I usually perform cannabis extraction using a rosin press, which uses 2 heated plates and pressure to literally melt the resin glands off the flowers. The flowers are placed inside fine mesh filter bags, which are placed between folded parchment or silicon sheets, and then pressed between the heated plates, so that the liquid resin runs out through the filter bag leaving the pressed flowers behind.
I prefer to extract cannabinoids like this, without using any solvents, because solvents need to be purged before your extract can be consumed. But I am currently without my rosin press, so I decided to try the solvent route.
The most common cannabis extraction method for making high quality shatter or wax is BHO (Butane Honey Oil). This method uses a tube or vessel to hold the material being extracted, and as the name suggests, uses a stream of butane that travels through the material to dissolve all the resin glands, which then runs out the extraction tube in a stream of now golden butane liquid, which later needs to be separated by way of heating. To preserve flavour and terpenes it should be heated under vacuum. The vacuum allows the butane to boil off at a lower temperature than the terpenes suspended within the resin glands. If you purge without a vacuum you need such a high temperature, that all your terpenes will evaporate away leaving an extract that has no terpenes or flavour.
For this extraction I used a solvent called Dexso dimethyl ether (DME). DME in an aerosol can easily be used to extract various essential oils and other extracts from flowers, fruits, and any other aromatic plant materials. The dimethyl ether used for Dexso DME is exactly the same as the one used for the food and cosmetic industries so is 99.99% pure without any of the usual contaminants found in butane. This makes it far easier to achieve a clean, contaminant free shatter.
I used a simple stainless steel 60cm long, 40mm diameter tube with one open end and one end that has been flattened with a small inlet just large enough to fit the dexso tin nozzle into. I filled the tube with cannabis and secured filters to the open end once the tube was filled.
I then emptied the can of dexso into the tube via the nozzle until it started dripping out the other end as a liquid, carrying all the cannabinoids which are stripped from the flower material as the gas/ liquid travels down the tube through the material.
Peyote extraction report
Extraction Method: Dexso (Dimethyl Ether) Open Blasted
Strains processed: Peyote Zkittlez, Peyote Forum, Peyote WIFI, Peyote Gorilla, La Peyote Kush, Strawberry Banana Grape
Flowers or Trim: Trim and lower buds
Pretreatment: The trim was blitzed slightly in a coffee grinder to a uniform consistency and then packed inside the extraction tube which was then placed into my freezer overnight.
Time since harvest: These flowers were harvested 7 weeks ago so are pretty fresh but were partially cured.
Quantity processed: 28g of trim
Safety precautions: I used heat/cold proof gloves and safety goggles. Extraction was carried out on my roof terrace to allow any gases to escape safely.
- Two unbleached coffee filter papers were secured over the end of my extraction tube with tape and a rubber ring.
- I modified the extraction tube slightly by removing a valve from a lighter and securing it into the inlet hole of the extraction tube.*
- The finely ground, flower trim was packed loosely into my extraction tube, frozen overnight.
- A pyrex glass dish was lined with a silicone liner and placed under the extraction tube.
- A stocking was placed over the pyrex dish with just a slit remaining uncovered, this is to stop any contaminants landing in the extraction.
- I inserted the dexso can nozzle into the modified inlet valve and slowly pulsed approximately 50ml of dexso gas into the tube and waited approximately 20 seconds till repeating ( this is because dexso expands a lot and can build pressure quickly, causing blowbacks if you are not careful).
- I could see how far down the tube the freezing solvent had reached by watching the tube frost slowly travel down towards the exit end of the tube. I slowly pulsed more gas into the tube until the now beautifully golden dexso liquid began dripping out of the filter end onto the silicone sheet.
- I repeated pulsing more dexso until all the dexso started dripping from the bottom was clear again. I covered completely with the stocking and left outside for 20 minutes until most of the dexso has evaporated, as it boils at room temperature.
After 30 minutes i brought it inside and placed the pyrex dish onto my magnetic stirrer, set to a low heat, until i could pool all the extract and pour it into a small shot glass. This was then placed back onto the magnetic stirrer to be heated to remove any residual dexso.
At this point it would be ideal to place this into a vacuum oven to enable removal of the remaining dexso under a low temperature to preserve as many terpenes as possible. For most people, purchasing a vacuum oven is rather impractical unless you are making botanical extracts on a regular basis. I would strongly suggest any avid extract hobbyist to purchase a Source Turbo by Extract Craft. This is a heated crucible housed inside a glass vessel which has a concave lid to hold ice. The cold glass lid condenses the ethanol for recovery later, recovering 90% of the ethanol used for reuse next time. It does this under slight vacuum so it produces quite a high terpene level end product and saves quite a bit of money due to the high cost of pure extraction alcohols.
However, I knew I was planning to put this extract into vape cartridges so I simply heated the extract until no bubbles were being produced, basically decarboxylating the oil which also removes all the terpenes unfortunately but I then added 5% terpenes back which I had purchased previously.
Finally I added 1ml to my vape cart which is my favourite covert method of consuming my meds.
Cannabis contains THCa which is non psychoactive until heated. If you don’t decarb the extract, before putting it into vape cartridges, the THCa will form crystals inside of the cart tank and stick to the glass rendering them unavailable.
This cannabis extract is super potent and really smooth with zero chest tickle. i found myself totally zoned out for a few minutes after sampling it for the first time. It is a really great method of medicating and easy to titrate by taking tiny puffs until you feel at a level you are comfortable with.
I got 6g of extract. I must admit I was extremely pleased when i weighed out the extract after being decarboxylated.
% resin content
This run achieved a 21.4% yield. This is from trim leaf and lower buds, but mostly trim which would indicate the possibility of 30% + yields if running flowers. I would say the Peyote purple hybrids are a great choice for extractors and especially Peyote Gorilla, Wifi and Forum which all had visibly more resin when compared to the others.
* The dexso extract tube was modified to prevent gas escaping via the inlet hole as I noticed previously that a lot of pressure and gas escapes, especially when the tube is packed well: the gas simply finds the path of less resistance. I strongly suggest this modification as previous extractions were done in a matter of 20 seconds but this run took well over 5 minutes for the trapped gas/liquid to force its way through your flowers. The longer contact time makes the extraction much more efficient and effective and doesn’t waste any of your precious gas.
This is pretty much the exact same method used with BHO ( butane) extractions but I just don’t like the idea of using such a nasty substance on my flowers. Dexso is rated as a food grade solvent and is commonly used in food and herbal extractions.