Weed 101: What Is Rosin And How Can You Make It At Home?
Rosin extraction is opening up an entirely new world of concentrated cannabis. Until recently, very few people had heard about rosin, let alone tried it. Today, it’s one of the most requested items in dispensaries. Unlike the extraction methods that came before it, rosin is strong, clean and easy to make at home. Learn all about how to make rosin with a hair straightener below.
The Differences Between Cannabis Concentrates
There are so many different cannabis extracts available for sale on the market today, and therefore it can be hard to make an informed decision about what to buy. How do you choose between BHO, shatter, budder, hash oil, Rick Simpson oil (RSO) and all the other available extracts? But now, rosin has changed what people expect out of their extractions.
Conventionally shatter, budder, and hash oils use petrochemicals. For example, a butane hash oil uses butane, pushing it through a tube packed with cannabis under high pressure. As the liquid drains through the other side, it captures all the valuable terpenes and cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. To eliminate the toxic butane from the final extraction, the mixture is then heated up, and the gases expressed.
Rick Simpson oil is a similar process, relying on 100 proof grain alcohol, although some people still use butane. After mixing cannabis with the liquid, the solids are filtered out, and the alcohol is gassed off using heat.
Both methods produce truly potent extractions, but there is a chance that the petrochemicals or the alcohols remain in the final product. If smoked, they might go straight into your lungs. Although production quality of extractions has improved with the introduction of regulation and state of the art labs, at the end of the day the final product is produced with harsh chemicals.
This is why rosin is so much different than the traditional extractions.
What is Rosin?
Instead of relying on flammable and toxic chemicals to extract the cannabinoids from weed, rosin only uses pressure and heat to separate the resin from the buds. It’s an ingenious way to make a pure and entirely safe extraction, using nothing but the bud itself.
According to a recent interview from 2017, Phil “Soilgrown” Salazar is the one to thank for the invention of rosin. A grower and extraction fanatic, Salazar accidentally stumbled into how to make rosin with a hair straightener of all things. Almost by mistake, Salazar understood he had discovered an entirely new, and solventless, extract on his hands. This was in 2015
Initially an accident from his experiments with no-melt hash, he didn’t exactly know what happened the first few times encountered it. He thought he had made a mistake, and just mixed the rosin back into the product. In his own words, when he realized what he had discovered, “I was amazed and tripping out, and immediately I knew that this had to share with the world.” Since he publicized this new form of extraction, the world hasn’t looked back.
Rosin is an extremely thick honey-like substance. Imagine if you put honey in the refrigerator, it’s that thick. Depending on the weed or product used to make the rosin, it can range in color from light yellow to dark green.
It ranges in potency from 50 to 90 percent THC, but also contains any other cannabinoids and terpenes found in the original plant material.
You can find rosin in just about any reputable shop, but what if you don’t have any dispensaries nearby? Good news, you can learn how to make rosin from a hair straightener at home.
How to Make Rosin With a Hair Straightener
Yes, you read that correctly. You too can make rosin; you don’t need to shell out your hard earned cash at the dispensary for premium rosin extraction when you can easily make it at home. Making rosin at home doesn’t require any specialized equipment. That is unless you consider a hair straightener and parchment paper specialized.
Unlike other cannabis extraction methods, making rosin at home is also safe. Other extractions rely on petrochemicals like butane or 100 proof grain alcohol. These highly flammable substances combine with heat to pump out highly potent THC extract. Unfortunately, not everyone trying their hand at extractions is a chemist. Conventional extractions are not for the faint of heart and can be very dangerous when done without the proper equipment and precautions.
Because there are no chemicals used in the rosin process, and especially nothing flammable, it’s safe to make at home. Unlike butane honey oil, you can even make rosin inside with normal air ventilation and the windows closed. Get out your hair straightener, or borrow one from your partner, and get started.
What Materials Do You Need to Make Rosin?
- Hair Straightener
- Parchment Paper – Make sure not to buy parchment paper from the dollar store and don’t use any wax paper
- Cannabis (flower, hash or kief)
- Collection tool (your standard dabber or a large nail usually works well)
Optional Materials: Rosin Bags (if you do not have these, a coffee filter works nicely)
The Step-By-Step Guide on How to Make Rosin With a Hair Straightener
- Before beginning, plug in the hair straightener and turn it on medium setting. It should be about 160 Celsius or 230 Fahrenheit.
- Prepare your product for the extraction process. If you are pressing a straight flower, little preparation is required. Mainly it just needs to be trimmed to the perfect size to fit between the two hair straightener blades.
- If you are using kief or bubble hash, you’ll need to carefully measure out about a gram or two at a time, and place it in the center of a coffee filter or a rosin bag. Wrap the product tightly into a small packet. If you are using coffee filters, be sure to double wrap, as the coffee filters are prone to messy blowouts when putting under pressure. The rosin bag or coffee filter not only keeps the product contained, but it also filters out any kief.
- Cut a piece of parchment paper to roughly 10 cm by 10 cm, fold in half.
- Place the packet of kief or the flower, directly in the middle and fold the parchment in half. To prevent any sideways rosin explosions, it’s also a good idea to fold the sides over. The final package should look like a little envelope with the top side open.
- Place the parchment package in between the hair straightener blades, so that the weed is centered.
- Press down, slowly increase the pressure until you are holding it with all your body weight. Put as much weight on it as possible. Some people leverage against a stable surface.
- Hold down under the maximum pressure for roughly five to seven seconds. If you start to hear a sizzle near the end, this is the juicy extraction coming into being.
- Release and remove the parchment.
Collecting the Rosin
- When you open up the package, you’ll notice a think dark brown or green sticky mess spreading out from the product. Congratulations! That is exactly what you were looking for.
- To assist with removing the rosin, move the expressed weed out of the way and put the parchment in the fridge to cool.
- If you can’t wait, grab your dabber or large nail and start scrapping up that delicious extraction. It’s quite sticky, you’ll notice it collects very easily.
- Once collected, try pressing the old product one or two more times. You may get even more out of your bud than you thought.
- Once a good size dab has rolled up on the end of the dabber, you are ready to smoke.
How to Make Rosin With a Rosin Press
Resorting to a hair straighteners for commercial production is not feasible. But the industry has come a long way in the three years since its initial invention. Now there are full-blown commercial rosin presses, explicitly built for pumping out the premium product.
In the early days, many people started to experiment with larger production methods, including t-shirt printing presses. After all, they use heat and pressure to stamp designs on t-shirts. While these initial presses were an improvement regarding production capacity, the quality varied from one press to the next.
Part of the problem with a t-shirt press is the fact that there was little control over how much pressure and how much heat was used. As the industry got better and more experienced making rosin, a few things became clear. The higher the degree of control over temperature and pressure per square inch, the more control over quality.
Now, there are many specially built rosin presses, catering to the exploding extraction market. If you can imagine it, the commercial rosin press exists.
Making rosin with a commercial press is a bit different than with a hair straightener. Although some producers continue to use straight up flowers for their rosin extractions, most now choose to up their game. Many companies are now selling rosin pressed from kief or hash. This drastically increases potency.
Perfecting the Rosin Press
Every single strain and even every harvest has differences in the consistency, potency, and quality of the oil. A knowledgeable presser will watch the first press and know how to adjust the temperature and the heat to get what they want.
According to Salazar, he believes there is a happy medium between heat, time and pressure which produces the best final product. He suggests starting off with 90 to 110 Celsius (194 – 230 Fahrenheit) to start, pressing for 10-30 seconds. He also believes that the quality of the oil diminishes as it reaches max extraction. For example, if the plant’s resins reach maximum excretion by 22 seconds, he will typically reduce the pressing time to under 20 seconds to avoid the last dregs of oil.
It takes awhile to understand each strain’s reaction to a rosin press, but temperature plays a big role in the final consistency. Lower temperatures (under 90 Celsius) creates more of a budder like texture. Higher temperatures, nearer the 110 Celsius mark, will veer towards a shatter.
What kind of pressure produces the perfect extract? The folks over at PurePressure, who make commercial rosin presses recommended between 500 to 1100 psi. Although some people take the pressure up to 2000 or 3000 psi, PurePressure recommends keeping it lower to maintain oil quality.
PurePressure also suggests ensuring that your cannabis has at least 60 percent humidity. Humidity is vital because it prevents the plant matter from merely reabsorbing the oils as they liquify under heat. As you increase heat and pressure, the resinous oils will move away from the cannabis’s natural water content, and onto the catchment paper.
How to Smoke Rosin
You know how to make rosin from a hair straightener and how to perfect a commercial rosin press, now what? It’s time to taste the end product. Rosin, unlike perfectly ground bud, vapes, or bubble hash, is a bit difficult to handle. It’s thick, sticky, and if not done right – extremely messy.
Because of their difficult to manage nature, an entirely new art form has developed around smoking concentrates: dabbing. The dabbing method is likely the most popular way to smoke rosin as well.
Dabbing requires a specialized bong, called an oil rig. It also requires a nail, or a metal tool called a dabber to move small amounts of rosin, a dab, to the apparatus. Depending on the rig, you may also need a cap.
But what if you don’t have this special equipment? There are still many ways to get around the problem, including special vape pens for rosin, a Healthstone insert for your regular pipe or bong, or you could straight up smoke it in a joint. The results may vary, but there are countless ways to get the job done.