Gone are the times when smoking was the only known way of consuming cannabis. With the increasing popularity of marijuana in the mass culture and the broad discussion about the healing potential of the plant, people are looking for more healthy ways to use cannabis – like cannabis extracts.
You’ve probably heard about dabs and read some vague explanations how concentrates are produced. But the subject is way more complex than you can imagine. In this article, I’m going to show you what cannabis extracts are and how they are made.
What Are Cannabis Extracts?
Simply put, you can compare making cannabis concentrates to separating or isolating the beneficial cannabis compounds from the plant. The final outcome will constitute a pure and therapeutic fusion of cannabinoids and terpenes, which means that your goal is to achieve a product with 90-100% THC.
Cannabis extracts allow you to consume smaller amounts of the substance to gain the same effects. Among plenty of concentrates available on the market, the most recognizable are: hash, shatter and cannabis oil – and these items are what we’re going to shed light on today.
Source: Hemp City
To make hash, you will need to separate the trichomes from the cannabis plant. There are two forms in which this cannabis extract comes, namely a solid block or a resinous powder.
Primarily, hash was made by rubbing trichomes gathered on the fingers after harvesting the cannabis plant until there were enough trichomes to press them into larger bricks.
Although any part of the cannabis can be used to make hash, it’s best to select some trichome-rich leaves that have been cut from the plant in order to cut down on waste after harvest.
How does one make hash in a modern way? There is one simple method – flat screening.
It’s a very easy technique for making hash. First, you rub trichome-rich leaves and press them gently along a very fine metal screen that will allow the material to pass through. Such a screen is equipped with a smooth contact surface, usually a mirror or other material that doesn’t produce friction so that you can easily scrape off the trichomes. Once you’re done with collecting the stuff, you must press them into hash bricks which will show a darker color, as “contaminating” the hash with bits of plant matter that pass through the screen is inevitable.
Shatter is considered the purest and the most potent of cannabis extracts. Not only does it look alluring, with its amber, glass-like transparency, but it can easily take you to cloud nine due to the highest terpene content among all cannabis concentrates.
How do you make Shatter? In this case, you will need a lot more materials than when making hash. First of all, it’s best to save plenty of high-trichome buds in order to achieve the most potent shatter. Once you’ve harvest those beauties, make a list of the necessary equipment; this will include the following:
- large hollow glass tubes
- coffee filters and clamps
- a glass holding dish
- a heating oven
- several cans of butane
- a vacuum pump
To begin with, place your first-class weed in a glass tube and attach coffee filters to it. Add the clamps to hold the filters to your tube and insert the butane can. Once you’re done, filter your product into a measuring dish.
The final and the most important stage of the process is purging the product by evaporating the butane, which should be done at 91 degrees. This comprehensive guide will provide you with a deeper insight into making a quality BHO shatter.
Source: Merry Jane
Cannabis-infused oil is one of the most versatile extracts with a moderate power and a mild taste. You can use it in the form of a tincture or simply add it to your favorite recipes if you savor the food that gives you munchies time and again.
Ingredients for making cannabis oil extracts
First things first, you have to select the right strain. If you want your cannabis oil to give you the energizing high, you’d better go for a pure sativa, whereas for the calming product, a good indica strain will come in handy.
Once you decide on the right variety of the cannabis plant, it’s high time you picked the oil. It all boils down to your taste preferences. Of all cooking oils available on the market, coconut and olive oil are the most popular choices. Coconut oil is milder in taste and thus may be used for more meals, while olive oil is sharper and more fragrant.
When it comes to hardware, make sure you have a strainer or cheesecloth, a simple pot grinder, and a saucepan. You can easily replace the saucepan with a double-boiler or a slow cooker, too.
Speaking of the extraction process, it’s best to start with grinding your cannabis. The amount of the material depends on how potent you want your oil to be. Usually, it takes 1 cup of ground cannabis and 1 cup of cooking oil of your choice. Keep in mind not to grind your cannabis to a fine consistency, as it may fit through your strainer.
Heating the cannabis oil for extraction
When using a saucepan, combine oil and cannabis in the dish and heat (but not boil) them together on low heat for a few hours. This will lead to decarboxylation (a process where THC is activated) without destroying the active ingredients. For slow cookers and double boilers, the extraction calls for about 6 hours. Nonetheless, remember that whatever method you pick, keep the temperature below 245F.
Finally, strain the oil through the cheesecloth and store it in a bottle or jar. The lifetime of such oil is at least two months on the shelf. It’s shelf-life can also be prolonged if the extract is kept in a refrigerator.
There you go! A quick overview on making your own cannabis extracts. I strongly encourage you to take the bull by the horns and dig deeper into the subject. The Internet is full of comprehensive guides to preparing cannabis concentrates. Watch out, though, because as soon as you get bitten by the bug, you’re going to love making these DIY goodies!