Vaping is now a mature industry, having weathered a decade of regulations, pressure from big tobacco, and huge growth spurts. While city and state governments worked diligently to ban vaping nearly everywhere smoking is, vaping pioneers were busy marketing home-brewed e-liquids and imported e-cigarettes.
It’s too late to jump on the vaping bandwagon and make money now, but you can certainly make your own vaping oils. Check out some suggestions of liquids to try and not try.
Used in most nicotine retail eliquids, vegetable glycerin provides a subtle, yet thick “smoke” vapor. Used commercially in pharmaceuticals, foods, and more, vegetable glycerin is as harmless as water, which is to say you’re not invincible if you push your boundaries.
Vegetable glycerin is commonly derived from vegetable oil. You know how in Fight Club, they make soap from human fat and lye? Replace the human fat with vegetable fat, and that’s how vegetable glycerin is made. If animal fat is used, it’s just called glycerin (or glycerol). Vegetable oil is essentially glycerin + salt. When the alkaline (typically lye) is added to the solution, it separates the salts from the fats. The salts become soap, and the fats become glycerin.
You can vape vegetable oil, but it’s not as pure as vegetable glycerin. You also risk lipid pneumonia because of the lipids present in vegetable oils. Keep in mind, canola oil, soybean oil, and any cooking oil is a vegetable oil, with the exception of lard animal fats. So while these oils will work in a vape pen, it’s not recommended to do so.
Here’s a video showing how to turn vegetable oil into glycerin (just like in Fight Club, but with vegetable oil).
Popping up all over the Northwest recreational and medical cannabis dispensaries are new organic ejuices made from coconut oil instead of vegetable glycerin. Some sites (and conventional wisdom) will tell you impurities in the oil will clog your vaporizer, but there’s no more risk with coconut oil than vegetable glycerin. Coconut oil is an essential oil, which will be discussed further below
Although alcohol can be vaped, it’s not a good idea to do it through an ecig, which will heat the alcohol to combustible temperatures. Vaporizing alcohol is done with pressure, and the facts of vaping has more information on how to accomplish this.
Corn syrup can actually be used to make ejuice (as can honey, agave, and other viscous sweeteners), but it’s not a great idea. Though similar to vegetable glycerin in many ways, corn syrup’s sugar content is as prone to ignite while vaping as alcohol. It is not recommended to vape corn syrup.
Most of the Pacific Northwest has already brought in experts and scientists from the oil industry to work on the viscosity of cannabis concentrates. Using the right methodology, the concentrates can be made viscous enough to vape in any standard vape pen without diluting in any glycerin or oil. This is ideal.
You can also use essentially a crack pipe to vape pure cannabis concentrates in any form, regardless of viscosity.
Extractors are now running their machines to extract all essential Ayurvedic oils, such as lavender, peppermint, and more in order to infuse them with cannabis for vaping. This industry is booming and will soon be prolific across the United States as a replacement to flavored vegetable glycerins.
Many ejuice companies utilize essential oils for natural flavorings. Keep in mind, most natural flavors are plant extracts (and the nicotine used on eciagarettes is an essential oil from the tobacco plant, just like cannabis concentrates are essential oils). Artificial flavorings are typically derived from insects.
Learn more about vaping essential oils in Ayurvedic Vaping…
Brian Penny is a former business analyst and operations manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. He’s appeared in Huffington Post, BBC, podcasts, AM/FM radio, Fast Company, Cannabis Now, Hardcore Droid, and Lifehack.