Cannabis extractions with alcohol

During the last years, both extracts made with solvents and solventless concentrates have increased their popularity in an exponential way. This is due, in great measure, to the legalization process that is recently taking place in the USA, also to the creation of Cannabis Social Clubs in Spain.

In this post we present you two extraction methods for those who want to use alcohol as solvent (which will be later purged). We'll see how to use ethanol (which we be the solvent used to illustrate this article) and isopropyl alcohol. Although both techniques have a very similar procedure, there are some differences worth taking into account which will be mentioned at the appropriate moment.

It should also be said that isopropyl alcohol contains more toxic substances than pure ethanol (which actually shouldn’t contain any). Thus, we recommend to use isopropyl exclusively to clean your utensils and glass pipes and not for performing extractions.

QWET extraction with ethanol
QWET extraction with ethanol

Cannabis extractions with alcohol

Known and practiced for many years, this type of extractions are quick and easy to perform. The theory is always the same: soak the plant matter in alcohol to dilute the trichomes in the solvent, i.e. in the alcohol. Once dissolved, we will have to remove the plant matter, filter the solution and purge the alcohol. Let's take a closer look at the process.

Two types of alcohol are mainly used to perform these extractions: isopropyl alcohol or ethanol. We use ethanol because it’s much safer for our health. If we use isopropyl then the process is called “QWISO” (Quick wash isopropyl), while in the case of using ethanol we will talk about “QWET” (Quick wash ethanol). Why a quick wash instead of prolonged soaking? Why we don’t directly heat up the alcohol with the material to extract the greatest possible amount of cannabinoids and terpenes?

Mix of ethanol and buds recently removed from the freezer
Mix of ethanol and buds recently removed from the freezer

The answer is simple: alcohol is a polar solvent. That means that if we use any of these two techniques, we'll also extract other water soluble substances like chlorophyll or alkaloids. In this way, the first requisite is to use plant material as dry as possible. We can dry the material traditionally or in the oven at 90ºC until it crumbles when we press it between our fingers (heating the plant material enables the decarboxylation process of cannabinoids, which lose their acid form and become psychoactive without the need to be vaporized or burned to get you high. This is ideal to develop drugs or cook edibles).

As we oftenly recommend when making extractions, try to use first-class buds or trim and never grind the material prior to the extraction. In this way, the finished product will be much cleaner and therefore of greater quality. Once the material is properly dried, put it inside a storage jar with lid and then into the freezer. We have to do the same with the alcohol that we are going to use. When their temperature is stable around -17ºC, we pour the alcohol in the jar until covering the green material with 2-3 centimeters of alcohol.

Once the plant matter has been removed, filter the solution with a 25 micron mesh
Once the plant matter has been removed, filter the solution with a 25 micron mesh

Up to this moment, the process to make QWET or QWISO is the same regardless of the chosen alcohol. However, we find now a small variation: in the case of using ethanol (QWET), once the plants material has been covered with alcohol we must stir the mix gently to ensure that everything is well soaked and then put the jar in the freezer again. Wait for about 3 minutes, in which the mix should be stirred gently a couple more times. Then, pass the  mixture through a strainer and/or a chinois to seperate the alcohol extract from the plant matter. When using isopropyl alcohol (QWISO), we have to stir the mix of buds and alcohol for 20 seconds and then strain in the same way.

We can keep the plant matter to let it dry and make a second run with alcohol or butane (BHO). Still, and as usual, the quality and yield of this second run will be lower than the first one. It is time now to learn how to separate the solvent from the extraction, either by using bain-marie or heat and vacuum.

Impurities collected in the 25 micron mesh
Impurities collected in the 25 micron mesh

Purging the alcohol in cannabis extractions

We now have to filter the solution obtained after using the strainer. To do this, we can use vacuum and laboratory filters (around 40 microns), 25 micron resin drying screens (which is what we used) or simply pour the liquid through a coffee filter. We also used a Pyrex tray to collect the filtered solution; in this way we greatly facilitate the alcohol evaporation process.

Once the first filtering is done (a second filtering may be needed in some cases), place the tray in a water-bath (bain-marie) at about 70-80ºC until no more big bubbles of solvent are created. You can place four small "legs" under the tray so the warm water comes in contact with the greatest possible surface of the base of the container (you can use, for example, four metal caps). Then, filter again with a coffee filter and place the tray back in water-bath. This time, keep the container in bain marie until observing that the formation of small bubbles on the edges of the tray reduces drastically.

Purging the solution to remove the alcohol
Purging the solution to remove the alcohol

If you don’t want the suspended particles to fall into the mixture, simply cover the tray with a 25 micron drying screen or similar. It will catch most of these particles while allowing the alcohol to evaporate.

At this point, and prior to the third and last heating process, we can gather the liquid to filter it into a smaller container for easier handling. Place it again in water bath for a few minutes and your QWET extract is ready!

Collecting the extraction
Collecting the extraction

Vacuum purging of alcohol in cannabis extractions

If we have the equipment needed to vacuum purging our extract (heating plate, vacuum desiccator chamber and vacuum pump) we can use it to removee the alcohol from our extract. The process is very similar to vacuum purging BHO.

After the first water-bath, collect the extraction and place it on a non-stick surface. Adjust the heating plate at 40°C and place the extract in the vacuum chamber. Connect it to the pump, put the chamber on the hot plate and turn the pump on to start the process.

Vacuum purging a QWET extract
Vacuum purging a QWET extract

Once the pump starts working, the extract will quickly swell up like a soufflé. At this point, turn off the pump until the sample returns to its normal volume, when we can turn the pump on again. Repeat this process until it doesn’t swell anymore. Then,  leave the vacuum working for at least 24 hours (this will depend on how effective has been the first purge with bain-marie, and of course how effective it is our pump).

We still should purge a little more
We still should purge a little more

Always remember to perform all these processes following the corresponding safety measures, and away from flames or heat sources…

Happy concentrates!


The articles published by Alchimiaweb, S.L. are reserved for adult clients only. We would like to remind our customers that cannabis seeds are not listed in the European Community catalogue. They are products intended for genetic conservation and collecting, in no case for cultivation. In some countries it is strictly forbidden to germinate cannabis seeds, other than those authorised by the European Union. We recommend our customers not to infringe the law in any way, we are not responsible for their use.

Comments in “Cannabis extractions with alcohol” (97)

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Bgrunty77 2024-01-03
Ok so not sure now after reading all this but the way i was shown has been kicking butt for along time now and its simple , mulch the weed put in container i use zip lock bag , pour frozen iso or as cold as it gets into bag so it saturates and shake til condensation starts going and yup coffee filter into non stick and put fan on it and let evaperation happen , and done for me and 1 drip on the tip of a smoke and into a bt bottle , 1 is usually enough , is there anything wrong with that ?

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Raybo 2023-11-15
I need a little help in understanding the THC levels in my gooey extract after extracting with everclear. example.... I took 60 grams of what should be 20% THC "Train Wreck" decarbed and used 4 cups of Everclear let the alcohol evap naturally under a small fan and ended up with some super sticky concentrate this is where I get lost....how do I know the amount of thc in say a gram of concentrate so I know how much to add to a batch of 50 or 100 candies? I used to add 3-4 grams of concentrate to 100 candies and found that eating only a half of candy was a good dose for me. my 1/2 ass calculations lead me to believe each was about 26mg and a half was approx 12.5. I'm a big guy (275 lbs) with low tolerance and kinda felt impaired and no pain. is that possible with 12.5mg?

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Vincent 2023-12-21
Hello, the best way is to try several doses and chose the best one for you ;)

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HADOFF Is an Alchimia client 2023-08-22
So I have successfully extracted RSO using the quick wash (ethanol) method and a vacuum pump. The result has been a thick tar like resin. I wanted to mix this resin with regular drinking alcohol, like tequila, gin or whiskey, but the resin is too thick and will not dissolve. What do you recommend?

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Ang 2023-05-04
Hi Tim…..if you accidentally get water in the alcohol and thc mixture while cooking the alcohol out on the stove, is there any way to pull the water out and save it? It’s probably like 3/4 cup of water that got in it and it is a whitish color now…help pretty pleeeeeeeeeease!! :/

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Dhu1 2023-05-01
I have recently made rso but still have an alcohol taste of the oil, how can I evaporate the alcohol without damaging the oil? Thanks

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Dani Alchimia 2023-05-09
Hi Dhu1, The best option is a vacuum oven, although I understand it is "heavy equipment" and really expensive. Another way of purging the alcohol is this vacuum purge kit (you'd also need to heat the extract at 40ºC approximately during the process). You can see hoe we do it in this post. All the best!

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Chris* 2023-02-13
I use everclear and let it set 24 hours then strain with cheese cloth and dry out in sugar it makes an amazing batch of cookies or anything else’s I want to make and I can calculate out the amount each will be easy and since I use the same amount and make the same each time makes it easy, u can add it to drinks or anything

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Dani Alchimia 2023-02-14
Hi Chris, Sure, you can add it to plenty of foods and drinks (we recommend decarboxylating the plant material first though). Also, if you're using Everclear, you could try to winterize the mix before filtering to remove fats and lipids, it makes the extract a lot clearer! Best!

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Bingo 2022-10-06
I have a ISO2 machine that I bought in 1975.I have used it twice don't really know how to really use it.I understand that I can extract all the alcohol out with it.The oil is usually real thick, if not careful it will stick.What can I do to make it a good oil to use.?After exacerbation put MCT oil in it ?Please give me your best advice.

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Tim Alchimia 2022-10-06
Hi Bingo, thanks for your comment and question. I wasn't familiar with that machine, it seems that they fetch a surprisingly good price on the second-hand market nowadays. After doing a bit of research, I've read that some users like to mix the oil with whole wheat flour to make it easier to handle and to dose. I suppose you could try adding some MCT oil to the reclamation cup as an alternative, to get a more liquid tincture-type of texture. I hope that helps. Best wishes and happy extracting!

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MattMatt 2022-08-19
Hi, Tim thanks so much for all the info.I hope I am not asking a redundant question.I have been using 190 proof Everclear. I store the 190-proof Everclear in the freezer and my decarbed flower in the freezer separately . When I am ready for a batch I combine the 2 in a mason jar or jars. Basically cover the flower in liquid shake the mason jar for about 5 minutes then put it back in the freezer overnight then filter the next day. I don't cook off the alcohol or let it evaporate. I just take 1 to a few milliliters of the liquid and add it to a drink . Seems to work great . I understand that doing shots of 190 proof isn't advised as it can hurt you or even kill you but if you are diluting a few milliliters in a drink should not be an issue should it? So basically do you have to get rid of the alcohol? This is personal consumption second I do from time to time just put a dropper worth under my tongue for a few seconds and then wash it down with a few swigs of a drink seems to get into your system rather quickly that way : ) but is this advised against? Again Thank you for the help and information

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Tim Alchimia 2022-08-23
Hi Matt, thanks for your question, it certainly isn't a redundant one! You're right, doing shots of 190ª alcohol isn't a very healthy option at all, but I seriously doubt that a few ml of the tincture each day, diluted in a drink, will have the same negative effects on your body. Some users like to partially evaporate the alcohol, leaving a thicker, more oily tincture that is more potent, drop for drop, although I don't think that's necessary and the viscous consistency can make it more difficult to mix with other drinks. As for your second point, again you're correct, taking oil or tincture sublingually (under the tongue) means that the THC enters your bloodstream much faster, taking effect more quickly. The only potential issue here is that the alcohol can cause irritation to the skin under the tongue in some people (which is why some users prefer a thicker tincture with less alcohol content). If that's not the case with you, then there's no problem at all and it's a very efficient way to get fast-acting effects. I hope that's helped to answer your doubts. Best wishes and happy growing!

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Doc Mike 2022-08-03
I've heard some people swear that the chlorophyll and other bits of plant extract that come from doing a warmer temperature ethanol extraction have positive medicinal benefits and that they shouldn't be purged. What are your thoughts on this? I want to create a "clean" product, but does "clean" always translate into "better"?

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Tim Alchimia 2022-08-04
Hi, thanks for your comment and question. Whether to use a cold or warmer extraction method with ethanol will depend on the desired end product. If the idea is to produce a high-purity extract for vaporisation or smoking, then it's always best to keep chlorophyll, waxes and lipids out of the equation by carrying out the extraction at very low temperatures. If, however, the aim is to produce oil for ingestion or for making a tincture, then excluding these compounds isn't as important. Indeed, as you point out, there are certain health benefits to ingesting chlorophyll, although it can provoke stomach problems in some people when taken in excess. If making oil for ingestion, I would certainly try and include all the plant compounds contained in the flower for a full-spectrum effect. I hope that helps. Best wishes and happy extracting!

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Tim 2022-05-31
Is there a maximum amount of cannabis (THC) that can be infused into alcohol? For example, if the maximum amount of cannabis (THC) 1 oz of 200-proof alcohol can infuse, what is the maximum amount of 25% THC can be infused into it? I am trying to determine if there is a point where adding more cannabis to increase strength becomes pointless and it is more advised to reduce the alcohol after infusion. Thank you!

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Tim Alchimia 2022-06-01
Hi Tim, thanks for your comment and question. Yes, there is absolutely a point at which the alcohol becomes saturated with the extracted compounds and will not dissolve any further material. Having checked what professional extractors do, it seems that the standard ratio would be from 110-220g of material per litre of alcohol, depending on the potency of the raw material. In your case, 25% is relatively high so I'd recommend erring on the lower side, with 110g per litre. And yes, to increase the strength of the final product it's definitely more efficient to reduce the alcohol down post-infusion as opposed to adding excessive material. I hope that helps. Best wishes and happy extracting!

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KJ 2022-04-23
Hi Tim, thank you for the post, I was wondering after decarb could I mixed 98% ethanol with the cannabis in a cream whipper and pressurise with NO2 for a fast extraction? Then use as a tincture thanks KJ

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Tim Alchimia 2022-04-25
Hi KJ, thanks for your comment and question. We've never tried the cream whipper tech here, but from what I've read, it could definitely work really well for making tinctures. That said, you can get a similar effect by doing a QWET extraction, aka Quick Wash EThanol, whereby you agitate the material in a sealed jar with Ethanol (98% is great but make sure it's not de-natured) for a short time - anything from 30 seconds to a couple of minutes. This will extract pretty much all the cannabinoids and terpenes, but without many of the less desirable plant compounds that are picked up after a long maceration - chlorophyll, plant waxes, etc. Personally, I'd try that method first rather than complicating matters with a cream whipper and NO2. I hope that helps, best wishes and happy extracting!

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Akis13 2022-03-24
We have done a cannabis extraction with isopropyl alcohol but we didn't stir it for 20secs before pouring the liquid into a warm bath.We didn't know that this type of ethanol is not that safe for extraction.We left the RSO on a silicon pad under the sunlight to purge more the isopropyl alcohol for a couple of hours is that safe to smoke it?What we can do next to make this RSO healthier/safer for smoking?

Alchimia Staff

Tim Alchimia 2022-03-25
Hi, thanks for your comment and questions. It's really important to use the correct type of alcohol when making extractions for human consumption. Isopropyl alcohol (Isopropanol) is a hydrocarbon-based compound (made with propene & sulphuric acid) and is unsuitable for internal consumption. A 100% pure form can be used for extractions, but it must be fully purged before smoking, which is hard to do without a vacuum chamber and pump. Ethylic alcohol (Ethanol), on the other hand, is grain alcohol, derived from the fermentation of grains or fruit and is safe for humans to drink, however for many applications it is often "denatured" by adding toxic and unpleasant-tasting chemicals to it with the goal of making it undrinkable. This is what many call "pharmacy alcohol", which is used for sterilisation and cleaning. It's important to use pure ethanol with no added denaturing chemicals in our extractions. The problem with this is the expense, as drinkable alcohol is subject to taxes, one litre of 99% ethanol can cost almost ten times as much as pharmacy alcohol. For this reason, many extractors use a still of some kind to recover the ethanol for reuse in subsequent extractions. Now, with regards to the extraction you've already done... what kind of isopropyl alcohol did you use? If it was 99-100% pure, without additives, then it can be smoked after purging well, even if you don't use a vacuum chamber. If the alcohol you used contained any additives other than water (often denaturants and perfumes) then I'm afraid it won't be safe for smoking, because those toxic additives will potentially also be concentrated in your extraction and could cause adverse effects. I hope that has helped. Best wishes and happy extracting!

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CuriousTinkeringLoon 2022-02-11
First time reading this, very helpful. I am currently using winterizing to extract the fats and lipids, and plan to use light to process the chlorophyll out the fluid after. However living in michigan I'm in an environment with low sunlight this time of year. My goal is to purge the solution to a grade to be able to use it via dabbing and orally. So my two questions are: would it be advantageous to winterize the solution numerous times to ensure clarity of product, and can I use my full spectrum grow lights to process the chlorophyll out the solution?

Alchimia Staff

Tim Alchimia 2022-02-15
Hi, thanks for your comment and question. It should be enough to winterize your extract just once, provided that the filter catches all the solids, anyway. I don't think there's anything to be gained by carrying out the same process twice. If your grow lights put out enough white light and UVB light (which are the types of light that degrade chlorophyll) then they ought to do the trick to remedy the colour of your extract. That said, I suspect that natural light would be enough, even at times of the year when the sunlight seems to lack power, the light output can rival a grow lamp. I hope that helps, best wishes and happy extracting!

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Danielle 2022-01-21
I need help. I did gwet method with shake and 151 proof everclear. After filtering out the solids the coffee filter turned purple? Then when I was evaporating the alcohol it turned like of murky and thick and I stopped at that point because I was afraid it would stick to the pan. Did I just stop too soon or have I don’t something terribly wrong. I really only wanted to make my tincture less harsh from the alcohol but now I have a gross sort of milky liquid I’m afraid to taste.

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Tim Alchimia 2022-01-24
Hi Danielle, thanks for your comment and question. I'm not really sure why the coffee filter might have turned purple, it's obviously a reaction of some kind. Did you use unbleached coffee filters? Is there any possibility of insecticide or fungicide residue on the material you were working with? I can't really think of any reason this would happen aside from some kind of chemical reactant. As for the murky, milky aspect of the tincture, I think that it is probably taking on an emulsified appearance and texture due to the water content in the 151 proof Everclear. I usually use 99% or 95% Ethanol and I've seen it turn a milky colour when I inadvertently mixed a little water into the tincture. 151 proof works out at about 70% alcohol, so the remaining 30%is water, which could well be responsible for this peculiar result. As for whether or not it's safe to consume, that really depends on the quality of the shake you started with If you're sure the plants it came from were well-grown and not sprayed with noxious chemicals then I don't see any reason not to try it out. If, on the other hand, chemical contamination is possible then I'd leave it alone as any kind of extraction process usually only serves to concentrate the unwanted compounds, increasing the risk to the consumers' health. I hope that helps. Best wishes and happy growing!

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nemo 2021-12-03
Many years ago I brewed cannabis fan leaves in a wine kit. The hit was clean and almost immediate. The yeast action making alcohol seemed to help break down the active ingredients and then deliver them more efficiently. It tasted disgusting because of the chlorophyll. I know that I can make 'wine' out of sugar, water and yeast. I can add the leaves to the brew and then separate out the alcohol with all the active ingredients with a still, or I have a proper water filter for soldiers and the like (made by Katadyn). It makes the water the same as municipal water in Europe. So it should take out chlorophyll. But not the active ingredients. That's two ways of 'cleaning' out the active ingredients. If you go to a home-brew shop in the UK you can buy different styles of stills. Distilling alcohol in the UK is UN-lawful but they are used to make perfumes. Most are very large (2 gallons) but there is one model that looks like a kettle. In the top is a coil with a fan for cooling and it catches everything inside. About £150 though.

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Tim Alchimia 2022-03-03

Hi, thanks for your comment, that's some useful information right there, we really appreciate your thoughtful contribution, thanks again!

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keka 2021-11-12
Why do SO many people think Etho has no toxins? Ethanol is a toxin, that's why being drunk is called being inTOXicated. Etho is a smaller molecule and is easier to digest than iso which will break down into acetone. However this pervasive idea that etho is just magnitudes safer than ISO is just not true. Etho is the better chemical to use, it's not a polarizing as pure ISO but it's not safe, the dangers are very much the same, improper purging can lead to inhaling the etho which can cause lasting lung damage.

Alchimia Staff

Tim Alchimia 2021-11-18
Hi and thanks for taking the time to leave your comment. I think it's just a case of choosing the lesser of the two evils, which is clearly ethanol in this case. And remember, not all extracts are for made with vaping/smoking in mind, I definitely wouldn't fancy a tincture made with Iso, and while ethanol might not be perfect for that purpose, it is at least intended for human consumption. Fortunately, with the advent of the rosin technique, the average hobby extractor doesn't have to rely on alcohol to make cannabis concentrates for vaping or smoking. All the best and happy growing!

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Rob 2021-10-05
I want to make changer with 3 1/2 g of hash that is 75% THC how much alcohol should I use if I’m using Everclear

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Tim Alchimia 2021-10-07
Hi Rob, thanks for your question but I'm afraid you've completely lost me here. I'm not sure what you mean by "changer". If you could explain it a bit more, then I'll do my best to help you out, thanks!

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Ken Is an Alchimia client 2021-08-13
Hey, I assume that i have a process that could potentially work, except i am not certain therefore please correct me. (Tincture purposes) Is it possible to take trichomes from the sifting process, press it, decarboxylate it by using a mantle, flask, and a vacuum to fraction off terpenes. Take the decarboxylated concentrate and use ethanol to separate unwanted components, winterize it for 24 hours, and filter it. Then, put the mix in a rotovap to remove some ethanol. Then re add the terpenes back into it. I know that you lose terpenes during decarboxylation so my thought was try to fraction them off before full decarboxylation takes place at higher temperatures. Is this process capable of creating a full spectrum thc tincture? Also, what if you remove all the ethanol during the rotovap, would you have a thc oil that has been decarboxylated, with terpenes added back in, that you could still take orally and get a psychoactive effect? it would just have a higher viscosity than a tincture?

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Tim Alchimia 2021-08-18
Hi Ken, thanks for your comment. Yes, the method you outline would definitely work to produce good quality full-spectrum oil or tincture. You can either leave some of the ethanol in solution for a less viscous tincture (bearing in mind that the terpene fraction will act as a diluent and will reduce viscosity too.) or, as you mention, remove all the ethanol for a more RSO-type consistency, which would indeed have a psychoactive effect. I hope that helps, happy hashing!

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babablacksheep 2021-07-11
How much liquid (everclear) concentrate can you produce with a pound? For example could you concentrate FOUR pounds into ONE bottle of everclear? I'm wondering how concentrated you could get one bottle?

Alchimia Staff

Tim Alchimia 2021-07-12
Hi, thanks for your question. Due to the absorbent nature of cannabis flowers, you'll need to use at least half a gallon of ethanol per pound for effective extraction. If you wanted to concentrate this, you could evaporate it down after filtering to fit the contents into one bottle, if that's what you want to do. But for the actual extraction process, it's important that you have enough liquid. I hope that helps. Best wishes and happy extracting!

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Ap 2021-06-28
Dear Tim When i take my 10 & 25 L plastic ( containers/jerrycans/bidons ) with winterized crude oil in it from the fridge , the plastic jerrycans gets ( swollen) , and now i am afraid to transport it or what ever , what or how can i do to resolve this problem ? i thought about storage in glass jars but i can not find big sized Jars and i am afraid that it would be broken during the transport Witch options i have ? my winterized crud oil is made from (pure kief + ethanol ) Already many thanx for your advise and time , apriciate it! Greetings Ap

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Tim Alchimia 2021-06-28
Hi, thanks for the question... I'm wondering why the jerry cans are swelling up. Could it be as simple as the solution expanding slightly as it changes temperature? Have you tried opening them to release the pressure? If this was some fertilizer or similar then I'd say that there was some kind of microbial contamination and that the swelling was due to CO2 buildup from the microbes, but being an ethanol solution there's no chance of that being the case. There is, however, a worrying possibility that the plastic containers are being corroded by the ethanol and that the swelling might be some kind of off-gassing produced as the alcohol corrodes the plastic. What kind of plastic are the containers? From what I've read, ethanol can be quite damaging to many different types of plastic and LPDE is the most suitable for this purpose: "LDPE is not as hard, stiff, or strong as HDPE, but has good resistance to chemicals (alcohol OK), is a good vapor barrier, and is resistant to stress cracks." Of course, glass is completely inert and doesn't have this issue but is, naturally, quite fragile and prone to breakages, particularly during transport. I think the first thing to do is work out why the containers are swelling in the first place and then, if you can't get LPDE containers, you could try storing the oil in glass bottles and transferring it to something less breakable just for the purpose of transporting it. I hope that helps, best wishes!

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Shawn Is an Alchimia client 2021-05-21
Thanks for the info. I have been infusing the distillate into alcohol in a Magical Butter Machine. I use 5 cups of alcohol with two 1gram syringes of distillate. Set it for 130 degrees and 1 hour. It works well. I’m just wondering if I should leave it in longer than an hour or maybe a higher temp, to maximize the effect. I just don’t know enough about chemistry. It has been fun experimenting. Thanks for any suggestions.

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Tim Alchimia 2021-05-25
Hi Shawn, thanks for the comment. If you're actually using THC distillate to infuse with alcohol then unless I'm very mistaken, it's already decarboxylated and all you'll need to do is simply dissolve it in the alcohol at ambient temperature. Sure, it will absorb more easily at a slightly higher temperature but more time shouldn't be necessary to boost the effect unless your goal is to for the THC to degrade to CBN, which will make the effect much more sedative and sleepy. If what you're looking for is the effect of THC then no further heating should be required. I hope that helps, best wishes and happy experimenting!

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Shawn Is an Alchimia client 2021-05-21
Also... I have used various alcohol: Crown, Fireball, 100 proof bourbon, 151 proof rum, I am currently infusing Sailor Jerry’s Spice rum at 92 proof. It all worked, I think the 100 proof+ alcohol might have been a little more potent. Not sure if it was the the or the alcohol though. Does the proof matter when using distillate. I have made a tincture with ethanol and already vapped weed (In my magical butter machine) and that was good but not the best tasting drink.

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Tim Alchimia 2021-05-25
Hey Shawn! As a general rule, the more potent the alcoholic drink, the greater capacity it will have for extraction, in other words, a 150 proof drink would theoretically be able to take up 50% more THC than a 100 proof drink. The effect could also be modulated by other compounds within the alcoholic drink, and you may find that the terpenes (flavour) of one spirit may act in a kind of entourage effect with the weed, thus increasing the potency. I've never made a tincture with "already vaped bud" but I used to crumble my vaped buds over cheese on toast - I must say the potency of the effect really surprised me, I remember being so happy that I could get high twice with the same bud! All the best, happy growing!

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ap 2021-04-14
Dear Tim Witch exact ethanol i need to use to make rso oil from kief on a big scale , and must the ( kief + ethanol ) be frozen before winterizing it with the kief ? and for how long can the soaking winterizing process maximum in time happen , and after the winterizing and filtering can the mixture directly be stocked in a fridge or can it just be stocked in a room temperature place , with open or closed lids Already many thanx for you advice and time

Alchimia Staff

Tim Alchimia 2021-04-14
Hi, you want to buy the purest Ethanol you can, 96% is good, above that is much more expensive and not worth the extra cost. Make sure that it is not "denatured" alcohol, which is unsuitable for human consumption, it must have no additives. The soaking time can be as long or as short as you wish, just remember that the longer the soak time (and the higher the temperature), the more cannabinoids will be extracted but also more unwanted compounds like chlorophyll, waxes, lipids etc. However, if you're planning to winterise then it shouldn't be an issue. you can leave it to soak for days or just a few minutes, depending on your workload. Winterising isn't a long process, say 24 hours in the freezer and then the filtering is what takes a little more time, depending on the amount of fats, waxes etc in the extracted alcohol. The kief and alcohol don't need to be at freezing temperature before extracting but it will mean a cleaner extraction with fewer unwanted compounds to remove via winterisation. Personally, for RSO I would do the extraction at room temperature and then later winterise the alcohol before filtering and storing. I would store it with a closed lid at room temperature if I wanted to use it relatively quickly, but stored in a fridge it would keep in better condition. I hope that helps, happy extracting!

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ap 2021-04-10
Dear Tim You where saying (( Dissolve the kief in pure ethanol and spray it onto the buds,)) my question is , must it be done before or after the dissolvment has been true a cooking bath to decarb or must the kief be decarb from the start before dessolving with alcohol ,allowing for the alcohol to evaporate fully )) further , (( 2. Make distillate or oil from the kief and then spray it onto the buds )) my question is , how do i make destilate or oil from kief , the kief i have is very clean , 3. Make distillate or oil as previously mentioned but this time freeze the resulting oil, crush it to a fine powder , my question is , could you please tell me how to create this that it would be fine powder , would like a dream come true , Already Many Thanx for your support and advice , realy apriciate it !

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Tim Alchimia 2021-04-12
Hi, to answer your first question, there's no need to decarb anything when dissolving in ethanol and no advantage of doing so unless you plan to make a tincture for oral use. If you just want to spray it on to the buds and increase potency, you'll just need to soak the kief in the ethanol for, let's say, 24 hours before filtering it through a coffee filter (for example) and spraying on the buds. As for making distillate, it's a fairly simple process but you'll need a rotary evaporator and a vacuum pump, which are a serious investment! Alternatively and a lot easier, you could follow the instructions in this very post and once the extract is fully purged of alcohol simply freeze it and crush it to a powder (maybe place it inside a bag and hit it with a rolling pin, for example) while keeping it cold all the time. Then you can easily sprinkle it over the chilled buds before bringing them back to room temperature at which point the powdered extract should melt slightly and adhere to the buds. I hope that helps, best wishes!

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Marieke 2021-04-06
Hi Tim, I would like to know how i decrease the THC level in the CBD flower and maintain the highest level of CBD possible. I would like the CBD flower not to crumble into peaces during the process but remaining a flower. Can you help me? Kind regards

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Tim Alchimia 2021-04-08
Hi Marieke, thanks for your comment and question. From what I've read this is a common question and the safest, most reliable and least destructive method of reducing the THC content of flower seems to be by exposure to UVB light. However, this also reduces the CBD content, albeit to a slightly lesser degree. There's a lot of debate about the best way to reduce the THC content of "hot" hemp but nothing that's really satisfactory aside from choosing the right genetics to grow in the first place. There's a consensus that varieties with higher (20%+) CBD levels will inevitably have THC levels that may push them over the legal barrier. On the other hand, I hear that there are a few varieties that produce 10-15% CBD that repeatedly and reliably test under legal limits for THC (0.15% to 0.3%). I hope that helps, best wishes.

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ap 2021-04-04
Dear tim i have some questions on this top forum , i have moroccan kief and want to make a thc spray from it , to spray it on flower buds , what are mine options ? further i like to know if when i wanna make rso with iso from kief , if the kief also needs to be freezed before mixing with freezed iso or not , and when soaking does it must sit overnight in room temperature or in freeze or , and after filtering the solution i like to keep all in big barrels , would it still stay good ? so jah , for how long it can stays good , already many thanks for your support and ifo

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Tim Alchimia 2021-04-07
Hi, thanks for your questions. With regards to the first one, the THC spray... the way I see it you have 3 options: 1. Dissolve the kief in pure ethanol and spray it onto the buds, allowing for the alcohol to evaporate fully before packaging or consuming. 2. Make distillate or oil from the kief and then spray it onto the buds - you'll need to heat it to increase fluidity enough for it to pass through the spray nozzle. 3. Make distillate or oil as previously mentioned but this time freeze the resulting oil, crush it to a fine powder and then use that to coat the buds while they're cold. As they warm up, the frozen oil dust will melt and stick to the flowers. The second question about RSO from kief... I wouldn't freeze it unless the kief has lots of green material in it. Freezing stops so much chlorophyll from being extracted alongside the cannabinoids but if the kief is relatively clean then this ought not to be an issue. This also means that you can do an overnight soak at room temperature to get the best extraction efficiency without worrying too much about contamination from plant material. If the kief is dirty then you'll have to do a shorter soak or soak at a lower temperature. After filtering you can certainly store it in large barrels, as long as they're fully sealed and kept in stable conditions at as low a temperature as possible then the solution shouldn't degrade with time and should keep indefinitely. I hope that helps. best wishes and happy extracting!

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Hugh Is an Alchimia client 2021-03-06
Hello Tim, I have one run of qwet done. Interestlyly enough I was able to use activated carbon to remove the chlorophyll (green) from the extract. Just mixed it in and stored it for about 5 min and then filtered it. What I have left is dark amber that packs a massive punch. Are you aware of anything thick and clear that I can add to cut it without using dilution? I intend to use dilution it but want to start with a lighter product.

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Tim Alchimia 2021-03-08
Hi Hugh, thanks for your comment. Anything that you add to the QWET will act to dilute the extract, and I'm afraid that I can't think of anything that would work to lighten the colour. Dilution with any of the Wax Liquidizer type products will give it a lighter colour, but to get a lighter coloured extract you'll need to start with better quality material. Dry Ice Sift always has plenty of leaf matter, which is mostly responsible for the dark colour. Also, using cured starting material will give dark resin, as a result of oxidation of the trichomes. Once you've got a dark extract there's really no way to improve it, I'm afraid. I hope that's helped to give you a few pointers for next time. Best wishes and happy extracting!

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Hugh Is an Alchimia client 2021-03-03
Hello Tim, this may not be the correct thread for this question but I would like to turn kief (via dry ice extraction) to shatter or oil for vaping or edibles. I was wondering if the qwe using 200 proof eth is the way to go and if so is it done quickly like with bud or more slowly since there is much much less chlorophyll. If you have a different suggestion please advise. Thanks for your insight.

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Tim Alchimia 2021-03-04
Hi Hugh, thanks for your comment and question. Personally, I would choose to go the Rosin route if I was in your position. A few years ago I used to make alcohol extractions for vaping but once I discovered how easy it is to make rosin (especially from hash of any kind) I completely gave that method up. To make rosin from hash you won't need to make a big investment on a hydraulic press or anything like it, you can simply use a 25€ electric hair straightener iron along with some parchment paper and mesh filter bags (or even a plain coffee filter). You can read more about the method in our blog post on hash rosin tech. The main advantages are very quick extraction - no solvent to purge so instantly ready to consume and no chance of residual solvent in the extract - no flammable solvents so no danger of fire or explosion... I'm sure there are more! However, if you do end up deciding to use alcohol then 200 proof ethanol is perfect, and as you say, there's not as much need to be so quick with the extraction process as with flowers, although as a general rule dry ice hash will have a higher load of leaf matter in it than, say, bubble hash, so it's not completely without chlorophyll. I think a fairly quick wash should be able to extract all the active ingredients and still keep the quality very high. I hope that helps, best wishes and happy hashing!

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brazilianboy 2021-02-22
you try do burn alcohol, just for a few seconds, to do faster hash??

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Tim Alchimia 2021-02-22
Hi, thanks for the question. No, I really wouldn't recommend using flames to purge the extract, apart from being potentially dangerous, the high temperatures of the flames would burn away a lot of the terpenes that give the extract its flavour and aroma, significantly reducing the quality of the final product. Unfortunately, there are no real shortcuts in this game, the really good stuff is worth waiting for! I hope hat helps, best wishes and happy hashing!

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Treat 2021-02-05
Hi, I made a huge mistake. Used 70% isopropyl alcohol. Mixed the alcohol and leaves in jar and put in freezer for 13 hours. Then I reread what you say here. It sounds like it will not be edible. Did I completely ruin it?

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Tim Alchimia 2021-05-20

Hi, thanks for your comment and question. I'm afraid that you're correct - if you used ISO then it's not suitable for edibles, sorry about that. If you purge it carefully then you can smoke it, I wouldn't really recommend it but I've done it myself in the past and I'm still here! Best wishes and happy extracting!

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Cannabizuela 2021-02-05
Hey Tim! It's the first time i visit this website and i'm so in love with the work you put on helping people. My question: i want to make topic creams with diferent strains of cannabis to make some higher in thc and some higher in cbd depending on the need of the person i want to help. The problem is i live in Venezuela, and as you may know the economical crisis here is getting worse every year. I would like to know the best and most economical method to make extractions and creams or oils for topical use and maybe under the tongue drops so i can make them for people who don't have the money to pay for expensive pharmaceuticals. I can use denaturalized ethanol for the topic creams/oils (i want to make them full spectrum) I can also get really really strong moonshine here in the town I live Can you explain to me the best way to incorporate the extract to the coconut oil? Sorry for my english and if my questions were already answered. Have a nice day, thanks!

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Tim Alchimia 2021-05-20
Hi, thanks for your questions and kind words, and I apologise for not replying before now, I don't know how I didn't see your comment sooner. You've already got the right idea regarding which alcohol to use for internal and external use. For external use, it can be as simple as using infused alcohol as a muscle rub. For creams, you can either infuse the flowers and leaves directly in the coconut oil or, for a stronger cream (but a more complicated process), extract using denatured alcohol and purge as in this post, then incorporate the resulting resin with the coconut oil, stirring over a little heat, enough to melt the coconut oil and the resin together. I'm not so sure on ratios though, I'd suggest that you experiment. As for oral use, you have essentially the same options, but using moonshine as a solvent. You could make an alcohol tincture for direct use, although these can be harsh on the mouth, or you could directly infuse the cannabis with the coconut oil and use that as a tincture, or if it's not strong enough then follow the same extraction and purging technique with moonshine. For oral use, I like to use a 1:10 ratio of extract to oil, but this also is down to personal preference. I hope that helps, best wishes and happy growing!

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Chris 2020-11-05
Can I use 99 percent iso to make extracts ?

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Tim Alchimia 2020-11-05

Hi Chris, thanks for your comment and question. Yes, you can use 99% Isopropyl alcohol as long as it is USP grade (United States Pharmacopeia) which means it is free of harmful additives and suitable for food, drug or medicinal use. Other types of 99% Iso can contain Benzene in that remaining 1%, which may make it suitable for extraction purposes. I hope that information helps.

Best wishes and happy extracting!

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Bud Magic 2020-10-12
I take issue with the statement in this article "It should also be said that isopropyl alcohol contains more toxic substances than pure ethanol (which actually shouldn’t contain any)" First of all, Pure Ethanol is very expensive and very difficult to make. I have 99.9 percent pure isopropyl. It is hard to find ethanol that pure. Furthermore, the process of making ethanol creates many more nasty chemicals than does the making of isopropyl. Everclear in particular is super dirty. Talk about carcinogenic chemicals. The levels of Acetone, Methanol and Fusel Alcohols are super high in Everclear. You can smell it. It is awful. If your temperatures are not above 153 when purging, then these nasties will accumulate and concentrate in your final product. Ethanol is great, just use food or lab grade (not Denatured!!) 99-99.9 percent, never Everclear. Or use Isopropyl 99.9%.

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TommyA615 2020-10-09
Tim - Thanks so much for the rapid and informative response - much appreciated :) ide like to pick your brains a bit more. For years ive been making a coconut oil infusion that ive been medicating with and its been helping a lot with pain and sleep. I've known about FECO extraction for years too but never tried it, I wonder how you would compare the two in terms of effectiveness and uses? For the coconut oil - I decarb the product, then submerge it in the coconut oil for 5-6 hours without going over 185 degrees F. Im sure youre aware of the process. As I live in Spain it seems difficult to find food grade alcohol (or at least so far is has been). Thanks in advance again :) :)

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TommyA615 2020-10-09
Hey - sorry if this has been asked already just wanted to make sure - i have alcohol 96% (99.9% ethanol 0.1% benzalkonium chloride) would this be suitable for using to make a FECO extract ?? or should I be worried about the benzalkonium chloride content. thanks in advance.

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Tim Alchimia 2020-10-09
Hi Tommy, thanks for your question. I'm afraid that the alcohol you have is unsuitable for making extractions. You need food-grade Ethanol at 99% or some kind of high-grade liquor such as Everclear to make extracts that are safe for internal consumption. I hope that helps, all the best and happy extracting!

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Marissa Is an Alchimia client 2020-08-20
I've searched through the comments but haven't been able to find an answer to this: although the wax and lipids removed during winterization are undesirable for smoking, I would like to use it to isolate the wax without the residual ethanol. What do you recommend to remove the ethanol and retain as much wax as possible?

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Tim Alchimia 2020-08-21
Hi Marissa, if it were the waxes I was looking for, I would perform winterization as normal and collect the solidified waxes from the filter paper used during the post-winterisation filtering. This wax would still have some ethanol content, not much, but it could either be evaporated away naturally or purged using a vacuum chamber or vac oven. I hope I've understood your question properly and that my answer is of use to you. All the best!

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Ian 2020-06-11
Thanks for the quick answer. Maybe "purge" was the wrong choice of words. My method of removing the alcohol from the solution/extraction is pretty basic - cook the alcohol off into the atmosphere thereby losing all the Everclear. The RSO I end up with is for personal use and is produced on an occasional basis. Although a rotovac looks like the better way, it is also a bit excessive for my purposes. What I was wanting to know is, if the raw material was decarbed before washing, is heat a necessity for the finished product or could I end up with an equally good product with vacuum only since the "cooking off" process with a simple double boiler setup can sometimes be a big variable if the temperature isn't well regulated. I have a tabletop jewelers vacuum setup with plexiglass dome so I guess I'll just have to experiment an see what I end up with. I was thinking that maybe the finished product might have a cleaner appearance without the heat. Thanks, again

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Tim Alchimia 2020-06-11
Hi again Ian, now I understand what you're getting at. I agree with you that a rotovap would be overkill, and, to be honest, I'm inclined to think that a vacuum chamber would be too. You're correct, it would almost definitely have a lighter colour, but how light would depend on how quick the washes are. The longer you wash for, the darker the oil will be. If you're only using the oil for personal use, I understand it's nice to have a lighter coloured product, but in the end, it's purely aesthetic, you're not really going to get a demonstrably higher quality product (although you may get less THC converting to CBN, which could be a bonus). That said, if you do decide to go for a vacuum chamber, I think you'll need to perform some kind of pre-purge beforehand, simply to remove the bulk of the ethanol from the solution. If not, I fear that the vacuum pump might not be able to cope with that much alcohol, and unless you work with some kind of cold trap, all that alcohol will end up in the pump oil, contaminating it considerably. You could allow the ethanol to evaporate naturally before using the vac pump, but you may find that the oxidation from sitting out gives you a darker product. If you've got the vac setup already then I would definitely encourage you to experiment and see what happens, but make sure you share your results with us here, please! Best wishes and happy extracting!

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Ian 2020-06-08
I've been extracting RSO for a couple years using pretty much the same method as you describe: Decarb Two washes with 190 Everclear Filter through fine mesh. Purge with double boiler - But recently began wondering about the purge step. I'm wondering what kind of results I would get if I purged with a vacuum only but with no heat.

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Tim Alchimia 2020-06-09
Hi Ian, thanks for your comment and question. I think you'd need to do some kind of pre-purge with heat before using the vacuum chamber, but there's no reason why it wouldn't work just fine if you did that. Check out our article about vacuum-purging BHO for a guide to the process, while bearing in mind that alcohol has a much higher boiling point than butane. Having said that, I'm not sure if vacuum purging is really necessary for RSO made with Everclear and intended for edible use. If you were using Naptha (heaven forbid!) or Iso then I'd say yes, definitely try and purge all that out of the oil, but I don't think that food-grade ethanol in very small amounts isn't going to do any harm unless it's being vaped or smoked. I think that the double boiler method is a good one, but that if you really wanted to upgrade your kit, then from everything I've read it seems like a Rotovap would be the way to go, which would enable you to recover most of the solvent used while you purge and decarboxylate. I hope that helps, best wishes and happy extracting!

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Luiz 2020-06-02
Why and how is the ethanol extraction safer - from a health perspective - than isopropyl alcohol extraction? What are the hazardous byproducts left in an isopropyl alcohol extract, and how can they be minimized? Another general question: what would yield a higher THC % content: an isopropyl alcohol extraction from leaves only or regularly dried female flowers from the same plant?

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Tim Alchimia 2020-06-02
Hi Luiz, thanks for your question. It's basically because Ethanol is fit for human consumption while Isopropanol is not. I'm not sure exactly what the hazardous compounds are, that would be a question for a chemist, but alcohol residue will remain unless it is properly purged. This could be done using a vacuum oven with the proper technique, but those who choose to carry out alcohol extractions rarely have access to such equipment, which is why we always insist on using Ethanol for any extractions that are destined for either vaporisation or internal consumption. Iso is great for cleaning and disinfecting but is simply not the right alcohol for extractions unless you can ensure a full vacuum purge. As for the second question, it depends on what leaves you're using. If you're extracting from large shade leaves then you will get very little THC indeed, but if you use resinous trim or "sugar" leaves then you can expect to get a slightly lower yield as you would get with flowers, but a great deal depends on the quality of the material and the genetics being used. You ought to be able to get a good idea of what to expect by a visual examination of the material and the extent of trichome coverage and density. I hope that helps, best wishes and happy extracting!

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CarCal 2020-04-04
Thank you for the article Tim. This is the first time I make cannabis extract. I decarboxylated 100 g of weed at 100°C for 40 min, then put it in the freezer and followed the instructions of your this article but at the end I didn't evaporate all the ethanol and left some, in order to make it soluble with a barrel of craft beer. Do you think this is a good idea?

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Tim Alchimia 2020-04-06
Hi, thanks for your comment, question and your kind words! We're happy you enjoyed the article. I'm a big craft beer fan, and a stoner, so obviously I think it's a great idea and I'd be very interested to know how well it mixes with the beer. I imagine that would depend on the amount of alcohol remaining in your extraction... if it's too thick and oily it might be difficult to dissolve, or it might separate from the solution. In a quick online search, I found someone making THC-infused beer, but they were using glycerine tincture because they say it mixes better with water-based beer. If you chose to go this route, you could evaporate away some more of the alcohol from your tincture, then add it to some vegetable glycerine and heat the mixture to remove the rest of the alcohol and homogenise the glycerine tincture. I have a feeling this may work better, but I can't be sure. Best of luck with it. Please let us know how you get on with the blending process, and also how the final product tastes (and how hard it hits too!).

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lostlimb17 2020-03-30
Vacuum purging of alcohol in cannabis extractions This process,can it be done another way like a home remedies kind of way to souffle the extraction if not what else can be done?

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Tim Alchimia 2020-03-31
Hi, thanks for your comment and question. There's no way to safely vacuum purge your extraction without the proper equipment, I'm afraid. You can still do a rudimentary purge and evaporate the alcohol away by pouring the alcohol/resin solution into a wide silicone or pyrex dish (silicone makes it easier to collect up afterwards) and place it in a warm room next to an open window with a ventilation fan blowing over the dish towards the window, pushing the alcohol fumes safely outside. You may want to cover the dish with a fine mesh (mosquito netting or cheesecloth/muslin) to stop anything falling into it (dust, insects etc.). This will evaporate most of the alcohol away, but not 100%, it also will result in some loss of terpenes and hence less flavour in the final product. For this reason, a vacuum pump and chamber are preferable, as we can purge the solvent at a lower temperature, retaining a greater terpene content. I hope that helps, best wishes and happy extracting!

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Doc Is an Alchimia client 2020-03-30
Hello Tim! So pleased to find a site with good questions & great answers! My friend & I grow to make edibles & body creams for people who can't sleep or are in pain (or both, sometimes) She's been using Everclear, I've been using 100% Iso. After decarb, she's been putting hers into the Magical Butter machine for a few hours. I've been soaking my buds at room temp for several days, also after decarb. We want to test our extracts for potency & contaminants. The Alpha-Cat mini-kit looks like it will give us potency results, but not contaminants. All things considered, the potency is more important so we can figure dosing. Do you think the Alpha-Cat is something 2 retired ladies can use effectively? Thanks for any input! Cheers!

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ken 2020-03-22
I have more Question about QWET and separating your material and filtering and what are some things at home or a H-Depot store that what things could be used to build there and use?

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Tim Alchimia 2020-03-27
Hi Ken, thanks for your question. We can carry out a successful QWET extraction using several easily-acquired household items. In the past, I have reused old pickle jars to do the quick wash in the freezer, then strained it with a kitchen sieve over a paper coffee filter in a plastic funnel. I've then used a wide silicone flan mould/baking tray to evaporate the alcohol, placing it by an open window with a ventilation fan blowing towards the window, over the top of the silicone dish, increasing evaporation and pushing the fumes outside. But, as I say, that was in the past and these days I'd only smoke something that was fully vacuum-purged, so while it's possible to make cannabis concentrates with household items, it's not the way to get the very best results! I hope that helps. All the best and happy extracting!

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Scott 2020-03-08
This is kind of a random question and I'm not sure you will know the answer but I thought I'd ask anyway as you seem to have some knowledge about alcohol. Since you described alcohol as a 'polar solvent' I was wondering if you think this same process you use for extracting THC would work with vanilla beans to make vanilla extract? Pretty much every recipe I see and have used requires soaking vanilla beans in alcohol at room temperature for 8 weeks. Do you think if I put the alcohol in the freezer first it will extract more vanilla flavour and quicker than if at room temperature? I realize you may not know much about vanilla beans but I would assume the 'polar solvent' alcohol would make for a better vanilla extract as well. Thanks for any help or opinions you can give me.

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Tim Alchimia 2020-03-09
Hey Scott, thanks for your comment and question. It's a very curious one! I think the answer would depend on the chemistry of the vanilla pod, which I'm not really familiar with, and whether or not there are any undesirable compounds in the pod/bean that you want to avoid extracting. I say this because the main reason for carrying out THC extraction at as cold a temperature as possible is so we can avoid extracting large amounts of chlorophyll and fats/lipids, which are less likely to dissolve in the alcohol below freezing point. In fact, THC will dissolve much faster at higher temperatures than in the cold, but the presence of these undesirable compounds means that we get a better quality end result by extracting in very cold conditions. If I was you, I'd try a cold extraction and a warm one, to see what difference, if any, you can find between the two. Sorry that I can't be more help, but I'd love to know the results you get, please. Good luck, best wishes and happy extracting!

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Jack 2020-02-22
Thanks for this great tutorial and especially the fact that you are answering questions here. That’s as cool as the tutorial itself. Here’s my purpose for the extraction: I am extracting to make e-juice for the vaporizer. The wax I get out of this process gets diluted with natural terpenes and we’re happy. Question: Can I replace the 3-step evaporation process simply by filtering once, then putting the tray in an electric oven at, lets say, 40° C, and simply wait till the liquid is gone? When the tray is completely dry and covered with wax, is there still some ethanol left in the wax which I shouldn’t be vaping? Thanks man.

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Tim Alchimia 2020-02-24
Hi Jack, thanks for your question. I wouldn't really advise you to do a single purge in an electric oven, I'd definitely advise using the water bath first, just to remove the most part of the solvent before it goes into the oven. This is really only to avoid an excess of solvent fumes in the oven, where they could cause a safety issue. The oven won't be as efficient at removing the solvent as a vacuum pump would be, though. You'll have to increase the temperature significantly to ensure a full purge, and even then there's a small chance that there'll still be some ethanol remaining in the extract. Vacuum purging allows us to purge at lower temperatures because a vacuum decreases the boiling point at which the solvent evaporates, meaning that the overall quality of the extraction is preserved, fewer terpenes are lost to evaporation and heat, etc. In short, by purging under vacuum we can ensure that the least amount of solvent residue remains in the extraction. Without it, it's guesswork and you'll need to purge at a higher temperature if you want to be 100% certain no residue remains. As a disclaimer let me say that in the past I vaped my own ethanol extractions that were purged in an electric oven and I'm still here! However, with the knowledge that I now have, I don't think that I would repeat that process, I'd definitely purge under vacuum. I hope that helps. Best wishes and happy extracting!

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Jgrayson 2020-02-21
Hello! Great article, great read. I apologize ahead of time if this was already mentioned. I am making rosin specifically for edibles. I have ordered ethyl #5 Its 90% 200 proof ethyl alcohol 5%isopropyl 6% NP Acetate Would this be ok for edible rosin? If not could you please tell me which is best.

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Tim Alchimia 2020-02-24
Hi, thanks for the question. Firstly, I don't really understand why you would use alcohol to make rosin into edibles. If you've already got some rosin then there's no need to involve any solvents in the process (unless you want to winterise the rosin) to make it into edibles, you can simply combine with coconut oil, butter or any other edible oil really. Check out our Cannabis Kitchen section for some recipe ideas. But to answer your question, I'm sorry to tell you that the alcohol you've ordered is in fact denatured alcohol, with chemical additives that make it unsuitable for human consumption. This means that it's absolutely not suitable for extractions that will be either smoked, vaporised or eaten. Unfortunately, you really need to use non-denatured 96% Ethanol or at least something like Everclear, available in 60%, 75.5% and 95% alcohol, but suitable for human consumption. The point here is that the chemical additives designed to make the alcohol unsuitable for consumption will remain in the purged extraction, but they will at much higher concentrations, representing a serious health risk if ingested. I hope that clears up any doubts. Best wishes and happy growing!

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Giordano 2020-02-06
Hello, thanks for great information source. I want to make a CBD oil, I washed material with ethanol, filtered and then maybe I made a mistake. I added oil (sunflower) to the alcohol because I expected that CBD will melt into oil when alcohol evaporates. So I did the evaporation and when there were no more alcohol I puted it into oven and dekarboxylated at 120C. Finally I found that resin (dark brown dense liquid) did not melted into oil but stayed at the bottom of jar. Tried add more and more oil but nothing changed. So what am I doing wrong? And one more little question, do you know how many grams of resin can be washed by 1 gram of pure alcohol? Thank you

Alchimia Staff

Tim Alchimia 2020-02-06
Hi Giordano, thanks for your comment and questions. I think you're going to need to raise the temperature for it to work. I've spoken to a CBD expert about this and he says you should decarboxylate at 150ºC, at which point the oil should be a liquid. Then you need to add the carrier oil at a ratio of 4 parts to 1 part CBD oil. You'll need to stir it well to ensure it blends properly, a magnetic stirrer can help enormously with this, but a glass rod will do the job fine. It's also worth noting that sunflower oil isn't the best carrier oil for CBD, olive oil or coconut oil are more recommended, with coconut and MCT oil offering increased bio-availability of the cannabinoids. Your second question is a little more difficult to answer, firstly because there doesn't seem to be much quantitative data on the subject, secondly, because a lot of what here is is somewhat contradictory, and thirdly because there are many factors that can affect the solubility, most importantly temperature at the time of extraction and purity of the resin being dissolved. I've read that some extractors work with a rough figure of 1:10 or 100mg/ml or 1g cannabinoids and terpenes in 10ml ethanol. If you're dissolving resin alongside waxes, lipids, chlorophyll and other secondary compounds then the solubility drops to around half, so you'd get 50mg/ml. Other information contradicts this, giving a solubility of 15mg/ml for THC and more than twice that, 36mg/ml for CBD, although it's unclear at what temperature the extractions were carried out. I'm sorry I can't offer a more satisfactory answer to that one, but I'd encourage you to carry out some tests and try and determine for yourself what the solubility could be. Let us know how you get along, best wishes and happy extracting!

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K300 2020-02-03
Hello, can you also use 40% ethanol? Is there any experience? Have always taken 96% so far. So maybe you could save money,

Alchimia Staff

Tim Alchimia 2020-02-04
Hi, thanks for your question. I'm afraid that 40% strength ethanol contains far too much water to make it an effective solvent for extraction. Sure, you could make a liquid tincture that would work just fine, but it's just not suitable for making QWET oils, apart from being difficult to purge well, the water would extract too many undesirable compounds like chlorophyll. I hope that's cleared up any doubts. Best wishes and happy extracting!

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Radagast97 2020-01-24
What would be the trade-offs between using absolute ethanol versus 95%? The latter (95%) seems like less waxes at the expense of higher chlorophyll, in the resultant extract, but if one is significantly better... :)

Alchimia Staff

Tim Alchimia 2020-01-29
Hi Radagast, thanks for your question. I wouldn't use absolute ethanol for extraction purposes, as I understand it isn't suitable for human consumption as it often contains trace amounts of toxic benzene (used to remove water by azeotropic distillation). You'll be fine with 95% Ethanol, because of ethanol's readiness to bond with hydrogen, that's about as pure as it can get through fractional distillation. I hope that helps, best wishes and happy extracting!

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Balloo 2020-01-22
Hi .I made a cbd extraction with hemp.I grinded 0.5 kg of hemp that i didnt decarb and mix them with 2 lt 99% ethanol not drinkable for 3 min.i didnt winterize it. The oil is very very bitter and wonder if its normal. Why is the taste so bad? Ethanol error? Chlorophyll error? No decarb error? Hemp-ethanol ratio error? Can i use it? Should i dilute it with olive oil? Thank you!

Alchimia Staff

Tim Alchimia 2020-01-28
Hi Balloo, thanks for your question. The bitter taste will be the chemical that the manufacturer added to the Ethanol to make it undrinkable and therefore exempt from the high taxes levied upon alcohol for human consumption. This is why a litre of pure Ethanol costs around 30€ while a litre of "denatured" ethanol will usually cost less than 5€. This bitter-tasting chemical does not evaporate away with the alcohol and will remain in the extract, making it unsuitable for internal consumption of any kind, eating as well as vaporising/smoking. Unfortunately, cannabis extractions made with denatured alcohol are only suitable for external use, in creams, massage oils or rubbing alcohol. If the oil is intended for smoking, vaping or eating then it's vitally important to use the correct type of ethanol, which must be suitable for internal consumption. I hope that helps, I'm sorry I don't have better news for you. Best wishes.

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