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How to do a Cold Ethanol Tobacco Extraction in a home environment
If the worst should come to pass, and the FDA criminalizes or bans vaping, or if nicotine vendors are no longer able to sell nicotine, vapers will need a fallback plan. Everything used in vaping is easily accessible, with the exception of raw nicotine. This may also be helpful to vapers in countries that restrict importation or distribution of liquid nicotine products like e-liquid.
If you came here looking for a recipe for WTA e-liquid, this isn't it. This is just a nice clean NET extraction. For the best WTA, go here: Aroma Ejuice Manufacturer of WTA Whole Tobacco Alkaloid Eliquid
Vaping items recognized as "easy to obtain."
Batteries: originally used by the high-end flashlight modders.
Personal Vaporizer: can be cobbled together by anyone with basic construction and tinkering skills
Atomizer: With easy access to both heating wire (Kanthal A-1) and organic cotton, anyone with a rebuildable atomizer will be set for life
Vegetable Glycerin: used as skin protectant and laxative. Can often be found at grocery stores and pharmacies.
Propylene Glycol: is commonly found at animal feed stores. Used as a food additive for cattle and dogs.
Flavorings: The flavorings we use now are primarily used by the food industry and are already FDA approved
The only thing that the FDA can do to stop vaping is to stop the sale and/or import of liquid nicotine.
In this situation, it is important to be able to create a personal supply of nicotine that is easy to make, relatively clean, and inexpensive.
So we must turn to Cold Ethanol Extraction. This method was first proposed by Lastlokeon as an attempt to produce a WTA extraction. In this, it failed. It did, however, result in the cleanest solvent tobacco extraction (NET) available. As a bonus, it also contained a spread of the nicotine alkaloids as well, though much reduced from what one would find in WTA.
The following method is Lastlokeon's, with a few refinements by myself (following suggestions made by jbbishop) and interspersed with comments and observations by Dvap as he reproduced Lastlokeon's method to determine alkaloid extraction percentages. (Note: Dvap does not endorse or recommend NET extractions).
EDIT: there have been some major changes to this procedure, based on additional input from Lastlokeon. I don't know what this has done to the numbers that DVAP came up with from his testing, so I will let them stand, for now.
If you see *Why this works! followed by a paragraph in italics, you can skip reading it. It's just there to provide further information.
Tobacco. Any dried form will work. The tobacco used by Lastlokeon and Dvap was ordinary shag cut roll-your-own. Ideally you would want to use air cured low-nitrosamine whole leaf tobacco that you shred yourself. Whole Tobacco Leaves by the Pound, Buy Tobacco Leaf, Bulk Tobacco, Fronto Leaf, Cigar Wrappers, Binders, and Fillers This site has been recommended for purchasing cured leaf tobacco.
Ethanol. Any unflavored spirit will do, the higher the proof the better. Vodka in a pinch, but 190 proof Everclear (PGA) would be far better. This is what we are using as the solvent. If you decide to use Vodka, it will need to be dried and this process is covered later.
Freezer. You will need to freeze this tobacco cocktail for 4-12 hours. Lastlokeon did so for 6 hours. This is a catch 22. The longer you extract, the more nicotine you will get, but you will also pull more unfilterable organic solids and flavonoids.
Molecular Sieve. These little beads are properly called "A3 Molecular Sieve 4-8" and go by the commercial name Zeolite. They can be purchased on eBay.
Syringe and cotton ball.
Large glass container (x2).
Step 1. First things first. You will want to use 190 proof Everclear (PGA) or at most, bring it close to being anhydrous ethanol. Because pure ethanol absorbs water from the atmosphere, we will not be able to get it to a pure (200 proof) state, nor is this desired. In order for the extract to work properly, some water is needed. 190 proof is good, 195 proof is better, anything above or below those two numbers is not good. The ideal alcohol to use is about 95% pure with a 5% water content (195 proof).
*Why This Works! The reason we don't want much water in our alcohol solution is because water catches tars and resins that the ethanol won't. This is not a "clean" extraction, but anything we can do to avoid organic sludge being added to the extract is good. This is why Vodka, with a 60% water content, is a very poor choice for this extraction.
You will need about 10 grams of Zeolite per ml of water you want removed. a full fifth (750 ml) of Everclear contains about 38 ml. of water, and we want to remove half of that, so you would need to add about 190 grams of Zeolite to the bottle and let them absorb water for 24 hours. The Zeolite beads are infinitely reuseable and can be spread out on a baking sheet and cooked under a broiler at 140c to remove absorbed water. They can then be stored in an air tight jar for further use. This process can really be skipped if one is using 190 proof alcohol. If all you have available is Vodka, then this process becomes very necessary. When using Vodka, you stop the process when the bottle is just under half full.
*Why this works! The reason we use A3 Zeolite is because it has holes of 3 Angstrom (one Angstrom is one ten billionth of a meter) and can separate water (which has a diameter of 2.5 Angstroms) from ethanol (which has a diameter of 4.5 Angstroms).
Bake the beads first, then add them to the Everclear or vodka. Seal the bottle and then remove the beads after 24 hours. Re-bake the beads to remove the absorbed water and then store them in an airtight container or repeat the procedure as needed. I'm sure it goes without saying, but DON'T DRINK THE ALCOHOL! This method of creating anhydrous ethanol is courtesy of jbbishop.
Step 2. Shred the tobacco and use some of the 190 proof alcohol to dampen it thoroughly. Freeze and thaw this tobacco three time to ensure cellular disruption.
*Why This Works! Freezing and thawing the tobacco ruptures the cellular walls, allowing the oils to be extracted more efficiently.
Step 3. Put 100 grams frozen tobacco into the container, add chilled ethanol until the tobacco is saturated and covered. Place in freezer for 9 hours.
Step 4. Filter the contents through a sieve without compaction into a new container. A "permanent" mesh style coffee filter will probably work best for this. Discard the tobacco solids. Evaporate 70% of the remaining liquid. This can be done via natural evaporation, low heating of the solution (CAUTION: FIRE RISK) or through distillation. Refreeze for 24 hours. At this point you can choose to complete the evaporation process and then proceed to Step 5, or you can choose to follow the alternate Step 5a.
Step 5. Filter using the cotton ball and syringe method.
Step 5a. Alternate method: Add a few chips of dry ice (CO2) to the solution to cause additional solids to separate. While the extract is still almost frozen, filter using syringe micron filters for extra purity and clarity. Warning: Do not handle dry ice with your bare hands.
Step 6. You should have about 2-6 grams of a pale to golden yellow viscous liquid with a high nicotine content. Wear rubber gloves and handle this liquid as though it were pure nicotine.That means you need to dilute it with VG and/or PG before vaping it! Adding 240 ml of PG/VG should bring the nicotine content down below the 24mg mark.
The standard method of titration to determine nicotine content will not work on this product.
*Why this works! The nicotine and alkaloids produced in this manner are salts, not a purified freebase. Titration is designed to measure free base nicotine and won't detect nicotine alkaloid salts.
Like Dvap, I don't recommend making this, but if there is no other option, this is one of, if not the, best way to make a NET. I recommend that you print this off and store it in your "bug out bag," in case WTA e-liquid or commercial nicotine become unavailable. Vaping this is better than smoking...but not nearly as safe as vaping regular e-liquid.
Dvap won't vape this stuff. So let that roll around in your thoughts for a minute.
Folks in Australia and Canada might want to give this a try (because nicotine e-juice is restricted in those two countries...among others).
I have not made this, and will only make it in an emergency situation. You can do as you wish. I posted this here in hopes that it would be helpful to vapers with no access to liquid nicotine.