Reasons Behind My Residual Solvent Awards

Introducing CannaDad’s new Cannabis Cup category:

~Highest PPM residual solvent Award.

It has been brought to my attention that my recent postings on Social Media about certain producers oils and my “award” for highest ppm residual solvents in their extracts.  Some people have gotten offended by my approach and the wording of my criticisms. There is no reason to take offense, instead take to change-

What are residual solvents?

Hydrocarbon gases like butane and propane as well as organic solvents like ethanol, isopropanol and hexane are commonly used to extract the essential oils from cannabis to create concentrated medicinal products. Residual Solvents are any solvents that remain cannabis oils, shatters, waxes and budders after extractions purification processes such as winterization and vacuum purging. They can remain in the products that are inhaled or consumed by users in significant quantities.

 Let me be clear:

If you are a producer of cannabis, a cannabis infused product or concentrate of any sort then you should strive to make the cleanest, purest and most medicinal products possible, you are not working for you, you are working for the consumer- whether they are a patient or recreational user. Without the consumer there would be absolutely no reason for you to be producing anything. A producer should value the opinion of the consumer above all else- this is basic business practice.

A cannabis competition is supposed to showcase the best of the best. In my opinion this should include a pure and clean product. If you are a producer of Cannabis, a cannabis infused product or concentrate of any sort and you enter your product into a cannabis competition (High Times Cup, Secret Cup, MMJ cup) that is publicized and the biggest award possible is industry fame and notoriety then you have to be willing as well to field any criticisms that may come your way. Public attention comes in a variety of forms.

I have a high expectation for any product at all that are geared toward the mmj patient, pediatric or adult. High levels of ppm residual solvents in your product does not present a clean nor pure product; Yes there are solvents that are more dangerous than others, but alcohol can be just as toxic to a chemo patient as butane- especially for a child. Residual ethanol can contribute to pediatric liver damage, this can be seen with rising liver enzymes in pediatric chemotherapy patients. I have seen this with my own eyes in a few patients including my own daughter (7% ethanol tincture). Chemotherapy is already hepatotoxic, adding to your livers burden is unnecessary. That being said I have the duty of maintaining my high expectation with all extracts, products and producers regardless of what they are who they are. A level of 10k ppm residual alcohol in a product is the equivalent to 1% of the entire product.

If you submit a product with high levels of ppm residuals, fungus, microbiological impurities or toxic Heavy Metals, I will talk publicly discuss it. After each competition, I take time to view the laboratory analysis reports- producer, product, cannabinoid profiles, and impurities are all given. Once I have viewed them, I then converse and open the floor for debate about them. If you are concerned with my criticisms, then you should do one of three things:

#1. Better your product.
#2. Do not enter a competition where your products lab results are public.
#3. Don’t make products if you cannot better them.

The controversy that I knowingly created surrounding industry competitions is a means to push for bettering of available products, holding producers accountable for mistakes, lackluster techniques or less than ideal products and to raise the awareness and expectations of all patients and consumers. The discussion and issues surrounding high ppm residual solvents in medicines and recreational items is one that needs to be had.

My Expectations:

If <10 ppm of residuals can be attained, then in my opinion <10ppm should be a requirement to enter a competition. Why settle for less, when we can demand the best?

Here are some examples of lab results that show various ppm levels in different producers products. When you view these, notice that amount of concentrates with <10ppm residual solvents.

Actual Results per Analytical 360 Labs.


The United State Pharmacopeia has established a general guideline including limits concerning residual solvents in food and water products.

I have found in the many lab reports available from various laboratories online that less than ten ppm is successfully achieved by many producers.

“Residual solvents as defined for pharmacopeial purposes: residual solvents in pharmaceuticals are defined as organic volatile chemicals that are used or produced in the manufacture of drug substances or excipients, or in the preparation of drug products. The residual solvents are not completely removed by practical manufacturing techniques.”

It goes on to classify three types of residual solvents:

 Class 1-

 Residual Solvents: Solvents to be Avoided, Known human carcinogens, Strongly suspected human carcinogens, Environmental hazards
Class 2-
  Residual Solvents: Solvents to be Limited Non-genotoxic animal carcinogens or possible causative agents of other irreversible toxicity, such as neurotoxicity or teratogenicity solvents suspected of other significant but reversible toxicities.
Class 3-
 Residual Solvents: Solvents with Low Toxic Potential Solvents with low toxic potential to humans
[NOTE—Class 3 residual solvents may have PDEs of up to 50 mg or more per day.]*

“Unless otherwise stated in the individual monograph, Class 3 residual solvents are limited to not more than 50 mg per day (corresponding to 5000 ppm or 0.5%). If a Class 3 solvent limit in an individual monograph is greater than 50 mg per day, that residual solvent should be identified and quantified.
There are no long-term toxicity or carcinogenicity studies for many of the residual solvents in Class 3. Available data indicate that they are less toxic in acute or short-term studies and negative in genotoxicity studies.”

Examples of Class 3 solvents:

Acetic acid, Heptane, 1-Butanol Methyl acetate, 2-Butanol, Butyl acetate, Methylethylketone, Pentane, Ethanol, 1-Pentanol, Ethyl acetate, 1-Propanol, Ethyl ether, 2-Propanol, Ethyl formate, Propyl acetate and Formic acid

Each of these solvents as per the US pharmacopeia has a daily limit of </=5000ppm. If one gram of concentrate is analyzed and the results show a residual solvent level of over 5000ppm then this concentrate would violate USP standards and limits defined. Therefore every single concentrate, liquid or product produced should fall below the 5k ppm standard at any given time. Concentrates, liquids or food products that enter a competition for best in class should go above and beyond the call and reduce those residual solvents to <10 ppm, then and only then can they be considered best in class.

Controversy = Change

When I called attention to the high levels of residuals in the 2014 PacificNorthwest Secret Cup entrants, the founder of the cup, Daniel de Sailles, made this statement in response:

“It was not a part of the rules to disqualify anyone based on test results, and I believe the rules are a contract between competitors and I. No, even that high number is not going to hurt anyone. Yes, of course our goal should be zero ppm period. Moving forward we are going to implement a residual cutoff/dq (disqualifying) point. Now, think on this: No one would have anything to talk about if the contest didn’t happen and we didn’t share the test results with the public. The main point of The Secret Cup is for hash makers to do better, to generate data, to improve our craft. When people enter the Secret Cup they know they’re putting it on the line, they will be put on blast good or bad. How many other events happened this year where the results aren’t released?”

The controversy that my concern created effectively created a change that will help lessen the risk of residuals while at the same time raising the standard of the Secret Cup franchise. My hat pin covered hat is off to Daniel for taking the opportunity to make these changes instead of taking offense.

Watch for coming rounds of “CannaDad’s Highest PPM” awards in this years’ Cannabis Cup Circuit.  


Links, Resources & further reading:


3 thoughts on “Reasons Behind My Residual Solvent Awards”

  1. Great Post! I think safety is the most important thing when producing Oil for ingestion. And these test are the best way to see what went wrong in the process.

    Has anyone came up with a safe and clean method for prepairing the oil?
    The Rick Simpson method doesnt convince me very much (because of the use of naphta or ISO), the same method using Everclear alcohol is ok but extracts a lot of Plant residues and I think not good for medication as well(Chlorophil,wax etc..).

    Stoney Girls Video version confuses me a lot because they boil it for about 3 hours including some kind of plastic on top, which doesn't sound very safe for me.

    Ive seen this one using a QWISO version which again I think something from the plant is still be left in the finshed oil. what do you think?

    Here is one for everybody to make at home very easy without danger of fumes or explosions possible, very very simple and for everyone with no skills at all.

    I like this version a lot , but again, Its not about if its easy or difficult to do, it is about doing it right and with the least residues left in the oil.

    Anyone knows a better method (video, pdf) ????

    PD: here is a study from a Dutch PHD


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