How to Be a Drug Nerd: A Chemist's Guide to Volumetric Dosing, Standard Uncertainty, and Harm Reduction
# Tips on how to Be a Drug Nerd: A Chemist’s Information to Volumetric Dosing, Commonplace Uncertainty, and Hurt Discount **A pair edits have been made to replicate options within the feedback. Thanks guys!** ## Introduction I’m a Chemical Biology main. I’m a complete nerd, I *love* chemistry, I really like biology, and I’m sort of a grimy degenerate. That makes me an ideal candidate for the analysis chemical group, wouldn’t you say? In spending time right here and in associated communities, I’ve heard far too many tales about folks overdosing, underdosing, or simply straight up not realizing how a lot they took in any respect (fucking eyeballers). Most of you most likely find out about volumetric dosing, however I’ve talked to far too many individuals who assume it’s tough and overwhelming. Let me make this very clear: **volumetric dosing shouldn’t be exhausting, and it may save your life.** The objective of this information is to show you the best way to to arrange volumetric options in a comically rigorous approach. However hopefully, by the top of this information, you ought to be an professional on the best way to make doses which can be correct all the way down to the tenths of a milligram, and you’ll know precisely how assured you may be in your doses. If I needed to dose 25mg of chemical substances proper now, I do know that I may measure out a dose that’s 95% sure of being between 24.6mg and 25.4mg, and almost 100% sure of being between 24.0mg and 26.0mg. That confidence is not only anxiety-reducing, it’s additionally life-saving. And the most effective half is that **you are able to do it, too.** ## TL;DR Yeah, this information is lengthy. It goes into way more element than might be vital. However let me present a fast rundown for the lazy (as a result of even the lazy have a proper to not kill themselves by overdose!) 1. Calibrate your scale 2. Weigh your medication utilizing a milligram scale 3. Measure your solvent utilizing a pipette 4. Divide weight of drug by quantity of liquid to find out your focus 5. When dosing, divide your required dose by your focus to find out the quantity of liquid you could measure 6. Measure liquid utilizing a pipette 7. Drink liquid **EDIT:** A easy, simpler to observe information is accessible on [psychonaut wiki](https://psychonautwiki.org/wiki/Volumetric_liquid_dosing) for these of you who simply need to get the steps. On this information, I’ll go into element about the best way to do every of those steps the precise approach and the best way to carry out these calculations. ## Why? In brief, volumetric dosing reduces your error by an enormous quantity. A dose of DOM, for instance, is about 4mg. Your milligram scale seemingly has an error of about 3mg. So measuring this instantly in your scale, your dose might be wherever between 1mg (a really mild dose) and 7mg (a really sturdy dose). That’s scary! Utilizing volumetric dosing, we may very simply get this error all the way down to 0.1mg or much less. It could take you about 10 minutes of your time, $50-70 value of apparatus, and **it may simply save your life.** ## Instruments of the Commerce You’re going to want some instruments to volumetrically dose precisely. I don’t need to learn any complaints about this. In case you’re placing novel analysis chemical substances in your physique to get excessive, you possibly can afford $50-70 value of instruments that may be life saving. In case you can’t, then you definitely shouldn’t be losing your cash on medication within the first place. So let’s get all the way down to it. You have to: * [**A milligram (0.001g) scale.**](https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0012TDNAM) That is the way you’re going to weigh your chemical substances out. I discover the AWS Gemini-20 to be very exact for the cash. Proper now it’s about $47, but it surely’s usually round $30 and I don’t doubt that the worth will drop quickly. **A 0.001g scale doesn’t imply you’re exact all the way down to 1mg!** This solely refers to what number of digits your scale can learn out. I discover {that a} correctly calibrated Gemini-20 may be exact to inside about 2-3mg when calibrated correctly, however when uncalibrated may be off by as a lot as 20mg. Which brings me to this: * [**Calibration weight set.**](https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003STEJAC) The gemini-20 comes with two 10g calibration weights. That’s *okay*. However if you wish to be completely sure, this extraordinarily low cost ($15) calibration set comes with weights of 1mg, 10mg, 20mg, 50mg, 100mg, 200mg, 500mg, 1g, 2g, 5g, 10g, 20g, and 50g. That’s lots of weights! Utilizing this, you possibly can check your scale utilizing a weight near the burden of the chemical substances you’re weighing simply previous to weighing to ensure every thing seems to be good. A necessary, I’d say. * [**Graduated pipette set.**](https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BWKFDXQ) All of the accuracy on the planet when weighing your powders doesn’t matter when you can’t precisely measure the liquid. This set is just $15 and comes with 1mL, 2mL, 3mL, 5mL, and 10mL pipettes which can be class A. The 10mL pipette, for instance, has a precision of 0.05mL, and the 1mL pipette is 0.01mL. Wow! * [**Vials to store your solution in.**](https://www.containerstore.com/s/kitchen/food-storage/glass-dram-vials/12d?productId=10008183) I take advantage of these cute little vials from the container retailer. They’re terribly low cost and simply straight up cute. You need to use no matter you need. You need the dimensions of your vial to match the quantity of dose you’re making. The 10 dram vials work properly for 30mL of resolution. Don’t retailer your 30mL of resolution in a mason jar — you’ll lose a ton of it attributable to mechanical loss! * [**Spatula**](https://www.amazon.com/Scientific-Labwares-Spatula-Tapered-Stainless/dp/B079YFS1RN) or [**Scoop**](https://www.amazon.com/Aozita-Pack-Lab-Spatula-Nickel-Stainless/dp/B075VLJQDZ). That is for transferring your powders. These work actually nice. * **Clear solvent.** This can depend upon what chemical you’re utilizing. This may be distilled water ($1.50 per gallon at a grocery retailer) for issues like amphetamine derivatives, and so on, or [Propylene Glycol](https://www.amazon.com/Propylene-Glycol-99-9-Pure-Kosher/dp/B075RGZX7G) for issues like tryptamines ($15 per quart on amazon), or ethanol (Everclear works properly when you’re in a state that has 95%). * [**Optional: Beaker.**](https://www.amazon.com/Glass-Measuring-Beaker-100ml-Graduated/dp/B01J57WFF6) That is only a handy option to maintain your solvent when you’re measuring issues. You need to use only a small glass or no matter if you would like. * **Optionally available: Latex gloves and a masks.** I don’t see this beneficial sufficient. Whereas not strictly vital, it’s a superb security AND precision precaution. Your arms and fingers are oily, and lots of powder can stick with them. Far more than on gloves. A masks additionally helps — not solely will it enable you to not breathe in chemical substances, it may well additionally assist be sure you don’t blow your chemical substances off your scale when you’re respiration! Plus when you breath too exhausting, you possibly can really throw off the size. So it’s good to put on one. * **Paper, pencil, and calculator.** Get able to do some very primary math. Don’t fear, it’s simple! I’ll information you thru it. ## Preparation **On this instance, I’ll make a 5mg/mL resolution of 2-FMA in distilled water.** That is relevant to something. I’m simply giving an instance, and I believe utilizing concrete numbers and names will assist along with your understanding as you learn this information. In case you’re making, for instance, a 2mg/mL resolution of 4-HO-MET in propylene glycol as an alternative, substitute the phrases and numbers in your head as you learn on. Get in a room with little airflow. Shut your home windows, your doorways, and so on. This can stop wind from blowing chemical substances away. Wash your arms, then put in your masks and gloves. Bust out your gear. You don’t need to be getting up and looking for your stuff in the midst of this process. Wash your glassware utilizing your solvent. We’ll wash our 10mL pipette and our beaker utilizing distilled water. **Decide how a lot resolution you’ll make, and at what focus.** We’ll make 30mL of a 5mg/mL resolution of 2-FMA. To calculate how a lot 2-FMA we are going to want, we are able to multiply these two numbers: 30mL * 5mg/mL = **150mg of 2-FMA.** Pour sufficient distilled water in your beaker to make the answer, and a bit further. I simply poured like 100mL into my beaker. ## Calibrate and Estimate Uncertainty **Calibrate your scale regularly.** This half solely must be carried out typically — not each time you need to weigh one thing. However it is best to all the time test earlier than every weighing in case your scale wants recalibration by weighing the 10g calibration weight. Toss your 10g weight on the size — if it reads between 9.997 and 10.003, you’re golden. If not, you could recalibrate your scale. To recalibrate on the gemini-20, flip in your scale, then maintain the *on* button till it says “CAL”. Take every thing off the size (no weigh boat). It should ask you to position your 10.000g weight on the size, then the 20.000g weight. Then it is going to say “PASS” and also you’re good to go. **Estimate your scale uncertainty.** We’re going to get a gauge of how correct our scale is. I place the 10g weight, 5g weight, and 1g weight on there and write down the measurements. As a result of the gemini-20 is a 20g scale, and it’s most likely most correct across the midpoint (10g), I’m going to toss the 10g weight on there to measure smaller weights. So with the 10g weight on the size, I’ll measure the 500mg, 200mg, 100mg, 50mg, and 10mg weights and write down the measurements. This subsequent half is kind of simply instinct. Take a look at your numbers. For me, all of those weighs have been lower than 2mg off. Most of them have been 1mg off, and a few weren’t off in any respect. Subsequently, I’m going to guess my scale is correct to about **±2mg**. **Optionally available: there’s a extra scientifically rigorous approach to do that when you have been so inclined.** The following step up can be to really calculate the uncertainty of your scale mathematically. I’m not going to enter this. To do that, you would want extra correct calibration weights. These low cost weights may be off by 1-3mg, so it’s just a little bit *further* to try this. It’s my opinion that an estimation is sufficient. The nerdiest attainable factor you could possibly do at this level can be to additionally make a *calibration curve* on your scale. This might imply weighing a bunch of actually correct weights, graphing the end result, and discovering a line (or polynomial) of greatest match. Not vital in any respect. However it may be enjoyable! ## Weigh Now let’s really weigh our 2-FMA! I’m going to position the weigh boat on the size, and moreover place the 10.000g calibration weight. This can carry our load nearer to the midpoint of the size, which ought to theoretically enhance precision. Wait till the burden stops altering, then press the tare button. Now use your spatula to slowly switch 2-FMA to the size till it weighs 150mg. In case you go barely over or just below, don’t fear. Simply write down precisely what it says. We received **149mg of 2-FMA**. I then transferred this to the vial. To do that, I received a chunk of plastic transparency sheet about 1.5” x 1.5”. I creased the plastic in half in each instructions to make kind of a plus signal, which made just a little divot within the center to carry the powder higher. Then I dumped the powder on this plastic, utilizing my spatula to attempt to scrape each final little bit from the weigh boat onto the plastic. Then I picked up the plastic, and folded it in half alongside the crease I had made earlier, to make just a little monitor alongside which the 2-FMA may slide down into the vial. I scraped the plastic with my spatula to get off all of the final little bits. I now have **149mg of 2-FMA within the vial.** ## Measure Solvent I’m going to dissolve the 149mg in 30mL of water. My plan is to pipette 3 times 10mL utilizing the 10mL pipette. **Watch this video! This is essential!** Initially, I wrote out a complete Three paragraphs describing the best way to correctly use a pipette. However truthfully, it’s a lot simpler to see this in motion. [Here’s a 2 minute video showing how to pipette properly.](https://youtu.be/HC44xjs7dho?t=60) On this video, they use a volumetric pipette moderately than a graduated pipette, but it surely’s the identical concept. Now you may discover that the pipettes which I linked don’t have bulbs that match onto the tip and are available off simply just like the bulb within the video. It’s because I simply couldn’t discover the precise kind of pipette on Amazon. However you are able to do the identical factor utilizing the pipettes I linked, it simply takes just a little little bit of follow. **Please don’t kill me: you too can use the mouth pipetting approach with meals grade solvents.** That is sort of a meme within the chemistry group as a result of it’s a fucking horrible concept most often. However since we’re utilizing meals grade stuff right here, I believe it’s okay. In case you’re having bother utilizing the pipette bulb as described within the video, you possibly can put your mouth on the top of the pipette and suck simply sufficient to get the water a pair centimeters above the 10mL commencement mark. **MAKE SURE THE SOLVENT DOESN’T TOUCH YOUR MOUTH!** In any other case you’ll have contaminated it. You do NOT need saliva in your volumetric resolution, as it may well degrade your chemical substances! **EDIT:** When really dosing, keep away from utilizing the mouth pipetting approach. It may be very simple to estimate fallacious how exhausting to suck, and find yourself with a mouthful of doubtless orally energetic medication. That is a giant hazard! This pipetting approach will take a little bit of follow to get proper. I like to recommend you simply sit there and follow doing this just a few instances. Pipette 3x 10mL of distilled water into your vial with the 2-FMA. **Write down precisely how a lot solvent you used.** Every time you pipette, write down *precisely* how a lot solvent you used. To do that, you all the time *estimate* another digit than your pipette exhibits. The 10mL pipette I linked has graduations for 0.1mL, so we are able to estimate one digit greater than that. For instance, if the underside of your meniscus is just a little bit below midway between 9.9 and 10.0, it is best to write down 9.94mL. **EDIT:** A extra correct approach can be to really combine your medication with the ~30mL *first*, and *then* measure how a lot whole resolution there may be. It’s because, as a commenter identified, the medication can really enhance the quantity of resolution. 150mg in 30mL is not going to make an considerable distinction, however *technically* the precise option to do it will be to make a concentrated resolution first (utilizing, say, 10mL), after which prime up the quantity till it is precisely 30.00mL. Alternatively, you can also make your combination in a single vial, then use the pipette to switch to a second vial, writing down precisely how a lot whole liquid was pipetted to the second vial. As a result of I’ve lots of follow at pipetting, I used to be capable of get 10.00mL precisely 3 times for a complete of 30.00mL. Don’t fear when you get 9.94, then 9.67, then 9.81. It doesn’t matter, so long as you may have **written down precisely how a lot you used**. With a view to present higher examples of calculations, I’m going to faux that I received simply that; so **shall we say I received 9.94, 9.67, and 9.81 for a complete of 29.42mL.** When pouring your water into your vial, you should use this as a possibility to **rinse off the weigh boat and the piece of switch plastic we used**. As a result of they each had a tiny little bit of powder left over on them, I merely held them over the vial and allowed the water from the pipette to run over them and into the vial. Be very cautious to not enable any water to spill out. **Be sure to file the usual uncertainty of the pipette.** On a reliable pipette, this might be written on the glass. Within the 10mL pipette I linked, you possibly can see on the prime it says 10, after which below that it says 0.05 A. Which means it is a 10.00mL pipette, with a 0.05mL commonplace uncertainty (class A). You can even see a marking that claims ±0.05 on there. Precisely what this implies is considerably tough to know. However I can ELI5 like this: (10.00±0.05)mL signifies that 95% of the time, your 10.00mL marking will really be between 9.95mL and 10.05mL. There’s a little bit of nuance to this, however I received’t go into that proper now. ## Calculating Your Focus and Uncertainty **Okay, so we now have an answer of 149mg of 2-FMA in 29.42mL of water.** Calculating the focus is straightforward: simply divide. 149mg / 29.42mL = **5.06mg/mL**. However now we’ve to calculate **uncertainty**. We don’t simply need to know precisely how a lot we’re dosing — we additionally need to understand how sure we’re of that dose. ## Propagating Uncertainty Let’s recap our measurements, this time together with our uncertainties. We had a ±2mg uncertainty from our scale, and a ±0.05mL uncertainty for every of our pipette measurements, so we’ve: > **(149±2)mg** 2-FMA > **(9.94±0.05)mL** + **(9.67±0.05)mL** + **(9.81±0.05)mL** water. Calculating uncertainty isn’t so simple as including them. The reason being easy: take our water measurements for instance. Including the 0.05mL uncertainties instantly would yield a 0.15mL uncertainty. But it surely’s not going that each one three measurements would have been 0.05mL kind of than measured. It’s extra seemingly that a few of these uncertainties would cancel; some measurements might be barely over, some might be just below, and people would cancel. So our uncertainty ought to be extra correct than 0.15mL. **Let’s add our water uncertainties.** The components for that is the next: > **e4 = √(e1^2 + e2^2 + e3^2)** So lets calculate the uncertainty of our 29.42mL of water determine: > e4 = √(0.05^2 + 0.05^2 + 0.05^2) > = √(3 * 0.05^2) > = 0.087mL Retain one further digit than the variety of vital figures, until your first sig fig is 1, by which case retain two further digits. In case you don’t know what meaning, it’s probably not that essential. Simply don’t spherical your numbers off too aggressively. So we’ve **(29.42±0.087)mL** of water. Now we’ve to take care of the division of the milligrams of 2-FMA by the milliliters of water. **The components for division/multiplication of uncertainty is totally different than addition/subtraction.** Really, technically the components is similar, however as an alternative of calculating on absolutely the uncertainty (the variety of milligrams or milliliters), we calculate on the relative uncertainty (a proportion). So we’ve to transform our uncertainties into percentages. That is simple, simply divide and multiply by 100: > (29.42±0.087mL) > 0.087 / 29.42 * 100 = 0.29% > **(29.42±0.29%)mL** And equally, > (149±2)mg > 2 / 149 * 100 = 1.34% > **(149±1.34%)mg** Now we use the identical components as above, however with our percentages: > e = √(0.29^2 + 1.34^2) > = 1.37% > **(5.06±1.37%)mg/mL** Lastly, we convert our % error again into absolute error by multiplying and dividing by 100: > 5.06 * 1.37 / 100 = 0.069 > **(5.06±0.069)mg/mL** Technically your uncertainty ought to be rounded to 1 vital determine, until it begins with a 1, by which case 2 sig figs. Then, the final digit of your worth ought to be the primary digit of the uncertainty. So in our case, we’ve, lastly: **(5.06±0.07)mg/mL** Yay! We now know that (principally) we’re 95% sure that our resolution has a focus between 4.99mg/mL and 5.13mg/mL. ## Dosing So how will we dose? Let’s say we need to dose **25mg**. First, we determine what number of milliliters we want by dividing: > 25mg / (5.06mg/mL) = **4.94mL** Then we are going to use the identical pipetting approach to measure that quantity of resolution. **Be sure that your liquid is properly blended first!** Give ‘er a shake. I prefer to pour this liquid right into a consuming class, and replenish the remaining with water, and bottoms up! **EDIT:** When really dosing, keep away from utilizing the mouth pipetting approach. It may be very simple to estimate fallacious how exhausting to suck, and find yourself with a mouthful of doubtless orally energetic medication. That is a giant hazard! So… how sure are we that we’ve precisely 25mg? Bear in mind the best way to calculate uncertainty with multiplication and division? We have to use the proportion uncertainty. We have now: > (4.94±0.05)mL * (5.06±0.07)mg/mL Convert to proportion errors: > (4.94±1.01%)mL * (5.06±1.37%)mg/mL > e = √(1.01^2 + 1.37^2) > = 1.70% > (25.0±1.70%)mg Convert again to absolute error: > 25.0 * 1.70 / 100 = 0.43 > **(25.0±0.4)mg** Wonderful! **So we’re 95% sure that our dosage is between 24.6mg and 25.4mg.** How cool is that??? ## Conclusion Is most of this vital? In brief, **no, probably not.** I’m only a nerd. **What *is* vital is volumetric dosing.** In case you don’t do that, you’re deliberately playing along with your life out of laziness. No, you don’t must calculate error and all that shit. However the primary operation of making a volumetric resolution may be carried out in 5-10 minutes for below $60 and might save your life. **So please, please be accountable and do the precise factor.** When you have any questions or if there’s something I can make clear, please publish a remark. I’ll be completely happy to assist out any approach I can!

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