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CBD-Oil Diffusers: Do They Work?

There are a range of Oil Diffusers, but not all of them work for CBD oil. Image Credit: By Denise E on Shutterstock

Oil diffusers and aromatherapy have been around for thousands of years, but both have experienced a surge of popularity in recent years. Diffusing natural essential oils into the air is thought by many people to have powerful medicinal effects. But essential oils aren’t the only ones that can brighten up a room — ever since CBD oil rose to national prominence, people have been putting it in their diffusers.

There’s no real mystery why: the therapeutic benefits of CBD oil have been well-established. By activating the CB2 receptors located throughout the body, CBD can help regulate a wide array of body functions like stress, appetite, and pain. The best part? There are no side effects.

But do CBD oil diffusers actually work?

The short answer is: nobody’s sure. At the end of the day, there is little hard science to back up the claims that oil diffusers are an effective way to get CBD into your body. However, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to say that they do. So if you’re a fan of both CBD and pleasant, relaxing smells, they might be worth your time. There are a few things to consider before you run out and buy a CBD oil diffuser, though.

While modern oil diffusers look quite different from the ones used by our ancestors centuries ago, they all work according to the same basic concept: oil goes in, vapor comes out. However, this doesn’t mean that all diffusers are created equal. The designs of modern diffusers can vary widely, and this has an impact on their effectiveness, regardless of which oil you’re using.

If you’re thinking about using an oil diffuser to enjoy the many health benefits of CBD in your home, understanding how each works will help you to figure out which will work best for you.

The Different Types of Oil Diffusers

There are four main designs of oil diffusers available today. These are:

  • nebulizing diffusers
  • ultrasonic/humidifying diffusers
  • heat diffusers
  • evaporative diffusers

Nebulizing Diffusers

These are probably the most popular type of oil diffuser. They work via a stream of pressurized air which forces the oil to the surface and causes it to blow into the air in a fine mist. These diffusers don’t require any water or heat, so they’re more convenient to use.

Nebulizing diffusers create a pleasant dampness to the air which many people enjoy, and they can distribute CBD oil quite evenly throughout the room. It’s not certain if this actually “makes the CBD work better,” but it does mean you’ll be able to smell it wherever you go.

Ultrasonic/Humidifying Diffusers

This type of diffuser uses ultrasonic vibrations to break down oils into microparticles and then distribute them into the air as negative ions. This model also creates a relaxing steam in the air which can improve air quality in the room while the oil is diffused.

Ultrasonic/humidifying diffusers don’t require heat, but do require water in order to create the steam that they are known for. Some people think that the addition of the water to the process can dilute the CBD oil, and thus compromise the effectiveness of the overall result. However, adding water can help to tone down overwhelming aromas and make the oil last longer, at least in theory.

Heat Diffusers

As the name suggests, heat diffusers rely on heat (usually from a candle) to heat the CBD oil from below, causing it to evaporate into the air. While lots of people love the beautiful strong scent that these diffusers deliver — not to mention the relaxing flicker of candle light — they aren’t the best choice for people who are keen to enjoy the medicinal benefits of CBD oil, because CBD oil can react badly to heat.

Evaporative Diffusers

Evaporative diffusers rely on an internal fan mechanism, which blows air through a filter which contains the CBD oil. The air being blown this way causes the oil to evaporate more quickly than it would normally, and it is released back into the room in the air.

However, there are other, smaller evaporative diffusers which don’t contain a fan but simply rely on the airflow of the room. These are usually located in pieces of diffuser jewelry like pendant necklaces or bracelets.

Evaporative diffusers can be effective at distributing oil throughout a room. However, in some models the internal fans can make a loud whirring sound, which may irritate people with noise sensitivities.

In the end, there are no guarantees that any CBD oil diffuser will do anything other than make your home smell a bit nicer. But depending on your personal preferences, some are better than others, and it’s worth doing a bit of research (and thinking) before you buy one.

Aromatherapy and CBD are two of the most popular trends in the country. Do they actually mix?

Why You Can’t Diffuse Cannabis Oil in Your Home

Diffusing oils is known around the western world as one of life’s little luxuries. In the same way that some eastern cultures enjoy the burning of incense to cover up nasty odors (or just to make their homes smell more pleasant), western cultures enjoy diffusing oils.

The simple idea of diffusion is that homeowners can permeate their home with an intense smell, imbuing it with whatever scent they desire. Sometimes this is the smell of freshly-picked fruit, other times the burly manliness of an oak cask. Sometimes it’s just plain, classic vanilla.

Whatever you choose, diffusing oils allows you to take one more step towards making your house a home. Choosing your favorite scent to add your own individual touch every time you walk through the door reminds you that this, well… this is your space.

However, wouldn’t it be nice if you could diffuse cannabis oil ? Sadly it’s not really “therapeutically” possible to do so… but why is that the case?

In this article, we explain why diffusing cannabis oil in your home doesn’t really work, and also explain a few alternatives to get you as close as possible to the real thing if you’re absolutely chomping at the bit to give your home a nice, “weedy” aroma.

How Diffusion Works

Diffusion is the simple concept of diffusing molecules – usually scent and taste molecules – through a number of processes so as to make them leave their original source. This is commonly done to spread aromatic molecules throughout the air – you’ve probably seen them in the form of air fresheners, salt lamps, etc. Diffusers are generally categorized into two types: Ultrasonic and Nebulizers.

Ultrasonic Diffusers

These are the more common type of diffuser, which rely on a ready supply of water within the device that is then hit with an ultrasonic wave. This causes the water to release a mist of droplets, which carry with them the trapped particles of scent from the provided oils.

They are usually quite cheap, but also very disposable. They’re generally only usable up until their water runs out. You can buy refillable types, but most of the time, you’ll be forced to buy a new one.

Ultrasonic diffusers also carry a major problem in that the aromatic scent molecules have been diluted with water. This is obviously necessary due to the process of spreading the aromatics through water, but it does tend to dilute the scent of certain substances.

For example, fruit oils can be rather subtle and intended to smell gentle, but if you diffuse them using an ultrasonic diffuser, you’re not really going to smell anything at all.

If you want a higher end option that can actually spread a more subtle scent, then you might want to try the next option.

Nebulizers

Nebulizers are a strange glass contraption that look like an artist’s rendition of a venus fly trap, but they actually work pretty well. They work through the process of nebulization, which uses oxygen or compressed air to cause solutions and suspensions to break up into small aerosol droplets. These droplets can then be directly inhaled, either through a convenient mouthpiece or just by being in proximity of the device.

This is what is chosen for applications of medicine through diffusion, as it ensures as much medicine as possible is administered to the patient.

Unfortunately, these can be extremely expensive, but they are generally worth it.

Considering you can use both for medical applications, it might make sense to utilize cannabis – or even just CBD oil – so as to maximize their medicinal benefits.

However, the only method of diffusion available for cannabis is nebulization, but this is only for medical application, and not to make your home “smell nice.” If you were thinking about installing a CBD diffuser for a constant relaxed environment in your home, there is unfortunately no option for an ultrasonic diffuser to do so.

What Diffusing Cannabis Oil Does

When you diffuse a substance using the standard method for non-medicinal substances, what you are doing is lifting up the molecules within the substance that carry the scent and diffusing them into the air.

This works well when you’re trying to carry over a particular scent, but not especially well when you’re trying to lift up other, heavier substances as well.

The key problem with using a normal ultrasonic diffuser to try and diffuse the medicinal effects of cannabis into the air is that both THC and CBD are cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are a substantially heavier molecule than the scent molecules you’d typically try to disperse through the air.

Due to the fact that THC and CBD are both heavier than the regular molecules used in diffusers, they will remain behind when the diffusion process is complete.

Though this might be helpful if you were looking to further concentrate your CBD oil, it sadly will do nothing to disperse the important molecules throughout your living room.

So what can you do? Is there a way to diffuse THC and CBD in your house, or can you only get access to the familiar funky smell of marijuana with none of the benefits?

Ways to Get THC & CBD into the Air

Sadly, if you want to get the important components of marijuana into the air, there’s no real way to do so using the standard methods of ultrasonic diffusion. Instead, you have to rely on using a nebulizer.

Nebulizers are commonly used to help treat lung conditions such as bronchitis or other forms of damage lung tissue ailments. By nebulizing the medicine into a fine mist, the patient is able to inhale the medicine directly into their lungs, administering it directly where they need it.

This can also be a useful way to consume marijuana if you don’t enjoy the acrid sensation of inhaling combusted smoke. Instead of smoking a joint or a pipe, it is indeed possible to inhale marijuana using a nebulizer.

However, thanks to the exorbitant cost of nebulizers compared to the simple price of a pipe , there’s not really a reason to do so. If you’re just interested in the smell of cannabis though, and not necessarily the medicinal effects…

Diffusing Marijuana for the Smell

If you just want the smell of marijuana to imbue your home, and it’s musky, pungent stench to permeate your furniture forever, then it is possible to use a simple diffuser.

To do so, you only need to buy any brand of cannabis oil and insert it into your diffuser. You can also buy CBD oil if you prefer to avoid any trace elements of THC invading your home, but most CBD oils out there are pretty odorless and do not, in fact, have the signature aroma of cannabis.

One important thing to remember is to not, under any circumstances, use a tincture. Though CBD oil and CBD tincture might sound similar, a tincture is actually made from an extract suspended in an alcohol solution, which could cause some serious problems if you try to diffuse it into the air.

If you’ve ever spilled a drop of liquor into your eyes, you’ll understand. If you are intent on getting some marijuana oil diffused in your home, despite the lack of THC or CBD in the diffused particles, just remember that the scent of marijuana is very identifiable and easily clings to furniture. So if you ever hope to have your parents or your pastor visiting, remember to turn it off well in advance.

Final Thoughts on Diffusing Cannabis Oil

Though many people around the world enjoy diffusing smells throughout their homes, it sadly isn’t especially easy to diffuse cannabis for any significant purpose (i.e. it won’t really work if you’re trying to get high or receive therapeutic benefits).

In other words, if you want the smell of weed throughout your house but don’t feel like smoking a traditional joint or pipe and dealing with the malignant effects of combustion , feel free to use some cannabis oil in a diffuser. You won’t get high or receive any real effects (other than maybe some soothing aromatherapy), but you will create a nascent smell of marijuana that can dissipate inside your home.

And of course, as an alternative you can consider simply using CBD or THC oils or tinctures directly into your mouth or food. Though their taste is distinctive and can occasionally require a quick drink of water afterward, they are a great way to get the medicinal effects of cannabis without having to deal with the smoky aftertaste of a toke from a joint.

Whatever your preferred methods or reasons, proper diffusion of cannabis sadly isn’t possible due to the molecular structure of the substances within the plant. However, if all you’re after is the smell of the familiar green plant, then common garden variety diffusers are perfectly suited to disperse the smell of musky cannabis throughout your home. It may not be that popular, but it is possible.

Can you diffuse cannabis oil around in your home? In this article, we explain why it's not really possible. Unless you've got superhuman powers.