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Tek On the Demonization of PEG

florduh

Well-Known Member
Across the Cannabis World, PEG based vape solutions are now considered to be poisonous cancer-juice. Doing some basic research all of this seems to stem from a single study popularized by ProjectCBD. Here is a link to the study everyone is quoting:

Carbonyl Compounds Produced by Vaporizing Cannabis Oil Thinning Agents

I have several problems with this study.

1) It was published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Not exactly the New England Journal of Medicine. I'm tempted to call this a third rate scientific journal, but that may be too generous. The watchdog group "Quackwatch" includes them in their list of bullshit "scientific" journals. They were criticized a few years back for a paper that concluded that just maybe homeopathy works (it doesn't). As Quackwatch states, this journal is "fundamentally flawed".

2) The main author of the study, William Troutt, isn't a scientist. He's a Naturopathic "Physician". He has published only one other paper that was basically a survey of medical marijuana users. "Naturopathy" isn't science. This is like an acupuncturist publishing a scientific paper. Who would take that seriously?

3) This study hasn't been peer reviewed, to the best of my knowledge. Science is about the repeatability of results. Not one "Naturopath's" findings. Yet it seems the entire cannabis space considers the findings of one guy to be "settled science".

4) I take issue with their methodology. They claim PEG converted to formaldehyde at an alarming rate when they bumped up an old Ego style ecig up to 4.8 volts. I am a nicotine vaper who used to use those Ego style carts. No one was hitting those at the maximum voltage on an Ego style battery because... surprise surprise... it burns.

They used e-cigs in a way no real world user does. According to the study, after 446 degrees Fahrenheit, PEG would start degrading into formaldehyde. Modern Temp Control vapes could easily prevent this from happening. Even setting a Temp Control mod past 450 doesn't mean the actual aqueous solution is being heated to 450. The mod is reading the temp of the coil itself.

Additionally, newer e-cig atomizers have more juice inlet holes than the carts apparently used in the study. This further prevents any burning or runaway temps.

Now... if you are they type of person who wants to avoid "chemicals".... good on you. If you hate the taste of PEG vape solutions, that's ok. My issue is that the cannabis vape industry has moved from PEG based solutions to Distillate mixed with non-cannabis derived terps, believing this to be a "healthier" option.

The science does NOT support this being a healthier option at this point. And the terps used in every pre-filled distillate cartridge I've tried burn my throat at least as much as PEG.

Also, there is no study showing these potent solvents/terpenes are safe for inhalation. On the other hand there was a two week study done on the inhalation of PEG-3350 on rats. Note, that is a much "heavier" version of PEG than the PEG 400 used in vape solutions, so one would expect it to be even more toxic. After exposing rats to a huge amount of heavy PEG for 14 days... the rats were fine. Here's the study:

Two-week aerosol inhalation study on polyethylene glycol (PEG) 3350 in F-344 rats.

Now does this mean PEG is perfectly safe? No. But I'd like to see what happens if you expose rats to a similarly high inhaled dose of terpenes, many of which are potent solvents, for 14 days. My guess is all the rats would fucking die.

If you don't like diluting concentrates at all, and prefer to stay as "natural" as possible, by all means avoid PEG solutions. But claiming PEG is deadly based on one dubious study seems odd to me.

There was a similar study done on "dabbing" straight concentrate.

Toxicant Formation in Dabbing: The Terpene Story

It concluded that dabbing at temperatures higher than 750 degrees Fahrenheit exposed users to benzene, a molecule with a more established link to cancer than formaldehyde.

I understand that most e-nail users don't use temperatures above 750. But most e-cig vapers don't use their device the way "Dr." Troutt's study observed either. If we treated the Dabbing study the way we did the PEG study, everyone would be throwing away their e-nails.

I'm happy to have someone show me where I'm wrong here. Are there other studies from reputable scientific journals that show PEG is "deadly"?

I don't discount that many people dislike using PEG for other reasons (taste, potency, etc). I just find it odd that we moved from PEG to vaping unstudied "plant derived" terpenes based on one dubious study.

If you avoid PEG because you try to avoid "chemicals", I get that. But you are likely inhaling more carcinogens by taking a deep breath in a densely populated area. And that's just from the brake dust alone.
 
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shredder

Well-Known Member
Across the Cannabis World, PEG based vape solutions are now considered to be poisonous cancer-juice. Doing some basic research all of this seems to stem from a single study popularized by ProjectCBD. Here is a link to the study everyone is quoting:

Carbonyl Compounds Produced by Vaporizing Cannabis Oil Thinning Agents

I have several problems with this study.

1) It was published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Not exactly the New England Journal of Medicine. I'm tempted to call this a third rate scientific journal, but that may be too generous. The watchdog group "Quackwatch" includes them in their list of bullshit "scientific" journals. They were criticized a few years back for a paper that concluded that just maybe homeopathy works (it doesn't). As Quackwatch states, this journal is "fundamentally flawed".

2) The main author of the study, William Troutt, isn't a scientist. He's a Naturopathic "Physician". He has published only one other paper that was basically a survey of medical marijuana users. "Naturopathy" isn't science. This is like an acupuncturist publishing a scientific paper. Who would take that seriously?

3) This study hasn't been peer reviewed, to the best of my knowledge. Science is about the repeatability of results. Not one "Naturopath's" findings. Yet it seems the entire cannabis space considers the findings of one guy to be "settled science".

4) I take issue with their methodology. They claim PEG converted to formaldehyde at an alarming rate when they bumped up an old Ego style ecig up to 4.8 volts. I am a nicotine vaper who used to use those Ego style carts. No one was hitting those at the maximum voltage on an Ego style battery because... surprise surprise... it burns.

They used e-cigs in a way no real world user does. According to the study, after 446 degrees Fahrenheit, PEG would start degrading into formaldehyde. Modern Temp Control vapes could easily prevent this from happening. Even setting a Temp Control mod past 450 doesn't mean the actual aqueous solution is being heated to 450. The mod is reading the temp of the coil itself.

Additionally, newer e-cig atomizers have more juice inlet holes than the carts apparently used in the study. This further prevents any burning or runaway temps.

Now... if you are they type of person who wants to avoid "chemicals".... good on you. If you hate the taste of PEG vape solutions, that's ok. My issue is that the cannabis vape industry has moved from PEG based solutions to Distillate mixed with non-cannabis derived terps, believing this to be a "healthier" option.

The science does NOT support this being a healthier option at this point. And the terps used in every pre-filled distillate cartridge I've tried burn my throat at least as much as PEG.

Also, there is no study showing these potent solvents/terpenes are safe for inhalation. On the other hand there was a two week study done on the inhalation of PEG-3350 on rats. Note, that is a much "heavier" version of PEG than the PEG 400 used in vape solutions, so one would expect it to be even more toxic. After exposing rats to a huge amount of heavy PEG for 14 days... the rats were fine. Here's the study:

Two-week aerosol inhalation study on polyethylene glycol (PEG) 3350 in F-344 rats.

Now does this mean PEG is perfectly safe? No. But I'd like to see what happens if you expose rats to a similarly high inhaled dose of terpenes, many of which are potent solvents, for 14 days. My guess is all the rats would fucking die.

If you don't like diluting concentrates at all, and prefer to stay as "natural" as possible, by all means avoid PEG solutions. But claiming PEG is deadly based on one dubious study seems odd to me.

There was a similar study done on "dabbing" straight concentrate.

Toxicant Formation in Dabbing: The Terpene Story

It concluded that dabbing at temperatures higher than 750 degrees Fahrenheit exposed users to benzene, a molecule with a more established link to cancer than formaldehyde.

I understand that most e-nail users don't use temperatures above 750. But most e-cig vapers don't use their device the way "Dr." Troutt's study observed either. If we treated the Dabbing study the way we did the PEG study, everyone would be throwing away their e-nails.

I'm happy to have someone show me where I'm wrong here. Are there other studies from reputable scientific journals that show PEG is "deadly"?

I don't discount that many people dislike using PEG for other reasons (taste, potency, etc). I just find it odd that we moved from PEG to vaping unstudied "plant derived" terpenes based on one dubious study.

If you avoid PEG because you try to avoid "chemicals", I get that. But you are likely inhaling more carcinogens by taking a deep breath in a densely populated area. And that's just from the brake dust alone.


You make a valid point, and I agree most testing is needed. But I see no reason in favor of using peg either. I've only tried using pens with peg as an ingredient a few times, but every time it flared up my asthma. I havn't tried store bought terpenes at all because there are many more natural choices.
 
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florduh

Well-Known Member
You make a valid point, and I agree most testing is needed. But I see no reason in favor of using peg either. I've only tried using pens with peg as an ingredient a few times, but every time it flared up my asthma. I havn't tried store bought terpenes at all because there are some many more natural choices.

The reason for using PEG based blends has been to increase the viscosity of concentrates enough to make cannabis e-juice for e-cig type cartridges and tanks. There are a few threads that discuss this.

I used to enjoy having an e-juice diluted to say, 20% THC with a PEG based liquidizer. Then I kept hearing the stuff caused cancer, so I gave it up in favor if distillate with terps. I've recently realized that the terps most people are using are highly irritating. More So than my old PEG mixes were (to me, personally).

That's why I decided to look into this whole thing and discovered the study everyone is quoting as evidence of PEG's toxicity was authored by a fake doctor, and published in some New Age "journal".

Based on my research, PEG actually has a better safety track record than any of the industrial derived terps most people are using in their distillate. I assume cannabis derived terps are a better option, but I don't know for sure.

Many people hate the taste of PEG. And if that is the reason someone avoids it, I can completely understand. But usually the mere mention of PEG causes someone to quote that single flawed study stating unequivocally that PEG is cancer-juice. I say that's nonsense.

I agree that using uncut concentrates is likely the safest option, though it's important to keep the temps under control as high temp dabbing may be more dangerous than inhaling PEG as one of the studies I posted suggests.
 
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Deleted Member 1643

Well-Known Member
1) It was published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Not exactly the New England Journal of Medicine. I'm tempted to call this a third rate scientific journal, but that may be too generous. The watchdog group "Quackwatch" includes them in their list of bullshit "scientific" journals. They were criticized a few years back for a paper that concluded that just maybe homeopathy works (it doesn't). As Quackwatch states, this journal is "fundamentally flawed".

2) The main author of the study, William Troutt, isn't a scientist. He's a Naturopathic "Physician". He has published only one other paper that was basically a survey of medical marijuana users. "Naturopathy" isn't science. This is like an acupuncturist publishing a scientific paper. Who would take that seriously?

3) This study hasn't been peer reviewed, to the best of my knowledge. Science is about the repeatability of results. Not one "Naturopath's" findings. Yet it seems the entire cannabis space considers the findings of one guy to be "settled science".

4) I take issue with their methodology. They claim PEG converted to formaldehyde at an alarming rate when they bumped up an old Ego style ecig up to 4.8 volts. I am a nicotine vaper who used to use those Ego style carts. No one was hitting those at the maximum voltage on an Ego style battery because... surprise surprise... it burns.

Disappointing @florduh. Your first three points are just baseless, ad hominum attacks. Did you read the full study or just the abstract? Mary Ann Liebert requires a log in. Happy to send you a copy. We share the same publisher.

A scientist is someone who does science, not someone who has a particular degree. Gregor Mendel was a monk and founded genetics. Yours truly has a science degree but does advocacy. Which of us is the better scientist?

This study is very simple, and the only conclusion to be drawn from it is that under these conditions, PEG is a lot worse than PG, VG and MCT. Again, under these conditions, aldehyde levels are close to where this risk tolerant, old stoner (with some small knowledge of toxicology) was given pause.

Your fourth point is better. Also a nicotine vaper, but unfamiliar with this device.

After exposing rats to a huge amount of heavy PEG for 14 days... the rats were fine. Here's the study:

Two-week aerosol inhalation study on polyethylene glycol (PEG) 3350 in F-344 rats.

Now does this mean PEG is perfectly safe?

These two studies have nothing to do with each other. The test substance isn't the same. PEG 3350 is more than ten times longer than PEG 300. Even more importantly, these researches didn't produce aerosol by heating, and it's heating that forms aldehydes.

Also, it's a two week study. That's sub-acute exposure. It's chronic exposure we're concerned with. This study may be preliminary to a longer study.

Finally, it's a hazard (to rats) study. The exposure is known.

Trout's study is measuring exposure, that is, how much of the assayed substance is produced. There are solid human data on hazards posed by aldehydes. The exposure and hazard are then combined to say something about risk.

And keep in mind, rat inhalation studies are notorious for under-predicting hazard to humans. Rats are obligate nose breathers, and their nasal passages are far better than ours at keeping aerosols from depositing in the deep lung, even when we're not inhaling through our mouths. (Which is how most of us vape.)

We miss you, @herbivore21. :cry:
 
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florduh

Well-Known Member
Disappointing @florduh. Your first three points are just baseless, ad hominum attacks. Did you read the full study or just the abstract? Mary Ann Liebert requires a log in. Happy to send you a copy. We share the same publisher.

I was able to find a PDF of the entire study, but thank you.

As for the ad hominem "attacks"... I'm merely considering the source. Troutt isn't a scientist. He isn't even a doctor. He is a naturopath. Naturopathy isn't considered "evidence based medicine". You may take Naturopathy seriously. The scientific community does not.

This single study, which has been plastered all over the internet as damning evidence, isn't published in a serious academic journal. It's the "Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine". This journal is almost never cited by other scientists in their work. This isn't my opinion. The scientific community just doesn't take it seriously. This may have something to do with them publishing a study suggesting homeopathy might be effective.

I'm sorry if I came off as rude. But we need to consider the source of these studies. And I'm sorry, but this isn't a respected scientific journal. In addition, is it possible that someone called a "Doctor of Naturopathy" may be beholden to the naturalistic fallacy? Is it possible that he holds a bias against "chemicals" and designed and experiment that confirms his bias?

I don't know. That's why we need this single study to be peer reviewed to see if the findings are repeatable. That's how science is done. Taking one study and declaring that "PEG is toxic" as ProjectCBD and the wider cannabis community has done... is not science.

Troutt doesn't even say that in his conclusion. He says e-cig users MAY risk exposure to toxins and that more study is needed. I agree.

Based on the methodology used (vaporizing at over 450 degrees for 4 seconds at a time, every 30 seconds, for 25 puffs in a row) the best we can say is PEG is toxic if you use it incorrectly. You could say the same thing about taking dabbing pure concentrate incorrectly.

This study is very simple, and the only conclusion to be drawn from it is that under these conditions, PEG is a lot worse than PG, VG and MCT. Again, under these conditions, aldehyde levels are close to where this risk tolerant, old stoner (with some small knowledge of toxicology) was given pause.

Based on a single study, with usage that is more extreme than most real world users would experience. We need further study before we can say anything conclusively.

These two studies have nothing to do with each other. The test substance isn't the same. PEG 3350 is more than ten times longer than PEG 300. Even more importantly, these researches didn't produce aerosol by heating, and it's heating that forms aldehydes.

I posted this study to point out the difference between PEG, and the industrial terpenes people think are a "safer" alternative to PEG. To the best of my knowledge, there is no study that shows that inhaling non-cannabis derived terpenes are safe.

Edit: Making matters worse, it seems Troutt is employed by a group that uses MCT oil as their vape pen emulsifier. Shocking that he determined MCT oil is the safest diluting agent. I hope Naturopathy has some sort of cure for lipid pneumonia

Source: http://atgma.org/blog/Is-PEG-400-dangerous-to-consume
 
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Baron23

Well-Known Member
I actually could care less about the validity of that study nor the bona fides of its author.

Even in my very newly med legal state of MD, we have carts where there is no need for PG or any other artificial thinner.

Since this was 420 last Friday, I had the opportunity to meet with chemists and growers from some of our state licensed companies and in particular got to talk to folks from two of the premier concentrate processors where.

Liberty's carts are butane/propane mix extracted, then its put through fractional distillation where after the terps are added back into the distillate THC to the proper viscosity. They use a very nice ceramic and glass atomizer very like a CCell (but a different brand)

Rythm, on the other hand, uses super critical CO2 extraction and the oil works very well in the CCell carts that they put it in.

In both cases, they assured me that all terps that go into the final product came out of cannabis during processing in their facility. No artificial flavorings nor terps derived from other plants.

By the by, they are both quite nice products.

I'm not, I don't think, to overly neurotic about material safety (hell, I breathed downtown DC toxic air in August for decades, yeah? LOL) but why even bother with these thinners. Well, at least that's my view.
 

florduh

Well-Known Member
I actually could care less about the validity of that study nor the bona fides of its author.

Even in my very newly med legal state of MD, we have carts where there is no need for PG or any other artificial thinner.

Since this was 420 last Friday, I had the opportunity to meet with chemists and growers from some of our state licensed companies and in particular got to talk to folks from two of the premier concentrate processors where.

Liberty's carts are butane/propane mix extracted, then its put through fractional distillation where after the terps are added back into the distillate THC to the proper viscosity. They use a very nice ceramic and glass atomizer very like a CCell (but a different brand)

Rythm, on the other hand, uses super critical CO2 extraction and the oil works very well in the CCell carts that they put it in.

In both cases, they assured me that all terps that go into the final product came out of cannabis during processing in their facility. No artificial flavorings nor terps derived from other plants.

By the by, they are both quite nice products.

I'm not, I don't think, to overly neurotic about material safety (hell, I breathed downtown DC toxic air in August for decades, yeah? LOL) but why even bother with these thinners. Well, at least that's my view.

If they are using cannabis derived terpenes, good on them. I can tell you that basically every pre-filled cart I've tested in SoCal lately has the distinctive taste of distillate with exogenous terpenes reintroduced. They inevitably cause me more irritation than PEG. I really miss the ol' CO2 oil days to be honest.

As for bothering with thinners... some people prefer to dilute their concentrate and sip on it, rather than taking a "dab" hit every time. Different strokes for different folks.
 

Deleted Member 1643

Well-Known Member
That's why we need this single study to be peer reviewed to see if the findings are repeatable.

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine: Paradigm, Practice, and Policy Advancing Integrative Health is the leading peer-reviewed journal providing scientific research for the evaluation and integration of complementary and alternative medicine into mainstream medical practice. The Journal delivers original research that directly impacts patient care therapies, protocols, and strategies, ultimately improving the quality of healing.

Gotta represent Ms. Liebert. :goon: Such a small, simple study would likely not be published in a major journal.

Consider the study as well as the source. Any competent grad student should be able to duplicate it.

Taking one study and declaring that "PEG is toxic" as ProjectCBD and the wider cannabis community has done... is not science.

No argument, but the study is science. Is there some reason to think ProjectCBD and the authors are connected? Groups like this cherry pick studies to support their views and then dumb them down, often without ever understanding them in the proper context themselves, until they lose all meaning.

Based on a single study, with usage that is more extreme than most real world users would experience. We need further study before we can say anything conclusively.

A comparison is meaningful, even from a single study. It's perfectly accurate to say that this study shows that PEG 400 produces more aldehydes than PG under the conditions studied. If the researchers did their duplicates and controls, and their statistics, then the concentrations they measured are as reliable as it gets in science.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no study that shows that inhaling non-cannabis derived terpenes are safe.

Have you searched PubMed, or similar? If not, then statements like this are a little misleading, even when qualified.

Nevertheless, many terpenes may well be hazardous - the name comes from turpentine, after all. The fact that there's no good reason to think they're less risky than PEG, doesn't mean PEG isn't also risky. That's why these markets need to be appropriately regulated.


Stressing over a meeting with one of the three-letter agencies and thinking about this sort of thing too much. :chill:
 
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invertedisdead

PHASE3
Manufacturer
If they are using cannabis derived terpenes, good on them. I can tell you that basically every pre-filled cart I've tested in SoCal lately has the distinctive taste of distillate with exogenous terpenes reintroduced. They inevitably cause me more irritation than PEG. I really miss the ol' CO2 oil days to be honest.

Try Beezle, they use a premium live resin sauce to flavor distillate which is the way to go for flavoring IMO.

Most brands in SoCal are still adding food grade terps. Although as far as irritation goes, most cart brands in SoCal have extremely high concentrations of pesticides too.
 

florduh

Well-Known Member
Gotta represent Ms. Liebert. :goon: Such a small, simple study would likely not be published in a major journal.

I'm just saying. Her journal has an "impact score" of 1.3. Meaning other scientists quote it less than twice... per year. Scientists just don't consider it a good source.

No argument, but the study is science. Is there some reason to think ProjectCBD and the authors are connected? Groups like this cherry pick studies to support their views and then dumb them down, often without ever understanding them in the proper context themselves, until they lose all meaning.

On ProjectCBD, they made the mistake clickbait sites do. They misrepresented the actual findings of the studies authors. Troutt did not make a conclusive statement about PEG's toxicity. He said it needed more study. ProjectCBD seems to declare it's a settled case that PEG is poison.

But there is a financial relationship between Dr. Troutt and a company that produces MCT vape oil. Lo and behold his study found MCT oil is the safest diluting agent.

It's perfectly accurate to say that this study shows that PEG 400 produces more aldehydes than PG under the conditions studied. If the researchers did their duplicates and controls, and did their statistics, then the concentrations they measured are as reliable as it gets in science.

Under the conditions studied is the operative statement there. They used outdated e-cig equipment and pushed PEG and PG well past their vaporization temperature. There's also no control for "dry hits" that I could find. At best, this study says if you overheat PEG past what is necessary for vaporization, toxic chemicals can form. I could say the same thing about vaping dry bud.

Have you searched PubMed, or similar? If not, then this statement is misleading.

I have. There is no study I could find showing that inhaling industrial terps is safe. Would be happy to be proven wrong though.

Try Beezle, they use a premium live resin sauce to flavor distillate which is the way to go for flavoring IMO.

You're the second person who has mentioned them. That sounds pretty great. Time to hit Weedmaps.
 
florduh,
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Deleted Member 1643

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But there is a financial relationship between Dr. Troutt and a company that produces MCT vape oil. Lo and behold his study found MCT oil is the safest diluting agent.

Why didn't you just lead with this? Wouldn't be surprised if true and that would cast doubt over the entire study. Always wondered why MCT was even included. The other three are glycols and MCT is a triglyceride. Is there any reason to think heated MCT would produce the substances assayed? This wasn't discussed sufficiently, if at all.

Still, won't make more canna e-juice just yet.
 

florduh

Well-Known Member
Why didn't you just lead with this? Wouldn't be surprised if true and that would cast doubt over the entire study. Always wondered why MCT was even included. The other three are glycols and MCT is a triglyceride. Is there any reason to think heated MCT would produce the substances assayed? This wasn't discussed sufficiently, if at all.

Still, won't make more canna e-juice just yet.

LOL. I'm so sorry. I found that little tidbit out after your first reply and posted the link in my reply to you. I knew he worked with a dispensary in Arizona. I didn't realize they were pushing MCT. I'll re-post the source, which has it's own bias.

http://atgma.org/blog/Is-PEG-400-dangerous-to-consume

I think you can cook and fry with coconut oil. So it's possible that it can withstand higher temperatures without degrading. But vaping largish quantities of MCT oil seems like it would put one at risk of lipid pneumonia.
 

Deleted Member 1643

Well-Known Member
Not enough shatter in the world to calm this bundle of nerves. :freak:

Didn't like vaping DIY MCT. Might need to be especially careful with temperature.

The literature is especially poor. Just did a quick search. Surprised the e-cig researchers haven't looked at it.

Ms. Liebert is going to hear about this.
 

florduh

Well-Known Member
Not enough shatter in the world to calm this bundle of nerves. :freak:

Didn't like vaping DIY MCT. Might need to be especially careful with temperature.

The literature is especially poor. Just did a quick search. Surprised the e-cig researchers haven't looked at it.

Ms. Liebert is going to hear about this.

I'd rather vape PEG on a temp controlled mod than MCT oil. I don't think there have been any studies on inhaling it. I suppose it could be safe in small amounts. But it intuitively seems like a bad idea to inhale a lot of extra lipids.

Interestingly, another study reported that PEG is the safest possible e-liquid solvent. This study (which also has problematic methodology) on the other hand lambasts VG and PG. From the relevant portion:

"An interesting finding of our study is that no toxic carbonyls were detected in a single sample with reduced content of VG and PG. In this product (A6), the primary solvent was polyethylene glycol (PEG). It would suggest that PEG-based e-liquids might have reduced toxicity from decomposition products. Further research should explore this hypothesis."
 
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florduh,
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florduh

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Promising though. These are well known authors. They've also looked at flavors, another neglected concern.

My issue with the methodology is similar to my issue with previous studies. They're using outdated e-cig equipment, in a dumb way. Modern atomizers utilize multiple juice and air inlets that lower the actual "working" temps significantly. Very interesting that they found PEG to be the safest e-liquid when the current conventional wisdom is that it's the unhealthiest.

And yeah I'd guess flavorings are a bigger concern than the carrier liquids.
 
florduh,

Deleted Member 1643

Well-Known Member
Modern atomizers utilize multiple juice and air inlets that lower the actual "working" temps significantly. Very interesting that they found PEG to be the safest e-liquid when the current conventional wisdom is that it's the unhealthiest.

Many e-cig studies are limited due to the devices used. Few researches vape, and designing studies that are relevant across the range of devices used (and misused) may not be possible. Farsalinos is a physician researcher who vapes, and informed vapers understandably take his results most seriously, IME. Personally, squonk nic juice wickless, partly to keep temps as low as possible. (Without the wet wick cooling the coil, lower current and temps can be used.)

IMO, the results from the solvent-only preparations are the more relevant. Who knows what's in the commercially available e-liquids used? The e-liquid for which the ingredients list 40% PEG is from a different manufacturer than the others, and there's no PEG-only prep. So, while interesting, wouldn't draw any conclusions. The study's a few years old - wonder if they followed up. Will shoot them an email.

One result that's widely observed across many studies is that VG produces lower levels of degradation products than PG.

Flavorings are difficult to test meaningfully as they're composed of multiple substances that are rarely identified. Many of these substances are a concern when heated and inhaled, but too little information exists to draw meaningful conclusions. From a public health standpoint, vapers are exposing themselves to these substances - hundreds of them - without any consistency, so epidemiologic data, generally the most relevant, are of little value in assessing their effects.
 
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florduh

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IME. Personally, squonk nic juice wickless, partly to keep temps as low as possible. (Without the wet wick cooling the coil, lower current and temps can be used.)

I'm a nicotine vape user, and I agree. But I mostly use Sub-Ohm devices at a lower temperature. "Live" testing of temperatures from newer sub-ohm tanks show that unless you are pushing your device hard to "cloud chase" it's not hard to keep your temperature well below the "danger zone" where nasty carbonyls are formed. I never liked super hot vapor anyway.

MO, the results from the solvent-only preparations are the more relevant. Who knows what's in the commercially available e-liquids used? The e-liquid for which the ingredients list 40% PEG is from a different manufacturer than the others, and there's no PEG-only prep. So, while interesting, wouldn't draw any conclusions. The study's a few years old - wonder if they followed up. Will shoot them an email.

I don't know if a study of solvent-only preparations are more relevant, since no one uses 100% PEG or 100% PG juice in the real world. I would like to see the Troutt study replicated though.

The 2014 study isn't exactly ancient history. If anything, the e-cig equipment they used was even more prone to runaway temps. They likely created more toxic carbonyls than any real world user would.

While I don't think any conclusions can be drawn, that's EXACTLY what our community did with the singular Troutt study on PEG. And if I'm going to choose a study to take more seriously, I'd probably go with the one published by Oxford University Press, authored by multiple Chemistry PhD's, over the one authored by a Naturopath with a major conflict of interest.

That having been said, neither study is conclusive.
 
florduh,

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While I don't think any conclusions can be drawn, that's EXACTLY what our community did with the singular Troutt study on PEG.

This study does raise concern. If it's all you have to go on, it's reasonable to act on that concern. It's easy to raise concern but very difficult to alleviate it.

The problem with the commercial e-liquids used is that they're poorly defined, and may even be inaccurately defined. Was that sample really 40% PEG? The authors are relying on the manufacturer's word. In an unregulated market, that's worth very little.
 
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florduh

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This study does raise concern. If it's all you have to go on, it's reasonable to act on that concern. It's easy to raise concern but very difficult to alleviate it.

I agree. It's easy for a biased researcher with no chemistry credentials like Troutt to design a study that makes his employer's MCT oil vapes look like the safe option, while declaring their competitors' products to be poison. I don't know if that's what happened, but I think our community's demonization of PEG based on this single, rather dubious, study... is unfair.

If you bring up any PEG mix on a cannabis forum, you will inevitably get people declaring that it's poison. We are nowhere near being able to say that with any degree of confidence. Even Troutt admits more study is needed before stating that conclusively.

The problem with the commercial e-liquids used is that they're poorly defined, and may even be inaccurately defined. Was that sample really 40% PEG? The authors are relying on the manufacturer's word. In an unregulated market, that's worth very little.

I guess. But I could say the same thing about Troutt's study. Where did he source his materials? Like I said, there are reasons not to trust the guy. And something about the declared PEG dominant e-juice caused it to come out ahead of your normal PG/VG mixes. If it wasn't PEG... what was it?

We have two studies. One by a naturopath with a financial conflict of interest. And one published in a very prestigious journal, authored by numerous chemistry PhD's. I know which one I tend to take more seriously.

At best, we can say MAYBE PEG is dangerous, when used with temperatures higher than most real world users experience. But there is scant scientific evidence to support that claim.

Keep in mind that vaping flower at temperatures higher than most users enjoy also can expose users to dangerous carbonyls. There are similar issues with high temp dabbing. But I don't see anyone throwing out their flower vapes and e-nails. Instead, we keep temperatures to a safe level. How is vaping e-juice with PEG any different?
 
florduh,

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If it wasn't PEG... what was it?

The way to find out is to compare to a PEG-only control. Kosmider, et al., didn't set out out to learn about PEG - they were surprised by their results, after the fact. That's not a criticism, it's how science frequently progresses.

How is vaping e-juice with PEG any different?

You'd expect the exposure to be greater. Vapers might use 15 mls of juice every day - many times the amount of neat concentrate anyone uses. Minimize exposure to minimize risk.
 
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florduh

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The way to find out is to compare to a PEG-only control. Kosmider, et al., didn't set out out to learn about PEG - they were surprised by their results, after the fact. That's not a criticism, it's how science frequently progresses.

I agree a good study of PEG only liquids would be nice. But my point was, either the PEG stated on the e-juice's bottle caused the superior results, or some other mystery ingredient. The only juice that was reported "safe" by Kosmider's study was the one listed as being mostly PEG. Every other PG/VG mix in the study was popped for carbonyl formation.

You'd expect the exposure to be greater. Vapers might use 15 mls of juice every day - many times the amount of neat concentrate anyone uses. Minimize exposure to minimize risk.

True. But if you need 15 mils of cannabis e-juice per day, vaping straight concentrate is definitely a better option. You still run the risk of toxicant formation if your consumption method produces very high temps. While I agree that vaping a gram straight concentrate in a smart way is likely safer than vaping 2-3 ml's of infused e-juice, I don't think the juice vapist is screwed, while the dabber is safe. It seems likely that the straight concentrate user is SLIGHTLY safer. But that isn't usually how it's presented by people arguing against PEG usage.
 
florduh,

Grubby_Pawn

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Hi... been a smoker for over 30 years. Although I gave up the tobacco ten years ago and went on to smoking pure green. I also used to dabble with concentrates - why waste trim? Used to, because well, vaporizers came out and I can just throw my trim in those. Why go to all the trouble of concentrating something when you can just vape it straight off the matter? I've been vaping for a few years. I have a Pax 3 and an Arizer desktop vape that I'm pulling on right now.

Anyway, something's come up and I need to be out of the country for a few days to a place where I cannot get any weed. I never normally travel anywhere where such a possibility could occur and have even in the past smuggled weed up my... using a method called plugging.

I don't want to do that though. It's not very pleasant (some may disagree) and especially unpleasant getting it back out.

So, I started looking into making THC liquid for a normal vape. Found a few bits of information online. Found some expensive-looking stuff called shatter-batter... then found out that the ingredients were relatively cheap. So, I went out and bought a vape pen, a couple of 50ml pipette glass bottles, a 3ml blunt needle syringe, and some 70/30 VG/PG. After that, I was feeling really good about myself. Seeing my future self blowing out those great big vapor clouds just like all the cool kids... and nobody would know I was getting high as shit - aside from the perma-grin and sunglasses. I would also be able to get my lovely golden juice past the very nice customs officers without they batting an eyelid.

It was all just so perfect. I got high and then read some more... Wait... what? The oil will break up in the VG/PG? Dafuq? So, I read some more... found out about this shit called PEG 400 that helps stop the oil from separating. So, I ordered it right away and sat back feeling good about myself again. Then I wanted to know the dosage. How much of the PEG should I use with say 1g of honey oil? Upon searching for this, I started to read forum post after forum post from apparently very knowledgable folk claiming that PEG will kill me - OK, maybe not that extreme... but the intent was definitely there to frighten.

I'm not easily scared... particularly when I have already ordered the stuff. I needed to find something that would tell me everything was going to be all right. This is the internet. There's always something that will disagree with something somewhere. To my relief, I found this webpage and, I must say, you've done a very good job of convincing me that the chemicals I will soon be ingesting are likely not to be any more harmful than any other chemicals I could replace them with. It really does make me feel a lot better. As sarcastic as that sounds, I think it's more irony.

So, to my question... what dosage would you recommend for the PEG and VG/PG per 1g for best results? Bearing in mind, I'm a real stoner. Morning, noon, and night. I like it to hit me. Bit of a masochist, like that.
 
Grubby_Pawn,

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So, to my question... what dosage would you recommend for the PEG and VG/PG per 1g for best results? Bearing in mind, I'm a real stoner. Morning, noon, and night. I like it to hit me. Bit of a masochist, like that.

Not a good idea on many levels. Depending on where you're going, don't count on breezing through customs. Haven't researched it, but doubt a dog would be fooled.

If you make it that far, don't count on not being discovered vaping. You might not succeed at masking the hashy odor.

If you have a tolerance, you probably won't be happy with this method. It's difficult to get 25mg of concentrate into an e-cig hit.

If you still want to play with your chemistry set, start by diluting with just enough PEG 400 to get the concentrate flowing so it wicks. You might only need a few drops per gram, you might need a bit more, depending on starting material. It helps to fully decarb your concentrate. Don't know what kind of e-cig gear you have in mind, but it would be helpful to try dripping this onto an already saturated coil/wick. If you want to dilute further, you can use PG - but NEVER ANY VG! Even a drop is likely to cause your liquid to separate. If you use the dripper method, you can have VG in your base nic juice.
 

Grubby_Pawn

New Member
I was thinking of buying some Limonene or Pinene... I also like the sound of a couple of the other terpenes. Would this be a good idea? I think also, that I may save my nice new glass pipette bottles and instead buy some actual vape juice of a well-known brand and simply pour it away and add my own.

I bought a Smok Vape Pen 22, 1650 mAh.

Thanks for the help.
 
Grubby_Pawn,
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