What Is the Action Level for Butane?

Written by Cara Wietstock

Come 2017 Colorado is raising their state-regulated limit on residual volatile solvents that t will allow in concentrates made from cannabis. The rule change went by unnoticed but it allows dramatically larger levels of solvents to be sold in recreational & medical products.

The new laws will increase the legal threshold for butane from 800 parts per million to 5000 parts per million. The residuals for heptane will go up by a factor of ten. Industrial solvents xylenes, that aren’t actually supposed to be used in extraction, can now be permitted up to 2170 ppm, up from 1 ppm in previous legislation. Lastly, the limit on benzene is now acceptable up to 2 ppm.

This new legislation will surely be noticed by the average consumer as they begin to taste the chemicals sticking around in their wax. These chemicals have been associated with irregular heartbeat, increased risk of cancer, nausea, and even death. Testing labs and regulators have shown their surprise at these changes which will apply to medical and adult-use markets.

These new limits truly follow what is currently the most scientific and medical guidance from the pharmaceutical industry. This year Hous Bill 16-1261 passed which puts the CDPHE in charge of recommending testing standards “based on medical reports and published scientific literature”. The first limits set were done under strict time constraints and stress, the new numbers reflect a more adequate assessment of these residuals based on scientific research.



What About Other States?

Other legal states have set residual solvent limits quite a bit lower than Colorado. For example, in Berkeley, the total combined residual solvents must top out 400 ppm. On the other end of the spectrum Oregon has solvent standards similar to Colorado but with even more listed. Washington regulators are currently proposing the higher limits adopted by Oregon and Colorado, these are set to take effect just before March.


About the author

Cara Wietstock

Cara began working in the retail cannabis industry of San Francisco, CA in 2011 and continued in that sector for years. In 2015 she dedicated herself to writing full-time. Her passion for the written word and deep respect for the healing properties of the plant have brought her to Terpenes and Testing magazine. She now helps keep us on the cutting edge of scientific cannabis discovery as the Editor-in-Chief of the print publication.

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