ignited. This means that the risk of catching flammable materials on fire is minimal, if at all.

It’s little wonder that cannabis products are being vaped more than ever. With strong rises in vaping sales in states like California, many in the public believe that vaping is the safe alternative.

CBD Vape Cartridges

Presence of Lead

However, the recent discovery of lead contamination in vaping products sold in California has caused authorities to re-evaluate the safety of CBD cartridges which are so popular. Although the levels of heavy metals found were low, the World Health Organization considers no amount of lead to be acceptable. The symptoms associated with lead poisoning include the following;

  • Headaches, Abdominal, Joint, and Muscle Pain
  • High Blood Pressure, Mood Changes, and Difficulty Concentrating or Poor Memory

Pregnant women may suffer miscarriages or premature birth. And if a child is carried to term, there may be considerable complications that ensue.

The dangers of lead have been known for many decades. Arguably the most famous product that lead was associated with was paint. Lead added strength and durability to paint products. While there were concerns, it was believed that the paint itself would shield the lead from being inhaled or consumed. That belief changed in the 1970s when studies showed that when dry and chipping, the lead became a danger. This is why lead was banned from most materials at that time.

With all the complications that the presence of lead offers, steps are being taken to ensure the safety of vaping products. But the source of the contamination appears to come from the vaping cartridges and the cannabis itself. This has created some concern because lead has been banned from most products since the 1970s. Which means a failure to address the source might result in a banning of the cannabis product itself.

Lead Contamination Source

CBD Vape oil

For the CBD vape cartridge, the source of the contamination comes from the metal foundries in China where they are manufactured. It’s common to add a little lead to the copper and brass feedstocks, so the metal is moldable and easier to shape. The more moldable the metal, the lower the cost of production. It’s not surprising that companies save millions of dollars every year by adding lead without realizing the consequences of what they are doing.

Instead, it is because they have different standards compared to California. In China, the acceptable levels of lead cannot exceed 4% or 40,000 parts per million. In California, the level is 0.5% or 5,000 parts per million. This means that with cartridges being manufactured in China, it may be impossible to reduce the amount below the California required levels. If so, then another manufacturing source will be needed to replace the CBD vape cartridge line.

If the lead comes from the cannabis, it’s usually because the soil has been contaminated with lead. The plants absorb the metals from the soil during the growing stages. Or, it’s possible that the cannabis is contaminated when processed. But this is a less-likely source of contamination as most cannabis plants are grown in soil with concentrations of lead that do not exceed even California’s requirements.

The Future of CBD Cartridges in California

CBD Vaping

Although the most popular type of vape cartridge, CCELL carts, manage to reach just 0.6 or 0.7 parts per million, which is acceptable in most states, it still falls short of what is acceptable in California. Of course, there are those who believe that no amount of lead is safe which will greatly hinder the CBD vape movement if lead continues to be detected in cartridges.

What concerned consumers can do is check the date of manufacture. All products produced after the first of January 2019 have passed the heavy metals test. This means that the levels of lead do not reach above 0.5 parts per million. However, any CBD cartridges produced before that date have not been tested and may contain higher levels of lead.

You may also want to look at the new CBD vape cartridge which is lead-free. Such cartridges are now being produced and should be available to purchase even in California. In most cases, such cartridges should be clearly labeled as lead-free and will likely be higher in price given the greater difficulty in manufacturing. Until then, it is advised that if you have any concerns about lead, you should avoid the vaping process all together until the matter has been fully resolved.