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Home > FAQ > Crude vs Standardized 'X' Extracts ?

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Question
Crude vs Standardized 'X' Extracts ?
Answer

Some 'X' extracts or 'fortified leaf' preparations are offered by a few vendors as standardized preparations with a known amount of salvinorin A per gram of powder. These are made by extracting out and purifying salvinorin A, then redepositing it on a known amount of leaf. This results in an extract that should produce less smoke per milligram of salvinorin ingested. The most compelling value of these is that a known amount of salvinorin can be ingested by weighing the substance carefully for each use. With standardized extracts, it is possible to know that 40 milligrams of a 10X extract is 1mg of Salvinorin A each time.

Although home extracts are often as good as those made by commercial vendors, such extracts have been criticized by vendors selling standardized extracts (see below), who state that these "crude" extracts "concentrate the tars and other potentially harmful components of the leaf". However, these extract certainly do not have any more harmful components than were in the original leaf that they were extracted from (unless some toxic solvent was used in their preparation that wasn't completely removed in the process). For example, if one needed to smoke 400 mg of "straight leaf" to get a 1mg dose of salvinorin A, and now one needs to smoke 40 mg of a 10X extract, one is getting the exact same amount of "tars and other potentially harmful components of the leaf". Since there is less smoke being produced per milligram of salvinorin, less particulate matter is likely to be inhaled, thus causing less irritation to the throat and lungs.

Although it is true that some standardized extracts may not have as much non-active wax and chlorophyll as the non-standardized extracts, the "health benefit argument" for standardized extracts is probably a red herring, in that most people do not smoke any form of Salvia divinorum so frequently that they really need to be concerned about the level of potential carcinogens that they might be inhaling. Consider, for example, that an average non-filtered tobacco cigarette weighs over 800 mg, or about 2–3 times the amount that is smoked in a "dose" of straight dried S. divinorum leaf. It certainly doesn't hurt to minimize the amount of potential carcinogens that one inhales, but it seems unlikely that infrequent S. divinorum smoking would noticeably impact long term health.

Vendors selling standardized extracts have also claimed that non-standardized extracts have "inferior burning characteristics". Experienced S. divinorum smokers report that the non-standardized 5X to 10X products from reputable retailers burn well and this too seems like a marketing red herring. Extracts higher than 10X do get "gummy" enough that they don't as burn well, but they are still likely to be quite effective. Generally, extracts over 10X become harder to work with because they are too concentrated. The reason that fortified-leaf X-extracts are used is that they are easier to handle, measure, and smoke and over 10X they are more like handling straight extract with its unwanted characteristics.


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