Is Vaping Essential Oils Safe ?

Is Vaping Essential Oils Safe ?

August 22, 2018 0 Comments

Is Vaping Essential Oils Safe ?

The Truth about vaping essential oils exposed after many years of studies, research and development. 

We just want to mention the inspiration for writing this article.  There are dozens of professional writers, who have created blogs around this subject matter.  Some are okay, with tidbit's of accurate information, but for the most part, they are widely inaccurate, and without any premise in science.  We wanted disclose our scientific finding and studies with those who care to seek the truth. 

First Let's Cover the Basic's About Vaping and Oils :

  1. VAPING - and basic handheld vaporizers use HEAT to breakdown and atomize whatever oils or formulas are used inside of them. 
  2. OILS - in general, when quickly heated, to the high temperatures inside a standard vape device, will be destroyed and breakdown into other VOC's (volatile organic compounds), and various carbon based structures.  They can and will breakdown into carbon, carbon-monoxide, carbon-dioxide, formaldehyde, and many other compounds that are the building blocks of Tar.  Similar to the tar in found in traditional cigarettes. 

Now, it is important to discuss these compounds further, and their impact on the human body.  

First lets mention, that as human beings we ingest and inhale most, if not all of the compounds produced from heating oils, every moment, of day, of our lives.  Some days we take in more, depending on our diets, our cooking habits, and our environments. 

Most people think being hidden indoors, in their clean living room, bed room, kitchen, or car, they are safe from these VOC's, but in fact, we are subjected to far greater doses of VOC's while indoors.  Most furniture, clothing, carpets, chemical cleaners, detergents, plastics, woods, and foods, are made with or naturally contain and exude mass amounts of VOC's. 

In fact it turns out, that sitting on your new couch, or in your new car, or sleeping in your bed, is when we are exposed the highest counts of VOC's.  The only place worse, might be your place of work ; offices, labs, schools, hospitals, banks, public transportation, are all examples of places that contains even greater unhealthy levels of VOC's according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). 

Other people with healthy diets and lives believe they might be safe from VOC's.  When in fact those people, including those consuming raw diets, plant based diets and meat based diets are also exposed to high amounts of VOC's daily. 

Some foods that naturally contain high levels of formaldehyde for example are ; apples, watermelon, banana, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, grapes, potatoes, spinach, tomato, mushrooms, beef, pork, poultry, and fish.  Some companies add different forms of VOC's and formaldehyde's to further preserve meats, fish, and veggies.  See full list from the CDC table below.  Some companies use natural and organic preservatives that naturally contain high counts of VOC's and formaldehyde's, to mask or hide that fact they are doing this.  That is why it very important to rinse well all packaged and processed foods. 

That takes us to another question, rinse our fruits, veggies and meats with what ?  Household tap water ?  Well there are even worse compounds found in most home tap water and pipes.  Compounds that will damage human cells far worse then any VOC.  This is why we recommend every person use a RO (reverse osmosis water system), or a gravity-fed filter system, but that conversation we will save for another blog post. 

The last group of people to mention, is those who consume processed, packaged, preserved foods, or products.  The counts of VOC's can be tremendously high when compared with nature.  But it is the counts of harmful inorganic compounds that you should worry about in those foods and drinks.  Compounds that can age, degrade, and destroy all metabolic functions, to the point of mutations, cancer and possibly death in the case of life long abusers.  Now, let's dive into essential oils. 

What is an Essential Oil ? 

According to our "wonderfully accurate" friends at Wikipedia; "An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile (defined as "the tendency of a substance to vaporize") aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils are also known as volatile essential oils, ethereal oils, or simply as the oil of the plant from which they were extracted, such as oil of clove. An oil is "essential" in the sense that it contains the "essence of" the plant's fragrance—the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived.   The term essential used here does not mean indispensable as with the terms essential amino acid or essential fatty acid which are so called since they are nutritionally required by a given living organism. In contrast to fatty oils, essential oils evaporate completely without leaving a stain (residue) when dabbed onto filter paper. 

HOW ARE ESSENTIAL OILS MADE ?

Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation, often by using steam.  Other processes include expression, solvent extraction, absolute oil extraction, resin tapping, wax embedding, and cold pressing. They are used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and other products, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to incense and household cleaning products.

Essential oils are often used for aromatherapy, a form of alternative medicine in which healing effects are ascribed to aromatic compounds. Aromatherapy may be useful to induce relaxation."  

Now, being a company that makes EO's, buy's EO's, imports EO's from every corner of the earth, for many years, we can tell you that not everything written above is 100% accurate.  However they do lay a good foundation for which to continue our conversation about;

"is vaping essential oils safe and healthy?"

There are a few last dot's to connect before we get to the final conclusion. 

  • Not all essential oils are equal. 
  • Not all essential oils are pure.
  • Not all essential oils are produced the same way.
  • Not all essential oils are safe to ingest.
  • Not all essential are heat stable, in fact most are not at some temperature point. 

Now that we understand what EO's are not, let's discuss what they are. 

  • Some EO's are steam distilled. 
  • Steam distilled means they are produced in heated steaming H20 water, that is well above 100C = 212F degrees. 
  • What this means is that they are heat stable to "at least" that temperature, for short periods of time. 
  • All oils, breakdown, at some temperature, even the greatest synthetic motor oils. 
  • That means, that at low temperatures, some oils, of the volatile, steam distilled type, can handle subtle heating, without undergoing any significant chemical change. 
  • Meaning YES, some Essential Oil's, of the heat distilled type, can be vaped, vaporized, or atomized at low temperatures. 

Now that does not fully answer the question, can you vape essential oils and is it safe.  To answer these questions fully, we must dive even deeper into this conversation. 

Let's discuss vaporizers first before concluding this conversation. 

  • Most vaporizers, of the handheld type, use heat to vaporize or atomize. 
  • Over the years these devices have become stronger and stronger.
  • Bigger batteries with higher wattage, and lower OHM heating coils, can take the heat up well over 1,200-F almost instantaneously. 
  • Even the average electronic cigarette type device can hit over 800-F in under 1 second. 
  • Meaning, that NO, you cannot safely vape essential oils without running the risk of converting them into other harmful VOC's, which ultimately will turn into tar.  
  • The more ingredients you add into these mixtures with your essential oils, the greater the chance of converting them into VOC's, and tars. 

Now, knowing what learned above, we can finally start to bring this conversation to a conclusion :

But first, we must also mention that;

  • Some essential oils are edible, and are safe to ingest, while others are not.
  • Some EO's are safe to inhale, while other are not. 
  • Some are not safe for children and pregnant women, while others are beneficial for them. 
  • Some essential oils, made by other means, such as solvent extraction, C02, and cold press, in addition to the steam distilling we discussed above, can withstand short term low temperature heating. 
  • Certain type of oils must be extracted using certain methods of extraction, while some oils can be extracted using multiple methods. 
  • Some oils can be further refined using a second round of extraction, cleaning, separating, or (winterizing).
  • Depending on the extraction method or methods used, certain oils can withstand greater levels of heat.

Initial Conclusion :

CAN YOU, AND IS IT SAFE TO VAPE, VAPORIZE, ESSENTIAL OILS ?  

  • Yes you can vape any oil meaning you can heat it, and cook the oils to the point of steam or atomized form. 
  • However, just because you can, does not mean you should do something. 
  • All oils, will break down into VOC's, and ultimately into different forms of tars if heated to high. 
  • Therefore the answer is NO, it not safe to vaporize and inhale any oil, of any type, or any kind.
  • But more importantly, a person, should never take an oil, they did not make, and do not 100% of its origins, and place that into their personal vaporizer device, and heat it, cook it to steam, or smoke, and inhale that. 
  • That includes fatty and non-fatty acids including coconut oils, olive oils, and or any oil or any kind. 

Humans are actually born with a specialized olfactory bulb, our sense of smell, that can detect harmful scents, tars, and some VOC's in the air.  Think about the smell of burning plastic, or rubber.  Without knowing what it is, we instinctively know that this smell is bad for us.  If you put any oil in a standard handheld vaporizing device, you can actually smell and taste it cooking, then burning, then converting into carbons and tars after some time.  Same with cooking oil in a pan on your stove.  It will burn, and that smoke, and vapor is toxic and is a known carcinogenic. 

This entire concept is actually the base premise for marijuana oil makers, and vape device makers.  The oils and devices, are specialized, and are designed to work with each other, so as to bake the oil into at vapor mist, that the user can inhale, with as little burning as possible.  However not matter how clean the extract, and how advanced the device is, the oils will burn, and will partially convert into tars and carbons, that will slightly damage the users lungs.  Over long term periods of use, their lungs will feel the impact of this abuse.  

NOW, THERE IS A SECOND TYPE OF DEEPER CONCLUSION TO FINALLY DISCUSS :

You can use a SMALL AMOUNT, of CERTAIN TYPES, of PURE Essential Oils, that are SAFE TO INGEST, in SMALL AMOUNTS in a FORMULATION, using a LOW HEAT DEVICE, in quick bursts, for short periods of time, without risk of burning, or tars, or VOC buildups.  Please note, as discussed above, many essential oils, foods and drinks, start with some VOC's, and therefore they will end with some VOC's.  The trick is to end up with less, not more then you started with, and to make sure that these levels are far below the safe zones as set by the CDC, and less then what you might ingest from say eating a slice of fresh organic farm raised watermelon, driving your new car, or wearing your new shirt for the first time. 

Meaning that if you have the exact device, designed to spec, and an exact oil, that is safe to ingest and inhale, and is also extracted using certain methods, and you water down that oil with other (non-oil) carriers, then yes, you can safely vaporize and inhale it. 

I will add that 99.9% of devices are not compatible with this, and that most over the counter oils are not compatible with this.  Meaning that if you are not an oil maker, and a chemist, with a lab, and an device engineer or enthusiast, then you should not try this at home.  Trust us when we say this, as we have tried this, with every device, with every oil, and with every combination of oils, for many many years in the VitaStik Laboratories.  If fact I would say we are the worlds foremost experts in this discussion, considering we created this segment of the market in early 2014, and we have every tool possible to test before, and after, what you start with, and what you end up with after heating. 

Our thought on the matter is simple and straight forward.  If you start with one thing, and end up with the same thing after a quick and gentle heating, then it should be safe.  But if it converts into something else, than it is most likely not safe.  Furthermore, you must start with edible, organics, that are already designed to be ingested.  If they are not edible, then you certainly should never heat these organics, and then inhale them.  This would be a true recipe for disaster. 

Our Method at VitaStik is Simple : start with the purest edible organics, in tiny amounts mixed in, using ultra low heat, and yes, you can safely vaporize certain essential oils.  The same goes for certain forms, of certain vitamins.  No you cannot safely heat and vaporize anything, and the more you mix into your formulas, the more likely they will not be safe.

But remember, for life in general, "everything should be in moderation".  To much of anything can be bad for you.  To much water, to much oxygen, or to much exercise can even kill you ...everything in moderation.  That is why we only recommend 5 - 20 activation's per/day, as needed, throughout the day, for a quick InstaMood vitamin aromatherapy mood enhancing boost. 

Aromatherapy is an ancient science, and essential oils are the basis of that science.  Modern vaporizers and diffusers are a great advancement in the field of aromatherapy.  But oils and devices are complicated, expensive, and messy.  VitaStik wanted to create a fast, affordable, easy to use, simple, handheld, portable device.  We take the guess work out of formulations, and safety.  We invite you to give it a try, and let us know what you think.  Since early 2014 we have millions of satisfied customers. 

Don't love the direct inhalation method, then try the Blow Through Method on our Breath Activated Aromatherapy Stick.  See video below for exact details.  Macy is using our AMORE STICK - with Rose Water Oils.  The world's first flower water diffuser stick.



OPENING PAGE PHOTO CREDITS : The beautiful @LianaBeauty

Thank you for sharing this amazing image in pink. 


Foods Known to Contain Naturally Occurring Formaldehyde

CHARTS BELOW BORROWED FROM THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION, AND THE CDC, TO ILLUSTRATE THE HIGH LEVELS OF VOC'S NATURALLY FOUND IN THE HEALTHY FOODS.  Please note : these foods are safe, and within safety levels, but they do lay on the higher side of the spectrum. 

Foods Known to Contain Naturally Occurring Formaldehyde I. Fruits & Vegetables

Food type

Level (mg/kg)

Apple

6.3 – 22.3

Apricot

9.5

Banana

16.3

Beetroot

35

Bulb vegetables (e.g. onion)

11.0

Cabbage

5.3

Carrot

6.7 – 10

Cauliflower

26.9

Cucumber

2.3 – 3.7

Grape

22.4

Green Onion

13.3 – 26.3

Kohlrabi

31

Pear

38.7 – 60

Plum

11.2

Potato

19.5

Spinach

3.3 – 7.3

Tomato

5.7 – 13.3

Water-melon

9.2

White Radish

3.7 – 4.4

Shiitake mushroom (dried)

100 – 406

Shiitake mushroom (raw)

6 – 54.4

II. Meat and meat products

Food type

Level (mg/kg)

Beef

4.6

Pig

5.8 – 20

Sheep

8

Poultry

2.5 – 5.7

Processed meat products (including ham and sausages)

≤ 20.7

Liver paste

≤ 11.9

1

Foods Known to Contain Naturally Occurring Formaldehyde (Continued) III. Dairy products

IV. Seafood

Food type

Level (mg/kg)

Goat’s Milk

1

Cow’s Milk

≤ 3.3

Cheese

≤ 3.3

Food type

Level (mg/kg)

Cod

4.6 – 34

Shrimp (raw)

1 – 2.4

Squid

1.8

Fish ball

6.8

Crustacean

1 – 98

Bombay-duck

≤ 140

Formaldehyde was also reported in studies to develop after death in marine fish and crustaceans and accumulate during the frozen storage of some fish species. Its levels can be as high as 400 mg/kg in Bombay-duck after cold storage.

V. Others

Food type

Level (mg/kg)

Alcoholic beverage

0.02 – 3.8

Soft drinks

8.7

Brewed coffee

3.4 – 4.5

Instant coffee

10 – 16

Syrup

<1 – 1.54

Sources: From World Health Organization and others.


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