A lot of time and money goes into marijuana research. But what if I told you that you could take a nug of weed, place it in an espresso machine and extract cannabis ingredients in under one minute?
OK, that’s an oversimplified description. Still, it’s more or less what a team of researchers was able to accomplish in a recent experiment detailed in a manuscript due to be published in The International Journal of Pure and Applied Analytical Chemistry.
Via The International Journal of Pure and Applied Analytical Chemistry.
The team wanted to test whether espresso-based extraction—a novel and relatively inexpensive analytic method, raved about in scientific literature—could be applied to marijuana. And it turns out that it can!
You don’t need a fancy, $2,000 setup, either. For the experiment, the researchers used a Nespresso Essenza Manual XN2003 machine, which goes for about $300 on eBay. (It’s not currently available on Amazon, though—possibly because they’ve all been snatched up by the chemist community).
“The use of hard cap espresso machines has been recently proposed for analytical extractions due to its easy use, speed, availability and low price, providing efficient extraction of organic compounds from solid samples in few seconds,” the researchers wrote.
Seized cannabis provided by Unidad de Inspección de Farmacia y Control de Drogas del Área de Sanidad in Valencia, Spain, was inserted into the filter after a thorough cleaning. The hard cap espresso machine was used to extract three main ingredients from the plant (THC, CBD and CBN).
Then the results of those extracts were cross-referenced with extractions of the same sample using three different, more traditional methods: Ultrasound-assisted extraction, gaschromatography-mass spectrometry and ion mobility spectrometry (IMS).
And consistent with results from non-marijuana-related studies, the extraction method seemed to work—in under one minute.
“It has been evidenced that the developed method for the major cannabinoids extraction is a really encouraging example of the wide range of possibilities that a conventional and low cost hard cap espresso assisted extraction could offer in analytical laboratories,” according to the study.
“The quantitative extraction of THC, CBD and CBN from buds, leaves and stems has been achieved in a single and fast extraction of 40 seconds.”
The researchers noted that after using a rigorous multi-step cleaning method, the coffee machine has been “used in our laboratory during the last two and a half years without observing any damage or incident.”
See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:
Scientists Discover You Can Use Espresso Machines To Make Marijuana Extracts
There’s irony everywhere you look in the cannabis culture. From Hawaii’s medical legalization that allows small gardens, but prohibits citizens from purchasing seeds or clones, to the judges who sentence inner city youth for minor possession and then go home and smoke up themselves, many characteristics of the pot world are rife with hypocrisy and double standards.
The pot fields of the Himalayan valley in India, situated at a potency-enhancing elevation of 10,000 feet, are no exception. Regarded by many as the homeland for a variety of high-quality indica landrace strains, Himalaya maintains a small cannabis tourism business despite the fact that most villagers who produce the herb remain impoverished.
Most of this poverty is caused by the simple fact that marijuana is officially outlawed in India, and has been since 1985. As a result, the majority of the profits are kept by the distributors, rather than the farmers. These black market operators take not only the cannabis and hash to distribute, but also most of the cash.
Poverty & Top-Shelf Hash
Despite this trade inequality, top-shelf Indian hashish from the region, which is called charas, is highly valued throughout Europe and around the world.
Unlike Colombian fair-trade coffee farmers, no such protections exist for Himalayan villagers cultivating thousands of acres of illegal cannabis destined to become high-priced hash in boutique smoking cafes in Amsterdam, Barcelona, and other canna-friendly regions of Europe.
After it reaches its retail destination, charas sells for 10 times what it fetches within the confines of these small, backward communities where 10 grams of the potent hashish costs as little as $30.
According to one villager,
“In Amsterdam, it’s like a vintage car. Dealers can name their price.”
Paved roads do not exist in these remote villages of the Himalayas, so walking time remains the main measurement for distances. This has made it quite difficult for law enforcement to locate and eradicate the huge fields of marijuana growing in the region. Some of these massive cultivation sites are estimated to be as large as 3,000 acres, often blanketing entire mountains.
Why don’t villagers switch to a different crop or seek employment elsewhere? The work simply isn’t available. Cannabis farming and the production of charas hash are literally the only ways of putting food on the table for thousands of residents within these communities.
Steeped in Tradition
The Himalayan region features a long tradition of cannabis cultivation that dates back to 2,000 BC. Hash production and consumption is highly ingrained in Indian culture; it’s even mentioned in the Hindu scriptures. While some efforts have been made to introduce legal farm crops to the region, most villagers show little interest. This is mostly because such crops produce for farmers income that’s equal to or less than what they receive for cannabis, obviously giving them little or no motivation to become legal farmers of things like sweet peas and beans.
Of course, this needless poverty could be eradicated if cannabis was simply legalized in the country and fair-trade relationships were established with villagers in the region, giving them a larger slice of the pie. This would help remove the criminal elements that are currently grabbing the lion’s share of profits and lift residents of the Himalayan region out their third-world subsistence, vastly improving education, health care, and their overall quality of life.
Just as in other areas of the world, prohibition is penalizing Indian villagers by perpetuating their poverty and handing the spoils of the drug war to outside criminal elements.
Emmy award winning journalist, Mike Sugerman, is a registered medical marijuana patient in the state of California. Recently, while suffering from a bacterial infection in his aorta, he was medicating with cannabis, and realized he did not know exactly what was in the medicine he was smoking and eating. He decided to purchase $600 in cannabis flowers, concentrates and edibles for a CBS San Francisco report to have them lab tested in order to satisfy this curiosity. Unfortunately for the medical marijuana world in California, the findings were not good.
The Federal Drug Administration is not permitted to regulate the cannabis industry because the plant is still classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which means it is considered to have no recognized medical use in the United States. It cannot be government regulated until it is re-classified or unclassified all-together. As of October 2014, all cannabis sold at dispensaries in Colorado must be lab tested, but California has no such regulation.
Sugerman realized through ingesting cannabis edibles that the effects produced were inconsistent. Sometimes he would not feel any relief from eating a certain amount of marijuana edibles, while another day eating the exact same amount would cause him to feel overly medicated. The same amount did not result in the same effect.
The investigation included products purchased at 12 different dispensaries throughout San Francisco and Oakland. This $600 worth of medical marijuana buds, edibles, and shatter wax were taken to Steep Hill Labs in Oakland for thorough testing.
An Edipure brand edible scored the worst during testing. According to the label, this particular item contained 100 milligrams, but when lab tested, it only contained 1.3. That is off by 98.7 percent. Chief research officer at Steep Hill, Dr. Kymron Decesare, told Sugerman that they tested this particular item multiple times because of the extreme misrepresentation. Other tested edibles were off by 25 and 50 percent. Steep Hill Labs also concluded that gummy bears and lozenges sold in the same package were not consistently dosed because the measure milligrams varied from piece to piece.
The cannabis flowers that were tested also produced worrisome results for medical marijuana smokers in California. Both mold and pesticides were abundant, and over 40 percent of the flowers tested would not be sold under Colorado regulations. Molds like aspergillums and penicillin contain deadly toxins that could result in death.
The cannabis shatter, a concentrated form that is used for dabs, also tested poorly. Steep Hill found that 15 percent of this product contained benzene. Benzene is a hydrocarbon component of gasoline that is not approved for human consumption.
Unfortunately, this means that medical marijuana patients in California, specifically in San Francisco and Oakland, may not know what they are purchasing. A lab testing fail of this magnitude will hopefully spawn regulation reform in the state of California in the very near future.
photo credit: Dank Depot