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!

Comments in “Cannabis extractions with alcohol” (58)

CarCal
04-04-2020
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?
Tim Alchimia
06-04-2020
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!).
lostlimb17
30-03-2020
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?
Tim Alchimia
31-03-2020
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!
Doc
30-03-2020
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!
ken
22-03-2020
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?
Tim Alchimia
27-03-2020
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!
Scott
08-03-2020
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.
Tim Alchimia
09-03-2020
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!
Jack
22-02-2020
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.
Tim Alchimia
24-02-2020
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!
Jgrayson
21-02-2020
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.
Tim Alchimia
24-02-2020
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!
Giordano
06-02-2020
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
Tim Alchimia
06-02-2020
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!
K300
03-02-2020
Hello, can you also use 40% ethanol? Is there any experience? Have always taken 96% so far. So maybe you could save money,
Tim Alchimia
04-02-2020
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!
Radagast97
24-01-2020
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... :)
Tim Alchimia
29-01-2020
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!
Balloo
22-01-2020
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!
Tim Alchimia
28-01-2020
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.
Jack
03-01-2020
Hello Tim! Love all this information I'm getting from this blog. However, I do have one question. How can I make cannabis sugar using this extraction method? Most Youtube's I have watched mix the sugar with a tincture that has alcohol still, then puts product into oven to evaporate the alcohol leaving the cannabis extract to combine with the sugar. However, I do not want to risk putting 200 proof (100%) grade liquor into an oven risking blowing everything up. lol. Is there another way? Thank you.
Tim Alchimia
03-01-2020
Hi Jack, thanks for your comment and question, and we really appreciate the kind words too! The oven method will work fine as long as you use an electric oven (no gas burner or any other type of flame!) and at the lowest temperature, there shouldn't be any problem. If, however, you really don't want to use the oven, then you could put the sugar/alcohol solution in a silicone dish and use a hot plate or a heat mat for clones to give a more gentle heat for a slower evaporation. You can even just leave it at room temperature in a well-ventilated space or near an open window to evaporate really slowly, possibly adding an electric fan to create some airflow. I hope that helps, all the best and good luck!
David W. Eastridge
13-12-2019
fresh undried
David W. Eastridge
13-12-2019
Aloha Tim Alchimia,,,, I have a lab grade cyro freezer -50 to -80C how can i use this to process fresh frozen bud with 190 ethanol ,,,for a quick wash and then refreeze to winterize filter with a Buchner funnel vac assisted in the freezer? will lab grade glass work or stainless steel containers? in other words how cold is toooooooooo cold......fresh underfed bud placed in a -18F chest freezer upon harvest..... Mahalo for your input.............
Pure spirit
06-12-2019
I'm going to make alcohol with THC for drinking. I have a question what is the better solution. [I don't want to decarboxylate in the oven] 1 - Heat 95% alcohol with marijuana in a 75 C water bath for decarboxylation. 2 - Soak marijuana to absorb THC in alcohol and heat only after removing marijuana.
Tim Alchimia
09-12-2019
Hi, thanks for your question. The reason most decarbing is done beforehand in the oven is because the temperature required for decarboxylation (110-130ºC) is significantly higher than the boiling point of alcohol. If you heat the alcohol enough to decarb the THCA then the alcohol will have evaporated away before decarboxylation is complete. At 75ºC the best you can hope for is partial decarboxylation. Unfortunately, there's simply no getting away from the temperatures needed. Can I ask why you don't want to decarb in the oven? All the best.
Country Boy
03-10-2019
Hi, Thanks for the reply and useful information within this entire blog. I want to use the oil extracted with iso for topical application only. I did soak a batch with 190 proof everclear, so I might make CBD oil out of it. Do you think the extract will separate when mixed with olive oil or coconut oil? How do I get rid of the green color? Thanks.
Tim Alchimia
04-10-2019
Hi again Country Boy. You may get some slight separation of waxes from the carrier oil, but in my experience, once the extract is infused with the oil, it stays that way unless the extract contains impurities. As for the green colour, that's due to several factors, firstly grinding up the flowers exposes a great deal of surface area of leaf material to the alcohol, releasing more chlorophyll. Secondly, a 20-hour soak is enough to extract a lot of additional compounds alongside the cannabinoids and terpenes (although most terpenes will have evaporated away in the double boiler), including chlorophyll. The third factor is the temperature while extracting, which should be as low as possible if we want to avoid extracting unwanted compounds in the alcohol. To get rid of the green colour in your extract, you could try dissolving the extract in a carrier oil and leaving the infused oil in a clear glass recipient in sunlight, which ought to reduce the green as the chlorophyll reacts with sunlight. This will, however, lead to some degradation of the carrier oil, so I would only try this if removing the green colour is essential. Alternatively, you could try re-dissolving in alcohol and passing the solution through an active carbon filter before evaporating the alcohol away again. As you can tell, it's far easier to avoid the chlorophyll being extracted in the first place than it is to remove it once it's in there. All the best and happy extracting!
Country Boy
03-10-2019
Hi, I am using hemp that is supposed to be high in cannabis, about 0.3% THC. I trimmed the buds as best I could and sun dried them for 5 days, then snow fell on it, and then I baked them at 200F for 60 minutes to dry them, plus decarb. I grinded the flowers just by rubbing them with my hands, then soaked them in 91% Isopropyl for about 20 hrs. Then I filtered it with a strainer and then a coffee filter at 34F. Had trouble filtering it as it didn't want to go through. Once I squeezed it out by hand I put it in hot water bath in a glass jar, water was boiling and solvent only reached 170F. once the alcohol had eveporated in 2 hours I was left with a very sticky tar like substance that did not go off my hands or out of the mason jar except with citrus cleaner, detergent won't move it. Do I need to dilute the extract with some kind of oil, like mineral oil or coconut oil?
Tim Alchimia
03-10-2019
Hi, thanks for your comment and your question. I'm not sure I can properly answer it without knowing what your end purpose for this oil is. If it's intended for edible use as I imagine, then yes, diluting it with coconut oil or olive oil would be ideal. If, however, you wish to smoke or vaporise the oil, you can just use it directly fro the jar, with a metal dabber tool or similar utensil, to avoid getting it all over your fingers. It's worth mentioning that Isopropyl alcohol isn't recommended for cannabis extraction, it's toxic and personally I wouldn't ingest or consume oil made with it in any way other than a topical application (external use only). In future, I would suggest using ethanol, either pure or in Everclear form. I hope that's cleared things up, all the best and happy extracting!
My Boy A-King
02-10-2019
I learned a lot reading all the comments. I already did all the research i could and must of missed the comments here before! I had a few questions. I plan to do this, maybe with co2 in a cooler (super cold extraction to reduce chlorophyll and lipids to a max. How much do you think isn’t picked up (thc) using this method due to it being cold (would do an hour soak based on what i seen, and results are nice.)? How long do u think it takes to evaporate outside on a seedling pad (stays around 80F)? Id use my 4” fan i think and some setup to create a vaccum-like area (but not really). Really just used to gas off the evaporates. Will having ethonal extraxt evaporate (for days probably 2-5 im thinking), in the silicone tray you showed pick up any unwanted material from the silicone (I read about this when using iso, but i see iso is toxic, then though i think it isn’t to bad after evaporations)? Are u familiar with the cheaper ethonal that is marketed to have like 5% nHemptane in it, 95% ethonal? Is that safe? Does it evaporate at room temperature? Is it possible to just put dry ice in ethonal? Just to cool the process down to reduce unwanteds? Does micron screen filter slow? I was thinking about getting seringe filters to speed it up. Plants flushing as we speak!!! Have some air bud n trim to hash up. Im learning how to make clean vapes. Already did but didn’t have enough material from last grow. Using wax liquidizer and floraplex terpenes. Looking to get flavorless too!
Tim Alchimia
03-10-2019
Hi, thanks for your comment and questions. Let me deal with them one by one... firstly, it's a great idea to keep things nice and cold during the extraction process, but even so, it's vital to minimise the contact between the solvent and the cannabis if you want to avoid picking up unwanted compounds. I'd say that an hour would be far too much, the times I've seen recommended for a wash at -20ºC are between 3 and 10 minutes. The evaporation process will vary depending on temperature and humidity, I used to do it in the greenhouse in summer on silicone trays covered with fly mesh and cheesecloth to stop anything from falling into the oil, and without using a fan, it would be done in a couple of days. If you're using a fan I think it will evaporate noticeably faster. As to whether the silicone will contaminate the extract, I'm certain that if you use good quality silicone there won't be any risk at all. As you say, ISO is toxic and also a much more aggressive solvent than ethanol, picking up more unwanted compounds. I've been looking into the cheaper, denatured ethanol you mentioned, and in general, I see people using it for post-extraction cleaning of butane extractions, not being used for the extraction itself. The issue with heptane is that it is also a very aggressive solvent that extracts undesirables from the material. The heptane also forms an azeotrope with water, which affects the efficiency of the extraction. I'd stick with regular ethanol but maybe look into ways of recovering it during evaporation, a still of some kind perhaps. It is possible to put dry ice in ethanol, in fact it's a common method of quickly cooling substances in laboratories. What I don't know is how dry ice might chemically alter the extraction process. I'd say there's only one way to find out! If you're concerned about filtration taking a long time, then yes, a syringe filter would be a great idea. Alternatively, look into Buchner funnels and vacuum filtration, depending on the investment you're willing to make. I think that's covered everything, but if not, please feel free to ask any further questions. Good luck with the harvest, all the best and happy extracting!
Travis
23-09-2019
Hi Tim Alchimia, Thank you so much for your reply! very much appreciated. Since I am very new in this and I only have a little chemistry background (please don't mention biochemistry). You're like a mentor to me, and maybe I should call you Tim Sensei :) Cannabis is not entirely legal here, but I am making RSO medicine to aid sleep for my friends and family (with some shatter as a by-product for some personal recreational high). I planned to condense my alcohol for future extraction. Here is my setup for evaporation/purge. Hotplate stirrer with aluminium block fitting for a 1L round bottom flask, then connected to an "Air Condenser" to condense the alcohol vapour and a beaker covered with Parafilm to receiving the ethanol. The issue is there when I set the temperature @ 80°C (aluminium block temperature) I can see only very soft boil and takes time for a 400ml alcohol to evaporate (4+ hrs). Is there any downside if I crank up the temperature a bit, i.e. 120-150°C? Anyway, after I evaporated around 90% of the Ethanol, I changed transfer the solution to a 200ml beaker (can't imagine collecting in a B24 joint RBF), then I can use 80°C at this stage (temp-probe in the solution) to further purging.
Tim Alchimia
25-09-2019
Hi Travis, thanks again for the kind words. I don't have much of a chemistry background myself, but common sense goes a long way when coupled with internet research and years of experience! Condensing the alcohol for reuse is a great idea, nice one! As for temperature, from what I can tell, 120-150ºC would be too hot, I'd be worried about flammability, so try going up to 95ºC but personally I wouldn't go much higher. The higher the temperature, the more your oil will degrade and oxidise. Lower temperatures can be used in vacuum distillation, but for home use, that's simply not practical. I think you'll just have to be patient I'm afraid! All the best and happy extracting!
Travis
22-09-2019
Hi Tim Alchimia, Thank you so much for your reply! I have further question regarding making the RSO from the second long wash. Will it better if I winterised the ethanol-cannabis solution after the long soak? i.e. after I filter out the plant materials from the long soak for 30mins at room temp., I put the solution back into the freezer for 48hrs and filtering out the precipitations. On the other hand, if I do the long soak in the freezer ( with the leftover plant material and ethanol pre-freeze), would the fat, lipids, etc. will not get picked up by the long soak and leads to a better quality RSO?
Tim Alchimia
23-09-2019
Hi Travis, thanks again! I'm not sure about the value of winterizing RSO if it's for oral consumption, I don't think the fats/lipids removed in that process are a major problem, I can understand that they're not ideal in something that will be smoked or vaporized, but those reasons aren't really applicable to RSO. I've read that some people have a sensitivity to chlorophyll and that it can provoke digestive problems and that's why they winterize, but as we already discussed, if chlorophyll is an issue then short washes are the way to go, winterizing won't remove it. In short, sure you can winterize, or do the wash inside the freezer, and you will probably end up with a more refined, higher purity oil, but I'm not sure if it would have all the same beneficial properties of a full-spectrum whole-plant FECO (Full Extract Cannabis Oil). Personally I would only winterize if it was something I was intending to smoke or dab. I hope that helps, let us know how it goes, please. All the best and happy extracting!
Jim
18-09-2019
Hi Tim Alchimia, Great article Tim - thank you! If I were to pour a cup of 94% grain ethanol into a glass pyrex pie plate & leave it outside on my back porch in minus 15 celcius/5 fahrenheit weather, would the ethanol evaporate in this cold temperature? If so, would it take days or weeks to evaporate in such cold temperatures? Thanks muchly!
Tim Alchimia
20-09-2019
Hi Jim, thanks for the kind words. That's a really interesting question, I'm not sure I can answer it, although I'd imagine that while the alcohol remained liquid, some evaporation would be taking place, more so if there was good air movement, a constant wind, for example. I'd say it would take some time for the alcohol to completely evaporate, weeks rather than days, at a guess. I'm sorry I can't be more help with my answers, but if you try the experiment out, please let us know how it goes! All the best, happy evaporating!
Davy
15-09-2019
My bro has a sage Anylitics machine in UK and regularly tests our buds and oils for thc content.
Tim Alchimia
17-09-2019
Hi Davy, thanks for your comment, I've heard good things about the SAGE Analytics machine, would love to see some side-by-side comparisons with lab tests. All the best and happy growing!
Travis
09-09-2019
Hi Tim Alchimia, I am planning to create RSO for ingesting from the plant matter after the first Quick Wash. How long would you recommend I soak the plant matter in the ethanal? Or any other extraction method do you recomend for the plant matter from the QWET?
Tim Alchimia
16-09-2019
Hi Travis, thanks for your question. That sounds like a good idea to get absolutely everything from your material, and if your first wash is very quick, you'll get a god medicinal oil from this second extraction. I'd recommend a relatively long soak, online sources vary in duration from 10 minutes to several weeks, but simply for convenience, I usually leave it overnight if I'm not concerned about chlorophyll in the oil. If chlorophyll was a concern then I'd say 10-15 minutes at room temperature ought to extract everything you need. All the best and happy extracting!
Erkan Kara
15-07-2019
Tim Alchimia.., hi I have read all comments on here and feel happy by realising that the world is waking up. I am from (TRNC) Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. And yes here in Cyprus these kind of activities are not allowed by Cyprus law. Nevertheless I am doing it under-cover. I am highly professional by making an oil for cancer treatments. As I get 100% result on healing. I have a question too.., what is the best THC analysing - measuring method(s) that you know of? Thank you in advance.
Tim Alchimia
16-07-2019
Hi Erkan, big thanks for your comment, we're glad to hear you're doing your bit to help cancer patients! Let's hope the laws in your country and mine will change in our favour so we don't have to work clandestinely anymore. As for THC analysis, these days the methods most used by professional labs to test cannabis are High-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) and mass spectrometry (MS). These methods are accurate but require expensive and complex lab kit and more importantly, proper calibration to ensure trustworthy and consistent results. Aside from these methods, a company called Sage Analytics produces testing machines which use NIR spectroscopy (Near Infra-Red) to analyse cannabinoid content, which seem to be a lot more affordable and easy to use than the other methods. For home testing, I've only really seen one option on the market, and that's the Alpha CAT testing kits, which use TLC (Thin Film Chromatography), a fast and economical way to test bud, hash, oils etc. for cannabinoids, and its far, far cheaper and quicker (also less risky) than sending samples off to a professional lab for analysis. I hope that helps, thanks again, best wishes and happy growing!
Sami
21-05-2019
Yes it's crystal clear :) For information (if it can be used by others), when it's for a vaping use, rather than collect the QWET when it is ready and then dilute it in the base to be vapped, there is less loss if you add the base directly in the tray, once the QWET is ready, when it is still in a bain-marie. A little agitation is the liquid is ready!
Tim Alchimia
22-05-2019
-Great stuff Sami, I'm glad that helped. My only doubt about mixing the base directly with the QWET in the bain-marie would be the difficulty in gauging the amount of base to add without first weighing the QWET.
Sami
19-05-2019
Thanks Tim this is really helpful ! I have one more question: is your drying step at 90°C a "decarboxylation" step? If it's not, do you know if it’s necessary to decarboxylate the herb (or QWET), before using it in a electronic cigarette? Some websites say yes, others say no. I know that the coil of e-cig heats up pretty much like a vaporizer (for which there is no decarboxylation before), around 150-200 ° C, but I do not know if other parameters are important. Thanks in advance (and thank you again for your previous answer!)
Tim Alchimia
20-05-2019
Hi Sami, yes, you're right on both counts... firstly, the 90ºC drying stage in the oven will mostly decarboxylate the cannabinoids present in the herb. I would only use this stage of the process if I wanted to use the resulting extract for cooking. If it was for vaping or smoking then I'd miss out that stage completely. Secondly, the extract doesn't need to be decarbed for vaping/e-cig use, in fact, it's far better not to do it if you want a half-decent flavour experience, as the decarbing process will destroy most of the terpenes in the flowers. I most definitely wouldn't do it! Hope that clears up the doubts! All the best and happy extracting!
Aaron
17-05-2019
Tim, Seriously, you clearly know what your talking about. Much respect, and thank you for all the info. Just curious what your thoughts might be on maybe having a simple distillation setup, perhaps using ethanol as the solvent. Like a simple 2-container, Bunsen burner-type setup to distill with. I’m thinking that there’s a chance the chlorophyll wouldn’t be transferred to the distilled product, meaning you could really soak your starting material with the solvent, getting all the goodness out, while keeping out the dross. Do you think that’s feasible? Ethanol’s boiling point is still lower than most of the terpenes I think. Of course I’m probably missing something...
Tim Alchimia
20-05-2019
Hi Aaron, thanks for your kind words and for your question. I'm no expert on fractional distillation but I think you're on roughly the right track. However, from a few things I've read, it appears that chlorophyll can complicate the distillation process so it's better to remove it beforehand if possible. This can be done to some extent by using a charcoal filter to clean the ethanol/extract blend. After you've filtered it through charcoal I'd then recommend carrying out a winterisation process to remove plant waxes and lipids. This involves placing the ethanol/extract blend in the freezer for at least 24 hours, which will make any waxes and lipids coagulate within the blend, at which point you can filter it through a low-micron filter paper in a funnel, removing said waxes from the mixture. This process can be repeated a few times to ensure all the waxes are extracted before moving on to the distillation process. Now as far as the distillation itself goes, I must profess a certain amount of ignorance. I believe it's relatively easy to remove the ethanol from the blend, but I feel like to then separate the active ingredients from the dross would be more difficult, possibly requiring more specialist equipment. Really at this stage, it would depend on the end product you wanted to finish with. If it's just for smoking/dabbing/vaping then I would think that purging the charcoal-filtered and winterised blend of any ethanol would result in a very clean product. If, however, you want to end up with almost pure THC distillate, then I think some more specialist equipment and knowledge may be needed. Please let us know how you get on if you decide to try a rudimentary distillation, we'd love to know how it goes! All the best and happy extracting!
Sami
14-05-2019
Hello! I'm trying to make a vape juice that could give me the same experience as smoking. I tried a propylene glycol / glycerine extraction (that I can vape directly) but the effect (and taste) wasn't great. So I wonder if I could use a QWET extract to make something better to vape, and how! I have trouble finding informations about the dosage and the method to do so. In your opinion, how much QWET extract should I mix with a vape base (propylene glycol / gycerine, let's say 10mL of vape bas) and with which method ? And how much weed will I need to make enough QWET? As it is probably related to how much I smoke, I smoke all day but small quantities (about 0,6 gr of weed). Thanks a lot! PS : I'm french so sorry if my writing isn't good, I hope I'm understandable though!
Tim Alchimia
15-05-2019
Hi Sami, thanks for your question, and don't worry, your English is perfectly good! I'm not surprised you found the glycerine extraction unsatisfactory, it's not a great solvent for extracting cannabinoids at all, and a long way from being as effective as other solves like Ethanol or Butane in terms of extracting capability. It is, however, a good diluent for cannabis concentrates, giving them the viscous liquid texture needed to work in vape pen cartridges. Wax Liquidizer is a product specifically designed for this purpose and is available in its original version and in a range of flavours, which can be handy to hide the cannabis aroma when vaping in public. The manufacturers recommend mixing 10ml of liquid with 1g of concentrate (QWET extract in your case) as a regular blend, but you can increase the concentration up to 5ml per g or make it lighter with 15ml per gram. As for making the QWET, well you can roughly expect returns in line with the percentages of THC in the flowers, so a 20% THC variety ought to deliver roughly 20% return in QWET. This will vary depending on extraction techniques, but as a general rule, better quality starting material will mean higher yields. I hope that's helped, all the best and happy vaping!
Joseph Fletcher
27-03-2019
Great information. Thank you. I'm having trouble getting everclear 190 or pure ethanol. I've been using everclear 151, but I'm concerned about my yield. Can you speak to the average yield difference between 151 and a purer ethanol extraction? What percentage of THC from the plant material can I expect to see in each case, assuming compliance with your instructions as given? I expect some loss, but what is reasonable?
Tim Alchimia
08-04-2019
Hi Joseph, thanks for the question. I can't really comment on the difference between pure ethanol and 151 proof I'm afraid, I've only ever used the pure stuff for extractions. Yields shouldn't be too different, but the extraction will be less efficient, so as I understand it, you'll need to use a higher volume of alcohol to dissolve the same amount of THC than if it were pure alcohol. The other difference would be at the purging stage, where I would expect to see some loss of terpenes, due to the water content in the alcohol needing a higher temperature to evaporate it, which means the inevitable evaporation of some of the more volatile terpenes. If the extraction is intended for edibles of tinctures, then the terpene loss may be acceptable, however, if it is for dabbing/vaporisation then I think that the end result will leave much to be desired. I hope that's helped to address your doubts a little, all the best and happy extracting.
shane bowman
19-03-2019
Would Everclear be good enough to use as the ethanol alcohol? (I'm curious since I seen someone mention moonshine above but not certain if they were being humorous or not).
Tim Alchimia
19-03-2019
Hi Shane, thanks for your question. Yes, if you can get hold of 190 proof (95%) Everclear, then that's ideal for extracting. The 120 & 151 proof Everclears have too high a water content for efficient extraction, but if nothing else is available the 151 will work at a pinch, although when it comes to purging, you'll have to evaporate the water content at a higher temperature than alcohol, which will result in greater terpene loss. And I think the moonshine comment was not a joke, if it's pure enough it can definitely do a great job. Hope that helped, all the best and happy extracting!
Matt
09-03-2019
Thanks for the awesome directions in helping me in my quest in learning shibby chemistry! I finished a batch tonight. I accidentally did a long cold soak having not seen your site until after I started. I did my disk in everclear, one month in the freezer after decarb. I then followed your site to strain, filter and evaporate. My stuff turned out almost black and very harsh tar like substance to dab. It is very high thc so that is a plus. Is the harshness due to the long soak? I am not sure how long I need to evaporate. I had it on a double boiler at 200f for 12 hours. It still seems very watery. Because I vape I Am concerned about smoking anything like alcohol they may harm me but I fear I may have left it evaporating in heat too long and contributed to the dark harshness. Lastly, about how many grams of concentrate do you get from a typical quality oz of good flower?
Tim Alchimia
19-03-2019
Hi Matt, thanks for your comment and kind words. Yes, I imagine that both the dark colour and the sappy texture of your extraction are the result of the long soak, which probably would have dissolved plenty of undesirable compounds such as chlorophyll, plant waxes and lipids, among other unsavoury things. Really, that kind of extraction is great for RSO (Rick Simpson Oil) or for edibles etc. but not particularly suitable for vaporisation, particularly after 12 hours on a double boiler at 200ºF, which would have evaporated away all the terpenes that give extracts their great flavour. Try an initial, quick evaporation at 160-175ºF and then reduce heat to 100ºF once the bubbles stop rising. To get the best quality from your extractions, I'd seriously recommend a vacuum purge, which will preserve the flavours and at the same time do a much more efficient job of purging the alcohol from the concentrate. As for the returns you're likely to get from any given starting material, well that depends on the efficiency of the extraction process and the cannabinoid content of the flowers being used. A 100% efficient extraction of material with a 25% cannabinoid content will give roughly a 25% return in concentrate form, although that's a highly simplified formula and many factors will affect the final result. What you're not going to get, however, is a 25% return from a strain that contains 15% cannabinoids! Hope that helps, all the best and happy extracting!
Von
09-03-2019
I am a true beginner exploring extractions that I can use in edibles etc. so forgive my lack of knowledge. I mixed Leif with 190 proof grain alcohol and have been soaking it for about a month and half. I did not do any debard. What should for this long soak to be usuable and activated? Thanks
Tim Alchimia
19-03-2019
Hi Von, thanks for the question and please don't worry about any lack of knowledge, that's what we're here to help with! I'm afraid that your alcohol extraction will not be decarbed and activated without having been exposed to heat. Partial decarboxylation takes place over time, but for full activation, it's essential to decarb properly. Heating the extraction as part of the purging process will help to activate it, and once purged you can transfer the concentrate to a sealed jar and further heat it to achieve full activation. I hope that has answered your question. If in doubt feel free to ask! Happy extracting!
Cherelle
08-02-2019
So, if you long soak for a tincture with only 50% alcohol, and 50% water content, you'll get everything out. Then let the sunlight filter out the chlorophyll you've extracted. If this is correct, and I heat up the tincture to reduce the alcohol/water content, what am I left with? Following the above mentioned steps, I heated it too high of heat, and ended up with a very firm, almost solid like black goo. Would this be a RSO? Is it smokable? I've put it in gummies, but it tastes as bad as it looks.
Tim Alchimia
12-02-2019
Hi Cherelle, thanks for your question. I wouldn't recommend using 50% alcohol, as the water content will mean a great deal of chlorophyll and other water-soluble compounds are extracted, which are probably contributing to the dark colour and bad flavour. Use the highest percentage alcohol you can find, with a long soak for RSO type oils for edibles, etc. or a quick wash as described in this article if you want to smoke it. Hope that helps, all the best and happy extracting!
Jehna Caron
05-01-2019
Would it be possible for you to explain the water bath, with a little more detail? Is the strained bud on a tray inside the Pyrex pan(I have one just like yours), or put directly into the water? It’s hard to tell from the picture. Thank you!
Tim Alchimia
07-01-2019
Hi Jehna, thanks for your question. I understand your confusion, in the picture we've used a hotplate instead of a water bath. If using a water bath, the un-purged extraction (the strained alcohol) goes into the Pyrex dish, which then goes into the water bath, which can be a larger pyrex dish, or a washing up bowl, anything big enough to comfortably hold the dish with the extraction. As suggested in the article, you can place four supports (eg upside down teacups) in the bottom of the water bath to raise the pyrex dish and get the hot water underneath it for a more effective purging. Of course if youve got a controllable hotplate like in our picture, then there's no need to mess around with hot water baths. Incidentally, I don't think any further filtering is necessary at this stage, it's best to filter properly before beginning the purging process, once the alcohol starts to evaporate, the increased viscosity will make filtering very difficult indeed. I hope that's helped, feel free to ask if you have any more doubts. All the best. Happy extracting!
Psyentist
05-01-2019
Would an initial water/steam extration remove chlorophyll and terpenes without removing the cannabinoids? Therefore allowing a longer, warmer alcohol soak increasing potency. On a side note, if terpenes are desired in the product, could the water be collected and the terpene oil be seperated and added in afterwards? Keep up the good work guys buddies :)
Tim Alchimia
07-01-2019
Hi, thanks for your comment and question. I'm unsure about a steam extraction, as I feel that may extract some of the cannabinoids as well, although it is definitely possible to extract the terpenes in this way. However, if the goal is to remove chlorophyll then a technique known as "water curing" may be of use to you. This involves immersing the cannabis flowers in distilled water for 5-8 days, replacing the water every day before draining it and thoroughly drying the flowers to ensure no mould appears. While I've never tried it, it's widely agreed that it removes a great deal of the chlorophyll along with other compounds that contribute to harsh flavour, like starches, salts, excess fertilisers etc. Inevitably a certain amount of terpene content will also be lost to the water, but this will depend a lot on the variety being used, as not all terpenes are water-soluble. I'd imagine that after the water cure, your cannabis could then be soaked in the alcohol for longer, without the same fear of chlorophyll contamination, although you'd have to try it and see. Please report back and let us know how it goes for you, we'd really appreciate it. All the best and happy extracting!
Zac
03-01-2019
Great information. How would you adjust this process when using Kief rather than flower?
Tim Alchimia
07-01-2019
Hi Zac, thanks for your praise, and for the question. If using kief then you can theoretically soak it in alcohol for longer and at a higher temperature (for example at room temperature, rather than in the freezer) to more efficiently extract the maximum cannabinoid content without any worrying about chlorophyll contamination (presuming the kief is relatively clean and free from leaf matter). You can also get away with using less alcohol because the starting material does not have as much surface area to be covered, and the kief won't soak up alcohol like leaf matter does, which will always lead to some loss of solvent. Aside from that, the extraction process is essentially the same. Happy extracting!
John
02-01-2019
This article is a good read without getting too technical. https://www.westword.com/marijuana/concentrate-heres-the-difference-between-shatter-budder-crumble-and-more-8437217
John
22-12-2018
Prediction being difficult because of the infinite possible combinations of these compounds and the varying concentration levels between not only different strains but also between different plants of the same strain. Cloning is a reliable way to achieve duplicable results in the composition of your starting material provided the clones were grown, harvested, trimmed, and cured with identical conditions. As with any and all natural products, results will vary.
John
22-12-2018
I certainly do not claim to know any more than anyone else here but in my experience its near impossible to predict the effect that terpenes, waxes, and lipids will have in regards to the texture of the extract. I have typically seen shatter type products winterized to reduce the inclusion of these compounds, which would explain the lack of a full flavor profile.
Jon
17-12-2018
Thank you for providing this information! A couple questions: 1) To evaporate the alcohol, is a vacuum chamber necessary? Can I just leave the solution out to evaporate into the air? 2) My end goal is to make a vegetable glycerin tincture to be taken sublingually. Most methods I have seen involve heating the vegetable glycerin with the cannabis to desolve the cannabinoids into it, but I’ve read that vegetable glycerin isn’t a very good solvent for thc etc.. What are your thoughts on using your described method and then resolving the resulting concentrate in vegetable glycerin? Thanks!
Tim Alchimia
18-12-2018
Hi Jon, thanks for the questions, we're glad you've found the info useful. 1. No, it's not essential, just makes it a lot easier and cleaner. I've evaporated the ethanol off in the open air on a warm day before with no problems although I covered the evaporating dish with a mosquito net so nothing would contaminate it, like bugs, dirt etc. 2. As far as glycerin goes, yes you're right, it's not the best solvent for stripping cannabinoids fro the plant material, alcohol will extract a wider range of active ingredients. In the past I've made a tincture with alcohol, reduced it down considerably and then mixed it with glycerin (mainly to reduce the burning sensation in the mouth) and it worked well although it would tend to separate easily and needed vigorous shaking before using. I've also seen that some people make the tincture with 50% Ethanol and 50% glycerin, soaking the plant material in that mixture and applying a little heat to speed the process. I haven't tried this myself, but I imagine that after the extraction is complete, this mixture could be gently heated to evaporate a great deal of the alcohol, although you may have the same problem with it separating due to the low saturation point of glycerin compares to ethanol. I hope that's helped somewhat, happy extracting!
John
10-12-2018
I failed to mention that stirring/whipping results in a wax because it prevents the formation of a uniform geometric crystalline structure which prevents light from passing through and results in a softer, less rigid material because the bonds between the individual molecules is random making it structurally weaker.
Tim Alchimia
18-12-2018
Hi John, thanks for your fascinating comment, some great info there. How do you think terpene content affects waxing/buddering? It's widely accepted by consumers that shatter has less flavour/terpene content than wax or budder, so while I agree with everything you've said I'm very interested in understanding the role that terpenes play in this molecular structure. Many thanks
John
10-12-2018
Jason: The difference between a wax and a shatter product is mostly due to molecular structure. If the extraction is left to crystallize without much disturbance the molecules will naturally arrange in a more uniform geometric which appears translucent because it allows a certain amount of light to pass freely between the molecules. A wax type product can be achieved from the same extraction process with the difference being agitation and stirring, or whipping the extract during first stage purging in the baine marie and also between purging cycles in the vacuum chamber and immediately following the completion of the final vacuum purge before the extract has cooled and can still be easily worked.
Nikky
04-12-2018
I’ve been trying to make gummies and I’m having a hard time, would you recommend a long soak for edibles and a short ethanol soak for smoking? I did follow a short soak and used the tincture in a gummy recipe. It doesn’t mix very well, any pointers? I’m also wondering if there’s any way to guesstimate how strong your tincture is without buying something like the tcheck?
Tim Alchimia
05-12-2018
Hi Nikky, thanks for your question. For edibles I'd recommend a long soak to ensure you extract as much of the active ingredients as possible. Short washes are usually for when we wish to vaporise or smoke the concentrate and don't want to inhale bad tasting compounds like chlorophyll etc. which aren't an issue when taken orally. As for the mixing problem, I've never made gummies myself but having looked online it appears that an emulsifier is necessary in fat-free edible recipes like this to prevent separation of the oil. The most commonly used emulsifier is sunflower or soy lecithin, and I've also seen people recommend using honey but I haven't verified that info. To calculate the dosage is definitely a challenge without knowing the cannabinoid content of the flowers or extract. Without testing it I'm afraid guesstimation is the best bet. You could assume a 60% THC content in the extract and extrapolate it from there, but at the end of the day it's pure guesswork. Hopefully that's helped you out a bit, happy cooking!
MikeyPhuckinT
28-11-2018
For topical and ingested products, when do you decarboxylate?
Tim Alchimia
29-11-2018
Hi Mikey, thanks for your question. We'd recommend decarboxylating the weed or extract before adding it to the edible recipe. If it's a recipe that requires baking then you could cut the decarbing time a little if you like but personally I'd err on the safe side and do a full decarb beforehand. I hope that helps, happy cooking!
Bud green
24-11-2018
Now see and i am not going to get into it but i have taken all from above and tweaked it to were i am getting a 85% to 95% just thc and terpenes per run. now i dont use trim or bud i use keif i also take the keif in 100 % alchohol it can be found let it sit on a warmer for a good hr i actuly use a mr. Coffee cup warmer at that point i can see sepertaion i then run it thru a pump funel 90 micron filter when i say this talking cup kief to cup maybe 2 alchohol rence everything with just reg alcohol. After this depending how much making i then will jar and put in freezer over nite 24 hrs min the longe the better. Again i then run it thru a vacuum 90 microns filter again then i have a certian type coper pot and a induction cook and you need fan and ventilation these are musts i will run it at about 325 350 f. Stir constint and be able to drop temps quick also avoid breathing fumes deffently dont smoke no sparks now you watch steam no boil not till finish alcohol steam this can take a bit depending how much on average 15 gms. Strong oil to every cup keif this is not cheap or easy but very strong you cant buy and yes you are definitely saving money. As i am stiring and watching it is dropping i dont want it to boil so i will drop and raise my temps this is somthing you learn over time and watching on avarage i go 350 325 to 250 225 then as it thickens maybe 125 150 now again i use multiple up and down temps by watching at same time i try to make atleast a 8 cup keif batch get about 125 150 gms maybe 3/4 lb keif never weighed go by cups now when i get it down to a oil base also at this point i am watching the bubles at a temp of any were between 150 125 now this is were you dont want things to burn i am always stiring from strart till now. a batch i make that can take cpuple hrs not a fast race thru process but you get what you work for trust me also this really isnt novice stuff. So i watch bubbling i am watching them get bigger going to smaller purging alcohol out of oil you can go as low as 100 there will come a point when they are very small bubbles you then pour into 1/2 cup mason jar i say this becuse at this point i want somthing i can put on a coffee warmer i go back to i use a mr.coffee warmer that size about the size of a coffee cup and perfect temp you dont have to fool with it. Take your jar and then just leave on coffee warmer over nite it does smell you want to cover about 3/4 you leaving on warmer to purge rest of alcohol after 12 hrs give take you should be able to look at it on coffee warmer and see a flat dark honey oil very thin thin. At this point you can put a lid on it let set anothet 10 hrs if your using mason jar you can put in frige this now is up to you you will have a product that is very very good. If want can dissolve again in alchohol and repet intire process and you will make it cleaner and a bit stronger thats personal choice i like both i have my reasons not that i think it makes a big differnce.
Rick
14-09-2018
I would like to know if it's absolutely necessary to decarboxalate the herb before an alcohol extraction ?
Ross
14-09-2018
Hi Tim, I make the same tincture but I take the bud and soak it in grain alcohol for a couple weeks before boiling off the alcohol. It definitely gets a lot of chlorophyll in there, but I figured it also might get more of the good stuff out. Do you know for sure how effective the extraction is after a short soak as you described?
Tim Alchimia
19-09-2018
Hi Ross, thanks for your comment. I think we're talking about two different things here. Making an extraction with a long soak as you describe is going to give you something like RSO (Rick Simpson Oil) a dark, tar-like substance which is great for ingesting as whole plant medicine and contains a wide range of compounds (including chlorophyl) from the plant. On the other hand, a quick wash alcohol extraction aims to extract just the cannabinoids and terpenes, and if performed correctly can result in a clear, glass-like shatter substance of high purity, which can be smoked or vaporised. Compounds such as chlorophyl are unpleasant tasting when smoked, so the aim is to extract as few unwanted compounds as possible from the plant material, hence a quick rinse at very low temperatures. In short, if it's for ingestion or for topical application, a long soak is best, but if it's for your smoking pleasure, then a quick wash will give the best results. I hope that's helped clear things up. All the best and happy extracting!
Rick Cohen
11-09-2018
I follow this type of extract but have some issues regarding precipitation of material once I evaporate the ethanol. 1) freeze 190 proof ethanol, gas jars, funnel, coffee filters and decarboxylated cannabis overnight at -20F in freezer. 2) with frozen cannabis place ethanol into jar to cover cannabis, shake gently, place into freezer for 3 min. 3) pour out ethanol into freezer cold filter/funnel into glass jar. 4) add more ethanol for second quick wash 5) filter again - place both ethanol washes into freezer until ready to evaporate. 6) refilter into frozen funnel and filter into new glass jar using 0.45 micron filter - may help remove some waxes... etc.... At this stage the material is amber liquid. 7) evaporate using rotary evaporator heated till 50-60 celcius. 8) oil left over tends to be very dark and can get sticky. 9) keeping the oil "warm" - I pouf off to small beaker and estimate volume. 10) dilute cannabis oil 1:1 with warm coconut oil. 11) place into syringe, and into fridge for storage, removing any air. ----- The diluted oil tends to be rather sticky and tarry - but I see oil products on the market amber in color and clear. - When can I filter material? Should I use more coconut oil? In general 2 Oz of material can yield around 6-10 ml of cannabis oil before dilution. Once I dilute with coconut oil, could I filter through 25 micron screen to remove precipitation, like resin?
Tim Alchimia
12-09-2018
Hi Rick, thanks for your question. It's certainly unusual for there to be precipitate in the oil after the first filtering, you could certainly try a second filtering once it's been diluted but while it's still warm for extra liquidity. As for the colour and texture of the oil, it's normal for it to have a sticky, tar-like consistency, and the colour will depend a lot on the starting material. Fresh, recently harvested and un-cured weed will give a lighter-coloured oil while older, cured material will have oxidised somewhat and produce a darker colour oil. The amount of heat used in the process can also affect the colour of the oil, more heat makes for a darker oil. So if you want a more amber coloured oil, work with fresher material and keep the temperatures as low as possible during all stages of the process, storing the cannabis in the freezer until you're ready to use will prevent oxidisation, when I used to make ethanol extractions I would carry out the whole process in a chest freezer and I got some pretty nice amber oils from the process. But in my opinion, the main factor in oil colour is the age and quality of the starting material. I hope that's helped you out, happy extracting!
Miss DuLash
06-09-2018
Ian Robinson If you Google "Polmos Spirytus" (95% alcohol vodka) you will find several Australian vendors - including one in Doncaster.... Wasn't sure of this sites policy of disclosing vendors business names....
Tim Alchimia
06-09-2018
Hi Miss DuLash, thanks very much for your contribution, that's great! I'm sure with the information you've provided, Ian will be capable of finding what he's looking for. Thanks again, your help is appreciated!
Brett Moore
10-08-2018
Find people that distil their own alcohol. In Hervey bay I have 99% pure alcohol that I sometimes drink lol. Moonshine but not diluted down. A stil is not that hard to make. You just need to keep an eye on temperature to make sure you get Ethyl not Methyl.. and you wont get much of the Methyl anyway. As it vapes off it should not matter even if you do get methyl as there is only a minute fraction left. Wine and Beer contain fractions of methyl alcohol. I do not have much equipment but when the time comes I am going to process it all like this to make storage easier. I use medical cannabis legally.
Tim Alchimia
10-08-2018
Hi Brett, thanks for your comment. Yes, distilling your own alcohol is a great way to get pure ethanol, indeed in many countries where it's impossible to buy Ethanol, or where the cost is too prohibitive, it's pretty much the only option if you want to extract with alcohol. These days I only make bubble hash and rosin, without any solvents, but if I was ever to need to carry out alcohol extractions again, then I'd definitely invest in building a simple still. Before anyone tries this for themselves, however, be sure to familiarise yourselves with the necessary safety measures, as well as the relevant laws and regulations for home distillery where you live. Thanks again!
Jason
19-07-2018
Great article, thanks Tim. Just curious what equipment to use to retain the ethanol while using the vacuum chamber and if there are any brands you can recommend. Also, what techniques can be used to get different concentrate consistencies such as distillate, shatter, butter and oil
Tim Alchimia
24-07-2018
Hi Jason, thanks for the questions. I'd use one of these Nogoo silicone trays to hold the ethanol while purging, it makes it really easy to get the finished product out at the end, being completely non-stick. As far as the different textures go, there are various techniques and processes involved. Firstly, allow me to explain that distillate is the product of a totally separate fractional distillation process, you can read a bit more about it (and other concentrates) in our post about Solvent extracts. Using ethanol as a solvent will usually result in a shatter-type end product. For budder/wax it's best to use butane as a solvent as it extracts the terpenes more efficiently, and the final texture of the extract is highly dependant on terpene content, more terpenes meaning a more waxy/budder texture while lower terpenes will result in a clearer, more crystalline texture. I hope that's answered your question, happy extracting!
Geraldine
17-07-2018
Does this method extract the THC, which is what I am after
Tim Alchimia
18-07-2018
Hi Geraldine, thanks for your question. Yes, if the cannabis you're processing contains THC then it will be extracted with the alcohol, as will any CBD or other secondary cannabinoids in the material. Good luck and happy extracting!
Aaron Turner
28-06-2018
To the guy in Australia. .....dextrose, water and yeast....ferment for a few days then run through a still (I made one with a keg and about $100 worth of copper tubing and a little knowledge of sweating copper) bam! You got your ethanol...lol I'm a little tipsy off my most current batch as I type this!
Jim Gardner
30-05-2018
When you say the difference between ethyl and iso is a stir verses a 20 second stir do you mean the ethyl stir is just quick enough to get the bud wet? Both go in the freezer for 3 minutes. Why do you heat off some alcohol before doing a second filter? Do you winterize? What is the best way to remove chlorophyll if you do a long soak? Will a long soak extract more THC?
Tim Alchimia
31-05-2018
Hi Jim, thanks for your questions. As I understand it, the difference between Iso and Ethanol in this case is that, because of its chemical composition, ISO will more quickly extract more undesirable compounds from the cannabis, so for that reason we only recommend a 20 second stir, and NOT 3 minutes in the freezer. However Ethanol doesn't extract quite so aggressively so for that reason we do say to leave it to sit for 3 minutes in the freezer, stirring occasionally. Longer soaking may result in very slightly higher levels of THC but it will definitely much higher levels of the things we don't want to extract, like chlorophyll, etc. Perhaps not an issue in the case of full-spectrum RSO type products which are eaten or applied topically, but definitely unwelcome if the final goal is to vaporise or smoke the extract. The second filtering serves two purposes: one is to remove any microscopic contaminants, ie fungal spore, dust etc. that may have fallen into the evaporating liquid, and the second is to collect up the now reduced quantity of oil/alcohol into a smaller receptacle, which will make the collection of the end product much easier. I wouldn't say it's an absolutely essential step in the process, but you'll get a much cleaner extraction as a result of the extra work. In this case we didn't winterise, but by carrying out the whole process at very low temperatures, with frozen utensils and materials, we can prevent a good amount of waxes making their way into the extraction. If you want to winterise then you can leave the alcohol in the freezer for 24 hours (or longer) after straining it of any vegetable material, but before properly filtering it and beginning to evaporate. The best way to have a chlorophyll-free extraction is to keep the washes very short in duration, and very cold indeed. However, if you nd up with green coloured alcohol, a simple way to remove chlorophyll is to place the strained liquid alcohol extraction (post winterisation but pre evaporation) in a clear glass jar, in a strong source of UV light for 3-4 hours. The chlorophyll will break down in sunlight. THC will also degrade in sunlight, but at a much slower rate, so don't leave the extraction exposed to UV for longer than necessary. Other options are available, such as filtering through active carbon, but as I understand it this will also potentially filter out some of the active ingredients we want to keep in there. I hope that's answered everything, all the best and happy extracting!
Ian Robinson
28-05-2018
Hi i was going to use an airstill to extract the main volume of alcohol, then place in a beaker over a magnetic heater stirrer, bringing the heat up to 110 degrees max no more the heater stirrer has a digital display but will watch over it with a digital lazer heat gun, clorophil will be extracted by 2hrs of natural sunlight, i dnt want something that resembles dabs i want good quality oil for micro dosing until desired level is reached over a few weeks, my problem here in Australia is getting pure ETHANOL need help i dont want to use isopropyl but will if i have no other option can y ou help me with ETHANOL or tell me me what type of ISOPROPYL is the best in regards to ingesting plz i plan to use an airstill, and a digital magnetic heater stirrer, my 1st time, i could use 80% vodka and run it through the airstill and reclaim it for another or cleaning, but is there anywhere in Melbourne i can buy ETHANOL???
Tim Alchimia
28-05-2018
Hi Ian, thanks for your comment and question. I've had a little search online and it appears that Ethanol is very tightly controlled in Australia, and without registering for a license it's impossible to buy. If you have the option of distilling Vodka then I'd go for that, it'd be preferable to using Isopropyl alcohol, which as you pointed out, is toxic. Another option gaining popularity with some oil makers is Acetone 1090, I don't know much about its use but I do know it extracts much more quickly with a minute being the maximum exposure time without extracting too much chlorophyll. It might be worth a little research, it certainly seems easier to source. Hope that helps. all the best!
bongomundo
24-05-2018
I had a book once (like 40 years ago) with a cannabis butter recipe that was similar. I put the trim into a mason jar and added Everclear from the liquor store (like 160-180 proof) so the alcohol covered the bud shake. I don't remember cooling it (I lived in the forest and only had an ice chest and camp stove) or how long I let it sit or how much I stirred the mixture. I put some cheese cloth in a strainer and poured the alcohol and shake from the jar into a stainless steel pot and squeezed the cheesecloth bag to get as much alcohol as I could out of it. Then, I heated up some butter on the camp stove on using a double boiler so it would only get about 212 F. YOU HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN USING ALCOHOL AROUND AN OPEN FLAME! I turned off the campstove for a minute and poured the greenish alcohol into the butter I had already started to melt. Then I turned the campstove back on to a low flame and let the butter and alcohol mix together by stirring it. The alcohol eventually evaporated leaving a nice clean light greenish butter that did not really have much of a "pot" flavor. Made some great cookies with it!
Joe Guitarez
23-05-2018
Your instructions leave much to be desired and presume we are all chemists.
Tim Alchimia
28-05-2018
Hi Joe, sorry you're having trouble with the instructions, we've tried to make them as simple as we can while still keeping all the relevant information in there. Please tell us exactly which part of the process you're having trouble understanding and we'll try and help you out, despite appearances it's a very simple process that's been carried out by plenty of non-chemists without any trouble at all.
Scott Messenger
25-04-2018
HAVE you every TRYED Heat Press and parchment paper and then mix rein with organic tricome potion.The potion is organic and you can even use HAIR straighter to press your bud .8 drops on .5 mal makes for a vape to fill and potion come with different tricomes.Would love for you to distribute. Look at your video and father of 3 and 2 grandchildren and been married 37 years.First joint for me was 65 and start growing in 68

Do you want to give your opinion on "Cannabis extractions with alcohol" or ask a question abut this post?

Watch out, it will be published!

Make sure that it is a valid email address. It will not be published

ATTENTION!! Queries about shipping and payment

For doubts relating to deliveries and payments you can check the sections shipping cost and payment methods.

error_outline Use of cookies
We use own and third-party cookies to improve the browsing experience and to offer contents of interest. By continuing navigation we understand that you accept our cookies policy.

keyboard_arrow_up