Straight-To-Base Extraction

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Straight-To-Base Extraction

Straight-To-Base or STB techniques are generally considered the simplest of extraction techniques and, as such, are the most commonly used. The process involves the use of a strong base reagent in solution to break down source material and convert the contained product from its natural salt form to freebase, which will in turn be more soluble in an NPS than in the basic aqueous solution.


The use of "Straight To Base" techniques requires little experience or technical know-how for beginners to approach extraction techniques. STB is best-suited for quick, non-labor-intensive, crude bulk extractions. It requires no straining or cooking but requires time for soaking and separation. STB tends to yield a greater array of botanical impurities due to its lack of straining and defatting. These techniques do however enable a more thorough exhaustion of product from the material. This technique is ideal for shredded material that requires little or no defatting.

Overview of Materials and Methods
Materials Required Checklist.png
Source Material:
  • DMT-Containing Material Requiring no Defatting
  • Strong Base
    • Typically Lye
  • Chemically Resistant Vessel to Facilitate Reaction and Agitation or Stirring
  • Separatory Device

Material Considerations:

  • Lye is extremely toxic and hazardous, though most find it easy to handle safely.
  • STB methods generally demand a hefty volume of solvents for sufficient performance.
  • Naphtha and heptane are generally found to pull a more pure product, and though their poor ability to dissolve DMT demands some amount of heating to pull a considerable amount, it also allows for product to be isolated by freeze-precipitation.
  • Toluene and Xylene are generally found to dissolve DMT more easily but also dissolve a wider range of alkaloids and other substances from the source material, and though they do not facilitate freeze-precipitation, they do facilitate the use of FASA.
  • DCM is capable of pulling an even fuller range of alkaloids from the source material, as unlike other NPS's, it sinks in water.
  • Diethyl ether as a binary solvent in combination with heptane also pulls full-range alkaloids. Using this combination the ether can be distilled off rather rapidly, leaving behind an alkaloid-saturated solution of heptane ready for immediate freeze precipitation. Note! Diethyl ether is extremely flammable. Exercise extreme caution!
  • Limonene has become the solvent of choice among many--largely due to being nontoxic--but is considerably more expensive and harder to find than other less savory NPS's, and though it does not facilitate the use of FASA or freeze-precipitation, it can facilitate salting methods like FASW and FASIPA.
  • Most commonly used solvents do not facilitate expedient or clean evaporation, due to either impurities from the solvent itself or pulled from the source material, though heptane and naphtha tend to be most effectively used in this way.


STB extraction involves a soak of pulverized source material in a basic solution, followed by the stirring in of an NPS. The NPS is separated from the aqueous solution by siphoning, pipetting, or use of a separatory device.
Material Preparation

For standard STB, the source material must generally be at least shredded, though preferably powdered. It has been found beneficial to pre-treat the pulverized material with an acid soak, with or without heat, prior to immersing in a basic solution.

Extraction Procedure
  1. Prepare a basic solution between pH 12-14 by adding base to the appropriate amount of water for the amount of source material to be used.
  2. Immerse the pulverized source material in the basic solution and allot time for material breakdown and freebase conversion.
  3. Stir or shake in the target solvent enough to ensure adequate dissolution of product.
  4. Allow the solvent to separate from the aqueous solution in two distinct layers and separate using appropriate separatory methods.
  5. Collect solvent and proceed with appropriate desired crystallization methods.
Further Elaboration and Technical Support
Directory of Current STB Teks
Forum on the Topic of STB Extraction