DIY 8 Minute Home CBD Indicator Test! (Clear and Accurate Results!)

in cbd •  last year

Simple, Reliable, and Quick!

This test uses materials you can usually find in your own house. When you need to reliably test multiple plants for CBD content, This test uses only a tiny (35mg) sample of cannabis and produces highly accurate results. I'm sharing this with the cannabis community to help us test cannabis for CBD, cleanly, quickly and efficiently.

This test takes 8 minutes for a positive or negative result. The color purple appears when CBD is present in the sample. The darker the purple, the higher the CBD content.


Where possible, I've listed the exact same items I use. The vials can be washed and re-used. The remaining materials are enough for over 100 tests. A minimum of 3 vials(3 tests) per sample of cannabis are recommended.


Sodium hydroxide is lye, and if it comes in direct contact with skin, it will cause a chemical burn. However, the amount being used is very small, and will wash off quickly with soap. Also, immediately clean up any spills, because they will absorb moisture from the air and chemically burn the surface they're on. A plastic sheet on the flat surface makes for easy clean up, w/spill protection. Keep the container tightly closed to keep it from absorbing moisture from the room air. :)

Isopropyl alcohol is flammable. Please keep the containers closed when you're not actively pouring from them. Please keep the bottles and any potential spills away from open flames. The small amounts used in each sample bottle can be safely rinsed down the sink.

Ready? Here We GO! (Pictures Follow Instructions)

Find a smooth and flat surface, with a counter next to a sink being an ideal location. Spread out a protective sheet of plastic (if you have one), put on your gloves and let's get started.

  1. Open a 1 dram vial and place it in the center of your workspace. Keep the lid close by.
  2. After remembering to calibrate the digital scale, measure out 500mg of sodium hydroxide crystals and add them to the vial. (I use a small piece of paper with a crease in it, to make transfer to the vial easier. Place the paper on the scale and hit "tare" before weighing out the samples)
  3. Weigh out 250mg of activated charcoal and keep it close by.
  4. Using CLEAN scissors, cut your cannabis sample in tiny pieces and weigh out 35mg. Place the sample in the vial with the sodium hydroxide. Remember to clean the scissors before cutting up your next sample. Isopropyl alcohol will remove any cannabis residue quickly, while leaving a clean surface. Clean samples means more accurate results!
  5. DILUTE some of the Isopropyl alcohol to approximately 50%. I use a small glass or plastic container (with a lid) and add half 91% iso and half filtered water(it's close enough to 50%). Keep this container close by, with the lid closed.
  6. HALF fill the vial with 91% Isopropyl alcohol, and cap tightly.
  7. Shake the vial gently for 2 full minutes. The sodium hydroxide crystals may clump, so flick the vial with your finger a few times to dislodge them. You want the cannabis and crystals completely moving within the vial. The vial may get warm, which is fine. At the end of 2 minutes, some of the sodium hydroxide crystals might still be present, and this is also fine. Move on to the next step.
  8. Open the vial and add your 50% isopropyl/water solution to the shoulder of the vial, right where it necks down for the cap. Replace the cap on the vial and the alcohol.
  9. Shake the vial gently for 2 full minutes.
  10. Add the 250mg of activated charcoal you weighed out earlier to the vial. Close the cap on the vial.
  11. Shake the vial gently for 2 full minutes.
  12. Let the vial sit for an additional 2 minutes. Purple indicates the presence of CBD!

Really, that's how simple it is. You can now rinse the vial out in the sink with water, and rinse all the sodium hydroxide and isopropyl alcohol down the drain. Make sure you wash your hands with soap and water, and rinse them really well.

Comparing Test Results for Highest CBD Content

So, you have a few (or many) different plants you want to test against each other? Add an additional 10 minutes of wait time, before comparing. The more precise you are with your sample weights and shaking times, the more accurate the results will be. I recommend using 3 tests for each plant, to get the most accurate average of each. Label them carefully!

Wet Samples?

Yes! Wet samples will also work! Use a sample about the same size as a 35mg sample would be. Too much will clog the vial, too little won't create enough color to accurately tell CBD content.


500mg of Sodium Hydroxide in a Vial


35mg Sample of Cannabis


Test at 2 minutes shaking with 91% and 2 minutes shaking with 50%


250mg of Activated Charcoal Granules Added


Leaf From Vegging "Canna-Tsu" Plant at 8 Minutes


Very Low Quality "Blue Dream" at 8 Minutes


Only 30mg of a Clone, From the Same "Canna-Tsu" Plant, at 7 Weeks of Flower

Such a pretty purple!!
I was told this particular cut of Canna-Tsu is around 20%+ CBD and around 8-9% THC. It's also not done flowering for a full 73 days, so this test shows less CBD than the final 20%+ it normally would. :)

Most Accurate Results for Comparison Between Plants,

Are Obtained Using extremely dry samples, evenly crushed to a powder. Removing all water removes the variable of weight. We want to only be weighing cannabis tissue.

Comparison Between 3 Different Strains

Cannatonic, a Blue Ox cross and my cut of Canna-Tsu (Tsue)

Donations are Greatly Appreciated

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You guys re-steem?? This information needs someone with a LOT of followers in the cannabis community. Right?

This took me a while to figure out. The original information I started with used a charcoal pellet and 50% isopropyl alcohol. After some research, I worked on two major portions of the information.

  • Insufficient extraction from using 50% iso
  • Insufficient oxygen for color reaction from charcoal pellet

Tests with only 91% iso did not dissolve enough sodium hydroxide for reliable results. Neither did 75%. The decision to test two different percentages of iso hit me, the rest is history. Yes, it took a while to figure out an easy and accurate way to do repeated tests. lol Getting the right amount of sodium hydroxide in solution, without danger of burning was also interesting. ;)

35mg of cannabis is about the perfect 'size' for a dry sample. It took a few tests to determine this was the ideal amount, physically and chemically.

The rest was test after test with different charcoal amounts to determine the ideal 250mg of activated charcoal granules.

Go Be Awesome!


1 Dram Vials Link has been fixed, it was pointing to the Nitrile Gloves! My apologies!


That reminds me of what Rick was saying a chunk of years back, when other people were saying that alcohol was a better solvent for extraction, when making what has been come to be known as "Rick Simpson Oil."

He chose PURE naptha, as it seemed to provide a fuller extraction of the active cannabinoids than other solvents. Trouble is, people didn't like to listen when he said PURE naptha, or that ALL of the solvent needs to be removed.

Note: The man who coined the term "Rick Simpson Oil" was the one and only Jack Herer, for those who didn't know. Rick still calls if "hemp oil" or "cannabis oil" or "hash oil." All those terms are pretty much interchangeable, as they all refer to the "whole plant extract of the cannabis plant."



I'm aware of the misunderstanding people have, and I still have personal issues with naptha itself. I simply do not touch my cannabis with petroleum products. Period. No worries, I simply make sure I give people full disclosure when I share my cannabis. It's the decent thing to do. :)


I understand where you're coming from. Rick himself--despite what you may have heard--also understands, as he can see that not all people have an engineering background, and are capable of building distillation systems capable of removing ALL of the solvent.

For that very reason, he has said that ethanol can be used, as it's easier to get the last bits of solvent out of the end product.

Personally, I don't trust the idea of isopropyl since it's far more toxic than ethanol (a.k.a.: booze), and can cause blindness, among many other types of physical damage, if it is not COMPLETELY excised from the final product.

A lot of people "assume" that pharmaceutical chemicals (which is what they all REALLY ARE) are NOT made with a thousand different solvents...and many of them are far more toxic than PURE naptha. Trouble is, few people are interested in looking into things once they've gotten "what they believe is an unchanging scientific fact."

Take "anthropogenic global warming"...err..."global warming"....err..."climate change"...err..."carbon pollution" know..."the science is settled." d=^/

PS: I also don't much care for the idea of butane extractions...especially since most butane is sold with rust inhibitors, as is naptha, so you end up with the exact same problems of contamination, although you never seem to hear THAT mentioned.


Isopropyl alcohol does accumulative damage. Sam the Skunkman states he's tested more extractions than probably anyone. Not once, no matter how many times it was "washed or purged," has he ever had an iso extraction test negative for iso. Bleah.

Yeah, ethanol is great because I don't need to worry about the tiny residual alcohol in it. Not a bit.

Professional butane extraction companies re-distill large quantities of butane, for the sole purpose of removing mercaptans and other mystery oils. Significantly cleaner than most DIY extractors, I still prefer ethanol. lol To each their own. :D


I love NOT being the only person who's ever done some actual research into THE ACTUAL FACTS. d=O)

A good starting point for those who haven't yet started looking:


Blasted the link out to twitter, linkedin and minds for good measure! Hope that brings a bit of traffic back your good information is better when it's in more people's hands!



In the Remote Corners of the World, Whispers of

"Electropig, Electropig, Electropig," reverberate through society. Totally awesome, Karma takes excellent notes and will reward you, I'm sure. :D

Thank You!

One day I’ll get me a cbd rich strain to grow and i bookmarked this page so when the day comes! Very interesting post. It’s amaz CBD is the future of medicine but it’s always been here. Better late then never i guess.


Argh! Had to update the original post, the sodium hydroxide amount should be 500, not 700mg.

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Fantastic @thecleangame! Thanks for making sure that I saw this! I greatly appreciate it. I will be studying the procedure.
Rebecca ;)


You Bet!

Glad to see you had a chance to go over it. :) Looking forward to seeing the test results of what you're growing as well. :D


Had to update the post, the 700mg was wrong for the sodium hydroxide. My notes say 500mg, the 700mg came from a test which showed 700mg was too much. I'm partially blaming it on this poor quality Blue Dream. LOL

Apologies for any inconvenience!

Pretty interesting, I'll have to find the right materials and give this a try.


Be sure to see the edit I made. I copied the wrong info from my notes and the sodium hydroxide is 500mg, not 700mg. My apologies!


I'm looking forward to seeing this test added to every smoke and strain report on the web. :) My focus is CBD centric, due to issues and I know a lot of others who are the same way. :)

Nice work. Thanks for sharing


Thank You

My wife says it was more like 2 weeks. lol I get a little focused when I do R&D work. LOL

wow this seems like a science project, i would be too stoned to get this right! haha! x good to know how thankyou x


It can seem like a lot, yet when you actually do it you see how simple it is. :) Pass the info on to the growers you know, especially any who are breeding cannabis or sprouting seeds looking for CBD. :D (Have you looked at sourcing 'functional' strains of cannabis? hehehehe)

Go Be Awesome!

Anyone upvoting this fool is getting scammed. He’ll return the favor by spamming your future posts with crap about how great he and one other unnamed guy are in comparison to everyone else...


Thank You For The Comment

We can't all be super awesome people, but I do my personal best. I do respond rather negatively to negativity. My wife is the supreme diplomat, where my skills are lacking.

Thanks for Dropping By! :D

Please post more comments, people need to see this information and you're helping raise the post in the ranks. (Also use the test method I posted and select higher CBD content for your personal use. Works wonders for me personally!)


Do You Use Methylsulfonylmethane? (MSM)

If you're not supplementing with it, definitely look into it. Someone tipped me to it about a month ago and it's been remarkable for the pain. ;)

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