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Research and Developement through Safety meetings.

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BHO Safety

Butane Safety Posted by Skunk Pharm Research,LLC. Hi ya’ll! Have ya’ll been watching the folks blowing themselves and their homes up using butane extraction techniques, thus leading you to believe that such an attempt is suicidal? Thank Gawd (Great Spirit) that paying attention to details reduces the odds to limits that you might embrace, after being thus enlightened. May we discuss, before you give up all BHO extraction attempts in deference to your family and home? Clearly Butane is inflammable and can be explosive, if confined in a small space and supplied with about 1.86 to 8.41 percent butane to atmospheric air content and an ignition source. In addition, ignition sources come from a number of different unexpected sources, so let’s discuss that issue. For starters, I never personally do a butane extraction indoors or any confined space! None at all, zero, zip, forget about it! It is important to keep it below explosive limits! I do it all outdoors, with a non sparking plastic fan blowing, not sucking, the butane evaporation away! Butane loves self abuse and will clump together and pool, being that it is heavier than air. I use three fans to keep any free butane dispersed below ignition limits of 1.86% and from it pooling and accumulating in low spots like through my basement window to my basement, chock full of ignition sources. The central point is that concentration of the butane boiling off can be kept diluted below combustion limits, by blowing the accumulating vapors away using a fan. Secondly, let’s talk about stupid ignition sources. Despite previous discussions, I have literally grabbed the hands of cigarette smokers poised to light a cigarette while extracting. What can I say about addicts whom go on automatic pilot and forget where they are? Leave your cigarettes and lighter elsewhere Lose the lighter and cigarettes (bong?) if you are an addict! Once the pin is pulled on a 5 second grenade, it is not your friend! All pretty simple, but lets talk about subtleties! How about sparks? Starting simple, dragging your feet on concrete with gravel imbedded in your shoes can create a spark. Wearing plastic clothing, especially socks, can also build up and discharge a static electricity spark, especially on cold dry days. Unless it is an explosion proof fan, always blow, instead of suck the vapors away, not only for efficiency reasons, but because the sparks from an electric motor slip ring can ignite the vapors. Always use plastic or other spark proof blades, because a grain of sand can spark when hitting a steel blade, and be propelled into the concentrated vapors. Always keep a fully charged and recently inspected fire extinguisher on hand. Shit sometimes happens and less shit is better, as I see it! Never had to use one at home, though I have in industry, and they can’t be beaten when they are called for! If you get inadvertently sprayed with butane, stop, and go change clothes. Immolating as I sees it, is highly overrated! Keep a blanket on hand, and if you do get unexpectedly ignited, immediately wrap yourself in it to extinguish the flames. The good news is that none of the above has ever happened to me, or any of my friends who pay close attention and try their very best to avoid it. Ohmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1     Source: BHO Safety




DIY CO2 Extraction?

DIY CO2 Extraction?
Posted by Skunk Pharm Research,LLC.
I don’t know about ya’ll, but I have been watching CO2 Super Critical Fluid (SFE) with interest and have wanted to sample some cannabis essential oils extracted by that method, but the cost of conventional SFE equipment, is outside the range of most of our finances.
For the rest of ya’ll just learning of the process, let’s quickly examine what SFE is, by looking at what Wikipedia has to say about it, followed by our kicking off our affordable DIY CO2 extractor design project:
Supercritical carbon dioxide
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Carbon dioxide pressure-temperature phase diagram
Supercritical carbon dioxide is a fluid state of carbon dioxide where it is held at or above its critical temperature and critical pressure.
Carbon dioxide usually behaves as a gas in air at standard temperature and pressure (STP), or as a solid called dry ice when frozen. If the temperature and pressure are both increased from STP to be at or above the critical point for carbon dioxide, it can adopt properties midway between a gas and a liquid. More specifically, it behaves as a supercritical fluid above its critical temperature (31.1 °C) and critical pressure (72.9 atm/7.39 MPa), expanding to fill its container like a gas but with a density like that of a liquid.
Supercritical CO2 is becoming an important commercial and industrial solvent due to its role in chemical extraction in addition to its low toxicity and environmental impact. The relatively low temperature of the process and the stability of CO2 also allows most compounds to be extracted with little damage or denaturing. In addition, the solubility of many extracted compounds in CO2 vary with pressure,[1]permitting selective extractions.
Soooo, in us’n layman’s terms, we use plain old CO2, that we have gotten hotter than 31.1C/87.98F, while under at least 1086 pounds per square inch pressure.
In that state, the CO2 becomes a super solvent, which has higher penetration power, and can be fine tuned to focus in on specific constitutes, by varying the pressure, temperature, and by the use of co-solvents like ethanol or hexane.
Fair enough, and easy enough to accomplish several ways! Traditionally a high pressure intensifier pump is used to achieve the required pressures.
Cryo-pumping also works. You start with liquid CO2 or dry ice and heat it in an enclosed space.
My first conceptual of a system that was semi affordable, was a simple minded system using liquid CO2 and heat to run it at about 1500 PSI. That eliminated the pumps normally used and by using a liquid Dewar with a dip tube, with both a gas head and a liquid tap, the need for any liquid pumps is eliminated as well.
It is designed to use readily available Schedule 180 austenitic stainless pipe and its largest component is small enough to fit in my 7″ X 36″ lathe. My original plan was to use an existing hydraulic cylinder for my vessel, but alas, carbon steel embrittles excessively at cryogenic temperatures.
My design calls for achieving pressure by simply heating the pipe with available pipe band heaters.
Pressure was controlled using a conventional, though expensive back pressure regulator. Please note the attached conceptual, which reflects my thinking four to five years ago. I put the project on the back burner after reading the SFE CO2 patents for extracting cannabis, and noting that CO2 isn’t a very aggressive solvent and the patented processes used significant fluid exchange rates, as well as relatively long spans of time.
To compound that, reports from those testing SFE CO2 extractions reported poor taste and effects, so I put CO2 extraction on the back burner to just watch for awhile.
Within the last couple of years several folks have done some interesting work starting with dry ice. The first that I noted was able to maintain high enough pressure in a test tube to keep dry ice from sublimating as it warmed, so as to extract some Limonene from an orange peel.
That led me to question whether super critical pressures were required to extract the essential oils from cannabis that we typically extract with other solvents, and further experiments by others suggests that it is not. Some even report better results at subcritical pressures, especially with the use of co-solvents.
Sub critical extraction presents an interesting twist from a simplicity standpoint, so of course my simple mind immediately envisioned replacing the test tube with a pressure vessel containing dry ice in the bottom, and a basket of material suspended above it. Screw down lid and bring it up to temperature with a pipe clamp heater for pressure.
Flooding is achieved by simply turning it upside down to soak the material and right side up to drain. That step could be repeated back and forth, to soak the material and keep the boundary layers diminished. On setting it upright the final time, we could bleed off the liquid into an expansion chamber and then to atmosphere, leaving behind the oil.
I have decided to build a 2″ X 24″ prototype, and have acquired two resources on this project that emboldens me. One is the offer from a dear old friend, to allow me the use of his aerospace pressure and vacuum equipment manufacturing facilities for giggles and old times sake.
The other is an agreement with another old friend, who owns a cryogenic equipment manufacturing plant back east and is familiar with SFE.
We have a mutual engineering support agreement in effect, in exchange for my support on one of their projects with a former aerospace customer of mine, who is now their customer as well.
For my support interfacing their equipment with equipment of my own design and manufacture before retirement, they will support me in developing a simple minded DIY SFE system, that hopefully more of us’ns can afford to build, or have built.
So here is my first simple minded conceptual using liquid:

Here is my simple minded conceptual starting with dry ice:
OOPs, solly, watch this space!
After working all day on the drawing, my 2002 32 bit Auto Cad program is not able to access my printer on my 64 bit processor, and I’m not smart enough to figure it out, so I have to find a computer hero or heroine first.
The way my conceptual works, is the bottom of the cylinder is filled with dry ice , on top of which sits a wire basket of plant material. Clamp on band heaters turn the dry ice to liquid, which is circulated and soaked through the material by simply turning the cylinder upside down.
After flipping it about a few times, over an extended soak, the vessel is set upright and attached to the lower expansion chamber via a hydraulic quick disconnect. The liquid is bled off, decompressed, and the oil collected from the decompression vessel via the bottom drain valve, as well as via the detachable bottom.
Lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Progress!
Well thank the Great Spirit for ex-brother in laws, who can sort out computer problems, so that I can print from virtual mode. Hee, hee, hee, kept him at tossed the sister……….
Here is my simple minded conceptual of how such a dry ice system might work. More detail prints once I have exercised some resources.
After further discussion with another experimenter, I have decided to build the system to operate at 5000 psi and below. Instead of using schedule 160 stainless pipe, I will gun grill a billet of stainless, but will keep the bore at one inch.

Hi ya’ll!
Been out talking to folks running commercial CO2 SFE units and would like to share some selected excerpts from their letters, to keep their identities confidential:
Hi Graywolf, here is some pics of the unit i have been running for 8+ years. Our whole thing with this unit was to have maximum fractionation capabilities.
The extraction vessel is rated to 10,000psi, and made of stainless!!
We use a basket to hold the material and I’m having a natural cloth bag made that will go into the vessel and hopefully allow me to extract 2x current volume.
There are some great graphs around the net that show the combinations of pressure and temps and the resulting density of co2. In general high pressure (we go up to 10,000psi) works well in combination with high temps (around 100c) and lower pressure around 5000 psi goes well with about 60c.
I tried high pressure and while i need to try again to confirm, there seemed to be some degradation to the overall quality and definitely the fragrance. the yield was higher and its much more efficient requiring less co2.
I already noticed on the bit of extract that i dissolved in ethanol and then winterized and filtered, the flavor is no where near what it was before going in the ethanol. I plan to try and get the waxes out with only co2.
I cant see any advantage to using either hexane or ethanol or a mixture as a co solvent?? the compounds are easily soluble in co2 and usually those types of things will help to extract more polar compounds such as chlorophyll. It all depends on what your goals are? maybe he is using that mixture to help fractionate out the waxes??
I can do a small run next week using those co- solvents and report back if i see anything magic or some beautiful separation. maybe he is just some chemical engineer using a method that was used for another project and he is trying to apply it there?
It seems really counterproductive to use co solvents and contaminate a great extract… maybe he can only do really low pressure and he requires the co solvent to help the efficiency??
I found material with a moisture content of around 10% to be fine. I don’t know what the implications of a slight amount of carbonic acid could mean?
I have heard it can make oils rancid, but have run vegetable oils at 10+% moisture and had them test very low in peroxide values in respect to oxidation and rancidity. I do not see any problems with around 10% moisture, the water sometimes comes out with the extract and is sitting on top and the few mls there can be poured off.

And from yet another hero!
I. Extraction was performed by sub and supercritical CO2:
Subcritical (liquid): 10-12 ºC @ 65-70 bar for approximately 6 hrs.
Supercritical (liqid/gas): 40-45 ºC @ 230 bar for approximately 4 hrs.
II. Separation of fats and sugars, by winterization, chromatography and high speed centrifugation.
This part was very critical in the purification schema and required analysis of both the anaylate and precipitate.
III. Purification, at this point one has two options, Flash Chromatography or Wiped Film Evaporation (Short-path)
I performed both and in both techniques, one can obtain purities in the range of 95-99% total THC (∆9, ∆8 and ∆6) with the purity of ∆9 ranging anywhere from 78-98% depending on the parameters set.
One last comment, probably the most important….. absolutely no petroleum derived hydrocarbon solvent was used. Except for the small amounts used for LC/MS analysis. This was my driving force to see if it could actually be pulled off.

We are moving this project from research to active experimentation in our FY 2013, now that the shack and Terpenators projects are a fait accompli. What I did in FY 2012, was simply research and develop resources.
It was good that I did, as further research put things in better perspective.
While I determined that my simple minded CO2 SCFE system would work, it raises a the bigger germane question of why is this trip necessary, given how effective BHO and some of the other extraction methods are. Why spend the money for this more expensive fish trap, if we already have the fish?
The answer lies in that what CO2 SFE extraction shines at, is selective extraction. By fine tuning the pressure and temperature, as well as using co-solvents, specific components may be extracted, while leaving behind everything else.
That is of less value when discussing cannabis essential oil extraction, in that it has been determined that it is the entourage effects of all the terpenes present, including the diterpene cannabinoids, that are responsible for its medicinal properties. That however doesn’t mean that we can’t specifically focus on that list of terpenes.
The other thing that my research made clear, and that is using one vessel to process the material and raise the pressure in, would result in extractions along the entire temperature/pressure curve. Woops, no selectivity there, but easily solved by bringing the liquid CO2 or dry ice up to a higher temperature and pressure in a separate vessel, and then equalizing it with the one containing the plant material! Easy, but the system complexity grows.
One of the interesting things that my research turned up during tete a tetes with brothers owning and operating commercial CO2 SCFE’s, and bumblers like myself whomping up DYI ghetto extraction equipment, is the wide range of processes that different operators have achieved a modicum of success at.
One operator simply took the valve out of a CO2 bottle and filled it with plant material and dry ice, before replacing the valve and heating the tank to SCFE ranges. He then inverted the tank and vented the CO2 into a catch container, where it left cannabis essential oils behind.
He claimed his best success using co-solvents at ~5500 psi and that his product was superior to all competing, but alas, I was never able to sample it and his spamming got him banned from the forums where we shared information.
Commercial SCFE operators report successful sub critical products as low as 350psi, and another at 850psi, but I haven’t been able to sample their successes, to confirm my own opinion of product quality. There in lies the rub of course, as there is no common measurement and each creator loves his creation.
Fortune has ostensibly smiled on us however, in that two of the operators that I have been conversing with, have agreed to work more closely with us and to supply confirmation samples. Hee, hee, hee……………………………
Even simpler DIY SCFE C02 6-2-13
Hee, hee, hee, you have to admire simplicity. Here is the system by jyndustriez which I mentioned, that simply puts the plant material in an off the shelf CO2 tank, and floods it with liquid C02 from a second off the shelf tank, before heating to achieve super critical state.
More information on how he accomplishes that at http://jyndustriez.blogspot.com/, but here are some pictures he has shared:

Progress! We got to play with a donated SCFE CO2 extraction sample and were able to heat it under vacuum and observe the effects.
As received, the sample was in a “wax” hydrate form, and was not aromatic. The flavor was mild, and the effects were good.
As it was a small sample, I was unable to winterize it to remove the waxes, but I was able to heat it to 115F, under vacuum, and observe what happened.
The sample out gassed significant CO2, even though at 115F decarboxylation was minimal, and never quite turned clear, due to the high wax content, but that isn’t unique, as BHO extracts are improved by wax removal as well.
On the surface however, the wax content seemed high, compared to our typical BHO extraction, so I look forward to a large enough sample to winterize and determine just how much.
Here is a starting and ending photo, demonstrating the ending wax content.
To add to our excitement, last week we got a guided tour of Eden Labs during our recent business trip to Seattle! What fun!!!
Patrick, one of Eden Lab’s bright new sales consultants, attended one of our BHO classes and subsequently invited us for a tour, so how could we resist, hee, hee, hee, snicker, snark, snort………………?
Always a pleasure to see how the pros from Dover do things, and I do likes the way they detail a package.
We lucked out in finding the original creator available and got our guided tour from Fritz himself. Besides his latest creation, we got to see not only his original test sled, but some of the R&D that may make great strides someday, when Fritz can find enough time to finish them, between current product demands……….
Their latest all stainless creation was in final assembly and testing, and was capable of extracting not only with subcritical and Super critical C02, but also with refrigerants like butane and propane.
It was appointed well, and used pneumatic intensifiers both for the hydrocarbon pump, as well as the SCFE CO2 pump.
It also sported a unique closure system, which simply spins close and that greatly simplifies loading, as compared to a 12 bolt flange with a torque wrench.
The vessel itself uses a Schedule 160 stainless core, but adds water jackets, so as to permit the use of a commercial heater/chiller for temperature control.
The unit that we looked at, had a $60K base price, plus the price of the hydrocarbon extraction capabilities. Not cheap, and more complicated that most folks should attempt at home, but if you need a machine capable of a quality extract, in commercial quantities, you will need to step up to a system of this caliber, which includes pumps to cycle the C02, and C02 recycle to recover it afterwards.
Fritz did note that one of the things on his list of thangs he is juggling, is a smaller lab sized unit, which fills the market window for a smaller unit that doesn’t recycle. Looking forward to see what comes up there!
From a process perspective, Fritz shared that the aromatic extractions are best done at low pressures and as the pressure goes up, so does the rate of chlorophyll extraction. Based on his and other input, I will focus on the range from 800 psi to 3500 psi. While I’ve heard operating parameters up to 9500 psi, the lower ranges sound more believable.
As unbelievable as it may sound, ah think sometimes operators shuck me, cause they are trying to protect process secrets and lead me astray.
Lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 The Great Spirit smiled and JYNdustriez loaned us a CO2 extraction setup and will show us how to use it, when he visits to watch Dr. Fischedick’s lecture on 11-2.
I’ve also located a local brother with an Eden Lab machine, who is amenable to experimentation, so things are heating up in the area of CO2 extraction at Skunk Pharm Research. We will have machines from both ends of the price scale to experiment with.
Sound CO2 has also extended us an invitation to visit, and they run Apeks equipment, soooo even though our CO2 project was slow getting in motion this year, it looks like it is finishing with a bang.
Hee, hee, hee, check out JYN’s latest link on DIY SCFE CO2 http://jyndustriezllc.com/diy-co2-extraction-crumble-wax-shatter/




CAT Scientific MCS 66 Stirring Hotplate Test Posted by Skunk Pharm Research,LLC.

For ya’ll brothers and sisters doing serious extraction and alchemy requiring a stirring hotplate, heads up, cause we’ve been testing a CAT MCS 66 that bears your attention and investigation. We use a stirring hot plate for various things and have gotten by using our aging Thermolyne, but have never been able to maintain accurate even heating in the low ranges between 18C/85F and 46C/115F, so it requires constant monitoring. We’ve tested the CAT MCS 66 in a variety of different applications, both in the lower ranges, as well as above 100C/212F, and it adds new meaning to the word steady. For instance, it kept a solution at 46.C for two days without ever flickering to 45.9 or 46.1C. Wanna talk about stirring ability? How about spinning a stir bar in cold vegetable glycerin through a stainless steel bain marie container? Hee, hee, hee………….. Check out this vortex with water at less than half throttle……..   Those of ya’ll who like to play with buttons, will love the digital LCD display, and array of membrane button choices. Besides individual on/off buttons for overall power, there are individual controls for the plate power and the stirring motor. There are two up down buttons, and selection buttons for setting plate temperature, stirring motor rpm, container volume, how fast a ramp up, timer, upper limits, and monitoring the temperature of an emersion thermocouple that plugs in to the base. The thermocouple monitors the actual temperature of your solution, separate from monitoring set point and hot plate surface temperature. With water, at 36C set point, the hot plate held steady at precisely 36C, and the 500 ml of water came up to and stabilized at a rock steady 28.5C.   read and ask questions http://skunkpharmresearch.com/cat-scientific-mcs-66-stirring-hotplate-test/




The Mk IVA Phoenix Terpenator

The Mk IVA Phoenix Terpenator
Posted December 7, 2013 by Skunk Pharm Research,LLC in Projects. 7 Comments
Behold the Mk IV Phoenix, risen from the ashes of the Chimera and embracing everything that we’ve learned to this point.
This prototype has a 10″ X 12″ lower spool and a 4″ X 36″ column. I put that size column on it for a January shoot out in Seattle, but it will accept anything from a 2″ X 24″ column up to a 4″ X 36″ column.
One of the things that we’ve learned and which has been addressed in the Mk IVA, and that is that stainless to stainless threaded fittings can be problematic, so the IVA uses welded manifolds, rather than manifolds assembled out of pipe fittings.
It has two sight glasses to monitor what is going on, and has a thermocouple in the tank, to monitor the internal temperature during processing.
Read more at http://skunkpharmresearch.com/the-mk-iva-phoenix-terpenator/:

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While glass containers (bottles etc.) existed well before the 19th century, one must always keep in mind that until the latter part of that century, the glass container could easily cost more than the product that was being sold inside it. Given that cost factor, it was expected that once empty, the bottle would be cleaned and reused. It was expected and normal for the druggist to take an apothecary jar off the shelf and simply fill or refill the customer's container.

Picture Gallery of Veterinary Products    

3.0- Apothecary (Cannabis) Containers:

3.1 - About Apothecary Containers:
Like all so many other collectors before me, I mistakenly used to think of these old pharmaceutical containers (whether ceramic jar or glass bottles) as being analogous to some of those old decorative glass cake & pie stands, that can still be found on many a mom & pop restaurant counters. They act as advertisements to remind one of dessert. They beautify the pies, make them look more desirable and, I suppose, more saleable, but other than that have absolutely nothing to do with the pies themselves. And even ignoring the fact that the pies are being oxidized, actually ruining their taste, it still makes for a lot of work just to keep them clean and maintained.

However, the more one delves into the subject, the more impressed one becomes. Some of these old apothecary containers (the snowglobes) were more than just pretty advertisements; they even served as one of our first national health alert systems. According to the California Pharmacists Association: In order to truly appreciate the importance of apothecary containers, one must remember that while glass containers (bottles etc.) existed well before the 19th century until the latter part of that century, the glass container itself could easily cost more than the product that was being sold inside it. Given that cost factor, it was expected that once empty, the bottle would be cleaned and reused. It was also expected and normal for the druggist to take an apothecary jar off the shelf and simply fill or refill the customer's container.

It should also be noted that in the 19th century, and even into the early part of the 20th century, it was common practice for pharmacists to manufacture at least some of their own medicines. The pharmacist (who in many cases was also the local town general store owner) would simply ask local farmers to grow Indian Hemp (among other herbs) for them. Cannabis (the flower tops of the hemp plant) thus obtained would then be prepared and either stored in apothecary jars until sold in bulk (solid or powder) form or taken to the back room and brewed into tinctures or other medicines.

And while, realistically speaking, most of these bulk preparations would end up in the back room (most likely stored in bins and old boxes) at least those placed by the front counter would be stored in apothecary containers.

But still, after all, is said and done, it must be remembered that the apothecary jar's main purpose was as an early form of advertising. The more beautiful the container the better the sales. And this, at a time before brand-name products and Madison Avenue, was no small feat.

3.2 - APOTHECARIES - (A Time Line):
Leaving aside Tin's and Box containers; In general, apothecary containers can be subdivided into ceramic jars (used to store solid or powdered Cannabis flower tops) and glass bottles (used mostly for liquid tinctures). The jars normally had large lids to allow for a hand to reach in, and the glass bottles used for tinctures would have smaller bottlenecks, for poring.

Apothecary containers can range anywhere from beautifully crafted multicolor vessels to the cheapest glass jars with only a label to distinguish them. They could have been custom built in glass houses, or originally meant for other purposes (say to store peach preserves), and simply utilized for this purpose because of their size. Note: Pharmaceutical wholesale books were full of pre-printed labels for sale, just for this purpose.

I myself put the golden age for Cannabis apothecary containers between 1840 and 1910. And while Cannabis was still well in use into the 1930's, it must be remembered that by the late 19th century "brand-name drugs" slowly began to replace locally grown products. People wanted the security and presumed superior quality that a "brand name" could give them.

As more and more pre-packaged medicines made their way onto store shelves, the age of the apothecary came to an end. By the late 1930s, old apothecaries were more likely to hold candy than medicines.

As can be seen in the photos [see Pictures], the flowering tops were not the only medical parts of the Hemp Plant that was sold in apothecary shops. [see Chapter 19 -- On Medical Hemp Seed Oil.] Although, it is unclear from the label whether this container was used to store plain Hemp Seeds or actual Hemp Seed Oil.

Not all pharmacists stored their Cannabis (as well as other bulk medicines) in Apothecary jars. As can be seen by the photos, [see Pictures] some simply used multi-drawer wooden cabinets. These cabinets looked pretty much like the ones found today in Chinese herb shops. [Reference should be made to Chapter 5 -- Cannabis Bulk Containers]

While Large (Display) Glass Bottles worked fine for liquid (Cannabis) Tinctures and such. They were impractical for use with the solid (loose-leaf) medical products also sold in bulk by pharmacies. Simply put, the bottle tops simply weren't practical (or big) enough for the job.

Thus (for obvious reasons) Ceramic Jars also found their way onto the shelves of most apothecary shops. Like their glass bottle counterparts, they were attractive (some being hand-painted works of art) and thus served as a good advertising tool, but most important of all, they had BIG lids, which allowed the proprietor to stick his/her hand in and scoop up the product.

[see Chapter 5 -- Cannabis Bulk Containers]
When dealing with antique Cannabis Tin Containers, the main problem the antique collector quickly finds is that there really aren't that many of them still around today. While Glass and Ceramic containers are still abounding, Tin Containers (Mostly due to their ugliness I feel) simply weren't kept.

One would assume that as a rule of thumb the well-crafted custom-built ones, which seem to have been used mostly by pharmacies on the east coast, and in many cases were imported, would carry the most value. And to some extent that is true.

But the market is kind of crazy right now, with no rhyme or reason. So long as the label "Cannabis" can still be seen, even the cheapest lousiest-looking things are going for outrageous prices.

Prices at the present time are outrageous. If the apothecary says "Cannabis," as opposed to, say, Belladonna, then be prepared to add a zero to the price tag. Even cheap glass containers (as long as the label "Cannabis" is still readable) are going for hundreds of dollars and the custom-built ones going for over $600. I myself will not even try to give a price range for them right now. As a rule of thumb, find a similar container, add a zero to the price and multiply by two, but again that is just a rule of thumb.

But if the warning "let the buyer beware" ever applied, this is it. We are dealing with a product where (in many cases) only a label stands between an old piece of junk glass and a hundred-dollar apothecary antique. And if that label reads "Cannabis," then the price goes up a couple of hundred dollars or more. And the problem is that many of those old labels are still lying around out there waiting to be used.

Without any proof, I would say that at least 50% of the cannabis apothecary jars now in circulation are out-and-out fakes. And because of the high demand, we can expect that figure to grow.

Even the crafted custom apothecaries can be deceiving; I've seen one that looked so beautifully well preserved that its label could have been painted just a few years ago---and after a close examination, I would say that it was.

Only the label under glass (where the label was sandwiched between two layers of glass) type seem to be reproduction-free for now. But given the interest and steadily rising demand and increasing prices, I feel it's only a matter of time.

In general (and with great sadness) I would advise the first-time collector to avoid the area of apothecary containers altogether until a certain degree of expertise is developed. Rule of thumb; if you can't figure out how to fake one, don't buy it.





Decarboxylation Posted by Skunk Pharm Research,LLC. Cannabis produces phyto cannabinoids in a carboxylic acid form that are not orally active at least at the CB-1 receptor sites, because they don’t readily pass the blood brain barrier in their polar form. To enable them to pass the blood brain barrier, they must first be decarboxylated, to remove the COOH carboxyl group of atoms, which exits in the form of H20 and CO2. Decarboxylation occurs naturally with time and temperature, as a function of drying, but we can shorten the amount of time required considerably, by adding more heat. The more heat, the faster it occurs, within reasonable ranges, and in fact occurs spontaneously when the material is burned or vaporized. There is another mechanism at play however, which suggests that we need to control the decarboxylation temperatures carefully. When we heat cannabis to convert the THCA and CBDA into THC and CBD, we are also converting THC to CBN at a faster rate. At about 70% decarboxylation, we actually start converting THC to CBN at a faster rate than we are converting THCA to THC, so as you can see by the following graph, after about 70% decarboxylation, the levels of THC actually start to fall sharply. That of course means that the CBN also begins to rise and the medication is becoming more sedative. Thank you Jump 117 for this excellent graph! Decarboxylation graph Another fly in the ointment, is that we can never know for sure exactly what the starting state of decarboxylation is, so the times at temperature shown on the graphs are an average. We can’t expect dry material placed in an oven at any given temperature to be that uniform temperature throughout instantly upon placing it in a heated oven, nor know for sure the state of decarboxylation by simple observation. Decarboxylating plant material, also alters the taste (roasted/toasted), which some find less agreeable, and of course decarboxylating also evaporates away the smaller Monoterpenes and Sequiterpenes alcohols, phenols, ketones, aldehydes, ethers, and esters. The good news is that it is dirt simple to monitor the state of cannabis oil decarboxylation placed in a 121C/250F hot oil bath, because you can watch the CO2 bubble production. Just like the curves suggest, CO2 bubble production will proceed at its own observable rate. By keeping the puddle of oil lightly stirred on the bottom and in the corners of the pot (I use a bamboo skewer), so as to keep the bubbles broken free and floating to the top, you can tell exactly when the bubble formation suddenly tapers off at the top of the curve. That is the point that we take it out of the oil for maximum head effect, and we leave it in until all bubbling stops, if we want a more sedative night time med. Here are a couple pictures of what oil looks like when boiling off the residual butane. Residual butane or alcohol produces larger, randomly sized bubbles, and is fully purged, when they cease. I am seemingly missing the middle picture of the CO2 bubbles, so I will add it later, but the second picture shows what fully decarboxylated oil looks like. Residual solvent bubbles above: Quiescent oil.   Join us here on the site to talk with the Pharmers today.




New Ventilation Cabinet

New Ventilation Cabinet Posted February 5, 2013 by Skunk Pharm Research,LLC in Projects   Here is our new ventilation cabinet for alchemy, which uses outside makeup air, so as to not pull heated or air conditioned air out of the room and as a backup precaution against venting noxious vapors into the lab. The makeup air slot is 3/4″ wide and at the bottom of the makeup air plenum, and the exhaust plenum has a 3/4″ inch slot at the bottom, to pick up heavier than air fumes, and a 3/4″ slot at the top for the lighter than air fumes. The door uses a piano hinge and closed cell weather stripping for a seal. The veiw window is 1/4″ Lexan.   Learn more here And be sure to click this link to join our cannabis teaching forum