Electronic cigarettes, or eCigs, are shrouded in controversy. The industry says it’s safer than smoking because carcinogens are removed by replacing the plant matter in tobacco with vegetable glycerin, which is then evaporated instead of burned and smoked.
VG is a common food-grade thinning agent used in a variety of foods, including those fast food scrambled eggs served at restaurants, hotels, and cafeterias. It’s also the base for cough syrups, both over-the-counter and prescribed (such as codeine syrup, the active ingredient in sizzurp).
Dosed or not, you can fill an eCig tank with just flavored vegetable glycerin, which will produce smoke, however you won’t get the burn effect in your lungs some smokers crave. This is caused by adding propylene glycol to the mixture. PG is the chemical solution found in theatrical smoke machines. It’s debatably food grade.
The more PG you add, the more of a burn you’ll get from the vapor, but a max of 20 percent is sufficient. It’s a good idea to skip the PG though, and many vaping connoisseurs do so. Although there are risks of drowning when too much vapor condenses in your lungs, the biggest concern is the PG effect on your body when inhaled over long periods of time.
Dissolving Pharmaceuticals in Glycerin
Since it’s the base for codeine cough syrup, it stands to reason any drug can be dissolved in vegetable glycerin and either swallowed or vaped (depending on whether or not it needs heat to activate it).
Drugs that can be dissolved in Glycerin include ecstasy, Molly, (both MDA and MDMA), meth and other amphetamines, heroin, codeine, Percocet, ritalin, xanax, acid, DMT, mushrooms, science, or even just muscle relaxers or over-the-counter medications.
In addition, THC and CBD concentrates can be thinned with vegetable glycerin, along with other terpines, to be vaped in an eCig. This is best done prior to letting it set to become shatter or honeycomb wax. Dosing is very important here and is the key to not dying.
Dissolving Herbs in Glycerin
Dissolving tobacco, marijuana nugget, and other herbs in vegetable glycerin is achieved through a process called steeping, which is how teas are infused. This is best done in a double boiler, which is accomplished by putting the herbs and oil in a jar in a boiling pot, rather than directly on the heat.
Steeping can be used to infuse glycerin with tobacco, cannabis, kief, magic mushrooms, kraton, peyote, ayahuasca, and more. With many herbs, you can steep in the sun if you live somewhere with ample lighting. Again, dosing is key.
Warning About Drugs
The above information is in no way meant to teach drug usage. Dosage measurement would need to be carefully regulated to avoid overdose as many drugs are toxic when not used as directed. Do not attempt to actually vaporize any drugs in glycerin unless you understand the risk.
In addition, be careful of pre-filled vape products, as they contain a lot of other additives. More than just the active ingredient in a vape can kill you. You can OD on water, oranges, and all sorts of things. Things around your house and in nature are not automatically safe.
Learn more about how to vape safer here.
Dr. Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst at Bank of America turned whistleblower, freelance consultant, and troll. He’s a frequent contributor to The Street, Huffington Post, Cannabis Now, and Fast Company.