I heard a discussion when sitting on the train this morning by a couple of cannabis folk on the way into Denver. This is in regards to coconut oil (for baking).

For example: if someone extracted THC into coconut oil, is there anyway to then separate the THC back out of the coconut oil so you end up having coconut oil in one cup, and THC in the other without affecting degradation? I'm not a smoker by any means, but I thought it was a rather interesting conversation. Feel free to be as technical as possible, as I would like to test this theory among many chemical compounds known in homeopathic medicine.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Can you elaborate on what you mean by "chemical compounds known in homeopathic medicine"? $\endgroup$
    – Curt F.
    Nov 12 '15 at 3:23

THC is often extracted from cannabis by mashing up the plant with a solvent such as hexane. The slurry obtained may then be filtered off, and the solvent evaporate to give a crude extract from the cannabis which will contain the THC amongst other organic molecules. Depending on the extraction solvent, the components of the cannabis plant are extracted in different concentrations, depending upon their relevant affinity for dissolving in the solvent.

Coconut and olive oil have both been used in extractions, as they are safe for human consumption and so can be used directly once isolate without the need to remove potentially toxic (hexane) or flammable (hexane) solvent.

In general, the solvents used are inert, that is, they do not react to degrade the extraction products as you mentioned.

With regard to homeopathy, this too involves the extraction of active components from plant/biological matter. However, in homeopathy, it is generally less of an exacting science (for instance specifically getting THC out of cannabis) and more a case of extracting ALL of the components of a plant, for instance by making a tea. If you are interested in this, you might like to look at the recent Nobel prize winner Youyou Tu (2015, Physiology or Medicine). She realised that boiling the plant in water to create a tea was destroying the functionality of the molecule that chinese medicine was trying to extract, limiting its potency. By exploring alternative extraction methods she was able to get the biologically active compound without degradation leading to a useful drug.

  • $\begingroup$ This is not what I meant. I meant to ask if it is possible to extract the THC OUT of the coconut oil. For instance, could you procure someones infused coconut oil and extract the THC back out of it? $\endgroup$ Oct 13 '15 at 14:03
  • $\begingroup$ If you had THC in coconut oil, and then you added a solvent which was immiscible with coconut oil, and in which the THC had a higher affinity than for coconut oil, then yes. This is similar to common aqueous-organic workups after chemical reactions. $\endgroup$
    – NotEvans.
    Oct 13 '15 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ What solvent would you might recommend then? It must leave nothing in the end product, thus that it is safe for human consumption. $\endgroup$ Oct 13 '15 at 22:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.