Whole Leaf Tobacco

nicotine level

Aug 26, 2018
The Netherlands (nearby city: Hoorn)
Every one is looking for there level in there own plants, every one is saying its not possible to get an measurement of nic level.
I am not a scientist, but I think I now how to do it.
A long time ago when i was at school, they where saying that nicotine was solvable in pure alcohol.
If I remember it correctly.
I dont mean beer whisky aquafit vodka or what so ever, but isopropanol, propanol, butanol, glyserol, methanol and ethanol.(xylene?)
Word of advice...Don't be stupid, the only drinkable alcohol is ethanol!!!!
From all the diverend alcohols, was methanol and ethanol used to dissolve the nicotine.
Trouble is I don't have any pure methanol left at the moment.
To make moonshine right now...not enough time, sorry, but..
Next week we are going to vacation where they sell 90% vodka, that's Ethanol.
We take, lets say, 25cc alcohol and 10 grams of leaves(blended)
Let it soke for 24 hours, filter it thru a coffee filter.
Then drop the liquid on to a refractometer, I think the one for salinity is best.
To calibrate the refractometer, I think you will have to get several species to get an good understanding of what you will see.
And write down on how many ppm it tested on.
Or make a color chard and compare the colors.
But there was also something with ph
Make a solution of methanol mixed with some lye, lets say 25cc alcohol and one gram of lye.
Measure the ph, after that put in 10 grams of leaves, again blended.
Its all an educated guess what i am writting down, maybe it must be 10cc of alcohol and 25 grams of leaves.
But it will do the trick.
Again school was out for me a long time ago.
Again dont be stupid with alcohol's, the only alcohol suited for consumption is......ethanol
And watch out with lye, its a nasty salt, can burn! its hygroscopic too so close bottle if you have you re amount of lye.
An other word of advice, don't drink the alcohol with nicotine in it, it will go direct to your blood stream, nasty, nasty, nasty.
Maybe I posted something very stupid, and I mixed up some things in my memory.
In that case, sorry.
But I think I am on track.
With best regards


Sep 1, 2014
Edmonton, AB, CA
If you're into chemistry, and gain satisfaction from doing lab work with tobacco, all the power to ya.

I'll just smoke and enjoy.


Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
Dayton Wa.
The purest form of ethanol from a standard distillation is 95% We can buy 95% grain alcohol here. For laboratory purposes, you might need absolute ethanol, which is 100% ethanol. You could only buy absolute ethanol from a laboratory supply house. You can't drink absolute ethanol as it contains trace amounts of the benzene that was used to distill that last 5% of water.

We used absolute ethanol in chemistry class in college.

But...whatever, knock yourself out. Just don't poison yourself.

Wes H.


Staff member
May 25, 2011
near Blacksburg, VA
Throwing cold water on the project.
  • Average nicotine varies from one Nicotiana tabacum variety to the next.
  • There are more than 2000 named and recognized varieties of tobacco.
  • Within a single variety, nicotine varies from one season to the next.
  • Within a single variety, nicotine varies from one field to the next.
  • Within a single variety, nicotine varies from one growing region to the next.
  • Within a single variety, nicotine varies depending on the fertilizer regimen used.
  • Within a single plant, nicotine varies from the lower leaves to the top leaves.
  • Nicotine absorption during smoking depends on whether the smoke is just drawn into the oropharynx or also inhaled into the lungs.
  • Nicotine absorption during smoking depends on the pH of the smoke.
  • The pH of the smoke depends on the varietal blend as well as the curing methods used for each component.
I believe that one can generally categorize a specific variety at a specific priming level as low, medium, or high nicotine. This can easily be estimated by just smoking it. I have found that the explicit nicotine content of some varieties published through the ARS-GRIN database bore no resemblance to the nicotine strength of those same varieties when grown by me.

So, while direct quantitative analysis of the nicotine in a leaf sample might be an interesting and satisfying exercise, I suspect that, shy of many thousands of tested samples, the data generated won't be particularly useful.