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Truth Hunters: Propylene Glycol vs. Vegetable Glycerin

After publishing our fantastic results on infusing in the Nova, we were flooded with our curious customers’ questions. People wanted to know if they could extract THC and CBD from decarbed flower or trim using Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerin (VG). These two are often referred to PG and VG, respectively, and are found in many food, OTC and beauty products.

Like the decarb process, infusion rates in PG and VG have remained to the general public an unsolved mystery, mainly owing to there being little to no real testing to show how PG and VG perform.

As usual, we rose to the challenge and tested PG and VG samples extracted using the Nova. With our lab results in hand, we’re excited to share our findings with you and expand your cannabis knowledge – the rest of this post will present the results of our PG and VG testing.

THE BIG REVEAL: PG wins! Using PG resulted in over 90% infusion rate. VG didn’t even come close, and had a very poor infusion rate at less than 10%.

The simple decarb and infusion process:

  1. Place the decarbed cannabis and one ounce of PG into a tempered glass jar or our Concentrate and Infusion Sleeve.
  2. Put the jar back into the decarboxylator for a second cycle. The second cycle will pull the THC or CBD from the plant into the propylene glycol.
  3. When the process is complete, strain the plant material from the PG.
  4. The infused PG can then be used to make any PG-based cannabis product.

 

1. PG is a very efficient for infusing – VG is not

When it comes to propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG), there’s no competition. VG did not infuse well at all, but with PG, we were able to get over 90% of the THC from the decarbed flower into the PG, infusing just 1 gram of decarbed flower to 1 ounce of PG.

Compare that to VG, which pulled less than 6% of the THC from the decarbed flower, infusing 1 gram of the same strain of decarbed flower into 1 ounce of VG.

Out of a total 197.8mg of available THC in the 1 gram of  bud after a decarb cycle in the decarboxylator, the VG infusion only resulted in 11.34mg of THC in the one ounce of VG used. Compare that to 179.7 mg THC in the once ounce of PG.

You can increase or decrease the potency by using more or less PG/VG or cannabis. Check back soon for a video on maximum infusion potential and best practices for PG & VG.

Like with any infusion, it’s necessary to decarb BEFORE you infuse if you want an active end product. 

*Please note that this post is about infusing/extracting THC and CBD from decarbed flower, trim, and other material that would be then be strained from the PG and VG after infusion. If you are decarbing concentrates, you can easily mix those with VG and PG in a second cycle in the Nova and get great results, because there is no extraction necessary. Making products with concentrates is a heating/blending process rather than an infusion/extraction process.

See below for the numbers compared in chart form.

SampleAcid THCAACtive thcTotal potential active thcTotal infusionTesting Results
1 gram of Decarbed Dragon’s Bait flower2mg196mg197.8mgn/ahttp://bit.ly/DragonsDecarbed
1 gram of Decarbed Dragon’s Bait infused into 1 ounce PGNot detected179.74mg179.74mg90.8%http://bit.ly/DragonPG
1 gram of Decarbed Dragon’s Bait infused into 1 ounce VGNot detected11.34mg11.34mg5.7%http://bit.ly/DragonsVG

*Total Potential THC = THCA x .87 + THC, and represents tha maximum amount of THC in the plant, if it is able to be perfectly activated.  When THCA converts to THC, the acid molecule (carboxyl group) is released, reducing the total molecule weight by 13%. You can get the full potential THC with precision decarboxylation. In lab results, look for the “Max THC” field to find the amount of total potential THC. 

Perfect Decarb and Infusion in One

Activate and Infuse your THC with the Nova Lift Home Decarboxylator.

Questions? Comments?

We love to hear from you guys, please drop us some comments below – we’ll be answering them all!

Comments

  1. Please recommend a brand of propylene glycol. I made a tincture with vegetable glycerine last year that seemed to be a success, but next time it will be PG. Thanks.

  2. I have the Ardent device so your saying 1 gram of decarbed flower and 1 oz of Propylene send it thru the cycle and I will be able use the product in a Vape pen?

    1. We are a small startup and are always working towards goals like recipes and other exciting things – we have not yet done lab testing for creating vape oils. We have been forewarned that some oils used for cooking like certain coconut oils can be incredibly harmful if inhaled. Much more research is needed on this topic before we would be comfortable recommending using the device in this way!

      Hope this information helps! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

  3. I cant wait to try this with the PG, im in the uk so this is wondeful and available to buy to make the infusion, is it a bit like tincture, im so new to all this, its alot to learn ???? atleast my nova makes the decarbing and infusing risk free ☺

  4. I have an Ardent that I purchased from Amazon. It is a wonderful device for its purpose and is well designed.
    Mine has been used several times for both decarb and infusion cycles and I have no complaints.
    I do have a question. Can I safely evaporate the alcohol from a tincture in it?

    1. Hi There,

      Since alcohol alone is plenty strong enough of a solvent to basically instantly infuse, there’s no need for heat during the process.

      Since the Nova has two sensors that are creating this heating zone, rather than just a heater raising to a certain temp for a certain amount of time and then just stopping, running the unit without the lid on will disrupt the heating cycle and cause problems long term with the unit. Even worse, heating alcohol is extremely dangerous and should never be done. For those reasons, we strongly advise against it, and doing so, will void any warranty or exchange.

      The best method we have found so far is to decarb your product, and then do a cold infusion adding the decarbed product to alcohol and storing in a cool dark place.

      Many of our customers have great success infusing coconut oil to use as a tincture! You can also decarb your bud and do a cold-infusion into alcohol!

    1. Hey there!

      We are a small startup and are always working towards goals like recipes and other exciting things – we have not yet done lab testing for creating vape oils. We have been forewarned that some oils used for cooking like certain coconut oils can be incredibly harmful if inhaled. Much more research is needed on this topic before we would be comfortable recommending using the device in this way!

      Hope this information helps! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

  5. My question is if one completes this process, is it possible to put the finished product in vape catridges or are there additional steps to be able to do that?

    1. Hey there!

      We are a small startup and are always working towards goals like recipes and other exciting things – we have not yet done lab testing for creating vape oils. We have been forewarned that some oils used for cooking like certain coconut oils can be incredibly harmful if inhaled. Much more research is needed on this topic before we would be comfortable recommending using the device in this way!

      Hope this information helps! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

      1. Hey there!

        We are a small startup and are always working towards goals like recipes and other exciting things – we have not yet done lab testing for creating vape oils. We have been forewarned that some oils used for cooking like certain coconut oils can be incredibly harmful if inhaled. Much more research is needed on this topic before we would be comfortable recommending using the device in this way!

        Hope this information helps! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

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