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Keep that Mimosa Mud?
Mimosa tenuiflora (= M. hostilis) Root-Bark Extraction Tips
by J. Cocktoasten
v1.2 - Jun 26, 2012
Originally published in The Entheogen Review
Citation:   Cocktoasten, J. "Keep that Mimosa Mud?". The Entheogen Review. Winter 2008;16(4):150.
I was cleaning out my kitchen cabinets a while back, and ran across a one-gallon jug containing an aqueous basified Mimosa tenuiflora solution, on which I had performed a DMT extraction the previous year using Noman's "DMT for the Masses" tek. That extraction had yielded 0.946 of a gram of recrystallized material from only 100 grams of root-bark--almost a full 1.0%. Not bad.

Since I'd exceeded my yield expectations at the time that the original extraction was performed, I had little hope that the solution I found would produce any additional DMT. However, I was reluctant to dispose of it without running another naphtha pull, just for the hell of it. I was amazed to open my freezer the next morning and see my precipitation vessel adorned with a significant amount of fluffy crystals. I decided a second pull was in order.

Combining material from the first and second pulls, I was left with a total 0.921 grams of additional unrefined extract! How was this possible? I discussed my findings with a chemist friend who questioned whether or not I had determined this extract to be DMT, suggesting that it might contain a mix of other substances. He asked if I had sampled it. Unfortunately, I'd combined the material with another stash, so I could no longer perform a bioassay solely on the new isolate. The only solution was to repeat the experiment.

Follow-up Experiment
I performed the Noman tek on a kilogram of Mimosa tenuiflora root-bark, resulting in 9.1 grams of recrystallized DMT. The "spent" solution was then shelved for six months. I would have preferred to wait a full year, but I intended on publishing the results in this final issue of ER, which presented an unavoidable time constraint. The first pull yielded 3.14 grams, and a second pull yielded 0.82 grams, for a total of roughly 4 grams of unrefined extract. This material was slightly more yellow and waxy than the original extract. A portion of this unrefined extract was further refined via recrystallization; however, that process yielded less pure white crystal than expected, with more "dirty material" than usual clumped to the bottom of the vessel.

The unrefined extract was rolled into a joint of dried mullein leaf and smoked by a group of test subjects who were all familiar with the effects of DMT. Subjects reported the material to be of lesser strength than expected, but said that it definitely had DMT effects. One subject felt that it was slightly harsher than other unrefined extracts he had smoked. The refined crystals were later smoked by one test subject, who found their effects to be consistent with DMT.

There is little doubt that re-extracting the Mimosa solution after waiting several months resulted in a significant additional yield of DMT. The experiments also suggest that waiting one year results in a greater additional yield than waiting six months. However, subjective testing indicated the unrefined extract was of lesser purity than material from the original extraction, and the lower recrystallization yield supported this finding.

Finally, I'd like to recommend a significant improvement to the Noman tek. The tek describes using glass collection jars, but I've found that DMT has a tendency to bond aggressively to glass surfaces. It does not however, bond to plastic surfaces, particularly high-impact plastics like Nalgene. Using plastic collection jars promotes easy removal of the extract (it simply pours out), and avoids tedious scraping of surfaces and the inevitable waste of some material. [Note: See comments regarding the use of plastics on pages 157-158. -- Eds.] Have fun, and hold onto that Mimosa mud!

[From pages 157-158.]

Some months back I was visiting a friend who showed me his DMT extraction efforts. Basing his approach on Noman's "DMT for the Masses" tek, it was a fairly simple kitchen set-up. I noticed that the plastic mixing containers he was using (which held the powdered root-bark, lye/water solution, and naphtha) appeared to be bulging at the sides. When I pointed this out, he remarked that the containers got thinner with use over time, and that he replaced them every so often when he became worried that the sides were weak enough that they might burst. Not only did this strike me as a potential mess in the making, but I also worried out loud about chemicals leaching out of the plastic containers and ending up in the final product. After hearing my concern, my buddy agreed that his approach could be improved and he switched to using large glass wine jugs. (An added benefit, he later remarked, is that the extracting Mimosa liquid now just looks like an innocuous bottle of red wine sitting on his kitchen counter.) I'm not sure what sort of plastic container he had been using, and I know that there are some plastics, specifically used in legitimate chemistry labs, that are supposed to be able to withstand exposure to solvents. Nevertheless, it seems safer to me for kitchen chemists to use glass whenever possible. DMT already has enough of a "plasticky" vibe to it; consumers don't need to be smoking any actual plastics. -- Plastinate, CA

The widespread use of plastics, particularly with regard to containers used for cooking, freezing, or storing food and beverages, is an issue that has been getting a lot of attention in recent years. This attention has included several e-mail hoaxes presenting exaggerated and unsubstantiated claims about assorted dangers (for example, despite what some e-mail might say, freezing water in plastic containers does not release dioxin carcinogens, which aren't present in these containers in the first place). Heating plastics--such as in a microwave--would be more likely to potentially cause them to leach unwanted chemicals; those people concerned about such a possibility should avoid nuking their Tupperware.

Plastics are commonly identified by a number contained within a triangle-shaped recycling symbol. Non-chlorinated plastics that use polyethylene (#1, #2, and #4) and polypropylene (#5) are currently thought to be safer, while those that use polyvinyl chloride (#3), polystyrene (#6), and polycarbonate (#7), are thought to be less safe. Generally, the softer the plastic, the more potentially dangerous it is. If it adds any taste or smell to the materials stored within it, then it probably isn't a great choice. Most plastics aren't going to just dissolve; if anything, they will grow slightly more rigid or become cloudy or hazy (rather than transparent). The more a plastic gets used, or the more harsh washings it endures, the more it may leach--it's a cumulative thing.

Chemicals used in plastic food packaging such as the estrogen-like compounds N-butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) and bisphenol A (BPA) have been shown in animal studies to alter gene expression. With BPA, levels equivalent to those that cause alterations in animals are far beneath the "safe exposure" level (50 μg/kg) currently established for humans in the United States (vom Saal & Hughes 2005), and a urine analysis study detected BPA in 95% of the 394 Americans whose piss was tested (Calafat et al. 2005)! This finding suggests that a large number of Americans are regularly (or almost continuously) exposed to BPA, due to the fact that it is completely metabolized within approximately 24 hours. Health concerns related to BPA include the speculation that it may increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer. When one considers the additional environmental impact of the huge quantity of plastic polluting the Pacific Ocean, covering an area twice the size of Texas (Casey 2007), it seems clear that we might want to start thinking about alternatives to plastic.

While many people (including folks at the FDA) believe that hard plastics and nonreactives are safe, "safer" could end up being a better way of describing them; according to a friend at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab, it seems that just as soon as people develop assays for detecting plasticizers, they start finding them leached from plastics (including from the so-called "nonreactives").

Particularly when employing solvents other than tepid or cold water, it may be a good idea to avoid using plastic extraction vessels, and one of ER's editors pointedly refused to sample a friend's hash, after watching it being produced in a PVC bucket using a paint stirrer on an electric drill to pound the pot (and the inside of the bucket) with ice and water. If one is aware of what it tastes like, the flavor of plastic may be discernible when it is tainting an extract. One can often taste it in hash oil that was extracted with butane using a plastic container. That oil so often tastes strongly of plastic, that we would recommend avoiding it entirely unless one explicitly knows how it was produced. Harsh solvents do tend to weaken some plastics and would cause them to leach into the extraction, as you witnessed with your friend's DMT processing.

On page 150, author J. Cocktoasten recommends using Nalgene plastic collection jars (rather than glass) during the freezer precipitation phase of the process, for ease of collecting the DMT. Because this part of the process targets a precipitate, and because the naphtha only remains in the plastic collection containers overnight, we are somewhat less concerned about the possibility of trace amounts of plasticizers ending up in the final product if this approach is taken. (It would obviously be more concerning if plastic extraction containers were used in a process where the solvent was simply allowed to evaporate off, in order to collect the extract.) Readers should be made aware that in April of 2008, Nalgene began to phase out production of BPA-containing polycarbonate containers. However, since some Nalgene on the market may still contain BPA, be certain to obtain the newer containers that are manufactured with Eastman's Tritan™ copolyester. New plastic containers should be washed with a mild detergent solution prior to first use, and plastics showing wear or any change in appearance should be discarded. Although it may be a pain in the ass for some applications, glass is usually a safer choice. -- Eds.

Revision History #
  • v1.0 - Dec 2008 - Published in The Entheogen Review
  • v1.1 - Jan 3, 2010 - Erowid
  • v1.2 - Jun 26, 2010 - Erowid - Added comments from The Entheogen Review related to the use of plastics when performing extractions.