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How To Make Cannabis Oil: 5 Easy Steps
If you have a medical marijuana card California, making cannabis oil at home is easy-peasy!
Cannabis oil is a potent substance that can be eaten, inhaled, or rubbed on topically. It is the foundation to many tasty edible marijuana recipes. The THC content in the oil brings on an enjoyable psychoactive effect when ingested, so it’s a great base for chocolate brownies!
Cannabis oil is also a potent medicine containing large amounts of healthy cannabinoids. The two cannabinoids with the strongest medicinal value are THC and CBD. Both are present in a well made cannabis oil. The oil can be used to treat a whole host of physiological and psychological conditions, including headache, insomnia, muscle pain, inflammation, arthritis, glaucoma, anxiety and depression. Cannabis oil can even have anti-cancer effects. Studies are suggesting that cannabinoids can inhibit tumor growth by disrupting the formation of new blood vessels that the tumors need to grow. Cannabinoids even seem to attack cancerous cells while leaving healthy cells intact. Go cannabinoids!
Using cannabis oil is a very effective way to get a high dose of health-promoting cannabinoids, because the refining process removes all of the plant material and leaves only pure oil behind. This oil contains high levels of THC and CBD, so it’s possible to consume higher doses of the healthy cannabinoids than if you smoke your medical cannabis.
It is definitely advisable to choose a high-quality strain of medical marijuana to make your cannabis oil with. If you have a cannabis card you can ask at your local dispensary which strain they recommend for making a nice and pure oil, or you can grow your own weed at home and use that. It is good to use an organic strain because otherwise the unpleasant chemical fertilizers and pesticides that are used in the growing process in some 420 card states will end up in your oil in concentrated levels. The purer the strain, the better.
It is important that you choose the right location to make your oil. You will need to find a well-ventilated and open space with windows and a gas or electric stove.
Step 1: Assemble the ingredients and tools you will need
You will be using are 1 ounce of medical marijuana, available with a California medical marijuana card, and 1 gallon of high proof alcohol, such as Everclear. Be certain to use alcohol that is intended for human consumption, do not use rubbing alcohol.
The tools you will need are 1 medium glass or ceramic mixing bowl, a wooden spoon, a straining device such as a muslin bag, cheesecloth or coffee filter paired with a mesh strainer, a container to catch liquid, a silicon spatula, a double boiler, a plastic syringe, and glass jars.
At various stages in the process you will need to wear a respirator mask, non-latex gloves, safety glasses and oven mitts.
Step 2: Extract the cannabinoids from the cannabis
Soak the cannabis buds in the alcohol by putting the MMJ into the ceramic bowl and submerging it in the pure alcohol. Stir and mash the mixture with the wooden spoon for about 3 minutes. Strain the mixture, letting the dark green cannabis infused alcohol pour into the second container while trapping the solid mash in the strainer.
Step 3: Do a second strain
Put the mashed up contents of the strainer back into the first bowl, submerge in fresh alcohol and mix and mash for another 3 minutes. Then strain the new mixture and add the remaining green liquid to the green liquid from the first strain.
Why not invite your friends round to help you make the cannabis oil?
Step 4: Boil off the alcohol from the green liquid in a double boiler
Fill the bottom half of the double boiler with water, and pour the dark green liquid into the top section. Put the double boiler on the stove and bring the water in the bottom section to the boil. Once the water is boiling it will begin to heat the green liquid. Once the green liquid is bubbling the alcohol will begin to evaporate. Let the contents bubble away at a low heat, occasionally scraping the sides and bottom of the top section with your spatula. When the liquid stops bubbling and becomes a thick, dark green syrup, all the alcohol has evaporated and your cannabis oil is ready! Remove the top section of the double boiler and allow the oil to cool.
Step 4: Fill glass jars or syringes with cannabis oil
Draw the cannabis oil into the plastic syringe by pulling on the plunger. Transfer the oil from the syringe into a clean glass jar with an airtight lid.
Step 5: Store in a cool, dark place
Keep the oil in the airtight glass jars in a cool, dark cabinet. The oil gets hard in cool temperatures, so gently warm the oil to turn it back into liquid before use.
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How to Make Hash Oil (aka Cannabis Extract Oil or RSO)
Table of Contents:
What is Hash Oil (Cannabis Extract Oil)?
There are several ways that cannabis growers can turn their homegrown bud into edible extracts. Some of the most popular are canna-caps, cannabutter, and tinctures.
Hash oil – also known as Cannabis Extract Oil or RSO – is a popular cannabis extract that many home-growers are producing themselves using their trim (trimmed off, trichome-covered leaves) or bud. Simply put, hash oil is the resin from a cannabis plant mixed in with a tiny amount of a solution. In a perfect case, the solution would be totally removed from the hash oil when it’s done.
Why is hash oil so great?
- Super concentrated form of cannabis that’s edible and smokable
- Easy to make hash oil with typical kitchen items
- Specialized tools can automate the process
- Easy to store and dispense in measured amounts
This hash oil took about 1/2oz of bud! Yikes! (It was worth it)
While some extracts use coconut oil, butter, or even isopropyl alcohol to bind to THC, hash oil is made with food-grade high-proof alcohol. Growers usually use ethanol or Everclear, but Spirytus, high-proof grape alcohol, or anything along those lines, will do the job.
After the alcohol and weed are mixed, the mixture is strained and evaporated leaving a thick, oily substance that is mostly resin. Since this “oil” is so potent, very little needs to be used at a time which means that a small amount of hash oil can go a very long way. Hash oil can be eaten, vaporized, smoked, dabbed, or even used for topical applications.
What’s with the name “RSO”? A guy named Rick Simpson coined the term “Rick Simpson Oil” to refer to his style of hash oil. It turns out that RSO is much easier to say/type than “Cannabis Extract Oil”, so people tend to use RSO more often. We prefer “Hash Oil” as it’s more descriptive, but the two terms can be used interchangeably.
What Type of Alcohol Should You Use?
Any high-proof (190-proof or higher) alcohol that is meant for human consumption will work. Although isopropyl alcohol can be used for topical applications, we recommend using food-grade alcohol even in that case. In other words, please don’t use isopropyl alcohol for this tutorial! You can use any 190-proof (or higher) alcohol such as:
- Rectified/Neutral spirits:
- Spirytus (high-proof polish vodka)
- Grape Alcohol
You can legally get your hands on at least one of these options in all 50 states in the US, plus Canada, UK, and Australia. Bacardi 151 is available in most places and it has a pretty high alcohol content (151-proof), but it should only be used as a worst-case option.
Do I Need to Decarb My Weed First?
For those who aren’t familiar, decarb is short for “decarboxylation”. Decarboxylating (or decarbing) describes the process of slowly cooking your weed to activate all the good stuff in it by turning THC-A to THC.
Now that we’re all on the same page, do you need to decarb your weed before making hash oil?
The answer to this question can vary based on your reasons for making hash oil. However, in my opinion, the answer is “Yes, you should decarb 100% of the time when making hash oil!”
So, why wouldn’t you decarb? There are two main reasons people don’t decarb their weed before making hash oil:
- They believe THC-A has medicinal properties
- The process of making hash oil on its own doesn’t create enough heat to turn THC-A into the more potent THC. If you don’t decarb, you’ll have oil that’s mostly THC-A.
- They don’t want psychoactive effects
- THC gets you “high”, THC-A does not. Ingesting hash oil without decarbing the weed won’t get you “high” since it will be mostly THC-A. For some people, that’s a plus.
For the rest of us who do want our oil to be psychoactive, decarbing your weed is an absolute necessity. If you don’t decarb, the oil will have a much weaker effect on you. So if you want that “high” feeling, make sure to decarb your weed!
We have a full article on different ways to decarb, but here are the quick steps:
How to Decarb Weed
- Baking Sheet
- Foil or Parchment paper (no wax paper!)
- Preheat oven to 250°F
- Line your baking sheet with foil or parchment paper
- Place your broken-up or ground cannabis on the baking sheet
- Bake cannabis for 30 minutes (your cannabis will turn golden-brown)
Decarbing weed: Before and After. [Click on image for a larger version]
Check out our full article on decarboxylation for more info: https://www.growweedeasy.com/how-to-decarb-weed
Tinctures & Quick Wash
One last thing before we start…
Do you have cannabis tincture just lying around your house by any chance? I know it’s a weird question, but some growers have some lying around in the fridge or freezer (a tincture is a cannabis-infused alcohol). If that’s the case, you can skip straight to evaporating the alcohol!
If you don’t have tincture around your house (which is probably the case), you can do a “quick wash” to make the tincture. It’s a super easy recipe, but it’s also effective despite its ease. Although you can have a quick wash done in around 20 minutes, you can make it even better by freezing your alcohol and weed overnight.
Your starting mixture will determine the color, flavor, and strength of your resulting hash oil. Tinctures like the one on this tutorial come out dark, and the resulting hash oil will be almost black, which is the “traditional” RSO look. Adversely, a well-done quick wash (like in the instructions below) will produce a gold-colored tincture that will result in golden hash oil. Both methods have their perks and I would encourage you to try making hash oil both ways.
Note: If you’re interested in using tinctures on their own, we have an article on making those, too! Check it out here: https://www.growweedeasy.com/how-to-make-cannabis-tinctures
- 2x Mason Jar
- Decarbed weed (recipe above)
- If you don’t want psychoactive effects, don’t decarb the weed
- High-proof alcohol (190-proof or higher)
- Paper coffee filters
Despite how it may look, that’s a well-made quick wash tincture. Gold is the color you’re looking for.
How to “Quick Wash”
- If possible, place your alcohol and weed in the freezer overnight. This makes the alcohol absorb less unwanted material like chlorophyll.
- Place your cold, decarbed weed in a mason jar.
- Pour in enough freezing-cold alcohol to completely cover the weed, plus another 1/4”(1/2cm) or so.
- Let the mixture sit until 20 minutes have passed.
- Tip: I like to shake up my mixture for about 30 seconds after the 20 minutes are up.
- Place a coffee filter over your second mason jar
- Pour the mixture through a coffee filter
- You now have quick wash tincture!
How to Make Cannabis Extract Oil – Manual Method
Believe it or not, you’re already about halfway through the process. You’ve already made a usable tincture. The next step is to reduce the alcohol in the tincture until the cannabis resin is (almost) the only thing that’s left. This could be accomplished by just letting the mixture sit out until the alcohol evaporates, but that could take many days.
Instead, we’re going to use a double-cooker method to evaporate the alcohol using a stove. As long as you are careful and use low-heat on an electric stove, you’ll be totally fine. Don’t try this on a gas stove because high-proof alcohol combined with an open flame is a recipe for disaster.
Tincture being reduced to hash oil using a double boiler on a kitchen stove
- Make sure there is good ventilation in the room your using. Opening a window will usually do.
- No open flames. That means no lighters, candles, or gas stoves.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Remember, a fire extinguisher can turn a disaster into a minor inconvenience.
- Don’t go anywhere. Stay with your hash oil until it’s done and you’ve turned everything off.
- Use one of the simple Quick Wash recipes above or check out our tinctures page)
- Double boiler
- You can make a double boiler using a pot and pan. Click here to see an example picture.
- Important note: If you make a double boiler using a pot and pan, make sure they don’t fit together perfectly. Steam needs to be able to escape from the bottom pan or else there will be trouble.
- Fill the bottom pot of your double boiler with about 3 inches of water.
- Heat the water until it boils, then turn the heat to medium-low
- Put on the top part of your double boiler. If you’re using a pan, make sure steam can escape.
- Pour your tincture into the top pan
- The tincture should heat up and eventually roil a bit
- Continue to monitor the tincture as is slowly evaporates into an oily, sludge-like substance
- Note: The longer you cook it, the more the texture will change. Less cooking evaporates less alcohol which makes it more liquid, more cooking makes it harder/waxier.
- Turn off the heat and collect your hash oil. Collecting your oil will be much easier while it’s still warm, so be quick!
How to Make Cannabis Extract Oil – Automated Method
Making hash oil is pretty easy with a stove, but it’s even easier if you use a machine.
There’s a device called the Source Turbo extractor and it does the same job as a double boiler, but with a few added benefits:
- The source extractor recovers about 95% of your alcohol so you can use it again and again. High-proof alcohol is a bit pricey, so this can save a heap of money over time.
- It’s safer. The source creates a vacuum so there are no fumes to ignite. Additionally, the Source doesn’t get hot enough to ignite alcohol fumes, so fire isn’t really a worry.
- It’s much easier to do than using a double boiler. You pretty much set it up and come back when it’s done. Still, we recommend staying in the same room with your extractor until it’s done.
Here’s our Source Turbo extractor in action. Notice the little pool of pure alcohol collecting at the bottom.
It’s a really cool machine to have if you want to make hash oil, but it has one major setback: the price! The Source Extractor Turbo costs quite a bit ($600) even though it’s the cheaper version of another extractor made by the same company. I wasn’t happy spending the money to test this thing out, but now that I have it and have tried the hash oil, I feel it was worth the money and I would definitely make the purchase again.
- Use one of the Quick Wash recipes above or check out our tinctures page)
- Source Extractor Turbo
- The more expensive version is for people who make tons of oil at once.
The Source comes with a web link that leads to instructions on how to use the device. It’s a quick read and will help you get the most out of your extractions. Here’s an even quicker version of what you need to do.
- Place your Source on a flat surface and make sure all the parts are aligned.
- Pour your tincture into the reservoir cup and screw the cup into the Source.
- Put the lid on your Source, then plug it in and seal the vacuum using the valve on the front.
- Start the Source and it will make a loud sound as it starts to create a vacuum.
- Make sure it reaches full vacuum (the sound will stop) which should take less than 5 minutes. There’s also a phone app to tell you when it’s at full vacuum. If it’s vacuuming too long, turn it off and troubleshoot with the company’s guide.
- When the extraction is finished, stop the machine, release the vacuum and let the chamber cool for a few minutes.
- You can allow the oil to cook for as long as desired. The texture will change as it cooks, going from a tincture to oil to some sap-like stuff to a wax. Stop it whenever YOU like the texture and consistency.
- Collect your extract
- Collect your alcohol from the extractor and store for reuse.
The Source Turbo extractor is like a crockpot for making awesome hash oil. You can get one on Amazon.com.
How Do I Use Cannabis Extract Oil?
You can use hash oil in a ton of different ways! The way you use it will depend on the consistency of the oil you made.
- If you boiled it down to a much-stronger tincture, you can just eat it or put it into a liquid with a strong flavor.
- Oils can be mixed into food, put on flowers, or rolled into joints
- Wax can be melted into weed (called “caviar”), vaporized, or dabbed.
- Since all of the substance you make will be decarboxylated, you can just eat it directly and you’ll definitely feel the effects.
Hash oil can be stored in the fridge, though cold hash oil is almost solid until it’s warmed up. You can eat it directly or add it to anything edible to help mask the taste.
Want to eat oil with zero taste? Use an empty gelatin capsule. Pop one open, squeeze in some oil, and snap close for easy swallowing. Bonus: these caps are easy to hide in a vitamin bottle.
Nebula enjoying some hash oil on toast with jam
How to Make Hash Oil (aka Cannabis Extract Oil or RSO) Table of Contents: What is Hash Oil (Cannabis Extract Oil)? There are several ways that cannabis growers can turn their homegrown bud