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Glycerin USP vs. "food grade"?

Discussion in 'DIY E-Liquid' started by bizzyb0t, Apr 3, 2009.

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  1. bizzyb0t

    bizzyb0t Super Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 13, 2009
    Denver CO, USA
    Here's an interesting site: Why Glycerine USP?

    I've been thinking of cutting my Menthol 24mg nic juice. I think that for my vaping habits, 24mg is a bit too high (probably by 1/2) and I'd like to thin it to 12mg.

    Reading through the forums I see that you can use glycerin or propylene glycol for cutting e-liquid. I went to my local Walgreens and had a talk with the Pharmacist (not the assistant) there about these two ingredients. When I explained that I was using it with my e-cig (I showed it to him and called it a "personal vaporizer") he immediately told me that inhaling those ingredients was probably a bad idea, but admitted it was definitely better than inhaling burning tobacco smoke.

    So anyway, I am able to get ether a 4oz ($2.99) bottle of glycerin or a pint of propylene glycol ($4.99). Okay, so both are pretty cheap.

    I asked him if they carried the glycerin and they do. I asked him about the USP marking on the bottle versus the ones that are marketed as "food grade" and he assured me that they are both exactly the same as far as safety goes. I asked that question in several different ways, and what it amounts to is that the USP grade is the USP grade and that the bottles marked with "food safe" and "external use only" are identical from a chemical standpoint. He said there was no difference as long as it had USP on the bottle. He stressed that if I was going to be using glycerin for internal purposes that it must say U.S.P. on the bottle. The site I linked to above seems to reinforce that.

    Well, this brings me to my next point.

    Can I used glycerin to cut my e-liquid without ruining my atomizers? I know that the glycerin I've used to make stage blood for a Halloween production years ago was extremely thick and somewhat viscid-- sorta like corn syrup. As a side note, I feel more comfortable using VG as opposed to PG, call me crazy.

    I'd also like to know what the consistency of pure PG is like.

    So, I can get the VG or the PG easily, no problem. I also have some 0-nic Spearmint from TrueVapor that I could probably cut with the (Menthol) 24mg nic but I don't want the spearmint flavor to be overpowering.

    Any thoughts or suggestions from the great minds on this board? Also, I'm trying to do this as cheap as possible :D

  2. Flitzanu

    Flitzanu Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 9, 2009
    Tulsa, OK, U.S.A.
    i use glycerin a lot, and there are some links to formulas for mixing in the other sections. yes, it's thick, but if you add a few drops of water to thin it out, you won't have issues.

    it's also said that 100% VG is the same as 100% glycerin, under the argument that if it's 100% glycerin, it doesn't matter if it's "vegetable" or not. but that's not my statement :)

    the VG i have seems less thick as my Glycerin, so i dunno.

    PG is not as thick as G.

    if you want cheap, go to a farm supply. you can get a gallon of G or PG for $20-$40. :)
  3. DJGoogone

    DJGoogone Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 13, 2009
    Cocoa, FL
    I've been using VG for a few weeks now, basically just cutting my 36mg stuff down to stretch it out.. (either 25 to 50%) This usually will leave the juice rather thick. Since I started doing this, I haven't cooked ant atomizers, however I find myself having to drain em two-three times a week overnight, and washing out the felt in the carts every few days.

    I do get massive amounts of vapor. and a ok throat hit.

    I guess my question is, am I missing out on anything without using the PG also? Am I gonna have issues down the road with such a thick liquid?

  4. ShimmyPrincess

    ShimmyPrincess Super Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 27, 2009
    The Windy City
    Just a quick are concerned about using PG, but it's already in the e-liquid you're using....and it's also in a lot of lorann oils we use to add flavor when cutting/mixing

    I use VG personally and at times will add PG to thin it - depends on my mood. I prefer not to use water

    my 0.02 :)
  5. Flitzanu

    Flitzanu Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 9, 2009
    Tulsa, OK, U.S.A.
    i'm too lazy to dig out the thread...maybe someone will kindly jump in and add it....

    but there was an old study done that showed PG has some sanitizing properties. i like to lie to myself that it keeps me from catching colds. so it may be a little helpful! ;)
  6. jbbishop

    jbbishop Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 16, 2009
    SLC, UT U.S.A.
    You know pharmacists really know a lot more than doctors about drugs and chemicals. A close friend of mine was studying pharmacology and in the first couple of years I used to write some of his homework papers for him. I've been out of touch with him since he moved to Denver. Maybe he's the pharmacist you spoke to?

    Still, we do have an issue that has come up repeatedly of people who have used glycerine including USP grade which may have been either labeled for external use or otherwise who have experienced severe nausea. Other glycerine formulations have worked fine for them. I'm no expert but I am advising if the label says for external use it is not suitable here. I've posted my source for that opinion elsewhere on the forums.

    I'll let someone else address the question from the standpoint of whether synthetic or vegetable glycerine may be responsible, I'm not sure. In fact, I'm not sure that with the information available to us that any of us really know for sure WHAT is going on here or why this is happening. Nevertheless, there are numerous reports of people who have had severe nausea from using glycerine including glycerine marked USP, and it seems clear to me that this is due to some nature of the formulation they are using. It seems however, that glycerine purchased from a brew shop, craft store or health food store has worked for most people in these cases, and IT MAY VERY WELL BE because these are food grade. I think we need an explanation.
  7. Flitzanu

    Flitzanu Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 9, 2009
    Tulsa, OK, U.S.A.
    wait, what?

    can you point to the links on teh nausea? not disbelief, i just don't think i've seen that.

    some people have allergies, some get headaches from the nicotine, but i don't know that i've seen people getting severe nausea.

    or i overlooked it.
  8. jbbishop

    jbbishop Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 16, 2009
    SLC, UT U.S.A.
  9. ChainSmkr

    ChainSmkr Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Jan 22, 2009
    I started out using Rite Aid glycerin but quickly switched to NOW 100% Vegetable Glycerin after it was recommended in a post by another forum member. I've also read that Starwest Botanicals 100% VG is very good but haven't tried that yet. I love the NOW VG compared to the Rite Aid glycerin and have not had any problems with dead atomizers. In fact, the only dead atomizer I've ever had since I started vaping was caused when I rinsed it with hot water...definitely a fluke lol.

    You'll find a lot of posts about the pros/cons of PG vs VG. I based my choice of VG on a recommendation from a lab study done on Totally Wicked E-Liquid and the list of PG health issues cited on Wiki under propylene glycol. Some people are allergic to PG.

    It's also true that some e-liquids and flavorings contain amounts of PG.

    I think you'll find the cost diff between PG and VG negligible.
  10. badmonkey

    badmonkey Senior Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 25, 2009
    I prefer to cut the thick glycerin with alcohol instead of water.
    I use 30% bourbon or vodka to 70% glycerine, then flavor it and add it to nicotine juice from there. Be sure to get the "drinking grade" of bourbon or vodka, so you have something to sip while you're mixing your potions.

    I have to drain my atomizer frequently but the need to super-clean it isn't increased from using this mixture in my experience.
  11. bizzyb0t

    bizzyb0t Super Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 13, 2009
    Denver CO, USA
    Thanks for all the advice folks. :)

    I'm looking into where I can find the "food grade" VG. There is a Micheal's nearby and also several craft stores.

    I'll report back once I find some of this stuff and try it out. I'll probably do a comparison between "USP - but external use only" compared to "Glycerin USP food grade" and see if I get any of the nausea, just for the hell of it.

    I'll also probably pick up some PG and try it out, since it's pretty cheap as well.
  12. ChainSmkr

    ChainSmkr Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Jan 22, 2009
    The NOW 100% VG I mentioned earlier can be found at Henry's Market if there's one in your area. The store I went to carried the 4oz but not the 16 oz.
  13. bizzyb0t

    bizzyb0t Super Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 13, 2009
    Denver CO, USA
    Nearest one to me is a 2 hour round trip and tons of gas :p
  14. picello

    picello Full Member

    Mar 25, 2009
    Got some VG from Juicy Liquid today.
  15. ChainSmkr

    ChainSmkr Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Jan 22, 2009
    Yeah, I recently ordered some unflavored 36mg e-juice from JuicyLiquid. Great product and service!

    Bizzy: A 2-hour round trip plus gas, yuck! Maybe you can find a local health food store?
  16. Monica

    Monica New Member

    Mar 28, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    my husband and I just bought some Glycerine at Michael's today. it's made by Wilton, and was in the cake decorating section as it's marketed for using to thin out dried-up icing! it just says Glycerine on the bottle though, the word vegetable isn't on it anywhere so we weren't sure if that was important or not. and it's very obviously "food grade" - although it doesn't have those words on it - because it is made for cake icing (that you eat, duh! :p) and also because it has nutrition information on the bottle as well.

    so, he and I have been trying to read more posts here to figure out if it's what should be used... and we *think* we made a good selection. it seemed a bit scary to use the Humco stuff we saw at Wal-Mart over in the first aid area, since even though it said USP on the bottle, it is marketed to rub on skin and there is no mention of ingesting it. so although some people here do use that kind and say it's fine, we personally didn't think it made much sense to inhale something if it didn't seem appropriate to eat. not sure if that's totally logical, but that's how we see it!

    btw... TMI but my hubs did just visit the bathroom... and says all is well and normal. :rolleyes:;)
  17. vapair

    vapair Full Member

    Nov 11, 2009
    Dear lord, please change your font color8-o
  18. sjohnson

    sjohnson Super Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 12, 2009
    USP on the bottle is a guarantee of purity. Any prescribed medication (pennicillin, vicodin, etc) MUST meet USP purity standards (in the U.S.A., anyway).

    "Food grade" means whatever the manufacturer wants it to mean. It could be anywhere from the purest, God-made liquid to leftovers from cleaning the cat box. And most probably, neither. There is no mandatory guarantee of purity.

    If brand X USP glycerine makes you ill and Joe's Health Foods food grade/kosher/"vegetable" glycerine does not, regardless of any fact by all means use the liquid that makes you comfortable.
  19. linlorra

    linlorra Full Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 5, 2009
    Gardena, CA
    I bought and am using "Now" vg after having seen someone recommend it in a post. HOWEVER, it does not say that it is USP grade, kosher ony "100% pure". I have been having some problems with nausea since starting to use it. Not sure if that's because it's not USP grade or just that my body doesn't like vg.
  20. proimage1

    proimage1 Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Dec 11, 2009
    I was looking at all of this really close a while back because I was trying to find some locally in my area - I came across USP Glycerin in CVS - It did say NOT for internal - external use only - BUT a pharmacist on board here replied to the thread and stated the it's ALL mfr'd by Humco labs - and it was all the same - I've been using it for over a month now and it works perfect with NO side effects at all - I did see the Wiltons at Michael's and other than the label - it looked IDENTICAL - you'd be surprised at how many name brand pharmaceutical mfr's make both the brand and the generic - both are exactly identical, but called different names ! I was in the wholesale pharmaceutical business for years and I've seen that first hand - the generic would cost $1.25 and the brand would cost $10.25 and they were both identical, but you'd have a hard time trying to convince someone of that who was hung up on name brands.

    Just my .02 worth !
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