There’s a lot of debate going on about smoking vs. vaping. Those who have diabetes should consider the effects vaping tobacco, or cannabis has on their bodies before deciding to vape. Now that more research is starting to come out on vaping and diabetes, it’s easier to make an informed decision. So let’s discuss the benefits and risks of vaping nicotine and cannabis for people with diabetes.
What is vaping?
The difference between vaping and smoking is the element of combustion. When you smoke tobacco or cannabis, you use a flame to ignite the substance and burn it to create smoke. Vaping uses a small battery to gently heat up a cartridge that contains liquid nicotine or THC/CBD extract. The liquid is turned into a mist or aerosol that you then inhale through a mouthpiece.
Vape cartridges usually contain a mixture of nicotine, THC, or CBD extract, different flavors, a thickening agent such as vitamin E acetate, and an array of other chemicals. Some black-market e-cigarettes and cannabis vape pens have been known to contain certain chemicals and heavy metals that can cause damage to the lungs or explode when heated up. This is why it’s very important to only purchase vape pens and cartridges from a reputable online smoke shop and other trusted distributors. Brands should always list every ingredient used and have their products third-party lab tested to ensure safety and transparency.
The Pros & Cons of Vaping Nicotine for Diabetics
There’s no denying that tobacco products are harmful to your health, especially to those who are prediabetic or have either type 1 or 2 diabetes. However, if you are a cigarette smoker with diabetes, vaping does have a few benefits.
When you vape, nothing gets burned. This means you inhale fewer harmful chemicals. The absence of tar and carbon monoxide is definitely a positive benefit to vaping. It’s also possible to buy vape cartridges that contain less nicotine which could help you slowly decrease your nicotine intake. This could aid you in eventually quitting.
Unfortunately, there are still some negative effects for those who have diabetes. Vaping can:
- Contribute to an individual developing prediabetes
- Increase your blood sugar levels
- Lead to an increased risk of heart disease.
If you do not currently smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products, it’s not a good idea to start vaping. However, if you are diabetic and are currently a smoker, then switching to vaping could help reduce the number of harmful chemicals entering your body and allow you to slowly wean off nicotine altogether.
The Pros & Cons of Vaping THC/CBD for Diabetics
Cannabis is made up of several different compounds known as cannabinoids that each create a different reaction in the body. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) contains psychoactive properties that are responsible for producing a high sensation in the mind and a relaxed, euphoric state in the body.
CBD (Cannabidiol) attaches to the body’s nerve receptors and helps the central nervous system return to a balanced state. CBD is great for reducing pain and inflammation and fighting against nausea and depression without impairing brain function.
It’s possible to buy vape cartridges that contain just THC or CBD extract or a mixture of the two.
Studies have shown that cannabis does have some positive health benefits for those with diabetes. It may:
- Help lower blood pressure over time
- Help regulate blood sugar levels
- Stimulate the pain receptors in the brain and body, which could contribute to a reduction in discomfort caused by inflammation and pain
- Reduce arterial inflammation and lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease
For those with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes interested in experiencing the health benefits of vaping cannabis without getting high, look for cartridges that either contain little to no THC.
Just as with e-cigarettes, vaping cannabis also reduces the amount of tar, ash, and carbon monoxide being inhaled into your lungs. Compared to eating THC or CBD edibles or using topical creams and oils, vaping cannabis allows you to experience the relaxing and beneficial effects faster.
Some less-reputable manufacturers may add chemicals added to the liquid extract that are potentially harmful for people with diabetes, though. So, it’s imperative that you only buy from accredited suppliers who clearly list all of the ingredients and use third-party lab testing to ensure quality control.
If you have diabetes and wish to explore vaping cannabis or e-cigarettes, it’s important to consider your individual health concerns and go from there. No one recommends that you take up vaping nicotine if you don’t already smoke cigarettes. However, it is possible to consume fewer harmful chemicals and gradually reduce the amount of nicotine you consume with e-cigarettes. Vaping cannabis offers several potential health benefits to those with diabetes as long as you vape moderately and only buy reputable products.
Laura Henry is a writer and editor with a passion for alternative health products and practices. When they’re not outside with their rescue dog, they spend their time exploring local wellness/new age spaces and practicing yoga.