Rosin itself is just another form of cannabis extract, basically the same thing known prior to this processes recent success, as honey oil/hash oil. Rosin tech is the extraction process itself and one that has caught on like wild fire over the last couple of years. Its success within the cannabis world is due to a few key facts. Its simplicity and safety in production, the fact it’s a totally solvent free extraction method and one that takes only a few minutes to produce a viable end-product. Rosin tech itself is a mechanical process, utilizing just heat and pressure to extract the resinous carbenoids from the Cannabis matter being processed. Utilizing this simple method, good quality medicinal produce can be anyone’s in a short space of time and with only the use of the most simple and inexpensive of equipment.
Processing rosin tech
List of material needed:
- Non-stick baking parchment, (for the Rosin to adhere too)
- Flatiron/hair straightener, or any other form of clamshell heated press. (your heat Source)
- Garlic press, (to compact your flower prior to pressing) *
- Quick release hand clamp/vice (to provide extra pressure, only required for hair straighteners) *
- Rosin Teabags/Micron pouches (to stop contaminant particulates) *
- Razor blade or dab tool (for product collection)
- Some Cannabis in some form or other to process.
Above marked with *are optional. This simple setup for rosin production is normally satisfactory for generating enough product for your average recreational consumer.
Temperature, time and pressure!
As with most forms of extraction, heat can be a source of degradation to your finished product. So we must strive to find a balance in its use. As a general guide for pressing temperatures; Never go above 165 Celsius, 330 Fahrenheit. With the lower the temperature ranges such as; 115C-150C (240F-302F) the more terpene and carbenoids are left present and unaffected, so in turn more flavour and potency are also retained. This temp range will give a more stable product, lighter in colour and resembling shatter in its makeup. Yet yield can suffer under lower temperatures, so you may want to press for a slightly longer amount of time and if possible increase the pressure utilized. The higher temperature ranges, 150C-165C (302F-330F) will produce a higher yield, although the terpene and carbenoid profile will be slightly effected. This temp range may produce a darker, sappier product as result. Also as your pressing at a higher temperature you may want to decrease the time length of your press slightly. The colour of Rosin can also be affected by what starting medium/form of Cannabis, your pressing.
Remember, this is still a mechanical process with several variables, so please just use the below method as a rough guide only, taking the time to experiment for yourselves. Flower Extraction; Smaller quantities work best for flower extraction especially whilst using hair straighteners. Other forms of presses will of course allow an increase in material processed per run. Unfortunately, most hair straighteners have their minimum heat setting at around 310F, so pressing at lower temperatures is somewhat limited with this choice of equipment. You can play with switching your straighteners off, just prior to pressing. This is a big variable though, so again experimentation is key. Firstly, prepare your flower by removing all stems and gathering your selected amount together (0.5-0.75g is a good range to start experimenting with). Then using a small piece of baking parchment line the inside of your handheld Garlic press, leaving some paper trailing out past the edges. Then load your chosen amount of flower into the press and squeeze firmly. Open the garlic press and using the parchment lining pull the semi crushed portion of flower out. This gives you a flat little puck of compressed flower to work with. (This is by no means a must do part of the process as you can happily press just normal un prepared buds. It just tends to lend to a more even proportioned sample of material for even pressing).
Then taking a square piece of parchment (3x3 inches should do) simply fold it in half and place the flower puck in between the folded leaves of paper, placing it centrally, before in turn placing this all centrally between the two plates of your hair straighteners/heat source. Then simply apply pressure to the straighteners to hold all in place whilst you attach and secure the hand clamp applying strong directed pressure and then listen for the nice sizzling sound. In general, it will take between 5 and 15 seconds for the process to happen and your extracted medium will now have separated and adhered to the baking paper.
Once you're happy, remove the clamp whilst making sure not to let the baking paper and package slip. Remove gently taking care not to burn yourself on the straighteners. Lay it down on a surface and open the folded paper out, again taking care not to let the pressed flower puck or what's now called a "Rosin chip" slip around and come into contact with any of your processed Rosin on the surrounding paper. Remove the chip and place this into an air tight jar/container for another use later. This should leave you with just a shiny, tacky, resinous product stuck to your paper. This is your desired end-product! At this point you can either try to remove this rosin with a Dab tool or razor blade, or if the substance isn't very stable you can cold cure your material in the fridge for a short while, before trying to harvest off the paper.
The Rosin Chips that your left with are still full of goodness, so they're a by-product that's ideal for reuse when making Canna butter for edibles.
Hash, Trim, Keif extraction
The above process can be used for extracting rosin from several forms of base cannabis materials. Bud/Flower, Sugar trim, Hash and Kief/Dry sift. With these base materials, you may want to invest in some fine micron mesh Teabags. These bags are just used to keep all plant matter together and to stop any contaminants finding their way into the final extract product. With these you would just insert your Cannabis matter (in whatever form) into the Teabag before then encompassing the bag in the baking parchment. Then pressing as before. These Teabags come in a variety of sizes and micron ranges. The lower micron bags are more suitable for Kief or hash, with the higher numbered micron bags suitable for flower runs.
Now as said before, the Rosin Tech process is still nowhere near a perfect science and as a mechanical process suffers from a few obvious variables, it can take some trial and error to find your own preferred temperatures and timings. With some perseverance though, your results should start to pay you back with some nice, clean, high quality product.
Yields with this technique vary, especially when looking at all the different forms of base material you can produce Rosin from. So, the below figures are only a loose guide.
- Flower; 15%-20%
- Hash; 40%-80%
- Kief; 70%-90%
- Trim; 6%-10%
Larger scale equipment
Now if you're looking to produce a higher quantity of rosin, you certainly have a good number of other options where equipment is concerned. This all ranges from something as simple as a repurposed T-shirt transfer press, to bespoke industrial size units with all the bells and whistles. These purpose-built units will also give you a superior heat range, giving some nice added control when compared to the simple hair straightener method.
Then you've got the multitude of self-build options out there, if you're willing to do some research and capable of some practical assembly yourself. For example, many folks posting on the grower's forums, are repurposing heavy duty, stand-alone, Arbour presses and fitting them with self-sourced, rosin press plates. If sourced wisely you can indeed save yourself a fortune when compared against some of the plug and play presses available. This larger equipment can of course give amazing levels of pressure, starting in the low ton range 5-10 and reaching far beyond. Then within this self-build market comes even more options; with the ability to choose the size of your rosin press plates, giving the ability with larger plates to run larger quantities per run if chosen. The increased level of pressure available when using these larger presses also makes pressing your product at lower temperatures, a far more rewarding one yield wise.
Quality in quality out?
You will find that one of the biggest variables within this whole process is the bud or product itself. Some varieties of cannabis just seem to yield higher than others. Then when it comes to flower extraction, things such as the bud's moisture levels can also affect results, but as a rule you must always remember that if your starting with a good fire product, then you should be rewarded with a great level of fire at the end! This is also where this process provides a little paradox to the usual statement. When processing other forms of base material, such as hash you can indeed take a sub-par product and refine it into a totally full melt one! Adding yet another attractive facet to Rosin tech.
Benefits of rosin tech over BHO
BHO can take days to process and purge correctly. The machinery needed to produce BHO safely on the larger scales, such as closed loop systems are extremely expensive. Trying to produce BHO without the best equipment can be dangerous. With BHO your working with a highly volatile substance that is toxic to humans. BHO extraction can and is already being utilized on an industrial scale, so it's very unlikely the process will disappear anytime soon. Rosin tech gives you a final product, that can most certainly rival BHO in strength and taste. It can be produced almost instantaneously with hardly any equipment needs. The purity will always be obvious as you're not using any foreign contaminants in the extraction process. Rosin is perhaps harder to produce presently on the industrial scale, yet things are always moving swiftly in the cannabis industry, so I'm sure were going to see plenty of advancements in this technology and in the methods used towards its upscaling! In short Rosin is an extract that seems to be here to stay, maybe not to the extreme extent of causing "the death of BHO" as some have forecast, but certainly it's a very strong option for the average person wanting to provide themselves with clean, safe cannabis oil extract. Written by Light Addict. Pictures, courtesy of my friends: FHconcentrates & Shiggityflip.