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In short, we don’t know whether delta-8 cartridges are safe to vape.

Although there isn’t enough research into the long-term health effects of vaping, the available research suggests it can have negative side effects.

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Possibly both.

There’s a lack of research into the safety of delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but there’s a risk of adverse effects, especially if you use illegitimate products.

As for the safety of vaping, there is little information about the long-term effects, but it’s clear that there are risks.

Safety of delta-8

Delta-8 is a form of THC. THC is responsible for the “high” you experience when you use cannabis. However, most of the THC in cannabis plants is delta-9 cannabis.

While delta-9 and delta-8 cannabis are chemically similar, delta-9 THC is well-researched. However, as a 2022 paper explains, there’s a concerning lack of research into delta-8 THC. We don’t yet know its short- and long-term risks.

According to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), they received 104 reports of adverse events — in other words, harsh side effects — in people who used delt-8 products between December 1, 2020, and February 28, 2022.

These adverse effects included:

  • hallucinations
  • vomiting
  • tremors
  • anxiety
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • loss of consciousness

It’s not clear if this is an issue with delta-8 itself, or with contaminated or low quality products. The FDA does not regulate delta-8 products, which means that anybody can create products and market them as containing delta-8.

This makes it tough to figure out whether you’re buying safe products. There’s no way to ensure whether your purchase is legitimate or whether it contains harmful contaminants.

Safety of vaping

People often tout vaping as a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes. However, we don’t actually know much about the long-term effects of vaping. There’s simply not enough research on the topic, as vaping hasn’t been around for that long.

Although there are many reported risks of vaping nicotine, there is little information about the effects of vaping delta-8 or other cannabis derivatives.

Sure, you might avoid the health risks associated with nicotine by opting for a CBD or delta-8 vape, but there’s no research to suggest that vaping cannabinoids is safe or healthy.

Cannabis e-liquids, including delta-8 vape cartridges, may contain harmful chemicals, such as flavoring agents. These chemicals might trigger inflammation and damage cells.

Does it matter if you use a disposable delta-8 pen or a cart with a rechargeable battery?

No research compares the effects of disposable delta-8 pens to the effects of delta-8 carts. As such, we don’t know whether one is safer than the other.

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The side effects of THC, in general, can include:

  • anxiety
  • confusion
  • difficulty thinking and speaking
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • increased appetite
  • increased heart rate
  • memory loss
  • red eyes
  • slowed reaction times

Based on the above-mentioned FDA report, the side effects of delta-8 might also include:

  • hallucinations
  • vomiting
  • tremors
  • loss of consciousness

However, there isn’t any research that confirms whether delta-8 causes these side effects.

According to a 2018 study, the side effects of vaping certain flavoring agents could include:

  • increasing inflammation in the body
  • tissue damage
  • cell damage
  • lung damage

It’s important to note that there isn’t much research on the side effects of vaping non-nicotine substances. Most research on vaping looks at nicotine-based e-cigarettes.

A 2015 study indicated that many vape fluids contain high concentrations of potentially harmful flavoring agents.

In a study from 2016, researchers looked at the contents of 51 e-cigarette flavors and found that 92% of the flavors included diacetyl, acetylpropionyl, or acetoin, which are potentially dangerous chemicals. Although this study specifically looked at e-cigarettes, cannabis vapes can contain similar flavoring agents.

More recently, a 2018 study showed that common e-juice flavoring agents, including cinnamaldehyde, o-vanillin, and pentanedione all had inflammatory and damaging effects on cells.

Lastly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that 2,3-pentanedione and diacetyl, which manufacturers use to make butter- or cream-like flavors, can cause serious damage to the lungs.

Possibly. Using tinctures or edibles can help you avoid the side effects associated with vaping.

However, delta-8 tinctures and edibles aren’t always 100% safe. As mentioned, delta-8 products do not receive FDA regulation, and some may contain harmful contaminants. The FDA received reports of people experiencing adverse effects after using delta-8 products, but it’s unclear whether delta-8 or by contaminants caused these adverse effects.

To be on the safe side, it’s best to only purchase delta-8 products from legitimate, reputable companies.

When using cannabis edibles of any kind — whether people market them as containing delta-8 THC or not — it’s important to pace yourself.

Because the high from edibles can take a while to kick in, it’s easy to overdo it and reach for more edibles because you think it’s weak. However, it’s best to start with a low dosage and wait. You’ll usually start feeling intoxicated around 30 to 60 minutes after eating an edible.

Yes. The following common vape ingredients are potentially harmful:

  • acetoin
  • acetyl propionyl
  • acrolein
  • acrylamide
  • acrylonitrile
  • benzaldehyde
  • cinnamaldehyde
  • citral
  • crotonaldehyde
  • diacetyl
  • ethylvanillin
  • eucalyptol
  • formaldehyde
  • o-vanillin
  • pentanedione
  • propylene oxide
  • pulegone
  • vanillin

These harmful ingredients are typically in these flavors:

  • almond
  • bread
  • burnt
  • berry
  • camphor
  • caramel
  • chocolate
  • cinnamon
  • clove
  • coffee
  • cotton candy
  • creamy
  • fruity
  • herbal
  • jam
  • nutty
  • pineapple
  • powdery
  • red hot
  • spicy
  • sweet
  • thyme
  • tomato
  • tropical
  • vanilla
  • woody

Because delta-8 products don’t go through FDA regulation, it’s possible to find less-than-savory products on the market. These products may contain harmful contaminants.

To reduce your risk of ingesting these chemicals, it’s best to opt for products from a reputable company.

It’s also important to only use products that have been third-party tested. This means an independent lab has verified its ingredients and chemical makeup. You should be able to access these lab reports and read them yourself.

As mentioned, the FDA doesn’t regulate delta-8 products. This means you need to take extra care to ensure that you’re getting decent, safe, high quality products.

If you decide to purchase a delta-8 vape cartridge or disposable, it’s best to:

  • Choose products from reputable companies.
  • Only opt for products that have been third-party tested.
  • Avoid products that contain the above-mentioned harmful ingredients.

If you’re concerned about the potential risks of vaping and you’d like to use other delta-8 products, the same general rule applies: Always look for a third-party lab report to verify their ingredients, and opt for reputable companies.

Delta-8 vape cartridges are popular, but we don’t yet know whether vaping it is safe in the long term. There’s also a serious lack of research on the side effects and safety of delta-8, especially synthetically produced delta-8 products.

If you’d like to use delta-8 to address a medical issue, it’s best to speak with a cannabis-friendly healthcare professional. They can help you figure out whether delta-8 or medical cannabis is suitable for you.

Sian Ferguson is a freelance health and cannabis writer based in Cape Town, South Africa. She’s passionate about empowering readers to take care of their mental and physical health through science-based, empathetically delivered information.