Nicotine Extraction?

Post Reply
Hourman
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2021 10:10 am
Location: New Jersey

Nicotine Extraction?

Post by Hourman »

Let's start this thread by clarifying that I do not really want to extract my own nicotine. But I am puzzled by something, and would like to hear other's opinions. My "research" has been limited to reading posts on the ELR threads as well as here. This subject has been lightly touched on, but not explored in much depth. I believe that true scientific writing will be over my head, so I'm looking for a "laymen's" level of discussion. There are a few who claim to get nicotine in their extractions, and others that say it can't be done by our kitchen level experiments. The arguments against this ability are very persuasive to me, especially the fact that even larger scale commercial extractors offer zero nicotine product. What puzzles me is that it is certainly true that snuff, dip, snus, and chew provide hearty doses of nicotine to the user. How does this occur? If saliva and/or mucus can effectively extract nicotine from leaf, why is it so difficult to do this with other simple solvents? I would really appreciate hearing your thoughts about this.

User avatar
Peter_Ramish
Posts: 91
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:58 pm
Location: California

Re: Nicotine Extraction?

Post by Peter_Ramish »

You asked that the answers avoid detailed chemisty, so I will try to give you a perspective that is by analogy and related to just two of the core issues that cause this quandary of "why does my tobacco extract not have a large amount of useable nicotine that I notice when I vape the liquid?"

1.) Various natural tobacco samples will have widely varying nicotine content, one from the other, so selection of a particular sample drastically effect the outcome.
2.) The simple math of calculating dilution must be taken into consideration when trying to sort out what is happening.


I will discuss, briefly each in turn.

1.) First various tobacco plants will have widely varying amount of nicotine in a given sample. The plant with the highest content are generally not used for blending into desirable high flavor products that you find in the tobacco shop. The range across samples is dramatic from a few tenths of a percent by weight to as high as 15% by weight. So the question of "what sample do I have" is critical.

2.) It's primarily the math of recovery and dilution that is causing the "there is no nicotine in my extraction" quandary. For example, let's take an average pack of Marlboro Cigarettes. There is about 21mg of Nicotine in that pack. Let's say that your method of recovery is to spill out the entire content of each cig into 150mls of Propylene Glycol and let it macerate for 6 months. Although Nicotine is readily soluble in PG it is not, using 'kitchen chemistry extraction methods' 100%, so we will guesstimate that you have a 80% recovery at the end of 6 months. So far the math has reduced the recovered weight to 16.8 mg. Although you do the best you can to recover all the PG fluid you loose 10% to that amount retained on the macerated leaf stock in your jar. Now you have an elixir of 15.12 mg retained in 135ml or 0.1120 mg/ml. To make your final vapeable liquid you now dilute that elixir at 1:4 with your chosen VG/PG base. Now the math has taken your nicotine content after the final dilution to 0.0280 mg/ml. That quantity is well below your brains level of detection. So you puff and puff and your brain says, "sorry but I can not sense any Nicotine". Well the Nicotine is there, but it is just too small an amount to do any good..

This is an interesting subject, and I am glad you asked about it. I have always had it on my to-do list to write up the long version which would include "the chemistry version" of this, but just never got around to it. Anyway, some of it is very technical, so i am reluctant to bother as most folks just would not care to read that level of detail. Anyway, I think the above two bullet points covers the ground. If anyone else has comment please post them.

Hourman
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2021 10:10 am
Location: New Jersey

Re: Nicotine Extraction?

Post by Hourman »

Thank you, Peter. That is exactly the kind of answer that I was hoping for. I was under the incorrect impression that there was no nicotine in NET extractions because it was insoluble in PG or alcohol. That was why I couldn't understand how it was so very soluble in saliva. Your simple math explanation is perfectly understandable. The nicotine is there, it's just not enough to be readily detectable.

CAAB
Posts: 62
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:49 pm

Re: Nicotine Extraction?

Post by CAAB »

Just one person's opinion here, but I noticed that I can experience a satisfying vape with NET eliquids at 3mg/ml whereas when I mix up non-NET eliquids, I need at least 4mg/ml. I always assumed it was because there was some amount of nicotine or whole tobacco alkaloid in the NET itself that was contributing to the 3mg/ml nicotine.

It's possible it's the tobacco flavor itself that contributes to satisfaction or perhaps it is some kind of placebo effect, not sure. I should try vaping NET without adding nicotine and see what happens.

User avatar
Peter_Ramish
Posts: 91
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:58 pm
Location: California

Re: Nicotine Extraction?

Post by Peter_Ramish »

CAAB wrote:
Tue Apr 13, 2021 1:57 pm
it was because there was some amount of nicotine or whole tobacco alkaloid in the NET itself that was contributing to the 3mg/ml nicotine.
Yes, i agree, and have noticed this exact phenomenon. Interestingly enough I am vaping one in my rotation now that exactly shows that. It is the original true Royal Yacht from @Kinnikinnick. Actually I estimate that it has about 3mg/ml residual Nicotine in it. I did not realize that when I did the final mix ratio, and let me tell you it will really 'sting' after a few long draws. I mixed it with +7mg/ml added nic (as is my usual for that type of profile) but I would estimate it hits like at least 10 mg/ml :lol:

There are other factors at work like pH which control absorption across the blood/brain barrier. That is one of the tricks in use when compounding SNUS, and why it hits you so fast. -Like I said in my first post, I just didn't want to get to deep in the woods with all the subtitles and chemistry, as so many factors are present.

CAAB
Posts: 62
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:49 pm

Re: Nicotine Extraction?

Post by CAAB »

Yes, i agree, and have noticed this exact phenomenon. Interestingly enough I am vaping one in my rotation now that exactly shows that. It is the original true Royal Yacht from @Kinnikinnick. Actually I estimate that it has about 3mg/ml residual Nicotine in it. I did not realize that when I did the final mix ratio, and let me tell you it will really 'sting' after a few long draws. I mixed it with +7mg/ml added nic (as is my usual for that type of profile) but I would estimate it hits like at least 10 mg/ml :lol:
Yeah, I noticed the same thing, lol. It's something I never looked out for but some of my NET extracts knocked me on my @$$. I thought I got my nicotine percentages wrong. But when I started experimenting with commercial non-tobacco flavors, I found the 3mg/ml unsatisfying. That's when I put it altogether. The NET was adding something to the 3mg/ml.

I wish I paid better attention to what extracts seemed to need less nicotine added. It was just so unexpected. I'm going to revisit everything again at a later date, I will pay attention to nicotine hit next time around.

Post Reply