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why is THC dissolvable in alcohol?

Discussion in 'Harvesting and Processing Marijuana' started by e_to_the_x, Jun 29, 2009.

  1. I was having a debate with my friend whose a chemist and he doesn't believe you can dissolve THC in alcohol. I know this is true because I've heard and seen other people do it and I've tried it myself. What is the chemistry behind this?
  2. because it is written.
  3. Do you mean dissolving it in alcohol so you can drink it? I wouldnt know about that, but I do know dissolving THC in ethanol makes a solution that is better than most modern medicines. Im really stoned i cant remember what its called. It starts with 't' i think
  4. it doesnt dissolve, the THC binds to the alcohol
  5. good fix thank you
  6. I think its because alcohol is a strong enough solvent to break off a ?carboxyl? group from the THC. i could be wrong tho
  7. A tincture. That's what I was thinking of.
  8. #9 hippiedude, Jun 29, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 29, 2009
    hahaha i finally have an opportunity to shine!!!
    im a chem major.

    THC is what O. chemists call non-polar, which basically means that all the electrons around the molecule are sort of symmetrical i.e no certain side of the molecule has a slightly neg/pos charge. this is the counterpart to a polar molecule, like say water, which has a slightly positive side and slightly negative side (poles!) that can attract things (why sugar, salts, and a whole bunch of other crap can dissolve in water)

    but polar molecules and non-polar molecule dont attract one another, and in fact, often seperate ( why oil and water dont mix)

    alcohols however, do dissolve many non-polar molecules (like THC), because an alcohol consists of an alkane branch (name for a branch of carbons and hydrogens, which are non-polar, and a hydroxyl group which is basically 2/3 of a water molecule and is thus polar like water. but the alkane branch is whats significant regarding THC.

    some examples...

    ethanol (drinkable alcohol), has an ethyl branch (hence the name) meaning theres a 2 carbon chain as the "back-bone" of the molecule. this branch is non-polar and is what hangs on to the THC in solution.

    Isopropanol (rubbing alcohol)- exact same chemistry except this ones got a propyl branch (see the pattern), which is 3 carbons and larger, is better at dissolving THC as its non-polar branch has a larger molecular surface area

    well, The THC and the alcohol have no real or physical bond per-say, to geat REALLY in-depth the alcohol creates an environment of greater entropy (disorder or how spread out it is). Hahahaha and I would feel irresponsible going into a discussion on entropy as some readers' heads' might explode.

    seriously. we would ruin lives.

    idk of and doubt anything actually disassociating from the THC molecule. and according to erowid's model I dont see any carboxyl groups (Carb. double bonded to an Oxygen).

    Like I said, the explanation for why it actually "travels to" and prefers a non-polar environment deals with entropy and thermodynamics and the kinds of things that will have you up until 3 a.m like I am right now thinking about the hidden wonders of nature at its foundation

    well, sorry if i went way further than anyone wanted, im stoned, and ill admit, i love talking about stuff I know real well.

    (hahahaha EDIT: after typing alllll this i see the wikipedia page someone linked above me and Im glad I wrote this. That article goes into every single type of solubility out there and gives supporting graphs and equations and everything. And yet their paragraph on organic compounds is pathetic.)

    hope I helped someone, somewhere.
  9. just to add in on the carboxyl bit...

    decarboxylization occurs when THCA (acid, non-psychoactive in this form) converts to THC (psychoactive form)

    so, the erowid model for THC is just that, THC and not THCA....otherwise youd see the carboxyl group hippiedude....spot on for everything else though, very well explained.

    for the purposes of alcohol / solubility, Im assuming the carboxyl group has little effect, if any. I know its possible to extract THCA....why hash isnt perfect until heated ;)

  10. Hence OSG's guide :)
  11. no here let me give you some background on the conversation.

    So me and my friend were talking and the topic of different ways of consuming weed came up, and I said "Yeah actually you can dissolve weed in alcohol and make this stuff called a tincture, it's like getting high by putting some drops on your tongue." He's a chemistry major, so he said that that was bullshit and that he didnt believe me, and explained saying using some organic chemistry I don't understand.

  12. sounds to me like he is assuming the THC wont get you high, as in the carboxyl branch is still present.

    That can be circumvented, most easily by application of heat, or in some cases, letting it sit for a while (some tinctures ive seen, iirc)

    If he's saying THC straight up isnt soluble in alcohol, pentane, hexane, butane...ya know, non-polar solvents....well, he needs to pick a new major IMO lol.:D

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