Vaping cannabis comes with many advantages, but the cost of vape juice definitely isn’t one of them.
If you’re a fan of premium and more expensive vape liquid brands, vaping your THC juice can prove cost-prohibitive over time.
Of course, there are also cheap vapes out there, but given the reputation they have received after the recent poisoning scandal in several US states, you may not want to risk your health trying to save on vape pen juice.
Not to mention that your choices are often limited. Maybe you want to enjoy non-existing flavors, such as watermelon custard or caramel vanilla juice. Or worse, maybe your dispensary doesn’t sell any vapes and you end up empty-handed.
Don’t worry, there’s a way to avoid these potential roadblocks on getting the vape pen juice you desire — make your own liquid!
If you already have some experience with making DIY supplies for smoking or vaping weed, our guide will be easy to follow.
Want to learn how to make high-quality homemade vape pen juice?
We’ve put everything together in this article.
What Is DIY Vape Juice?
Making your own vape pen juice is as simple as mixing three ingredients: base liquid of propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG), your favorite strain or premade extract, and flavor concentrates.
You can actually skip one of these; for example, if you prefer your vape pen juice to be unflavored, forget about the concentrate part.
The quick method for making homemade vape pen juice involves thinning a cannabis extract of your choice with one of the thinning agents — PG or VG.
However, in our guide, we’ll focus on making vape liquids from scratches. We’ll start from extracting the THC and other cannabinoids from your strain.
Let’s get down to prep work first!
What You Need to Make Your Own Vape Pen Juice
Regardless of the method you’ll be using for you homemade vape pen juice, you’ll need some essential components and supplies.
Here’s what you should gather:
- Base Liquid — in other words, propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, which are the two most important ingredients in vape pen juice. You can use different ratios of VG and PG; most commonly, people go for a ratio like 50/50 or 70/30. They will also thin your THC oil so you can actually vape it.
- Flavor concentrate — cannabis has a very distinctive taste and thus may not appeal to everyone. If you want to mask the botanical flavor, you can add a water-soluble flavor concentrates that come in either one-shots or pre-mixed multiple flavors.
- THC oil — You can’t have a THC vape pen juice without THC oil in it. This is a concentrated form of cannabis that has a viscous consistency and needs to be thinned down with the mix of VG and PG in order to become compatible with vape pens. You can use any cannabis strain of your liking — we’ll get to the extraction process later in the article.
- Storage bottles — A few 100 mL condiment bottles should be the best for the job. Opt for cobalt bottles; the darker the color, the better, as it will slow the degradation of cannabinoids.
- Vape juice bottles — if you’re making your own vape pen juice for the first time, it’s best to buy a few 10 mL plastic bottles for test products and some 60 mL bottles to make large batches of your favorite homebrew oil.
- Labels — labels are particularly important when you want to make different potencies, flavors, and source strains for your E-liquid. Buy some cheap sticky labels to write the details on.
- Gloves — a box of disposable gloves always comes in handy to protect your skin. You can find them in any corner pharmacy.
Following so far?
But before we proceed to making your own vape pen juice, let’s make sure you know how to decarb your weed first.
Homemade THC Vape Pen Juice? Not Without Decarboxylation!
It’s important to emphasize the significance of temperature in working with THC extracts. If you neglect the heat and don’t extract your THC oil correctly, it will heavily impact its potency and overall quality.
That’s because you can’t get high from consuming raw weed.
Raw cannabis is full of THCA and CBDA, which are inactive forms of THC and CBD.
Let’s focus on THCA.
This compound has an extra carboxyl group that prevents it from producing psychoactive effects. When you apply heat to cannabis, this carboxyl group gets removed, and THCA transforms into THC.
Without decarboxylation, your end product will be much less potent.
Decarbing your weed is simple. All you need to do is break your buds into smaller pieces or grind them to a finer consistency. Just make sure it doesn’t turn into a powder because it can easily get scorched in the oven.
Speaking of which, lay a baking tray with parchment paper, lining the cannabis evenly. Set the oven at 220 F and bake your weed for about 25-30 minutes. This time should provide just the perfect decarboxylation of THCA into THC, as well as the decarboxylation of other cannabinoids without destroying them.
For best results, keep the temperature around 220–280 F. Anything above that will cause the cannabinoids and terpenes to break down, producing nasty THC oil you don’t want to use in your vape pen.
Type of THC Extraction for Homemade Vape Pen Juice
There are several ways of making vape pen juice at home. In this section, we’ll cover the 3 most efficient methods using different solvents and manipulating the duration time.
1. Long-term Vegetable Glycerin Extraction
This method is about saturating ground, decarboxylated flower with food-grade vegetable glycerin and letting it sit for up to three months, while stirring and straining the mixture every few weeks. It’s a bit time-consuming method, but it’s simple and hard to fail with — just the perfect choice for beginners.
Here are the tools and ingredients you need to bring:
- Your favorite strain (3.5 g of weed will produce roughly 30-60 mL of vape juice)
- Pure food-grade vegetable glycerin
- Aluminum foil
- Baking sheet
- Stirring wand
- Wire mesh strainer
- Silicone spatula
- 2 mason jars with a tight-sealing lid
- Dump the decarboxylated weed into your glass jar and pour just enough vegetable glycerin to saturate the buds but without going too far. Too much VG may cause your vape liquid to become too diluted, resulting in low-potency oil. If you’re left with a thick, gooey mixture that easily stirrable, it’s good to go.
- Stir up the liquid, seal the jar, and stick a label on it with the date.
- Keep the mixture in the jar for about a month in a cool and dark place, then take it out and stir thoroughly. Once done, add about a tablespoon of fresh glycerin to keep the THC extraction process running. Repeat the process after another month until you hit the three-month period.
- Take out the vape juice once again and stir it up with your stirring wand. Place the mesh strainer over a clean glass jar and dump the mixture into the strainer. Let it drip, using the silicone spatula to squeeze out as much juice as you can.
- Get rid of the raw cannabis material, clean your strainer, and cover it with about four layers of cheesecloth.
- Pour the strained cannabis/VG juice onto the cheesecloth, letting it drip into the jar.
- Squeeze out any remaining liquid from the cheesecloth — and enjoy!
2. Short-term Vegetable Glycerin Extraction
This method follows pretty much the same process as our first method, except for the time you need to extract the THC from your cannabis buds. It goes down from three months to only about 3 hours.
Here’s what you’ll need for short-term vegetable glycerin extraction:
- Decarbed cannabis flower
- Food-grade vegetable glycerin
- Canola oil
- Two cooking thermometers
- Stirring wand
- Fine mesh strainer
- Silicone spatula
- Place your decarbed buds in a Pyrex glass jar. Pour just enough vegetable glycerin over the flower to saturate it, but be careful not to go overboard. Stir the mixture up until all the ingredients blend well. Again, you want a viscous liquid extract, but not too runny.
- Pour some of the canola oil to a larger heat safe pan. You’ll be placing the Pyrex jar ino the oil bath. The oil should cover only about 1-2 inches of the jar.
- Put the pan onto a stovetop and heat it up until it reaches 220 F.
- Once there, place the glass with your liquid mixture into the hot oil bath. At this time, the temperature should be as close to 180 F as possible.
- Let the mixture sit for about 45 minutes, stirring it frequently. After that time, take the glass jar off the oil bath and let it cool for a few minutes. Then, strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, making your first run of THC vape pen juice.
- Now you’re going to repeat steps 2–7 to make three runs total. After you’ve completed the process, you need to further refine your liquid through the cheesecloth to filter out any remaining plant matter.
- Once filtered, you’ll be boiling the refined vape pen juice in your oil bath again, this time at 220 F for about 30 minutes to decarboxylate the THCA into THC.
- Now you have a clean, potent extract to load your vape pen with. Enjoy!
3. Rosin Extraction
This is hands down the best way to make THC vape pen juice because it yields the highest quality, potency, and the most flavor out of your weed.
Not to mention that it’s also the safest of the three methods and you can use premade THC concentrates such as shatter, wax, or budder.
However, in order to make your own rosin from scratch, you’ll need to buy some special products that you might not have in your household.
- Some dry flower (high-THC)
- Hair straightener
- Parchment paper
- Small glass vial
- Mixing wand
- Vape pen syringe
- Dopper bottle
- Grab a good, dense nug for pressing out the resin. Small or ground buds won’t do the job because they’re too messy to work with and won’t yield you enough e-liquid. You probably need something around 3g of fresh flower to get 0.4–0.6g of rosin.
- Set the hair straightener at 280 F. Place the nug on a large sheet of parchment paper, and fold it over the top so the nug fits in like a sandwich.
- Put the rosin paper in the hair straightener and press down with as much force as you can for a few seconds. Be careful not to burn the nugget.
- Repeat steps 2–3 with the remaining nugs until you’ve gone through about 3 grams of flower.
- Collect the resin off the parchment paper. We recommend sticking it in the refrigerator for a minute or two so that it peels off the paper easier. Use a metal dabbing tool or a wand to form one big ball.
- Put all of your rosin into your small glass vial.
- Add a bit of glycerin and your favorite flavoring with a dropper. Flash heat the glass with a lighter, just until you see the liquid bubbling. It should take about 3–4 seconds.
- Once the liquid has started bubbling, youse the metal wand to mix the solution thoroughly. Then, suck out the liquid using your syringe.
- That’s it! Have a nice sesh!
Final Thoughts on Making THC Vape Pen Juice at Home
Making your own vape pen juice can be a fun experience, especially if you’ve already made a few cannabis concentrates in your life and want to try new things.
For new users, we recommend trying out some basic extracts first, as making vape pen juice at home requires some prior experience. But, if you feel eager enough to take the bull by the horns, you can try your luck!
Just remember that this process can be time-consuming, so if you’re looking for a relatively quick and easy method, the rosin extraction is the way to go.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our guide and that you’ll soon let us know about your first DIY vape pen juice!