There’s much controversy about the levels of the psychoactive chemical thujone in Absinthe and so many people would like to know how to measure thujone levels in Absinthe they may have made at home. It’s out of the question to do 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.
Precisely what is Thujone?
For people who have no idea, thujone is a chemical substance located 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 considered to have psychedelic effects, to result in convulsions, insanity, brain damage, and eventually death. The alleged outcomes of thujone combined 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 steer governments to prohibit Absinthe.
Recently, research has shown that thujone would have to be consumed in big amounts to result in any harmful side effects, so Absinthe with 10mg of thujone per liter or less was legalized in the European Union absinthe sale. Many individuals in the USA were dissatisfied that legalization failed to come about at the same time in the United States. The United States required that alcoholic drinks needs to be “thujone free”.
Lux and Fire Erowid contacted the FDA and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to look for clarification on the laws around the Green Fairy and thujone. The FDA used a fairly outdated indicator test to evaluate for the presence of thujone, not proper analytical chemistry. The TTB stated that wormwood products should be thujone free which meant less than the limit of detection – 10 ppm (parts per million).
Ted Breaux, an Absinthe distiller, analyzed his collectibles, antique vintage bottles of Absinthe, for thujone levels through the use of gas chromatography and was surprised by their low thujone levels. It was always thought that vintage pre ban Absinthe contained 260-350mg of thujone per liter, Breaux found that the greatest reading from the vintage bottles was 6mg per liter – an incredibly small amount. He also examined the Absinthes of his Jade collection where he’d put a “full measure” of wormwood, and found that after distillation these also contained only very small amounts of thujone.
Absinthe and the United States 2007
Breaux and also the company Veridian produced an Absinthe called “Lucid” and were able to prove to the FDA and TTB it contained less than 10 ppm of thujone. Lucid went on sale in the US in 2007 and was quickly followed by a number of other brands of Absinthe. Americans can now have fun with the taste of Absinthe both at home and in bars throughout the US.
Does Absinthe Have Any Effects?
The thujone content in Absinthe isn’t high enough to result in hallucinations, but Absinthe is an extremely strong alcoholic liquor, as much as 75% abv. It’s not intended to be taken straight or on the rocks. The correct way to provide Absinthe is to pour a shot inside an Absinthe glass and thin down with iced water poured over a cube of sugar.
It’s possible to get drunk quite speedily when drinking Absinthe because of its strength, however the drunkenness associated with Absinthe drinking is quite different from getting drunk on beer, wine or cider. A number of the herbs in Absinthe acts as a sedative but some as a stimulant so you experience a “clear headed” or “lucid” drunkenness – a bizarre experience!
Absinthe Products and Thujone Quantities
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 within the essences happen to be measured for you. These essences are really simple to use. They’re already distilled, you just have to mix with Everclear or vodka to make your individual real wormwood Absinthe.