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Realizing How To Measure Thujone Levels in Absinthe


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There is much controversy in regards to the levels of the psychoactive chemical thujone in Absinthe and so many individuals wish to know how to measure thujone levels in Absinthe that they have made from home. It’s not possible this at home if you do not have the correct equipment and know what you are doing. Thujone levels may be measured by solid phase removal and gas chromatography.

What’s Thujone?

For those who do not know, thujone is a chemical substance found in the herb common wormwood (Artemisia Absinthium) and in the past was believed to be psychoactive like THC in the drug cannabis. In large doses it had been thought to have psychedelic effects, to result in convulsions, insanity, brain damage, and eventually death. The alleged effects of thujone along with the proven fact that Absinthe was an intoxicant, being such a strong liquor, were enough for the prohibition movements in France, the United States and also other countries to persuade governments to prohibit Absinthe.

Recently, research indicates that thujone would need to be consumed in big amounts to result in any harmful unwanted effects, so Absinthe with 10mg of thujone per liter or less was legalized in the European Union absinthe sale. Many people in the USA were let down that legalization did not occur at the same time in the United States. The United States needed that alcohol-based drinks must be “thujone free”.

Lux and Fire Erowid contacted both the FDA as well as the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to find clarification on the laws surrounding the Green Fairy and thujone. The FDA used an extremely outdated indicator test to check for the presence of thujone, not proper analytical chemistry. The TTB stated that wormwood products needs to be thujone free which meant less than the limit of detection – 10 ppm (parts per million).

Ted Breaux, an Absinthe distiller, examined his collectibles, classic vintage bottles of Absinthe, for thujone levels by using gas chromatography and was surprised by their low thujone levels. It was always believed that vintage pre ban Absinthe comprised 260-350mg of thujone per liter, Breaux discovered that the highest reading from the vintage bottles was 6mg per liter – a very small amount. He also tested the Absinthes of his Jade collection in which he’d put a “full measure” of wormwood, and discovered that after distillation that these also contained only very small levels of thujone.

Absinthe as well as the United States 2007

Breaux and the company Veridian developed an Absinthe called “Lucid” and were able to convince the FDA and TTB it contained fewer than 10 ppm of thujone. Lucid went on sale in the US in 2007 and was soon followed by a few other brands of Absinthe. Americans can now have fun with the taste of Absinthe both at home and in bars through the entire US.

Does Absinthe Have Any Effects?

The thujone content in Absinthe is not high enough to cause hallucinations, but Absinthe is an extremely strong alcoholic liquor, up to 75% abv. It isn’t supposed to be ingested straight or on the rocks. The correct way to provide Absinthe is to pour a shot in an Absinthe glass and water down with iced water poured about a cube of sugar.

It is easy to get drunk fairly speedily when drinking Absinthe due to its strength, however the drunkenness connected with Absinthe drinking is extremely distinctive from getting drunk on beer, wine or cider. Some of the herbs in Absinthe behaves as a sedative but some as a stimulant so you experience a “clear headed” or “lucid” drunkenness – a strange experience!

Absinthe Products and Thujone Levels

It isn’t important to know how to measure thujone levels in Absinthe if you are using kits containing quality essences, like those from AbsintheKit.com, where thujone levels in the essences already are measured for you. These essences are really simple to use. They are already distilled, you just need to mix with Everclear or vodka to create your own real wormwood Absinthe.