Natural Decarboxylation Testing Program

GrowTutor members & staff share their knowledge of cannabis concentrates & extractions.
User avatar
PsychedelicSam
GrowTutor VIP Member
GrowTutor VIP Member
Posts: 115
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:09 am

Re: Natural Decarboxylation Testing Program

Post by PsychedelicSam »

So have I, toxic chemicals that is, but now I have a kidney transplant that I have to protect as well as a few other things so those chemicals are off the list for me. I don't buy acetone because I might use that since I'm very familiar with it and it's also produced by our bodies. It's natural, kind of, but still I don't want to take a chance. I do use my vape pen with RSO very occasionally and it seems to do a great job but I'm a joint man through and through. :nod:

User avatar
PsychedelicSam
GrowTutor VIP Member
GrowTutor VIP Member
Posts: 115
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:09 am

Re: Natural Decarboxylation Testing Program

Post by PsychedelicSam »

It seems like it's time that we got facts instead of conjecture about such an important part of the edibles experience. Since no one else seemed inclined, I've taken the sacrifice unto myself, you might say. At my income level it will take a while to get all the answers but it's worth it.

The moisture content is located at the bottom of the dry material test pages. The original had a moisture content of 7.51% and the decarbed was 1.82%. The original was dried but not cured and jarred until the time of the test, so you can see decrease in moisture in the decarbed sample. If you have plant material that is drier, you would use the same temp but less time and the same is true for age. As an example, a few days ago I made 3 batches of Green Dragon-Indica, Hybrid, and Sativa-and for each one I used a different decarb time due to the age of the material. The Indica was just a couple of months old so I used the full 30 minutes. The next one was the Hybrid and I knew that it had been outdoor grown and therefore had to be at least 6-7 months old. Since it had been jarred during much of that time and humidity controlled, I decarbed it for 20 minutes. The Sativa was the oldest, 9 months, and dry but jarred. I decarbed that one for 15 minutes because I didn't want to degrade the THC into CBN which is important for a Sativa. Too much decarb of that and your Sativa will put you to sleep instead of energizing you.

All of the above tinctures came out perfectly, not just by my standards but everyone who's used them. They are more psychoactive, all of them, than most people have experienced before. The key to good edibles and tinctures is in the decarb. If you had some brickweed, you wouldn't decarb at all because of the age of the material by the time it gets to us. Decarbing at that stage degrades a lot of the THC. Hopefully, by the time this project is finished we'll have data on all of that stuff.

User avatar
PsychedelicSam
GrowTutor VIP Member
GrowTutor VIP Member
Posts: 115
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:09 am

Re: Natural Decarboxylation Testing Program

Post by PsychedelicSam »

Tips Concerning Laboratory Analysis You Need to Know


Over the last few months I have been having a lot of things tested in preparation for this thread and I have found a lot of my assumptions about laboratory analysis are based upon a predilection to believe in "science" and not the actual science that's revealed. Lab testing is more of a crap shoot than an exact image of your cannabis product and if any of you have an inclination, as I do, to find out the real details in numbers and hard data, I want to take this opportunity to give you a little heads up about what to expect and what not to expect.

I have had samples tested about 15 times since I started this project and used 2 different labs in 2 different states, both medically legal states and all of them HPLC, High Performance Light Chromagraphy, which is the only method that provides the analysis of both the acid and active forms of cannabinoids separately, ie THC/THCA. Not all labs are able to do HPLC and the ones that do differ greatly. Most lab results that are quoted by dispensaries are Gas Chromagraphy and just measures total cannabinoids. You can't compare a GC result and an HPLC one.

The criteria for cannabis testing is controlled by the DEA. The states that have legalized in some form or other have to petition the federal government to be allowed permission to use those criteria in their individual states. Those states will then license the use of that data and the labs then have to apply for a license in order to receive and use the specific software, from the federal government, that reads those values. Because cannabis is Schedule 1, there are no independent sources that corroborate that data so that is one minus just coming out of the gate.

The lab I use in my state just recently got licensed to use the data to read for CBDA which came separately from the other HPLC testing. The other one I use is in a state where it's been legal for a while and they had the full set. I'm beginning to think that the local lab either got screwed by the state or can't read the results properly because their tests, at least for tintures, don't give anything other than THCA and THC. Because of that, I have to break off testing for a while.

Here's the main tip...if you're serious about the testing, be prepared to put out some cash. You will not get real world results with just one, especially if it's something other than plant material. Bud is fine, although I have seen some big mistakes, but edible and tincture testing is nowhere near perfect so you will have to perform extra tests just to zero in the range. That's where I am now. The last test was completely off the map due to some irregularities at the lab that I have now learned happens quite often. It's a complete wash and now I have to run some more tests so that I can dial in on the real results. I just don't have the cash right now to follow up on these. Hopefully some day.

If you're serious about setting up a testing project, be prepared for frustration as you learn that it isn't an exact science. If at all possible, use multiple labs. One lab may be really good at one thing but not another and vice versa with another lab. Some do edibles well while others don't. One may use linear graphs while others use a bar graph or pie chart and each is good for different data.

A good study takes time so while this thread may be inactive for long periods of time, it is not dead. I've got to do some more lab research and take care of my health, more importantly, over the next couple of months but the tests shall resume. If anyone out there has some tests on decarb or would like to participate, let me know. The more the merrier. :)

User avatar
GrowTutor
Professor A. GrowTutor
Posts: 363
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:30 pm
Contact:

Re: Natural Decarboxylation Testing Program

Post by GrowTutor »

If everyone is using the same federal criteria, you'd think that results would be more similar from lab to lab. Very interesting.

User avatar
PsychedelicSam
GrowTutor VIP Member
GrowTutor VIP Member
Posts: 115
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:09 am

Re: Natural Decarboxylation Testing Program

Post by PsychedelicSam »

It's the procedure that varies. The equipment, sampling size and that sort of thing. The criteria are the same but there seems to be no standardization for the actual testing. The criteria just allows them to search legally. And different states have licensing rules but mainly it shoddy workmanship. Many of the techs are college students and most haven't developed consistent technique. I asked the lab manager here just how much they use for a sample and they told me that they use whatever the tech feels like. That's why this lab can't give me mg/ml, only mg/g which isn't practical for liquids without knowing the weight and the volume. Someday, maybe. The one in Washington gave me accurate data and the actual cannabinoid percentage under 1%, all of them. The lab here doesn't think that those numbers are valuable and doesn't even read them.

User avatar
Heisenberg
GrowTutor VIP Member
GrowTutor VIP Member
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Nov 14, 2013 2:14 am

Re: Natural Decarboxylation Testing Program

Post by Heisenberg »

Thank-you so much for everything so far in this thread Sam.
Please use an "Internal Standard" in all future chromatograph analyses. A suitable I.S. elutes along with all analytes, so it shows up as another "peak" in the graphs. The reason to utilize an I.S. is so all test results can be Normalized. If you're unfamiliar with this technique your lab professionals doing the tests can help you adopt a suitable chemical. They would already know retention times for suitable Internal Standard chemicals, just evaluate their recommendation, they should have one. I would be honored to assist in any way I can to further your testing, in both data crunching and methodologies, to improve test result presentation to the novice, as well as quality control for accuracy and conclusiveness. Again, thank-you for sharing. You've stimulated me to apply my experience and knowledge to help the MS+ needs of the community

User avatar
PsychedelicSam
GrowTutor VIP Member
GrowTutor VIP Member
Posts: 115
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:09 am

Re: Natural Decarboxylation Testing Program

Post by PsychedelicSam »

I'm glad that I could stir you up and get you going, Heisenberg, but I'm afraid you lost me after the first sentence and I got the last couple. I believe each of the labs do have some internal standards that they adhere to and I was trying to get that info from the local one but got nowhere. The full assay has all the numbers from the battery of tests but doesn't give a layman's reference for the solvents used and other technical jargon. Analytical360 in Seattle was much better than the local one and I didn't really have too many complaints with them other than I couldn't talk to them in person but the local was really not in the same league.

I believe part of the problem was that they didn't have adequate procedures to deal with substances other than plant material for High Performance Laser Chromatography. Dispensaries and growers and others who use testing a lot only want the GC results which are cheaper and they don't need to know the amount of acids and active cannabinoids present in material that's going to be inhaled. That only comes into play when working with ingestables and the matter of bioavailablility comes up as well as the correct balance of those compounds for maximum medical effectiveness. I believe that the biggest problem is just standardization within the industry instead of state by state. Seattle's lab was able to give me all the acids and terpenes in the smallest percentages but the local wouldn't give me anything under 2% or give me a standard volume used for the tests. I don't know whether they just didn't have that skill set or didn't believe it was that important.

There aren't many people like me asking labs to give me the specifics on something other than plant material. Even though edibles and tinctures get tested, it's only for the amount of total cannabinoids per gram and not the amount of THCA and CBDA and CBGA or THC, CBD or CBG, etc. Whether a product is properly decarboxylated can't be seen with GC, only HPLC and to a small degree, TLC or Thin Layer Chromatography. But it's terribly important for people with various major diseases, particularly the MS, ALS and Parkinson's type nervous diseases. It's also important if people are taking serotonin uptake inhibitors and other similar medications or for people who've never used and are uncomfortable with the sensations normally present with a fully active product.

Unfortunately, my testing has come to a screeching halt for other than monetary reasons. I received a letter last week stating that the lab had shut down as of the week before. That leaves us with no available lab. Out of state labs don't let you send in samples. They have to be walked in so that won't be happening. I have some samples just waiting for cash but now I'm not sure how to proceed when I get the money. State law requires testing, though, so there should be someone to fill those shoes soon.

Thanks for your response and interest. I usually get an "uh-huh", a grunt and or glazed eyes. ;)

User avatar
SisterMaryElephant
GrowTutor Site Admin
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:02 pm
Contact:

Re: Natural Decarboxylation Testing Program

Post by SisterMaryElephant »

Glazed eyes can mean many things... :weedyum:
I also run a medical grow consulting business in SoCal.

Post Reply