Vaping Essential Oils — 5 Things You Should Know Before Using Essential Oils In Your Vaporizer
In the last couple of months, we’ve had a lot of customers come to us with questions about using essential oils in a vape pen.
Now — I want to preface this by saying that I’m not an aromatherapist!
What I know about [actually, knew before researching stuff for this post] about essential oils could fill a small diffuser. Get it? Nevermind… moving on.
I did my research, and I want to share what I’ve learned with you.
As always, keep in mind that we still don’t know a lot about vaping and how it influences long-term health. Personally, I am convinced that it’s 10X better to vape than it is to smoke, which is why I’ve made the switch a long time ago. And a lot of reputed scientists and studies agree with me on this.
However, this doesn’t mean that we get to stick anything in a vape pen and call it healthy! This new fad with vitamins and essential oils has me a little worried.
So let’s go on this journey together — read on to find out what essential oil vaping is, why some people consider it to be beneficial, and how you can do it safely [if you decide to do it at all].
Ready to get into it?
1 . What is Essential Oils Vaping?
This should be self-evident, right?
Vaping on essential oils means placing said oils [which are ‘concentrated hydrophobic liquids with volatile aroma compounds’, according to Wikipedia] into a vape pen or any other kind of vaporizer, and then heating it to the point of vaporization before inhaling the vapor.
In a lot of cases, manufacturers make special ‘aromatherapy vape pens’ that are prefilled with oils. This means that not every vape device is suited for this type of vaporization.
This is down to two reasons:
·An atomizer might not be equipped to handle the viscosity of an essential oil, and
·Some vape devices operate at too high of a temperature [burning the oil instantly].
As with vaping on e-juice, an aromatherapy vaporizer will produce vapor, which is made up of mostly water. Additional compounds inside might include vegetable glycerin or propylene glycol, and the terpenes and aromas of whatever etheric oil is used.
BUT, that said…
Is it safe to use these essential oils in a vape pen, considering what we know about the chemistry of oils and some VOCs [volatile organic compounds]?
Let’s find out.
2. Is Vaping on Essential Oils Safe?
Here’s a shocker — if you’re doing it the right way, vaping on these aromatherapy oils seems to be perfectly safe!
What do I mean by ‘the right way’?
Well, you have to realize that there are different types of essential oils.
·There are stable essential oils, and,
·There are unstable essential oils.
When I say stable, I mean heat stable. These essential oils are steam-distilled. This means that, at one point, they were heated up to more than 212F degrees [100C degrees]. What does this tell us? It tells us that they can be heated up to that point again without breaking down or producing tar or anything else that might hurt us.
And that brings us to my other point: vaping temperature.
But to some this up: it’s safe to vape on an essential oil if:
·That oil is heat stable [you can bring it to a certain temp without turning it toxic]
·If the oil is pure [or as pure as it can get — so no mixing your vape mediums]
·And, if the oil in question is generally considered to be safe for ingestion [not all are].
Now… let’s talk about temperature.
3. Everything You Need to Know About the Vaping Temp
Let’s get one thing out of the way first:
If you want to be 100% safe when vaping on essential oils, you need to vape on the raw oils that haven’t been mixed with anything else. They shouldn’t contain vegetable glycerin or propylene glycol because the mix then has a higher flashpoint.
This flashpoint is what we’re interested in.
All essential oils contain compounds [terpenes and flavonoids] that turn into VOCs when heated — volatile organic compounds. Basically, just think of these VOCs as bad — you don’t want them in you. After they’re heated even more, they can turn into tar.
These processes happen after you expose an essential oil to excessive heat.
That’s why you only want to vape on essential oils while bringing them up to their flashpoint temperature. This temperature is the lowest possible temperature that will allow the oil to turn into vapor, and be ready for inhalation. Heating essential oils for too long [or at higher temperatures], results in the creation of VOCs and is not good for your lungs.
That’s why you don’t want to mix your essential oils with anything else — because it raises the flash point of the mix. For example, if you mixed lemon essential oils [flash point — 118F] and vegetable glycerin [flash point — 320F], you’d be burning the oil in an effort to heat up VG and produce some vapor.
So here are some tips:
·Only heat up essential oils up to their flashpoint
·Never mix them with anything else [including VG or PG]
·Vape only on low-heat vaporizers
·Don’t use powerful vape mods or sub-ohm builds
·Only heat up your essential oil for a second or two
And speaking of vape devices for essential oils, here’s what you should keep in mind.
4. Which Vape Devices Should You Use for Essential Oils?
Actually, vape devices for essential oils are mostly called diffuser sticks. They are a bit different from regular vape devices and vape pens, but the principles behind how they work are the same.
Now, if you don’t want to invest in a diffuser stick, there are workarounds that will let you use your vape pen.
First off, you’ll want to use a concentrate vape pen.
Then you’ll want to choose an oil based on the lowest temp settings you can accomplish with your vape pen. Why? Because you don’t want to burn the oil, that’s why.
So here are the flashpoints of some of the most popular essential oils. This will help you figure out which one will work best with your particular pen.
5. What Are the Benefits of Vaping on Essential Oils
Here, I am afraid I can’t offer you anything but anecdotal evidence.
People who use diffuser sticks swear by them — just go to any Amazon seller selling these, and you will see scores of glowing reviews.
But… the science behind it all is murky, at best.
Researchers agree that essential oils do carry benefits — some can soothe, others can calm down, and yet others can reinvigorate you. But they do that just by being present in the room — just by acting on your olfactory nerves [the ones in your nose].
The bottom line here is that if you want to try vaping on essential oils, there’s a safe way to do it… and an unsafe way. I recommend taking the safe route.
And… if it helps and you have no idea if it’s oils or placebo effect?
I say — who cares?!