May 18 , 2020
Pot peeps can be particular, sure, and some marijuana users prefer vaping to dabbing, mainly due to the relative ease of vaping cannabis oil without the need for a lot more bulky equipment like with dabbing solid concentrates – though the increasing popularity and use of nectar collectors and wax pens makes dabbing almost as convenient as vaping anymore.
There’s probably not much chance that portable dabbing will ever completely eclipse pen vaping; toking with THC vape juice has a better taste, some think, than waxes and other concentrates, due to the use of butane in the extraction of some concentrates; plus, it’s hard to beat the simplicity of screwing a cartridge onto a pen vape and dropping it into your purse, pack or pocket! And making your own THC vape juice is not too complicated – so, you can pick the precise weed strain leaf you want, with the specific effects that you want, and make yourself some concentrated THC vape juice from it. Vaping THC is fast, convenient, highly portable and more discreet than blazing off a pipe or a dab rig. What’s not to love?
To clear up any confusion – and we can be real here and admit that as stoners we do tend to get a little confused, sometimes – we want to explain the difference between THC vape juice, liquid THC and THC drops. Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably by the unknowing and can lead to further confusion. First of all, what is THC vape juice and what is in THC vape juice? THC vape juice – also known as THC e-juice – is a blend of water, sometimes alcohol, and propylene glycol (PG) or vegetable glycerin (VG). THC vape juice is usually just for vaping – that’s why it’s called vape juice. Now, liquid THC is merely concentrated THC extracted from cannabis and can be vaped or taken sublingually – in your mouth, under the tongue, look out brain, here it comes! And THC drops are just for oral consumption. That’s generally how it works, some people play fast and loose with the terminology, so make sure you read labels and do a little research to be sure.
(THC liquids, image from VPR Mag on Instagram)
Consuming THC by Mouth
Pot people do wonder about drinking THC vape juice, and are sometimes tempted to try it, but there are some important considerations to keep in mind when ingesting any concentrated cannabis oil, especially from a vaporizer cartridge. Check to see if the THC in the hash oil is activated, or converted from THCA in the raw flower, or nugs, into THC. Concentrated cannabis oil made with decarboxylated weed has activated THC, elsewise, if it hasn’t been previously decarbed then you’ll have to heat it for between 10 to 15 minutes at around 220 degrees Fahrenheit/104 Celsius. Hopefully, there’s some indication on the cart about how many milligrams of THC are in it, so you can dose yourself – if you aren’t sure, take it slow, try just a drop sublingually and see how that goes for an hour or so.
You don’t want to necessarily drink PG vape juice or VG vape juice, because they don’t taste very good and, though the US FDA says small amounts of either are safe for consumption, you’re better off with fewer additives when you ingest anything. And never ever drink any THC oil or vape oil that may have been prepared with butane as a solvent, which is not uncommon with commercial cartridge production.
You’re much better off drinking THC drops, or THC tinctures, which are specifically made for immediate consumption orally, and pre-decarboxylated into THC. Sublingual THC drops are placed under your tongue for rapid absorption – the effects are generally felt pretty immediately – like within a few minutes. Or, you can add THC drops to your food and beverages, but the absorption rate is between 15 and 45 minutes later, depending on your personal metabolism, because your body absorbs things faster under your tongue than through your digestive system. Medible or sublingual effects generally peak at about 90 minutes, but can last hours – smoking or vaping highs come on faster, but medible THC highs last much longer.
In the United States, THC drops can only be purchased from licensed dispensaries – and cannot, as of this writing, be shipped across state lines. In Canada and other countries you can ship cannabis products within that country. One particularly popular form of concentrated cannabis oil is RSO or Rick Simpson Oil, a tar-like hash oil named after a man who claimed to have used it topically to cure his own skin cancer. RSO is usually taken sublingually just like you would do with your own THC drops.
(Knox Cannabis THC drops, image from Knox Medical.com)
Typical prices for THC drops, or THC tinctures, vary based on numerous local conditions like availability, popularity of particular strains used in creating the drops, and quality, but to give you some idea:
- You can buy a 30ml bottle of 30 THC to 1 CBD ratio, 600mg sublingual THC drops for $90.00 from Knox Cannabis Dispensaries in Florida – but you have to have a Florida medical marijuana license.
- You can buy a bottle of 0.20 oz 100mg sublingual THC drops at Lux Pot Shop in Seattle, Washington for $31.50 apiece – although Washington was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana use, you have to go there to purchase the drops, they cannot ship it to you out-of-state – nor could you carry them across state lines.
- You can buy 29ml of 150mg sublingual THC drops from Coast to Coast Medicinals in Canada for $39.99, but you won’t be able to return to some countries, like the United States, with your purchase.
Sometimes THC drops are encapsulated in liquid THC pills and sold that way, but the same legal restrictions apply in terms of your ability to purchase and transport cannabis.
(THC pills, image from Cannabis Premium Market on Instagram)
How to Make Your Own THC Drops
There are a couple of different ways to make your own tincture THC drops:
- Decarboxylate ground marijuana leaf in the oven at 250 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes to 60 minutes
- Mix the ground-up, decarbed flower in a glass jar with consumable high-proof alcohol such as Everclear
- Seal the jar and let it sit for several weeks, shaking it once a day
- After a few weeks to a month, filter the weed-alcohol mixture with a coffee filter and try a small dropperful – about 1ml – under your tongue to assess potency.
Alternately, you can follow steps 1 and 2 above, but then:
Could you toke RSO in a vape pen or some of your own THC drops? At this point, you wouldn’t want to try vaping these THC drops because of the potential of residual alcohol; also, RSO is very thick and might clog the coils of your vape pen, plus sometimes it is enhanced with coconut oil – because the medium-chain triglycerides in the coconut bond with cannabis molecules, boosting the effect – but you wouldn’t want to smoke coconut oil. It’s always a good idea to know what is safe to consume internally and what is safe to smoke – read the labels or check with the dispensary or provisioning center where you bought the RSO or THC drops to be sure you know what is reasonably safe to do.
And here is a quick animated THC drops, aka cannabis tincture, video recipe:
(THC drops, image from Kush Dollaz, on Instagram)
Weed concentrates are popular because they are hella strong if you’re taking them for a recreational high, or hella effective if you’re taking cannabis for medical reasons! THC vape juice and liquid THC can contain concentrations of up to 90% THC (versus 15-35% for pot leaf) – that is pretty potent and a stout amount of psychoactive cannabinoid! One of the differences between THC tincture drops and THC vape oil or liquid THC for vaping is the presence of propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin as a suspension – or sometimes both, PG + VG, in your vaping juice, which is sometimes also known as PG vape juice or VG vape juice, depending on which of the two is predominant.
One concern is the solvents used in extracting the THC from the cannabis plant material – sometimes involving butane or alcohol. Can you vape alcohol – rather, can you vape THC with some residual alcohol? Alcohol is a poison – granted you can drink it, but in large quantities it can do some lasting damage to your liver, stomach and other organs. Vaping alcohol is dangerous to your brain and lungs – don’t do it! And vaping residual butane is far, far worse! Butane is even more damaging to your brain and lungs than alcohol – whenever possible, try to vape concentrates and e-liquids made without butane as a solvent – C02 extraction is much safer.
420 vape juice, cannabis vape juice, THC vape juice, liquid THC for vaping – all pretty much the same thing - is generally sold in prefilled cartridges at licensed dispensaries, but you can get the THC-infused e-liquid in separate jars and use your own refillable cartridges – or you can make your own THC vape juice and fill cartridges with your home brew for use with your portable pen vape or vape pen mod.
Like anything else cannabis, the cost of pre-filled cartridges varies from location to location – here in Lansing, Michigan where we live, a half-gram cart of THC vape oil or THC e-juice costs, on average, $45, but a full gram can be about $80-90; yet in Los Angeles, liquid THC carts are $20-$30 a half gram, $45-$60 for a gram; and Denver, Colorado sells their half-gram THC vape juice cartridges for about $32, with a full gram cart of THC e-liquid going for $60-$70. Prices can vary from dispensary to dispensary, even within the same city, depending on supply sources and quality.
Is THC vape juice legal? Are THC pills legal? Or are THC cartridges legal? It depends on the laws in your local jurisdiction, usually state laws. So, interstate and out-of-country shipping is usually prohibited. Even CBD is somewhat restricted, unless it’s hemp-based CBD oil – then you can buy it online and ship it without legal prohibitions. There’s all kinds of hemp-based CBD oil being sold online at CBD or hemp product web sites – one example would be Diamond CBD’s Liquid Gold CBD vape carts, tinctures, gummies, and so forth; there is no Liquid Gold THC available online. You cannot buy Moon Lion THC Tincture unless you are in San Francisco where they are based; you can see the product on their web site, but you cannot have it shipped to you outside of California.
There are sites like Cannacrude.com that claim that they will ship cannabis products anywhere – including THC drops, but they are a cash-only business and sending cash through the mail is very sketchy. Apparently, there was a similar site called marijuana2go.com that got shut down and people who sent them money just before they closed never got their orders or a refund. Sites like this are why they say ‘buyer beware!’
(Vaping THC, image from Kronik Extracts on Instagram)
How to make your own vape juice
Enterprising cannasseurs sometimes get a hankering to try their hand at diy THC vape oil, or homemade liquid THC, so for those of you who want to rock your own THC e-juice, we salute you – and here is one recipe:
The process is pretty similar to how you make your own THC drops, or THC tincture, outlined above.
First, whether you are making hash butter, making THC drops or making your own THC vape juice, you gotta decarboxylate your marijuana, converting THCA to THC. Even though activation usually happens when pot is burned during smoking, the problem is e-liquid vaporization temperatures may not get hot enough – so pre-activation is the way to go.
What you need for your THC vape juice recipe:
- 7 grams, or ¼ oz, of ground cannabis (here is a blog on weighing cannabis)
- 2-4 ounces of 100 to 180 proof or higher of drinkable (NOT rubbing) alcohol such as vodka or Everclear
- 2-4 ounces of 100% USP food-grade vegetable glycerin (if you use propylene glycol instead, make absolutely sure that it is food-grade)
- 2 clean, resealable canning jars and lids
- 1 cheesecloth for straining
What to do:
- Place all, or ¼ oz, of your ground weed in a jar. Pour in Everclear or whatever alcohol you went with, until it completely covers your ground ganja weed, plus an extra ¼-inch over. Seal the jar tightly with the lid and shake vigorously. You may need to add a little more of the alcohol/Everclear if the cannabis absorbs the booze to the point that it isn’t completely immersed.
- Store the sealed weed and alcohol mixture in a cool, dark place for between 10-14 days, giving it another mixing shakeup once a day for the duration.
- When that happy day comes that your 10-14 days is up, strain the weed and alcohol mixture through your cheesecloth, and pour it from one resealable canning jar into the second. At that point, stir in your food-grade vegetable glycerin (or food-grade propylene glycol). Put the jar lid back on and shake about vigorously for two minutes or more.
- To remove more alcohol, strain the mixture further by adding more vegetable glycerin (or propylene glycol) to thin the batch, mindful that alcohol does eventually evaporate.
- Lastly, add a small amount of your cannabis vape juice to an empty refillable cartridge or dab some with a Nectar Collector to test the potency. If it seems good, then congratulations – you now know how to make your own vape juice! You are breaking rad!
Here is a vid of a gal making her own THC vape juice recipe with some cannabis leaf and a VG/PG mix:
(Flavored e-liquids, image from Liquid Store on Instagram)
Mixing other e-liquids with THC
There are a number of VG/PG ratio, zero-nicotine e-liquids out there with which you could add THC drops to make your own THC vape juice. Simply mix together the THC drops with the VG/PG e-liquid in a 2:3 ratio, using a dropper to fill a refillable cartridge with each: two drops of THC to three drops of e-liquid. Close the cart, attach it to a vape and give it a whirl.
If you want to make sure that you are using organic vape juice then use only e-liquids that are 100% VG, vegetable glycerin, which is organic, not PG, because propylene glycol vape juice is not organic. Also, if you want your vape juice 100% organic then also make your THC drops solely with VG or use commercially obtained THC tincture that is certified to be have been made with only VG. It is always a good idea to read labels so that you know for certain what is in vape juice when you are using it!
They even have marijuana-flavored vape juice without any THC, so that if for some reason you wanted to vape a tobacco product but have it taste and smell like weed you could. We don’t claim to understand that. And, sure, you could add your THC drops to the weed-flavored e-juice to have it taste even more like marijuana – but why? To each his own, we guess.
For those really into mixing standard vape juices and e-liquids with their THC drops, there are even subscriptions you can get for a vape juice box monthly sampler from companies like Vapebox where they will send you different amounts based on your plan’s subscription like 90ml per month for $20, 180ml for $32, 210ml for $60 and on up. It’s like a jelly-of-the-month subscription, but with vape juice instead of jelly – either way, getting toasted could be involved.
Jar Juice Vapes is one particular brand of flavored vape juices that you can order with whatever amount of nicotine you desire, from zero to over 24mg; you can also choose the ratio of VG/PG you want from 50/50 – 50% of each, to 60/40 – 60%VG/40%PG, 70/30 and so on all the way up to a max VG of 91%. And they come in a bunch of different flavors like the weirdly whimsical ‘butt cheese’ (white chocolate and butterscotch cheesecake flavor blend) or strangely named ‘certified 420 shit flavored e-juice’ (which they describe as peanut butter and butterscotch mixed creams, noting that the flavored e-juice product does not contain marijuana nor CBD oil and that it does not taste like it either… so why they call it ‘420’ is mysterious) – other notable flavors are peanut butter cups, strawberry mango and Seth breath (sweet and tart gummy bear flavors). Each flavor gives you the option of increasing the taste by adding an extra flavor shot or two. Add your own THC drops and these are obviously a party waiting to happen.
(THC vape juice cartridge, image from T Morly 1 on Instagram)
So, if at this point you are wondering ‘can THC liquid get you high?’ then you might want to go back up to the top and reread this. Maybe rethink your relationship to cannabis – but, seriously, yes, of course THC liquid or THC vape juice can get you high! That’s kinda the whole point! Some folks prefer to take THC drops sublingually, in their mouth, and avoid smoking or vaping – ingesting THC edibles or drops results in a somewhat slower but definitely longer-lasting high than vaping. On the other hand, vaping with THC vape juice or liquid THC gives you a faster, more intense high, if that’s what you’re looking for – and, certainly, especially if your marijuana use is medically motivated, you want relief as soon as possible. Both ingesting and vaping have their benefits and both can be done with concentrated THC – whether as drops, liquid or vape juice.
As to whether THC vape juice is legal or not depends on where you live – right now, there are some states and countries where it is legal to buy and use THC vape juice, liquid THC and THC drops, and there are states and countries where it is illegal. Even the legality of CBD could be an issue, unless it is CBD made from hemp, or hemp oil itself with much lower levels of CBD and other cannabinoids than marijuana. In some instances you can order THC online, but unless shipping is confined to the state you reside in, ordering THC e-juice or THC e-liquid is highly questionable.
Where it is legal to buy and use THC vape liquid and other cannabis products, you can also make your own THC sublingual drops or THC vape juice recipe – starting by decarbing some regular leaf cannabis. There needs to be a solution, usually of high-proof alcohol or Everclear, to soak the leaf in so as to remove its cannabinoid-rich trichomes; then the alcohol is burned off in low heat or allowed to evaporate over several weeks. Then you strain the remains and store them to use as THC drops or to mix with a smokable suspension such as VG or PG to make THC vape juice.
Some vape juices contain vegetable glycerin and those are considered organic vape juices, VG vape juice tends to produce thicker clouds of vapor, but less flavor. Other vape juices contain PG (propylene glycol) and these vape juices are more flavorful but don’t produce big vapor clouds. Most vape juices contain blends of both VG and PG and some kind of flavoring; THC drops are sometimes blended with standard e-liquids to make THC vape liquid. There are even marijuana-flavored vape juices that contain no THC or CBD that you could purchase to make THC vape oil with that would then, theoretically, really, really taste like weed when you vaped it. Elsewise, you could pick another flavor of e-liquid like vanilla or cinnamon spice or blueberry to make your e-liquid – there are a gazillion flavor options for vape juices, like, almost every flavor imaginable. Non-THC vape juices can be purchased legally online or even in specialty vaping stores.
Hopefully, by now you’ve learned a thing or two about THC drops, THC vape juice and pure liquid THC. Armed with THC vaping knowledge you can now go forth with e-vaping enlightenment about what is in vape juice, how to make your own vape juice, and make informed decisions about THC-infused e-liquids. If vaping isn’t your thing, then sublingual THC drops will get you high; ingestion takes a little longer to hit than vaping but the effects last far longer. Now that you know all about this stuff – and that is precisely what an ultimate guide is for – then you may proceed in confidence and take in your THC, as THC drops or THC e-juice, or liquid THC, whichever way that gets you high or cures what ails you. Bookmark this page for a refresher if needs be, reread it while vaping your THC juice from your favorite vape pen cartridge or vape mod tank, or maybe while you’re waiting for your THC drops to kick in – either way, safely seated in case the effects come on hella strong, as can happen with concentrated doses of THC. Vaping is not for the meek, but it is for the wise – or at least the THC vape juice-savvy, and now that includes you!
Here is a final vid on how to make pure THC liquid, no VG or PG, from weed or kief:
Researched and written by David and Leah Kaye Weathers.
|David and Leah Kaye Weathers are a freelance cannabis writing and graphic designing husband and wife team from Lansing, Michigan. They are passionate advocates for medical and recreational cannabis legalization in the United States. They enjoy not only smoking and vaping, or dabbing, marijuana but also cooking with weed infused veggie oil. They like to spend their free time wandering along nature trails in search of the perfectly chillaxing spot for a smoke sesh.|