How to make smokable freebase caffeine

Instructional video shows you how to make "black magic" -- crude freebase caffeine. The ingredients are ground coffee and ammonia. It sounds gross and dangerous.

(Via Unique Daily)


  1. “think of the money you could make from coast to coast, on every schoolyard!”

    Wow! That in itself is pretty gross.

  2. It definitely sounds gross but I’m not seeing the dangerous part, unless you’re not allowed to use the stove when your parents aren’t home.

  3. Dear Boing Boing,

    On behalf of Starbucks, Inc., we ask that you cease and desist in your coverage of smokable caffeine products.

    In confidence, we are advising you that this is a product we are currently developing, and it’s apparent that news of our research and product development efforts has been leaked.

    We trust that you will abide by our request.


    Friedrich Ferdinand Runge
    Starbucks Inc. Corporate Counsel

    (Per Wiki – Main hazards: May be fatal if inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through the skin.)

    1. If you are legit Starbucks people who the fuck are you to tell someone to stop this?

      Is he saying hey do this so you dont have to buy starbucks. No. You just want him to shush so you won’t lose profit

      we people don’t look up new ways to get fucked up cause we want to be safe we know there as risks we don’t care we take em anyway so take you big wig commercial america concern for your pocket else where while we live our life

      Stuart :D

    1. One does not need to use ammonia; I was making caffeine freebase 14 years ago for my brother in law, a pleasant little hobby. One would just need to use a suitably basic chemical, such as Sodium carbonate (which can be made from baking soda; all one needs to do is bake it in the oven for about 10 minutes at 500 degrees Fahrenheit). The resulting freebase can be purified well beyond the results from the simple method outlined here: my product was pure white, with beautiful almost clear crystals, finer than table salt.

      1. Anon:

        So do you simply mix a pure form of caffeine like anhydrous caffeine with sodium carbonate and heat them together in the stove for 10 minutes? Would the ratio be 1:1?

  4. Probably like popping 10 or so NoDoze – which I remember doing when I was like 16. I was working at Shakey’s Pizza at the time – and boy was I ever shaky. Gave me diarrhea too. Couldn’t sleep that night, just did TM the whole night.

  5. Let’s see… Coffee, water, and a coffee maker gets me the same damned results.

    Sometimes, I suppose, I don’t really even want to know why this would appeal to people.

  6. Bitrex == Denatonium

    the most bitter chemical compound known to date … used as aversive agents to prevent accidental ingestion. Denatonium is used in denatured alcohol antifreeze, nail biting preventions, animal repellents, liquid soaps, and shampoos. It is not known to pose any long-term health risks however is classed as a skin and eye irritant.

  7. what does boiling ammonia do to your lungs? Are there any actual physical/medical risks to inhaled caffeine?

  8. Inhalation results in rapid delivery. Inhaling any drug generally carries greater risk than ingesting it.

  9. What is going on on the internets today? There’s this AND a Howto over at Instructables about how to derive DMT from your own urine.

  10. @11 Given that the LD50 of caffeine puts the “you’re going to die” dose at around 100 cups of coffee, I don’t think there’s much need for concern here.

  11. @17 The body does produce small amounts of DMT during metabolism. I’m not sure if you can get them out of urine though… but I wouldn’t call it a hoax yet.

  12. And to think that I’ve been tormenting my kidneys with all that superfluous liquid over the years.

    My one problem with this method is that smoking irritates my lungs. Does anyone know how I can adapt this recipe to make a suppository?

  13. Other Videos in the Series:

    How to run across the San Diego Freeway.
    How to swallow glass.
    How to carjack in East St. Louis.
    How to perform surgery on your eye.

  14. @ #21 posted by Brother Provisional

    I once heard a motivational speech by a priest, who, when he and his friends were teen, found out how to make vodka suppositories.

    @ #22 posted by Teller

    “How to perform surgery on your eye.”

    Followed by part two in the series, “How to perform surgery on your remaining eye.”

    1. “We are here at the local crack house, where we’ve secretly replaced the rock they usually smoke with Folgers Crystals. Let’s see if anyone can tell the difference!”

  15. @ #31 posted by rasz

    “I rather snort cat urine”

    Buy a cat and a litter box, and don’t clean it for two days.

  16. or you could just eat the coffee grounds and save yourself all the futzing with ammonia and cleaning sticky burned-coffee-goo off your pots and pans.

  17. Great, someone’s trying to go and get NoDoz banned.

    I don’t see why you’d use black coffee instead of NoDoz or a generic. Black coffee boiled down like that has a lot of oils and ash, as well as non-caffeine psycho-active alkaloids. Try it for yourself, just compare the effect of 200 mg. pure caffeine, with 4/5 of a *$ tall (which has 260 mg total). They’re both stimulating but the nuances are different.

  18. To clarify, I was comparing popping a no-doz, and drinking a coffee; not freebasing each one and smoking it.

    I don’t see the point of this; a large dose of caffeine (oral) just produces unpleasantness for me. Receiving it all at once sounds like a nightmare.

    It also seems possible (though maybe not easy) to screw up and overdose yourself this way…

  19. Erowid says:

    “I’m not sure why you’d want to do this. Caffeine works fine orally, and smoking substances is something that should be avoided if there are safer ways to take them. Smoking anything can be harmful for your lungs.”

  20. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is a roundabout political commentary on drug regulation. The schoolyard bit should give that away, no? I’d like to think of a hard-line war on drug-supporting zealot seeing this and saying “We clearly have to criminalize coffee!”

    Also I think the ammonia will change composition during the freebase process much as it does during crack production. Still probably terribly unhealthy, but I don;t think this guy’s actually advocating this act.

  21. I wish I could find the picture of a friend of mine baking some kind of crystalized cat litter over an outdoor fire. The idea was to put it back into the cat box, since he’d run out during a long weekend. It smelled bad, and produced white clouds of smoke. It didn’t smell like cat pee afterwards.

    Sleeping late and smoking tea, indeed! Vaporized alcohol, designer hallucinogen breath strips, and individually printed capsules are making the rounds. There’s now a ton of well-known and common chemicals and delivery systems for your high of choice. Sounds like a subplot for a novel, or a novel entrepreneurial tactic.

  22. I’m a little distressed by the presence of the YVR (Vancouver International Airport) coffee cup in the bg. Like…it bothers me that it might be a local person doing this weird shit!

  23. #39: Since it isn’t food grade, I would think that “???” would be “remove trace amounts of toxic solvents”. You really don’t want to mess around with non-food grade stuff.

    Also, having just taken Wikipedian Chemistry, I’ll have to call bullshit on this article. You can’t freebase caffeine since it’s a xanthine, and not an amine! There’s no base to “free”, and you just end up with nothing but the nastiest instant coffee crystals imaginable (with added ammonia)…

  24. #44: having taken google chemistry (which I think I’m failing at the moment) it looks like xanthines are purines which can be freebased.

  25. Sweet! I’m showing this to my little brothers and then I think I’ll give some to my 5-year old sister. Then I’m telling my parents where I saw it! Think of the fun!

  26. Yeah, considering that the last time I tried to drink a double-shot latte, I got ragingly ill within half an hour….I’m going to say no.

    (No, I don’t know why my caffeine tolerance is so low. Latte with one shot? Delicious and useful for waking up. Latte with two shots? Apparently, makes me unsure whether I’m going to throw up, pass out, or die. I managed to do none of the above, but it was a near thing with the first.)

    (I’ve since wondered whether they accidentally put 4 shots in it instead. It really doesn’t seem like 2 shots should have done that.)

  27. #39: Since it isn’t food grade, I would think that “???” would be “remove trace amounts of toxic solvents”. You really don’t want to mess around with non-food grade stuff.

    Also, having just taken Wikipedian Chemistry, I’ll have to call bullshit on this article. You can’t freebase caffeine since it’s a xanthine, and not an amine! There’s no base to “free”, and you just end up with nothing but the nastiest instant coffee crystals imaginable (with added ammonia)…

  28. Ammonia is in tailored cigarettes, with alot of other crap. A few puffs on this is nothing compared to a few days inhaling exhaust fumes in a big city.

    And yeah, I figure this is as much a comment on the absurdity of drug laws, or the hypocracy of legal drug takers. Considering Caffiene is readily marketed to children via energy drinks and sodas, and consumed in front of them every day at the breakfast table.

    This had made me wanna freebase something fun. Damn you BoingBoing, it’s only Tuesday.

  29. Its amazing how many ways there are to get high. Last night I my wife found a pill in her purse and wanted me to look it up to see what it was. It was a 50 mg Dimenhydrinate tablet (Dramamine, my kids get motion sick sometimes). When I googled it, the second result amazed me. Dramamine is a deliriant. Thank god I didn’t know about this when I was a teen – getting sick trying to get high on nutmeg was bad enough.

  30. I call BS. You don’t even see anyone hit it…

    If dude had smoked the pipe, I still don’t know if I would believe it.

    Freebasing cocaine works because you covert the salt form of cocaine (weak base) into the deprotonated form that is non-water soluble. The freebased form melts at a low temperature (~100°F) and vaporizes readily. The salt form of cocaine won’t vaporize (melts at 383 °F, burns at ~450°F), which is why you can’t effectively smoke powdered cocaine.

    You can’t make caffeine sufficiently hydrophobic to melt at a low enough temperature to avoid physically burning the caffeine. You are smoking mostly something else when you smoke this. Which is why, I gather, he doesn’t do it with No-Doze.

  31. #51: I did discover dramamine as a teen. All I remember is talking a lot of nonsense and feeling like my feet were sinking with each step.

    #52: You can smoke freebase caffeine. There’s lot’s of info on the web about it. The info in this article should answer your questions.

    1. I snorted Thorazine once when I was in high school. I kind of slept for three days, but it made one dentist appointment really easy to deal with.

  32. #53: I don’t think I buy it. It says right at the top “I don’t claim that the methods
    described in this file are safe or complete.” If you have a better source, show that one.

    I assume you can freebase the caffeine, essentially converting the salt into the base form (don’t know for sure). I don’t think that the question is “can you smoke it” because you certainly can. You can smoke oregano if you want, it’s just not a good idea.

    The guy is obviously trying to draw parallels to crack cocaine (which is obscenely easy to make). Not quite the same thing, as the caffeine still won’t readily vaporize after it has been freebased…

    Besides, he doesn’t even hit it.

  33. busterjonez: Ah, so you’re only doubting that freebased caffeine will sublimate when heated? That’s what I’m getting from your posts, anyway.

    To that question, I have no answer. I know pure caffeine will sublimate under the right circumstances, but from what I’ve read, only at low pressures.

  34. hmm, do they synthesize caffeine? Or is it an extract? Will the bean corporations assassinate the pure chemical purveyors?

  35. Retchdog: “Also, having just taken Wikipedian Chemistry, I’ll have to call bullshit on this article.”

    I tip my hat to you good sir, that made me genuinely lol.

  36. #10, Takuan:

    what does boiling ammonia do to your lungs?

    A student under the supervision of a friend of mine was hospitalised after (voluntarily and inexplicably) taking a very deep breath of ammonia. His face turned blue, and he collapsed to the ground. He apparently recovered completely; he was certainly back at work within a week.

    #45, retchdog:

    You can’t freebase caffeine since it’s a xanthine, and not an amine

    It’s both a xanthine AND an amine. A tertiary amine, to be precise.

    #38, Daemon:

    Just as a point – while most people consider caffeine to be harmless, it’s classified as a hazardous material.

    MSDS sheet:

    There’s also an MSDS sheet for water; but I’m not sure that means it’s a hazardous material.

  37. Frankly I’m tired of otherwise intelligent, well-educated people who are like frightened peasants from the dark ages when it comes to chemistry: once you boil off the ammonia it’s GONE, folks. Ammonia is a gas at room temperature and hence has a lower bowling point than water. I’m not advocating smoking freebase anything, but to just freak out because “it’s got ammonia in it” is simply naive. Because it doesn’t. Might as well not use soap because “it’s got lye in it.”

  38. Back in the early 90s, an acquaintance of mine and his druggie friends decided to try smoking caffeine. After all, with many drugs such as opiates and cocaine, the effects of ingesting the raw plant material vs. ingesting the refined active chemicals vs. smoking the refined active chemicals can be quite different, so why not try it with caffeine. They crunched up some caffeine pills and smoked them.

    He says “You Do Not want to do this.” All the bad things that caffeine does happened all at once, the jitters, the headaches, the nausea, and in general it was Not Fun.

  39. @51:
    Thank god I didn’t know about this when I was a teen – getting sick trying to get high on nutmeg was bad enough.

    Oh good, I’m glad to see I wasn’t the only asshat to try the “getting high on nutmeg” method. I ground down two nuts and ate them over ice cream. All I got was a bad headache and severe…bowel movement. Not exactly great for a party…

  40. I just got done smoking freebase caffiene and I got high as hell….First it’s like a pot buzz and then you get hyper…Pretty awesome for the money

  41. Just buy some caffeine tablets, or even better pharmaceutical grade caffeine powerder as they are freebase caffeine as well. Most basic drugs are made into hydrochloride salts to enhance water solubility, and this must be reversed to create a free base.

    Caffeine is water soluble to start with due to certain groups attached to it in its freebase form, and therefore does not require this kind or processing.

    With caffeine tablets or powerder you can do an extraction quite easily, and without chemicals that are as nasty as ammonia. This video is a very poor extraction anyways, because it does nothing to eliminate impurities.

  42. im curious if anyone has actually tried this.
    sodium carbonate with coffee in the oven?
    or is it sodium carbonate in the oven, then boil with coffee?

    1. Yes I’ve done it and you do get an intense head swirling feeling its quite fantastic but the caffeine crash afterwards isnt fun

      but its like E the rollin is fun but the crash after isnt just lil consequences to take

  43. Orig creator here. Very few people “got” the point, which is merely an absurdist commentary on drug policy.

    Funny how this clip has spread around the web, sort of like a persistent fungus infection or something.

    Originally published on YT as public domain; do what you want with it. Amusing comments. Thanks, everyone.

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