Extracting THC With Alcohol: 2 Main DIY Techniques

7 April 2020

how to extract thc with alcohol

Not everyone knows this, but alcohol works as a great solvent when combined with cannabis. By using it to strip the THC, CBD and other cannabinoids away from the plant matter, you can get crafty and create your own concentrates. So, if you’ve ever wondered how to extract THC with alcohol, get ready, because now you’ll finally learn all about it.

WARNING: Alcohol is highly flammable. All of the described techniques should be performed outside!

Wait, I Can Make Concentrates At Home?

That’s right – if you aren’t able to get your hands on some wax, hash or shatter, or simply want to try making it for yourself, we’re here to help you out! You probably already have most, if not all, of the necessary supplies at home ready for making concentrates like wax with alcohol. There are rig systems specific to making cannabis concentrates that you can buy or build, but in this article, we’re going to focus on two low-budget methods.     

Safety First!

thc alcohol extraction

Before we break down what you need to extract THC with alcohol, it’s time to talk safety. Alcohol is VERY flammable, especially the high-proof stuff, and should never be evaporated indoors or near an open flame or spark. Do NOT boil alcohol! Just because Everclear and isopropyl aren’t as combustible as butane, for example, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the proper safety precautions. Be smart and be safe!

Concentrates strainsOpen collection

The Everclear Method

Everclear is a high-proof grain alcohol that works great as a solvent for making your own concentrates and is easily available throughout the U.S. If you live somewhere that doesn’t have Everclear, look for a 95% (190-proof) alternative that’s safe for oral consumption. The alcohol works to strip cannabinoids from the flowers and evaporates quickly to leave you with just the good stuff.

Necessary Equipment

how to make shatter with alcohol

For an Everclear-based THC alcohol extraction, you’ll need:

  • Cannabis flower, broken up by hand
  • 190-proof Everclear (or another high-proof grain alcohol)
  • Mesh or wire strainer
  • Unbleached coffee filters
  • Something to stir with
  • Various glass jars or dishes – Pyrex works great
  • Optional: a non-open flame heat source (like a rice cooker)

Step-By-Step: How To Make Hash Oil With Everclear

Remember about safety, get your equipment ready, and follow this guide to make your own cannabis concentrate!

  • Start by breaking apart the nugs by hand. Don’t worry about getting them too small, but do take care to discard stems for a better-tasting concentrate.
  • Once you’ve got the buds broken down, toss them in an oven-safe dish and let it sit in the oven for about 20 minutes at 180°F (or about 80°C). This won’t decarboxylate the flowers; this step just dries them out.

alcohol extraction thc

  • Transfer the dried cannabis to a glass jar and pour just enough Everclear to completely soak the weed in alcohol. Stir the mixture gently and diligently for 10 minutes.
  • Place a strainer over a clean glass dish and pour the Everclear-weed mixture through the strainer. You don’t have to discard the soaked nugs, as these can be used for future extractions (though they will be admittedly less potent than the first time around).
  • In the dish, you should now see a lovely bright green liquid.
  • If you choose, you can heat the liquid to speed up the alcohol evaporation process. You can do this by placing the container of extract into a warm water bath or a rice cooker at very low heat for a couple hours. However, keep in mind that using a rice cooker can also be dangerous when done in an enclosed space.
  • If all goes well, you should be rewarded with a thick, sticky concentrate once the alcohol has completely evaporated.
  • Scrape the goo from your dish or jar and store it in some wax paper. It’ll be easier to collect if you pop it in the freezer for a little bit first.

How Do I Use Hash Oil Made With Everclear?

Now that you’ve got your finished product, which you could call hash oil, honey oil or Rick Simpson Oil, how can you get down to business? This concentrate isn’t recommended for dabbing or vaporizing, as its smoke or vapor doesn’t taste great, but it’s fantastic as an edible! Although a little bitter, this honey oil is fantastic sublingually, infused into edibles, or mixed up with some bananas to cover the taste.          

The QWISO Technique

The next method we’re about to share is called QWISO (Quick Wash ISOpropyl alcohol technique). In comparison to the Everclear style, the isopropyl alcohol hash oil extraction method is a bit quicker but has a smaller yield. Play your cards right, and you could end up with a beautiful amber 80% shatter! Now that’s dab-worthy!

Necessary Equipment

isopropyl alcohol hash oil extraction

For the QWISO method, you’ll need the following:

  • Cannabis flower, ground
  • 99%+ isopropyl alcohol
  • Unbleached coffee filters
  • One glass jar that can be sealed
  • Other glass jars or dishes
  • A fine wire strainer
  • Optional: a non-open flame heat source (like a rice cooker)

The QWISO Method: Step-By-Step

  • Break apart your nugs by hand, making sure to discard the stems.
  • Distribute the nugs in an even layer in an oven-safe dish and let it sit in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 180°F (80°C). This won’t decarb the flowers; this step is just to draw excess moisture out of the buds.
  • Once out of the oven again, seal the dried cannabis in a glass jar and store it, along with the isopropyl alcohol, in the freezer for a few hours.

how to make dabs with isopropyl alcohol

  • Next up is a quick-wash: take the buds and alcohol out of the freezer and pour just enough alcohol into the glass jar to submerge the flowers. Time is of the essence here! You don’t want your weed soaked in alcohol for too long, because otherwise the product won’t taste good. Stir the mixture for 2 minutes maximum. If you’re working with a smaller amount – an eighth or less – you only need to commit about 20 seconds to this step.

soaking weed in alcohol

  • After you’re done stirring, quickly pour the mixture through your strainer into a clean jar. You’ll be left with a lightly colored liquid. Continue the filtering process by then pouring the extract through an unbleached coffee filter into another clean glass jar or Pyrex dish.
  • Optionally, you can then place the final jar into a warm water bath to evaporate the alcohol. You could also just let the liquid extract sit for a day or two and the alcohol will evaporate on its own.
  • Before you heat up the dab rig, do a purity test: collect a bit of the hash oil onto the head of a needle and hold it up to the flame of a lighter. If there are any sparks, your extract needs more time to evaporate the rest of the alcohol solvent.
  • And voilà! Scrape it all together and condense the gooey goodness onto a clean piece of wax paper. Now you know how to make shatter with alcohol!

Next: How Do I Use QWISO Dabs?

extract thc with alcohol

Now that you know how to make dabs with isopropyl alcohol, it’s time to utilize that knowledge! Heat up your nail, scrape some gooey goodness onto your dabbing tool, and inhale the magic from the rig. You should only vaporize or dab with extract when you know there is no more alcohol solvent remaining. Not only is an impure concentrate a fire hazard, but it could be dangerous for your health!           

Verdict: DIY Extracts – Simple But Effective

To break it down simply, there are really three basic steps to THC alcohol extraction: wash the cannabis in alcohol, filter out the plant matter, and evaporate the alcohol. The specifics are what make these methods effective in different ways. Once you’re finished with your stoney science project, let us know how it turns out!

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