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.
- Precision Digital Scale: I use this exact same scale for various projects, and it has the precision needed for weighing accurate samples.
- 50g Calibration Weight: Required for calibrating the digital scale.
- Quality Choice 91% Isopropyl Alcohol: A common household product, and must be 91%.
- Marineland Black Diamond 40oz Activated Charcoal: The activated charcoal must be granules, not pellets or powder.
- Rooto Professional Household 100% Lye 1lb.: This is the brand I use and it's 100% Sodium Hydroxide crystals. It's also quite handy for dissolving sink and drain clogs, Yaaaay!
- Nitrile, Powder Free Gloves (pack of 100) Sizes SM-XL: Any quality nitrile gloves will do. This brand has all sizes, plus case quantities.
- 1 Dram Vials w/Lid: Available in 12 to 288 packs. I already had a few vials, this seller has great reviews of high quality and no broken bottles. (unlike some other vendors sigh)
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.
- Open a 1 dram vial and place it in the center of your workspace. Keep the lid close by.
- 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)
- Weigh out 250mg of activated charcoal and keep it close by.
- 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!
- 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.
- HALF fill the vial with 91% Isopropyl alcohol, and cap tightly.
- 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.
- 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.
- Shake the vial gently for 2 full minutes.
- Add the 250mg of activated charcoal you weighed out earlier to the vial. Close the cap on the vial.
- Shake the vial gently for 2 full minutes.
- 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!
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.
Cannatonic, a Blue Ox cross and my cut of Canna-Tsu (Tsue)
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