When making cannabis oil or extractions, you MUST approach with caution. If you?re slightly careless with measurements, have difficulty following directions, are easily confused about explosive chemicals, and/or occasionally leave the Volcano vaporizer on until the balloon is about to burst, DO NOT MAKE MARIJUANA EXTRACTS! Controlling solvents, heat, and a hazardous environment requires attentiveness. There are many ways to mess up!
The original reefer revolutionaries of cannabis extraction were scientists, such as those employed by Eli Lily and Parke-Davis Company up to 1938, that attended university chemistry classes during the day and ?studied? cannabis at night. Eli Lily and Parke-Davis jointly ran a farming co-operative in Rochester, Michigan with plants known as Cannabis Americana, used for medicinal extracts from 1913 to 1938. Eli Lily supplied the Office of Strategic Services (now the Central Intelligence Agency) with ?potent marijuana oil created as a truth drug for interrogation purposes?. The LaGuardia Mayor?s Committee provided cannabis extracts to New York City prisons in the 1930?s and 40?s; ?red oil concentrates were used along with marijuana? to get the prisoners to talk about crimes or provide information they had not yet confessed. (LaGuardia report)
Medicinal cannabis extracts disappeared from store shelves in 1937, and recreational use of cannabis was unusual outside of jazz clubs and working-class black and Hispanic neighborhoods. Cannabis extracts revived in the 1970?s facilitated by High Times Magazine, which, by 1977, was printing almost a million copies. Early oilmaking technology like the ISO2 extractor were massproduced, advertised in High Times, and sold extensively.
The invention of the Internet accelerated the exchange of oil-making ideas, but since the heyday of THC extraction in the 1970?s, much inadequate and misguided information has circulated. Consequently, there have been hundreds of weed-oil explosions throughout North America over the last 30 years, resulting in completely blown-up houses, partial neighborhood blocks going up in flames, severe physical burns, life-threatening injuries, and even death? which are all tragedies used as arguments by prohibitionists against marijuana use in general. I found it impossible to locate a cannabis alchemist who isn?t sporting burn scars or fondly recalling the time so-and-so went up in flames. Every cannabis chemist we spoke to has an explosion story. The extraction-makers we profile in this article are all smart stoners, yet Puff Mama, Brian, and Chris Goodwin all faced serious cannabis catastrophe. When making extractions, the objective is to get really high?safely.
You must be ultra-careful when making oil with solvents. For example, an old friend of mine was making oil outside with butane. The process had been completed, but the gear hadn?t been put away. Fans still blew behind him as he checked out the end product. Stepping slightly back from the table, he lit a joint? and BOOM! The spark ignited fumes in the air and nearly blew him apart. He had been standing in the fan?s air path and assumed he was safe. Never assume!
Up In Smoke Cafe proprietor Chris ?Goodster? Goodwin is a honey oil head. After smoking a doobie with his friend one night and eating Pringles potato chips in the parents? basement, the duo decided to make honey oil. Goodster was getting the very last drop of the honey oil from the Pringles can?which they unwisely used to contain the butane and plant matter? when it jarred on a metal table and created a spark. ?It would have been fine if the bottom of the Pringles can wasn?t metal too,? Goodster says. ?The base sparked on the table and the thing just went WHOOOSH,? the sound Goodster uses to describe the flaming experience of honey oil going off in his face. ?Naturally, I dropped the can, but it went WHOOSH again!? Luckily, they managed to put out the fire. Had Goodster gone to science class a few more times he might have learned better safety precautions and obtained the necessary glassware required to contain the volatile oilmaking mix of plant matter and butane! If you?re serious about making honey oil, invest money into ordering proper lab equipment online or from a science retailer.
How to Make Oil
The cannabis chemist is seeking to obtain the purest THC content for their oil while also providing a sweet taste to their product. Eliminating solvents just perfectly, without setting oneself on fire, is a critical part of the process.
You will need a SAFE heat source to make oil. Use a lava lamp stand, a coffee machine base, or something else that creates heat with NO open flame (this is VERY important). The ISO2 was a fairly safe extracting device with a light bulb under the base connected to a dimmer switch, similar to a lava lamp. Alcohol (99.7% isopropyl) was placed in the basin of the metal container and heated by the bulb underneath. Suspended above the alcohol was a halforb mesh strainer filled with marijuana. When alcohol is heated it turns into a vapor and rises, so in the ISO2 the vapor ?melted? the resin, which then dropped into the alcohol. The vapors came out of a twelveinch tower of carbon, inert and odorless. After 30 to 60 minutes all the resin was transferred to the remaining alcohol in the basin, and then the alcohol evaporated into the air or was heated gently until only the THC oil remained.
When you?re planning to make weed oil with isopropyl alcohol (99.7%), obtain three glass beakers or bowls, some mesh screen that is NOT made of metal (once again, this is VERY important!), and packing tape?not duct tape. Set up somewhere with ample ventilation and more than one exit. It is HIGHLY recommended that you always make oil OUTSIDE! When alcohol or gas is heated, it creates fumes that can ignite an explosion with even the smallest spark or flame. Fumes can also cut off the flow of oxygen to the brain, which can result in the chemist pass-ing out onto their lab equipment? so make sure you wear a gas mask, which are widely available these days. Many cannabis cookers work with two fans behind them to keep fumes going downwind, even outdoors. All cannabis cooking, like moonshining, should be done far away from other people so if something goes wrong you?re the only one to suffer the consequences.
In your chosen well-ventilated spot, fill one piece of glassware with plant matter and secure the mesh screen over the top with packing tape. Slowly pour isopropyl alcohol up to a level slightly above the top of the trimmings, and gently shake the container to coat the marijuana with alcohol. Pour the liquid through the screen into a second piece of glassware; because THC resin is heavier than alcohol or butane gas (which is also used to make oil?we?ll go over that soon) it will sink to the bottom of the new glass container. Pour the liquid into a new container and back into another, until the color of the liquid begins to change to amber. Then place it on your heat source, stirring as the alcohol slowly evaporates. As this happens, the resins take on a dark brown color characteristic of hash oil. Allow for a complete evaporation of solvents before harvesting your oil from the container. The runnier or greener the oil is, the poorer the quality.
To make oil with butane, you use the same sort of process. Fill a tube or hose-like container with trim or bud, and attach a non-metal screen to the bottom with packing tape. Position the tube in or above a large glass container, and very carefully pour the butane down the tube. As it runs through the trimmings, resin glands are dissolved along the way and carried out with the butane. Take the bowl and repour it through the tube into another container, and repeat the process until the residue begins to take on a deep amber color. Then follow the same heating and evaporation process as isopropyl, and what remains will be sweet honey oil!
Mr. Cookie?s Misfortune
Brian is a great chef who knows how to cook up a storm. He also has a respectable ten years? experience in the oil business, but unfortunately that ended one fateful day in 2005. While making oil, which he did often, the flammable substance he was evaporating suddenly went one degree too hot? and BOOM! The oil burst into flames and he threw the pot from the stove, but his hands became a fireball that quickly covered his entire body. His burns and injuries were so life threatening he was flown 150 miles to a Hamilton, Ontario hospital where he spent weeks in intensive care. Upon his release, his hands were a ?peelingbandaged- horror-moviemess? and he is permanently physically scarred by his fiery experience. With cannabis use and tender loving care, one year later Brian is healthy and looks scar-free. After his recovery, he turned his personal tragedy into opportunity by becoming a super-chef supplier of baked goods: Mr. Cookie. You can experience delicious treats from Mr. Cookie at ?Clandestiny?, 768 Queen Street East in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Puff Mama?s ?Burning Down The House? CannaButter
Puff Mama is another talented cannabis chef. She has a pro kitchen with two stoves, two fridges, an air conditioner, fans, and stainless steel pots and pans, ala Emeril or The Iron Chef. Her new store Clandestiny is a hemp-friendly location with plenty of treats. She?s also a pot professional with a disastrous cannabiscooking story of her own to tell.
Puff Mama decided to go out and have sushi with her mom while a batch of cannabutter slowly simmered in a pot on the stove. She knew it was safe to turn the stove heat down to LOW and leave for a bit. Unfortunately, when she came home from a pleasant meal she found her home on fire. She realized that when she ran out the door to see her mom, she accidentally turned the stove on HIGH! The Toronto Fire Department had arrived to put out the fire, then the Toronto Police showed up and cleaned out the contents of her fridges, wondering, ?how does she get pot into muffins and chocolate??
Because of a simple mistake, her kitchen was ruined and she was charged for ?possession?. But being a weed wizard indeed, Puff also turned her tragedy into a marijuana opportunity by hosting an extravagant fundraising effort to pay her kitchen replacement and legal bills. Since then she?s opened Clandestiny and offers baked goods for sale (see her ad at the beginning of the magazine).
Here Puff Mama shares her recipe for cannabutter, which can be used in any food preparation (and this, Toronto Police, is how pot gets in chocolate!) All cannabis used for cooking should be fully dried and free of mold, spider mites, chemicals and/or debris. It should be ground up to crumbs, but not dust. Of course, Puff Mama reminds everyone to make sure you watch the heat!
? 1 lb unsalted butter
? dried cannabis (see * below)
? 4 – 5 L water
? 1 large stockpot
? a 2nd pot or large bowl
? a colander (spaghetti strainer) that will fit in the 2nd pot or bowl
? a large piece of cheesecloth
? a big spoon and potato masher
* If you have: Stems, seeds, leaves
Mild potency use: 225 grams
Strong potency use: 450 g
Mostly leaves, some stems
Mild: 120 g
Strong: 250 g
Leaves, trim from buds
Mild: 28 g
Strong: 56 g
Regular cannabis buds
Mild: 14 g
Strong: 28 g
Powerful cannabis or hash
Mild: 7 g
Strong: 14 g
1) Place butter, cannabis, and water in a large stockpot, put the pot on a large element on the lowest setting possible.
2) Simmer for 6 – 8 hours. Stir every 1/2 hour.
3) When you are ready to strain, put the colander over the second pot or bowl. Line it with a large piece of cheesecloth. Using the spoon, slowly pour the brew into the cheesecloth. Don?t let the sides fall in.
4) Wrap the mixture tight and squeeze every last drop of juice out. The butter will want to cling between the leaves. Use the potato masher against the colander to squeeze out the precious juices.
5) Throw out the contents of the cheesecloth, then refrigerate the liquid in the pot. The butter and water will separate, and all the THC is in the butter. You can dump the water and store the butter in the fridge. If you don?t plan to use it within a week, freeze it, as butter will go bad.
Canna-Rum or Cooking Brandy
A mint julip packs a bit more punch if you replace the mint with bud; and a steak will go nicely with cannabis brandy sauce! Mixing store-bought alcohol with bud is rather easy. Rum, rye, vodka, brandy, whisky, Irish cream?whatever you like, it?ll safely dissolve THC from cannabis over several days. Tequila is an excellent alcohol for absorbing THC, and if you leave it for up to three months, you get a very powerful and smooth drink.
To make canna-liquor, you need to get about ten to fifteen very dry, well-cured smaller buds into a bottle of booze. Purchase all the ingredients for your desired drink and obtain about 1/4 to a half ounce of primo bud. If possible, just drop the buds right down the neck of the bottle, trying to avoid disturbing the resin glands. Trim to fit if need be! Shake?do not stir?the bottle every day once the bud is inside; this will transfer the THC into the alcohol. The longer the cannabis is in the liquor, the more it will break down and release its many valuable cannabinoids.
Sativex and Cannabis Sprays
The Canadian medical marijuana movement has many clubs producing their own medical sprays. Though patients have the option of getting a Sativex? prescription, ganja generic knocks-offs from Compassion Clubs taste, medicate, and mist better.
G.W. Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Sativex? prescription cannabis spray, is the only corporation in the world permitted to legally grow voluminous amounts of cannabis, bust down and stabilize the molecular structure, and sell it. (Though the cannabis community showed some astonishment regarding the uniformity of Sativex?, the historical information available suggests that cannabis spray uniformity has been around since the turn of the century.) The unfair advantage goes to G.W. Pharmaceuticals because they produce Sativex? in legal environs while compassionate chemists in Ontario, British Columbia, California, Oregon, and other med-pot jurisdictions are doing so without permits. With government licenses, people could be perfecting cannabis sprays for the benefit of the ill, at affordable prices too. Sativex? is the only pharmaceutical spray on the market using whole cannabis resin extract, but one spray can costs $125 in Canada (the only market where it is prescribed legally).
Several Compassion Clubs began canna-spray research using Jamaican 150-proof rum to dissolve the plant trimmings. Unfortunately, that alcohol was neither a suitable medicinal binding agent nor strong enough for med pot patients. Most compassion clubs now use medical or food-grade alcohol to make their tinctures and mists.
The Sacrificial Tinctures of G-13
Located in the hippie enclave of Toronto?s Beaches neighborhood, The G -13 Church of the Universe produces the finest religious tinctures while fighting The Man, ala Romans versus Catholics. This reefer religion stronghold?s tinctures are so powerful that only a few members opt to use them. And they?re not doing so for medical reasons: this tincture is for Spiritual Exploration, as those who down a whole tincture are known to trance out into a lucid commune-with- God state.
Reverend Peter of the G-13 Church of the Universe says, ?What you want is an euphoric state. And it?s no secret we?re following Ed Rosenthal?s recipes, but we use only the finest of bud. If you put shit in, you get shit out, and that?s why we don?t use leaf. The bud creates a more lucid state, which is what the five per cent of people who use the tinctures are looking for.? Clearly not intended for newbies, or those just seeking a good night?s sleep! However, the tinctures can also be mixed into summer drinks. ?You can use them anyway you like,? he explains of the sacrificial substance. ?Just yesterday, we had a lovely summer drink using the tincture with lemons.? The local liquor outlet sells 95- proof food-grade alcohol to the Church for their tinctures. G-13 prefers food-grade alcohol to break down their product versus 150-proof rum, and to experience the entire spiritual aspects of the cannabis plant, they allow several days of extraction and/or cooking. Reverend Peter says the Church is really getting famous for its extra-virgin olive oil. ?We cook it for five days, then we can use it for making chocolates, bhangs? and some people even put it in their coffee. Just dump some oil in; it?s really very good. There?s no secret here,? he concludes. ?Just always use great bud.?