People often ask what the “X” means in our incenses, as well as what “standardized,” “non-standardized,” and “crude” extracts are. Hopefully this article will make it clear: Standardized incense (such as Salvia divinorum) begins with an herb and a specific amount of the pure extract of the active component of that same herb. A “bulk” extract or Non-Standardized extract is simply a specific amount of an herb, extracted and then infused back onto that same herb in a smaller amount, depending on the “x” concentration desired.
For example, if I know that Salvia divinorum has 3.5mg of Salvinorin per gram of leaf, and wanted to make a 10x Standardized Extract, one would take 10 grams of fresh Salvia leaf, and infuse 35mg of Salvinorin onto that 10 grams of leaf.
For a “bulk,” “crude,” or Non-Standardized extraction of any herb, one would simply take 100 grams of that herb, extract it into a resin, and then infuse that resin onto 10 grams of plain leaf. The most common way is to liquify the resulting resin in water, alcohol, or a mixture of both.
With Standardized extracts, anyone working with that plant knows exactly how much of an active alkaloid they are working with, whether they work with the leaf today, tomorrow, or a year from now. The active alkaloid will always be in the exact same ratio, regardless of batch, plant potency, or different harvest.
In “bulk,” “crude,” or Non-Standardized extractions, there is no way to know how much of an active alkaloid makes it into the final product. This is because there are large fluctuations in Mother Nature; sometimes alkaloid concentrations are high, but sometimes they are low. Sometimes an extraction is more effective than the last one, and the list of variables goes on. With “bulk” or Non-Standardized extracts, it’s really a crap shoot.
Standardized extracts are also far cleaner burning because all of the tarry resin is extracted out of the leaf, leaving only the pure active alkaloid behind. A high quality extraction of Salvia divinorum, for example, will start with almost pure white Salvinorin-a, and a relatively good extraction will start with a whitish powder, tinted green.