I always get the question: how do I do a small extraction at home for my personal use? There is plenty of advice available on the internet, but not all of it is accurate, and many cannabis extraction methods are unsafe. So I decided to write the essential guide to homemade cannabis extracts. Use this guide to safely make homemade cannabis extracts such as tinctures, oils and butter without fears of blowing up your house.
- Forget about using butane. Never use hydrocarbons at home! Butane is extremely volatile and explosive and is not safe (unless it’s being used as lighter fluid). Butane Hash Oil is a niche product whose manufacture is best left to experts. Again, butane is NOT a way to safely make homemade cannabis extracts.
- Decarb your cannabis. The cannabinoids in your plant material must be activated in order to be bioavailable for ingestion. This is accomplished by baking your buds or trim at 250°F for 2h, which converts the acid form of the cannabinoids into the free molecule. The easiest way to do this is to put your plant material into an open mason jar (the kind used for canning). For a quarter ounce of cannabis, use an 8 oz (small) mason (Ball) jar. Heat in your oven for 2h, then take out and lightly fasten the airtight top immediately. As the bottle cools, it will self-seal, helping to prevent excessive odors from escaping (no point in stinking up your place). Use the whole bud: there is no need to grind your plant material.
- Decide what medium you want your cannabinoids dissolved in. The essential oils (cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis) are not soluble in water, so an oil or alcohol base is needed to free the active cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant. You can use any vegetable oil, butter, or even lard as a lipid solvent. This will give you an oil-based cannabinoid solution that is excellent for cooking. 190 proof ethanol is also an excellent choice, giving you a classic cannabis tincture.
- Measure your solvent. A good rule of thumb is to use about 4 oz of oil or ethanol per quarter ounce of bud. With typical strength marijuana (10-20 % active ingredient), you’ll get a concentration such that one-half teaspoon of your extract is equal to a 10-20 mg dose.
- Sauté your buds. If using a solid lipid like butter or lard, melt your fat on low heat in a small saucepan, and sauté your plant material for several minutes. If desired, filter the residual plant material away using cheesecloth while the mixture is still hot. Allow to cool, and you are ready to go.
- Make a tincture. In this case, just add Everclear (190 proof vodka) to your cooled mason jar. Put on the lid and shake for a minute or two (no need to grind your buds). The tincture may be filtered, or simply decant the ethanolic solution from the spent plant material. Now you’re good to go.
- Don’t heat your tincture for concentration. Ethanol at 190 proof is very flammable. Do not concentrate by heating. Allowing the ethanol to naturally evaporate in a dish is fine, as long as the evaporated vapors are carefully kept from an ignition source.
Carefully follow these simple steps to safely make homemade cannabis extracts. If you’ve got the time and the inclination, there’s nothing better than doing it yourself. Enjoy!
Once you’ve completed your extraction, perhaps you would you like to learn how to test your cannabis extracts.
If you’re feeling confident in your extraction skills and are ready to take your cannabis extraction game to the next level, you might want to expand into a commercial cannabis extraction business. If so, give us a call and we will be glad to work with you to set up a compliant cannabis extraction facility. We can procure laboratory tested, safe, reliable and compliant cannabis extraction equipment for you and train you how to do everything step by step. Our ESCET method is safe and efficient. You will be up and running before you know it.
Call us at (732) 595-8026 to schedule an appointment today!
Image courtesy of: Breakwater ATC Instagram