One of the more common discussions we have with our clients is a conversation surrounding the differences between Propylene Glycol (PG) and Fractionated Coconut Oil (MCT oil). There are pros and cons to both applications therefore we feel it is important for the users to understand the differences when they are deciding between PG and MCT.
As flavor and sensory experts, we tend to favor PG over MCT oil for one primary reason: PG makes better, more impactful flavors. The reason for this is that PG is very versatile. It is both water and oil soluble, and when working with a large variety of aroma chemicals that may not like each other so much, having a solvent this flexible is a big advantage when building creative flavorings.
Another advantage to using PG is that the usage level is much lower. Most customers are using these flavors at an add back range of 1%-3%. When comparing that to MCT oil, which has an add back range of closer to 3%-6%, PG is the clear winner, as the cost of the products are the same while the usage rates of PG are much more competitive.
MCT oil has advantages as well. MCT oil’s biggest advantage over PG is that it carries a NATURAL label. This really makes no difference in performance, however there is a perceived comfort level to many consumers when using or purchasing a natural product over a synthetic one. If you are focused on your brand carrying a “Natural” label, then MCT oil is the obvious choice for you. MCT oil also likes cannabis oil quite a lot more than PG. With PG, there is typically an add back rate threshold. You can squeeze in around 20% PG into a solution of cannabis oil +/- 5%. Once you start getting into higher percentages, you will start to see separation issues occur. With MCT oil, there is no threshold. You can get as much MCT oil into a solution of THC oil as you want. This is an advantage if you want to create a lower dose application, as you will need more solvent in your system.
One of the best ways to really see the difference between PG and MCT oil is to try the same flavor from both ranges side by side, and taste and smell them for yourself. At the end of the day, both product lines work pretty well. The market seems to be evenly split down the middle in regards to a more common usage of the two products. The choice really comes down to personal preference, so try some PG and MCT oil for yourself, and hopefully with the knowledge above, you can now make the best choice for you!