The legal U.S. pot market is on the rise, flooded with products as varied as cannabis strains and infusions, but to name just a few. There’s a new product, though, that is making a place for itself and that can be obtained through very different methods. Below is a roundup of the different extracts that can be made from cannabis plants.
Here you'll find some of the most common methods that use solvents to get the very best from weed. They are kind of risky, especially when one doesn't have enough information, so make sure you take the necessary precautions before getting down to business. Using solvents can be dangerous and end up causing serious problems (severe burns, fire hazard, explosions…).
Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)
Rick Simpson is a medical marijuana activist known worldwide for coming up with a very particular extraction method commonly used for therapeutic purposes by patients needing a strong dose of relief. The proven quality and efficacy of the end-product have made this method the personal favorite of many people all over the world.
Besides, it's very easy to carry out. All you have to do is stuff some bubble bags with cannabis buds and place them into a deep container filled with an efficient solvent such as pure naphtha so the cannabinoids are released. Let it rest for a while and it'll be ready for the evaporation stage after which you'll get the thick and darkish oil you've worked so hard to get. It may not be the most pleasant concentrate on earth, but no doubt it's one of the most effective ones. Best administered orally, putting some drops under the tongue.
The process is very much like the one needed to obtain RSO. This method, though, uses alcohol as the main solvent and its taste is far more pleasant. While marijuana tinctures and RSO are very similar in terms of color, tinctures are less thick. In fact, they're liquid extracts. Ethanol is the right solvent for this kind of extraction. Just like RSO, they're best administered orally and have proved to be nearly as effective in treating a wide variety of ailments and diseases, which is why it's mostly used for therapeutic purposes too. Besides, it's accessible to all and doesn't require the use of expensive equipment.
BHO (Butane Hash Oil)
BHO, or Butane Hash Oil, is an extraction method that uses, as its name suggests, butane. Other hydrocarbons, like hexane and propane, are also rather common, and, in the near future, it's likely for new and better solvents to come out.
Regardless of the chemical solvent finally picked, the steps to be taken are exactly alike. The same thing cannot be said about the end result, though. The taste, scent, effect, density, color, and consistency of the resulting oil could vary depending on your choice. That's why the names of BHO concentrates in U.S. dispensaries are so different: shatter, honeycomb, wax, oil, nectar…
It's just about placing your cannabis buds and green vegetable matter in a BHO extractor that runs solvent through the plant matter pulling the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids to the outlet, which is located in the lower part of the extraction device. With this method, excellent results are obtained. The only drawback is that knowing how to perfectly use the equipment is the only way to make sure there's no solvent left in the extract.
This extraction method is fairly recent. It was Emotek Labs founder, with the help of the hash master "Kind Bill", who created it some years ago. Unlike other methods, this one doesn't require cannabis buds to be dry before the extraction procedure begins. All you have to do is put all your buds and plant matter in the freezer.
The good news is that this prevents oxidation, which is rather common upon exposure to direct light, moisture, temperature swings and air. The quality of the resulting concentrate is definitely higher because the tastes, aromas, and effects are pushed to the limit. Their quality is way beyond the average because the freshness of the "Full Spectrum"! (cannabinoids+terpenes+flavonoids) is kept intact.
Supercritical CO2 Oil
This is probably the extraction method that produces the best quality concentrates. Almost perfect, I dare say. This process requires the use of carbon dioxide, which is compressed until it creates supercritical fluid. This fluid then runs through the plant matter pulling all its cannabinoids and terpenes.
These cannabis extracts are extremely pure and so very interesting for therapeutic use. However, not everyone can afford to make them at home for expensive equipment is definitely required, and that's not all. It takes a lot of room and knowledge to install and use it appropriately without compromising your safety. If misused, there's a real risk of severe burns, fire or explosion.
Let's have a look at the solventless extractions that are leading the way right now. All you need is water, heat, a good-sized sieve, and pressure.
Water Hash/Bubble Hash/Ice-o-lator
While their name is different, the way they work is exactly the same. It's just about putting weed in screen bags filled with ice-cold water so resin glands separate from the plant's vegetable matter. Stir the mix in the bucket (water + ice + weed) vigorously using your hands or with the help of a small washing machine. Now we're ready for the next step. Take the screen bags out of the bucket/machine little by little collecting the resulting resin. Make sure you dry your resin adequately afterward. Otherwise, it could get mushy and go to waste.
Rosin (Rosin Tech)
Rosin is very easy to produce. All you have to do is press a cured flower between two pieces of parchment paper using a hair straightener. If the temperature is just right, the resin glands will stick to the paper almost instantaneously.
There's a machine with customizable temperature controls specially designed for that purpose. A lengthy process of trial and error is likely to be necessary so as to adjust the pressure.
Dry Sift Hash
Dry Sift Hash extracts are surprisingly easy to make. You'll need a sieve to rub the buds/plant matter containing the trichome glands across them. The more tightly-woven the screen, the smaller the trichome heads will be. It's just up to you to decide what kind of extract you wanna get.
The sifting process if far easier than you might think. Put the flowers in the sieve and shake vigorously up and down. Place a tray under the sieve some 20 cm away to collect the resin that passes through. Once the process is over, compress the powdery resin manually with the help of a credit card or with a small mechanical press until it looks like a chunk of quality resin.