Friday, June 22, 2012

Hexane Honey Oil Extraction, Safety, and Alchemy

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Cannabis Health Science

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Source: Skunk Pharm Research,LLC.


Do not attempt this procedure if you are not qualified or without the proper Chemical fume hood and proper personal protection equipment. 

Sulfuric acid is highly corrosive, and Acetic anhydride is not only highly corrosive, but as flammable and explosive as gasoline.  Not to mention Hexane is highly flammable and explosive! You should read, understand, and have ready a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for all chemicals you have.

We neither recommend this procedure or accept any responsibility if you elect to try it yourself.

Read Alcohol or Naphtha at the bottom of this Hexane article


Ever thought of using N-Hexane for extraction for alchemy? At the skunk pharm they use an HPLC reagent grade hexane, which they acquire from a local scientific supply store, for a number of things.

Like butane, hexane is a simple alkane, but it has two more carbon atoms and four more hydrogen’s, which makes it completely insoluble in water. 
Pentane, with five carbons in the chain, is the first completely insoluble alkane.

It’s longer chain gives it a higher specific gravity and higher boiling point than butane.

Hexane boils at 69C/156.2F, versus -0.6C/30.9F for butane, which makes it more difficult to purge.

It can be purged under heat and vacuum using thin film techniques, or simply washed in ethanol, which boils at 78C/172.4F.

Our sensory perception threshold for hexane is 30 ppm and OSHA TWA limits for breathing it 8 hours, is 500 ppm, so we can detect its gasoline like taste far below TLV.

Hexane is commonly used to produce pharmaceuticals and even food products, and is not Mother’s Milk, but the point is moot, as it is not left in amounts that are toxic.

There is a difference between trace amounts and toxic doses, because poison is in the dosage. Even Oxygen is a toxin at over 75% atmosphere and you are just as dead as from an over dose of any substance.

So what are the facts about hexane? One is that if hexane is present at levels as low as 30 ppm, it tastes exactly like gasoline.

Since concern starts at 250 ppm for chronic and nearly continuous exposure, our senses are adequate to protect us from exposure to toxic levels.

So lets see what the governing authorities think about it, while paying attention to how the dosage rates compare to levels less than 30 parts per millionth:


CAS# 110-54-3: MN9275000
CAS# 110-54-3:
Draize test, rabbit, eye: 10 mg Mild;
Inhalation, mouse: LC50 = 150000 mg/m3/2H;
Inhalation, rat: LC50 = 48000 ppm/4H;
Inhalation, rat: LC50 = 627000 mg/m3/3M;
Oral, rat: LD50 = 25 gm/kg;


CAS# 110-54-3: Not listed by ACGIH, IARC, NTP, or CA Prop 65.
Epidemiology: Occupational polyneuropathy has resulted from hexane exposures as low as 500 ppm, but the minimum levels of n-hexane that are neurotoxic in humans haven’t been established.

Nearly continuous exposure of animals at 250 ppm has caused neurotoxic effects.

Teratogenicity: No evidence of teratogenicity or embryotoxicity in anmial studies with hexane.

Fetotoxicity has been observed in the presence of maternal toxicity.

Reproductive Effects: Severe testicular damage has been observed in rats exposed to hexane at concentrations which have produced other significant toxicity.

Although sub-neuro toxic doses of its principle toxic metabolite, 2,5-hexanedione, can induce progressive testicular toxicity in rats, there have been no reports of human sterility or other reproductive toxicity associated with n-hexane exposures.

Mutagenicity: Positive results (chromosomal damage in the bone marrow cells) obtained for rats exposed by inhalation to n-hexane.

Neurotoxicity: n-Hexane is a mild irritant and CNS depressant in acute exposure, but its principal effects are damage to the sensory and motor peripheral nerves, particularly in chronic exposure.

Moving to ease of use, because of its insolubility in water, you can soak plant material in hexane without picking up water solubles.  I have soaked as long as 12 hours.

Using hexane requires close attention to safety issues, as it is highly flammable and even lower explosive limits than butane when used in an unventilated area.

Hexane’s lower explosive limits is 1.2% of atmosphere, and its upper explosive limits are 7.7, as compared to lower limits of 3.3% for ethanol and 1.8% for butane. Except for well ventilated lab conditions, hexane extraction and alchemy is best done outdoors, with a fan blowing away and dispersing the vapors as they are given off.

Pentane and Hexane are the components of light naphtha, or white gasoline, and should be treated with the same care and respect.

Needless to say that it a no smoking or toking activity, so leave the lighter and smokes out of reach, lest you reach for them automatically.

Besides open flame, static sparks can ignite the fumes, so don’t do hexane extractions wearing plastic clothes, especially on cold dry days.

Using glass wear to contain highly flammable liquids carries drop and splash dangers, which I am going to draw your attention to, but confess that I routinely use lab glass wear with flammables in it and that the hexane itself usually comes in a glass jug.

A stainless steel container for the soak portion of the process, could achieve the same effects however, without the same breakage danger.

Ambient temperature is important, and hexane has a relatively high vapor pressure of 151 mm Hg @ 25C/77F, so it is important to keep the mixture relatively cool for long soaks or use a vented container to control pressure buildup.
We use hexane for both extraction and cannabis alchemy. Because it is relatively expensive, it is usually more cost effective to do the initial extraction with another less expensive solvent and use a lesser volume of hexane to polish it afterwards.

 For extraction simply fill a jar about 2/3rd full of material that we have broken up to about coarse rolling size, and fill the jar to the 3/4 level with hexane. Shake well, loosen the lid to release the pressure, seal it again, and set aside.  Periodically repeat the shake and pressure relief steps, for up to 12 hours.

At the end of the soak, pour the mixture in a strainer, and press the material to force as much hexane out of the plant material as possible. Then filter through a coffee filter or vacuum filter using a
Wattman # 1.

You can do the initial purge of the hexane by simply setting it aside in a pie plate to evaporate, and can speed that up by setting the pie plate in hot water and blowing air over it, if you aren’t in a dusty setting

 You can also boil off the hexane in a double boiler, with either hot water or hot oil as the medium in the pot, and can speed that up with vacuum. See attached pictures of thin film vacuum purging, as well as a ghetto rig in a fruit jar:

That brings us back to final purge, and as noted above, if you don’t have vacuum equipment, final purging can also be done by washing in ethanol. Washing is done by re-dissolving the raw HHO in ethanol and boiling the ethanol off. The higher boiling point of the ethanol and the scrubbing action of the alcohol molecules boiling off, will take the remaining hexane molecules with it, while keeping the process temperature below 173F.

Re-dissolving in ethanol also allows the interim step of winterizing, by which you place the ethanol HHO mixture in the freezer for a couple of days until the waxes coagulate and can be filtered out, before evaporating away the alcohol.

While it can be used for extractions, where hexane really shines, is cannabis alchemy. For instance, you can extract the cannabinoids with ISO, Methanol, or Denatured alcohol and after reducing the volume of the alcohol through evaporation, when it reaches a convenient and economical handling volume, mix it with equal parts of hexane and super saturated salt water.

If you agitate that and place it in a separatory funnel to separate, the hexane will rise to the top with the cannabinoids and the water and alcohol mixture will sink to the bottom, where they can be bled off.

 Lastly, use hexane to isomerize or make cannabis acetate. That involves reflux boiling the hexane cannabis oil mixture in sulfuric acid, or acetic anhydride.


Do not attempt this procedure if you are not qualified or without the proper Chemical fume hood and proper personal protection equipment. 

Sulfuric acid is highly corrosive, and Acetic anhydride is not only highly corrosive, but as flammable and explosive as gasoline.  Not to mention Hexane is highly flammable and explosive! You should read, understand, and have ready a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for all chemicals you have.

We neither recommend this procedure or accept any responsibility if you elect to try it yourself.

Purifying Extracts , please read

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Alcohol or Naphtha 

source: Cannadad`s blog

Full Extract Cannabis Oil, the healer of disease, the Kryptonite to Cancers, the holy grail of natural medicine. This substance is highly revered by many and made by few; it is a form of rebellion to take to the calling of oil alchemy due to its high illegality globally.
There are many oil artisans in the modern U.S. Cannabis community; each maker has their own beliefs, processes and end results. Some oil producers believe whole-heartedly in the classical process of using ethanol alcohol to extract botanical essential oils.

Others believe in using Naphtha as a solvent, as the most well-known purveyor of this oil chose Naphtha as his choice in solvents. There is many how to videos to be found on the web, and one quickly finds that many of these videos may not necessarily be of sound advice or method.

To gain a better understanding of how Full Extract Cannabis oil is made, please visit the links below. This will help you understand the processes used to make a highly medicinal Cannabis extract oil.

How To Make Cannabis Oil-
Cure Your Own Cancer-

When our family turned to the oil to fight childhood cancer (T-Cell ALL) we found ourselves with the same solvent choice to be made: Naphtha or Ethanol? I poured over many articles and research projects on each method, asking many questions to people who were more experienced than I, professionals, chemists, lab analysts, oil makers and even a couple of doctors. Through all of my research and discovery I came to a conclusion. Before I share my conclusion, let’s look at what I learned:
What is a hydrocarbon?

This is the basic Wikipedia definition of a hydrocarbon:
“In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons from which one hydrogen atom has been removed are functional groups, called hydrocarbyls. Aromatic hydrocarbons (arenes), alkanes, alkenes, cycloalkanes and alkyne-based compounds are different types of hydrocarbons.The majority of hydrocarbons found on earth naturally occur in crude oil, where decomposed organic matter provides an abundance of carbon and hydrogen which, when bonded, can catenate to form seemingly limitless chains.”

When it comes to Hydrocarbons, the simplest and most relatively non-toxic hydrocarbons are straight chain or Alkanes. GRAS (Generally regarded as safe) alkanes (mostly non-toxic) are: Methane CH4, Ethane C2H6, Propane C3H8, n-butane C4H10, n-pentane C5H12 and n-hexane C6H14.
·         Methane [1C] and ethane [2C] are gaseous at ambient temperatures and cannot be liquefied by pressure alone.

·         Propane [3C] is however easily liquefied, and exists in 'propane bottles' mostly as a liquid.

·         Butane [4C] is so easily liquefied that it provides a safe, volatile fuel for small pocket lighters.

·         Pentane [5C] is a clear liquid at room temperature, commonly used in chemistry and industry as a powerful nearly odorless solvent of waxes and high molecular weight organic compounds, including greases.

·         Hexane [6C] is a broadly used non-polar, non-aromatic solvent, as well as a significant element in common gasoline.

·         The [6C] through [10C] alkanes, alkenes and isomeric cycloalkanes are the top components of gasoline, naphtha, jet fuel and specialized industrial solvent mixtures.
Therefore C-5 or lower hydrocarbons are best and most non-toxic solvents for extraction. There seems to be some controversy as to whether C-5 or C-6 is the peak before toxic hydrocarbon chains have been established.
I learned that Naphtha is a muddled combination of hydrocarbons derived from crude petroleum in the range of C4-C11. C11? This may sound confusing at first, but basically that means Naphtha can have any hydrocarbons rated from C4 (butane) to C11(Undecane)

When extracting Cannabis with a solvent, one must “boil-off” or cause the solvent precipitate out of the mixture using temperature and agitation.
For example, Butane has a boiling point of 30.2 deg F. This means that if you extracted cannabinoids with butane, it would precipitate out of the mixture after the temperature surpasses 30.2 degrees, leaving the extracted cannabinoids intact. THC has a boiling point of 314.6 deg F. this allows for the use of solvents in extractions that do not surpass the boiling point of 300 degrees. The last hydrocarbon with a boiling point of <300 deg is Octane (C8) at 257 deg F. Anything higher than a C8 hydrocarbon would not be allowed to precipitate out of the mixture without destroying the ultra-important Cannabinoids.
Simple Hydrocarbons and Boiling Points:
    Carbon Atoms       Alkane             Boiling Point Deg. F.
1         Methane                      -263.2
2         Ethane                         -128.2
3         Propane                       -43.6
4         Butane                         30.2
5         Pentane                        96.98
6         Hexane                        154.4
7         Heptane                       209.2
8         Octane                         257
9         Nonane                        303.8
10     Decane                         345.4
11     Undecane                     384.8

Essentially, not being able to surpass the boiling point of THC to remove all hydrocarbons, leaves a high risk of residual hydrocarbons in the final oil product. The hydrocarbons that would be found would be partially precipitated hydrocarbons as well as possible Nonane, Decane and Undecane. These are toxic, carcinogenic, and mutagenic compounds that should not be present in any patients Cannabis essential oil.
How is ethanol alcohol safer?

Ethanol (C2H5OH) or ethyl alcohol at its most basic, is grain alcohol, produced by fermentation of food crops such as corn. It is the only type of alcohol that is safe to ingest, and then only if it has not been denatured (additives mixed in). Other types of alcohol include methanol (methyl alcohol) and isopropanol (rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol).

 'Alcohol' refers to any chemical having an -OH (oxygen/hydrogen) functional group. Hydroxyl groups (-OH), found in alcohols, are polar and therefore hydrophilic (water loving) but their carbon chain is non-polar which make them hydrophobic. The molecule progressively becomes more nonpolar and therefore less soluble in the polar water as the carbon chain becomes longer.
Alcohols have applications in industry and science as solvents. Because of its relatively low toxicity compared with other alcohols and ability to dissolve non-polar substances, ethanol is a desirable solvent in deriving pharmaceutical compounds, perfumes, and botanical essences such as vanilla. In organic fusion, alcohols serve as versatile intermediates.

Ethanol is present as an endogenous substance in the blood of humans, generally produced in the intestinal tract due to consumption of grain and yeast bearing food sources. Ethanol is not classified as a carcinogen, but rather a precursor carcinogen. Alcohol turns to acetaldehyde when metabolized by the liver after consumption; acetaldehyde is the carcinogen.

The boiling point of Ethanol alcohol is 173.1 degrees F. this allows for the removal of all residual alcohol from the extract medium during the precipitation process while leaving all cannabinoids intact and fully decarboxylated.

Based upon what I have learned, and where the research has taken me, I have chosen Ethanol alcohol as my solvent of choice, for reasons of safety, efficacy and low toxicity, when it comes to extracting botanical constituents from the Cannabis plant. I feel that the use of Naphtha as a solvent as unnecessary and extremely risky. You cannot fight cancer with carcinogens.


Cannabinoid Boiling Points:

Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
Boiling point: 157*C / 314.6 degree Fahrenheit
Properties: Euphoriant, Analgesic, Antiinflammatory, Antioxidant, Antiemetic Antibiotic Anticancer

Cannabidiol (CBD)
Boiling point: 160-180*C / 320-356 degree Fahrenheit
Properties: Anxiolytic, Analgesic, Antipsychotic, Antiinflammatory, Antioxidant, Antispasmodic

Cannabinol (CBN)
Boiling point: 185*C / 365 degree Fahrenheit
Properties: Oxidation, breakdown, product, Sedative, Antibiotic

cannabichromene (CBC)
Boiling point: 220*C / 428 degree Fahrenheit
Properties: Antiinflammatory, Antibiotic, Antifungal

cannabigerol (CBG)
Boiling point: MP52
Properties: Antiinflammatory, Antibiotic, Antifungal

Δ-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (?-8-THC)
Boiling point: 175-178*C / 347-352.4 degree Fahrenheit
Properties: Resembles ?-9-THC, Less psychoactive, More stable Antiemetic

tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)
Boiling point: < 220*C / <428 degree Fahrenheit
Properties: Analgesic, Euphoriant

Terpenoid essential oils, their boiling points, and properties

Boiling point: 166-168*C / 330.8-334.4 degree Fahrenheit
Properties: Analgesic. Antiinflammatory, Antibiotic, Antimutagenic

Boiling point: 119*C / 246.2 degree Fahrenheit
Properties: Antiinflammatory, Cytoprotective (gastric mucosa), Antimalarial

Boiling point: 177*C / 350.6 degree Fahrenheit
Properties: Cannabinoid agonist?, Immune potentiator, Antidepressant, Antimutagenic

Boiling point: 198*C / 388.4 degree Fahrenheit
Properties: Sedative, Antidepressant, Anxiolytic, Immune potentiator

Boiling point: 224*C / 435.2 degree Fahrenheit
Properties: Memory booster?, AChE inhibitor, Sedative, Antipyretic

1,8-cineole (eucalyptol)
Boiling point: 176*C / 348.8 degree Fahrenheit
Properties: AChE inhibitor, Increases cerebral, blood flow, Stimulant, Antibiotic, Antiviral, Antiinflammatory, Antinociceptive

Boiling point: 156*C / 312.8 degree Fahrenheit
Properties: Antiinflammatory, Bronchodilator, Stimulant, Antibiotic, Antineoplastic, AChE inhibitor

Boiling point: 217-218*C / 422.6-424.4 degree Fahrenheit
Properties: Sedative, Antibiotic, AChE inhibitor, Antioxidant, Antimalarial

Boiling point: 209*C / 408.2 degree Fahrenheit
Properties: AChE inhibitor. Antibiotic

Boiling point: 177*C / 350.6 degree Fahrenheit
Properties: Antibiotic, Anticandidal, AChE inhibitor

Flavonoid and phytosterol components, their boiling points, and properties

Boiling point: 178*C / 352.4 degree Fahrenheit
Properties: Anxiolytic, Antiinflammatory, Estrogenic

Boiling point: 250*C / 482 degree Fahrenheit
Properties: Antioxidant, Antimutagenic, Antiviral, Antineoplastic

cannflavin A
Boiling point: 182*C / 359.6 degree Fahrenheit
Properties: COX inhibitor, LO inhibitor

Boiling point: 134*C / 273.2 degree Fahrenheit
Properties: Antiinflammatory, 5-a-reductase, inhibitor

Please Remember that the "lesser known" Cannabinoids as well as the "other" compounds found in Cannabis have an entourage effect that causes them to work symbiotically together.


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