How to (Safely) Make Cannabis Oil
Often called Phoenix Tears, Rick Simpson Oil, or simply hash oil, whole-plant cannabis oils are potent product for both recreational uses and medicinal uses, such as in the treatment of severe epilepsy, cancer, chronic pain, and a variety of other ailments.
When making cannabis oil, the cannabinoids and terpenes are stripped from the plant matter with a solvent, then the solvent is evaporated until all that is left are the oils, which is why you get such purity and potency.
Although the process is delicate, cannabis oil extraction can be done at home. The biggest challenge for producing cannabis oil at home is acquiring the raw product, unless the patient lives in a state which allows the ability to grow at home.
IMPORTANT NOTE: International Highlife encourages anyone considering making cannabis oil at home to first take all safety precautions and acknowledge that there is an inherent risk of using solvent-based extraction methods.
What You Need
- 1-ounce high-quality cannabis – Preferably indica, however, if you are looking for specific effects, or treating a specific ailment, it may be in your best interest to have the flower tested for its cannabinoid and terpene profiles.
- 17 ounces of solvent – Ethanol alcohol is commonly used for producing medications intended to be ingested or consumed orally. Butane, propane, and 99% isopropyl alcohol are also used for oils which will be vaporized or dabbed.
- Equipment – a strainer, a coffee filter, a rice cooker (or other heating element), syringe to collect the oil
Cannabis Oil Extraction: The First Steps
The first step in making cannabis oil is removing the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant material using the solvent.
Step 1) Chop your cannabis material. Smaller pieces of material make it easier to extract valuable cannabinoids.
Step 2) Place the material in a container, and pour just enough solvent over it to just cover the plant material, then, like you’re making a mojito, muddle the solution for 3-4 minutes.
Step 3) Strain the solution through a strainer, but don’t throw away the cannabis material just yet.
Step 4) Return the cannabis material to the original container, and repeat steps 2 and 3. A second wash with the solvent will help ensure you get the most cannabis oil out of your material.
Evaporating the Solvent: The Purge
WARNING: This step can be dangerous if you don’t take precautions. Be VERY careful boiling flammable solvents, as the fumes produced are extremely flammable. Do NOT smoke, do anything to create sparks, do NOT use a stove-top, or any red-hot heating elements which could ignite. Work in a well-ventilated area and keep fumes away from the pot using a fan.
Step 5) Strain the liquid through a coffee filter into the rice cooker, turn it on, and allow the solvent to slowly boil away. DO NOT USE THE LID.
Step 6) When most of the solvent has evaporated, add a couple of drops of water, and reduce the heat. (Some recommend a hot plate or a candle-warmer.)
Step 7) When the bubbles stop forming, the solvent is gone. Use a syringe to collect the remaining oil. The oil will generally be dark in color.
The Final Product
What you have left over is a potent, versatile cannabis oil which can be taken sublingually, under the tongue, blended with olive oils or coconut oil and used to make edibles or topical lotions, or it can be smoked or vaporized.
With the ability to make potent medicines at home so easily, it’s no wonder the pharmaceutical industry is working so hard to keep cannabis illegal!