Salt Conversion To Free Base Form: A Complete Drug Guide
Last updated : July 21, 2024

Salt Conversion To Free Base Form: A Complete Drug Guide


Do you want to know how to convert salts to its free base form crystals? Dive in deep!


This is one of the most widely used salt conversion techniques in the world of drugs, i.e. heroin base form conversion. It can be used to convert a wide range of salts into base form. Synthetic compounds such as fent / fentalogues can also be converted into base form. All the equipment and materials can be obtained from the best onion links

Due to its lower melting point, a drug's base form is typically more appropriate for smoking or vaporization. However, in certain cases, hydrochloride salts may not be suitable for vaporization due to the fact that they undergo decomposition prior to vaporization (for example, in the case of hydrochloride cocaine).

This method can also be employed for purification. You might find similar references on some onion tor links. For instance, if I were to take the free base crystals that I obtained and convert them into their hydrochloride state, I would obtain a high-purity diacetylmorphine hydrochloride #4 heroin. The conversion of base into hydrochloride salt falls outside of the scope of this process. 

However, there are two methods that can be used to convert base into hydrochloric acid salt. One is to vaporize hydrochloric acid vapor through an organic base solution, resulting in the precipitate out of the base (commonly referred to as “gassing” in methamphetamine production). Alternatively, a solution of hydrochloric acid can be added directly to a free base and evaporated off the solvent, which is commonly done in laboratories by using ether with hydrochloric acid dissolved in it.

Substituting the base of the solution with the solvent (diethyl ether) will result in the commonly used method for extracting free base cocaine (although I have used the exact formula outlined below without any modifications and found it to be effective).




Materials You Would Need


You would require the following things in order to do the salt conversion. Moreover, if you are wondering where to get them, let me tell you that you can grab them at a great deal on .onion sites dark web. That said, before directly jumping onto dark web links, it is important to research how to access the dark web safely.


  • In order to use syringes, it is recommended that a minimum of 3.5 mL of solution be used. The use of a luer-lock is recommended, but is not mandatory.
  • Syringe filters (I used .22um PES w/ luer lock)
  • Test tubes with rubber stoppers or separatory funnel
  • Erlynmeyer flask
  • An evaporating dish (Use something with a good surface area, such as a glass dish or a glass tray).
  • Eye Droppers are used to lift objects out of solution, add reagents or solvents to solution, and move objects from one place to another.
  • Glass pipette with a hand pump is not required but is recommended for all home chemistry applications due to its utility. You can find serological pipette on eBay or Amazon and there is a popular 3 pack of 3 hand pumps (blue, green, red hand) for 2ml capacity, 10ml capacity, and 25 ml capacity. You can also find these individually for around $15 on Amazon or on any best tor site

Please note that these are glass pipettes, not plastic / polystyrene pipettes. I prefer to use glass 10 ml pipettes with a 2 ml hand pump because it gives me a lot of fun playing with the wheel, and it allows me to draw things out without sucking them in too much.

  • Sodium carbonate or another suitable base (baking soda usually works too)
  • Sodium sulfate (desiccant)
  • Sodium chloride NON-IODIZED (needed if you have an emulsion issue)
  • DISTILLED water
  • Other suitable organic solvents include naptha, ethyl acetate, and other general purpose extracting solvents.
  • Acetone is not needed here but can be used by any home chemist to clean glassware and other items.


Method (Read Thoroughly Before Starting Off)


1. The sample should first be dissolved in distilled water, stirring until no further solvents are present. Alternatively, the distilled water may be heated in the microwave to expedite the sample dissolving process. It is important to note that the amount of water used should not be excessive, as it should be sufficient to dissolve all solvents and to create a suitable aqueous covering when the liquid and liquid extraction part of the process is completed.


2. A syringe filter is used to filter the solution. I used a polyethersulfone syringe filter (PES) with a .22 mm pore size and luer-lock filter inlet. Push the solution through the filter using a syringe. After pushing everything through the filter, follow up by pushing a small amount of distilled water through the filter to remove any product that may be trapped inside the filter. If processing a large amount, you may need to use several syringe filters as the filter will eventually become clogged with debris, but these are inexpensive. The aqueous solution should be completely transparent and free of suspended particles.


3. This is where the directions will vary slightly depending on the volume of liquid you are dealing with. If you are able to fit everything in a test tube (or multiple test tubes), then this is what I would suggest. Generally speaking, you do not want the aqueous layer to occupy more than about ⅓ of the test tube height. Separatory funnels are designed for this purpose, so you can use them. If you are dealing with a larger volume of liquid, you will need to purchase a separatory funnel. You can get one fairly inexpensively on eBay.


4. A concentrated base solution should be set aside. Subsequently, a large quantity of the base should be dissolved in the dissolved water. If the dissolved base does not dissolve, a small amount of water should be added to the solution. Alternatively, the solids may settle on the bottom of the solution. 

The compound used in this salt conversion process was sodium carbonate, which can be found in the yellow box of soap and detergent at Walmart in the Soap and Detergent aisle. Alternatively, a tray with aluminum foil and baking soda may be used. The baking soda should be placed on the tray, the oven should be preheated to 220°F / 104°C and the oven should be heated for 30 minutes before the solution is reconstituted. The dissolved sodium carbonate will decompose into CO2, H2O, and sodium carbonate at 176°F / 80°C.



5. Add your aqueous concentrated base solution, drop by drop, and immediately you’ll see everything cloudy and a small amount of precipitate clumping to the sides of the solution. This is the conversion of the product from its polar, water soluble, salt form to its more nonpolar, free base form. Swirl gently after each drop. If you can add one drop and not see any reaction, then it means that all of the product is converted from its hydrochloride salts form to its free base form.


6. Add a small amount of the organic, non-polar solvent of your choice (I have used naptha in this example, but have used various solvents) (Ethyl acetate, for example, is an excellent extracting solvent). Allow the solvent to settle to a level where there is a transparent layer above the water layer. Organic solvents, with the exception of Halogenated Solvents such as chloroform or dichloromethane, tend to be less dense than water and will always form the top layer of the mixture. 

Secure the top of the test tube by covering the top of the rubber stopper with the solvent and shaking the stopper (you can also use your finger to shake the stopper, provided you do not tell anyone). The organic layer of the solvent will experience a build-up of vapor pressure. Carefully remove the stopper from the solvent and lift it to vent, releasing the pressure. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes before separating the solvent into two separate layers.

Note: If you're having trouble getting everything to come apart, and there seem to be a lot of tiny bubbles, then you've got an emulsion issue. It can happen more frequently with some solvents than others, but usually you can get it to come apart by adding a concentrated salt solution (sodium chloride dissolved in distilled water up to a certain point) and shaking it.