Extractions have become mainstream in the marketplace today, with many different ways to create a concentrated product, it can leave consumers wondering how can I make this at home? Cannabis Extracts have been around for a long time but the processes used to make these extracts has been in constant development, to the point now that any size grower can turn their flower harvest into a concentrated form.
Cannabis extracts can take many forms, but the most popular ones today are what we call Bubble Hash, Dry Sift, Rosin, Distillate, and Butane Hash Oil (BHO). Make the most out of your harvest and see which extraction processes interest you!
Bubble Hash Extraction
Bubble Hash is the method for making hash that utilizes water and ice as a carrier for the Trichomes by freezing them off of the plant material. The water is then put through an assortment of filter bags or screens that will separate out the different sizes of resin glands. This process is fairly straight-forward for the person doing the extraction, but the secrets to making full melt bubble hash are as follows:
First, Make sure you are starting with fresh frozen or fresh, dry frozen flowers. The fresher the material the better the extract is going to be in the end. Second, Temperatures matter! You are trying to freeze off the resin glands by utilizing freezing cold water and ice cubes to maintain those temperatures. The ice cubes themselves should be big chunky cubes to keep them from melting too quickly. Lastly, the amount of agitation will make or break your product. It is customary to do a short gentle first wash on the material to be filtered out before repeating the process with a heavier agitation cycle. The first gentle wash will be the best product. The second wash will be utilized to get the remaining resin off the plant matter and will not be as high of a grade as the first gently wash.
There are many ways to wash Bubble Hash, from gently hand stirring, to utilizing a washing machine such as the Bubble Magic, we have even seen people use a drill and a paint mixer. It really comes down to personal preference and how high of quality hash you are trying to make. Hand stirring will give you the best, most full melt product, washing machines work very well but if the user does not watch what he or she is doing, it can cause over extraction, resulting in your full melt not really melting too well. By far our least favorite way would be with the paint mixer…...but we’ve seen it work.
Once the resin is separated into the filter bags, each bag will be removed and the hash scooped out and place on a drying screen to dry. After the hash has begun to wick the water out of itself, it is suggested to sieve or micro-plane the hash out onto parchment paper sitting on cardboard. This process will turn the balls of hash into sand size particles and allow for complete 360 degree drying of your product. The best way to get this done is going to be freezing your hash and the tool you are going to use to break up the hash, this will prevent it from sticking to your tool as you grate the frozen hash through it.
Once your hash is broken down, you will want to leave it in a cool dark area to finish drying before jarring it up to allow for it to cure. If you have mastered this hash making process your end product should be free from contaminants and should melt when vaporized instead of burning.
Dry Sift Extraction
Dry Sift hash is made by using the same style of filtering screens as bubble hash, the setup can be a little different depending on how you plan to get the job done. Some people will use bubble bags, more experienced users will use screens wrapped around a frame that sit on a table top, while commercial operations will usually use a Dry Sift Tumbler to get the amount of work required done in a timely manner. The secret to dry sift is to be as gentle as possible. By taking care of our starting material and not beating it up too much we are able to minimize the amount of plant matter contamination we are going to have in our end product. Because we are not using any sort of a carrier to move the resin it is usually done with manual agitation.
When using bubble bags to accomplish this, we see a lot of people using dry ice to freeze the material but also inside of the bags to help with the agitation of the product. This method is very useful for trying to get the most out of your product the fastest but it is necessary to keep an eye on the hash coming out of the bag and to watch for a color change from blonde to green. When you start seeing green, you know you are beginning to break do plant matter and not just resin.
Using screens on a table is the most effective way to produce top notch full melt hash. This is usually done in small batches with the user placing a small amount of plant matter onto his stack of screens and gently using a credit card or something similar to push broken down flower material across the screen back and forth. This will gently agitate the material as it moves across the screen allowing resin to drop through the different micron screens. The user will then separate out the different grades of hash and jar them up to cure.
Dry Sift Tumblers, such as the Rosin Industries Pollenex, are a great way to get a lot of dry sift work done in no time. They allow the user to load up a large amount of material into their tumbler at one time to produce a large amount of Dry Sift. These machines are usually utilized in a commercial Rosin operation due to the ability of the users to speed up production. These tumblers require trial and error user experience to find the right speed and agitation requirements depending on the strain being processed. There is no better way to get a lot of sifting done than a Dry Sift Tumbler.
Rosin is a newer extraction type to the marketplace. Rosin uses heat and pressure to melt and force the resin out of the plant matter and onto parchment paper to be collected after the product has been smashed completely. Rosin can be made from wet or dry flowers but the most success we have seen when making Rosin is to start with either dry sift or bubble hash in your pressing screen. This will produce the largest yields per press when making Rosin, while also giving you a product that does not contain much if any contamination.
Success while making Rosin comes down to a few key things, First, How much pressure you can apply with your press. More pressure will allow you to lower your temperatures on your plates and will give you more product than a press that is not as strong. This ties into the second aspect of making quality Rosin, Temperatures are everything, If you are too hot when pressing you are going to start to decarboxylate your oil and will start the chemical process of transferring THC-A into THC before you even try to vape it. This will result in a poor tasting product and usually will have a darker color than what it could have been if the temperatures were lower. Lastly, The time you spend pressing will drastically affect the end result of your product. Pressing too long is almost as bad as pressing too hot, it runs the risk of decarboxylating your oil and even burning it.
Ethanol extraction is new to the marketplace in the form of THC and CBD distillate. This product is made using glass scientific lab equipment. The process includes extraction, then a dewax to clean up the product. The ethanol mix is then put into a Rotary Evaporator, or Roto-Vap as called in the industry. This allows the ethanol to be boiled off in a thin film as the rotovap rotates in a warm water bath. The ethanol is condensed and reclaimed for later use in other extractions. What is left over after the ethanol is reclaimed is a highly potent and activated form of THC minus the terpenes that were boiled off with the ethanol. This is basically a tasteless product at this point.
The next step would be to put the ethanol extraction onto a short path distillation set up. This allows the user to boil off the rest of the thc leaving behind any impurities. The short path will then recondense the THC and the user is able to separate different fractions of quality. Once the product has been separated, the final product will have no taste, This is when food grade or cannabis derived terpenes are reintroduced to the extract to produce a certain flavor profile that is wanted.
Distillate is the most easily concealable form of cannabis concentrate but it is also usually made from some of the worst bho and starting material. With cartridges and distillate, it is important to know who made it and how they made it. This is not something that anyone can just do, it requires a lot of training and specific lab equipment to be done right. In short, you get what you pay for with these.
Butane Hash Oil
The last type of extraction widely seen today is hydrocarbon extraction, also know and Butane Hash Oil (BHO). Butane is a hydrocarbon and when it is passed over flowers it has the ability to grab onto the hydrocarbon chains that make up the cannabis plant resin and works as a great carrier for extracting THC. AS will all types of extraction, the best processes of BHO revolve around temperature control. The colder you can get the butane, the cleaner you hash is going to be. This procedure takes time to master and there are many different ways to get this done.
The main idea is to pass butane through as fast and as cold as possible before cold boiling off the butane to the point where it is sappy and sticky. From here the extract should be placed into a vacuum oven and heated slightly. This will allow the butane to be purged out of the oil by lowering the boiling point using a vacuum pump. The vacuum oven will allow you to heat the slab of oil up evenly and allow for the residual parts per million of butane to be pulled out of the oil before it can be called a finished product.
Butane Hash Oil has been the most common form of hash in the 2000s but with the development of safer practices like Rosin, we can bring extractions into the home of the consumer and allow them to make their own concentrates without the risks of processing with butane or the need for licensing. We recommend that butane be used by licensed professionals due to its volatility. Bubble Hash, Dry Sift, and Rosin are a much safer alternative when it comes to making extracts at home.
Times are changing and there is a much higher consumer demand outside of your basic flower. Whether you are a home hobbyist or a commercial cultivator, Hydrobuilder.com has the right equipment to turn your flower into gold... or honey.. shatter.. whatever you want to refer to it as! Make the most of your harvested product and have fun experimenting! Don't be intimidated by the process and find the extraction equipment that is best for you!