Cannapedia Encyclopedia of cannabis strains

Cannabis extract

Following text is solely of informative nature and is aimed at people suffering from various diseases who want to prepare an effective cannabis medicine with highest possible amount of cannabinoids. It is absolutely necessary to follow safety rules concerning manipulation with potentially dangerous chemical substances – in this case especially with a dissolving agent. By following these rules, you can ensure maximal safety of all the persons involved in the process of extraction.

Basic material

The basic raw material consists of thoroughly dried buds of female cannabis plants – their resin contains the biggest amount of healing substances. Today, most people consider plants containing two basic cannabinoids – THC and CBD in 1:1 ratio to be ideal as a basic material for extracts; however, plants with prevailing psychoactive THC at the expense of CBD are still more common (although it seems that this trend is slowly changing). In addition to these substances, the final product contains a small amount of other cannabinoids and chlorophyll.

We start by moving properly dried material to well aired room or ideally outdoors – put it into adequately big container so that it is approximately half-full when all the buds are tamped down inside it. From this point on, we will be working with extremely flammable liquid –it is therefore necessary to follow all safety rules on the label of the chemical. That includes: avoid using any fire, put away all potentially hot or sparking objects (mind the usage of extension cables), do not smoke and do not ignite anything – even a single spark can cause many troubles!

Then pour over dissolving agent over the cannabis (we recommend using 99 percent isopropyl alcohol) until the buds are entirely submerged into it. You will usually need from four to five liters of dissolving agent to flush half a kilogram of dried cannabis once.

Maceration and evaporation

Now take e.g. wooden prism and using force grind the cannabis with it for two to three minutes – such a preparation step speeds up the crucial process of resin extraction. After that, you need to filter the solution thoroughly (using e.g. coffee filters). You can submerge the leftover plant material into dissolving agent again, and let it infuse for several hours – it will release remaining resin and chlorophyll. After evaporation, this secondary suspension will become an ideal basis for a healing salve.

Now let’s get back to the first flush where you extracted most of the resin – pour already filtered dissolving agent into a rice-cooker, place it close to open window (if working inside), turn it on, and wait until the process of evaporation is complete. The temperature should not exceed 248 degrees Fahrenheit – this is the reason why the rice-cooker is an ideal device for this task, it automatically turns off when the temperature exceeds 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is absolutely necessary to place sufficiently strong ventilator near to the rice-cooker in order to blow emerging vapors out of the window. These gasses tend to recede along the sides of the rice-cooker towards the ground – if they are not blown away, they may condensate on the surface of the device, leak into heating unit, and cause relatively strong explosion and fire. The ventilator should be thus placed close to the rice cooker even if you work outside (although in such case it can be set to lower power and placed circa meter away from the cooker – the mild fanning of the edge of the device is sufficient to blow the vapors away).

Filled rice-cooker with capacity of two liters usually evaporates one batch in circa 20 minutes – when the level of the liquid nears the bottom of the cooker, fill it again with the filtered dissolving agent; repeat the process until all the dissolving agent is evaporated. When there is approximately half a centimeter of the liquid left after the last batch is evaporated, add from five to ten drops of water into it – that will start a sizzling reaction, which will help to evaporate all remaining dissolving agent. Towards the end of the process of evaporation, it is important to prevent the solution from burning – you can try circling the cooker in your hands. The rice cooker also tends to turn off automatically because of high temperature and low weight of its contents; you can avoid it by holding the switch and stirring the liquid gently until all the remaining bubbles are gone.

Decarboxylation and storing

The final phase is very simple – pour the extract (which is a hard-to-describe “paste” of amber or dark color similar to tree resin because of its stickiness) into a smaller container before it cools and solidifies and put it for an oven preheated to 130 degrees Celsius. This process will turn remaining cannabinoid acids into active cannabinoids (it is called decarboxylation) and thus increase amount of main healing substances. This step also removes all possible leftover dissolving agent.

Finally, take out the vessel from an oven and let it cool for a few minutes so that you can fill it into classic syringes, which can be bought in any pharmacy or medical supplies store. Syringe is the most suitable container for a long-term storage of the extract. Mind that filling a syringe with a liquid, which is too hot, can deform it and on the other hand, it is impossible to push inside the extract, which is already too cold and solid. In such case, you can mildly reheat the extract (using e.g. a water bath technique).

Final cannabis extract can be stored in a refrigerator or in a pantry and should last at least couple of years. It can be used for medicating either orally from the syringe, which is at first a bit problematic because it is difficult to determine the appropriate dose and one can get overly dizzy with extracts high in THC – thus it is recommended to start with drops made from the mixture of the extract with high-quality oil prepared in a water bath. You can also use the extract to make a vast number of medical products – today, the drops or suppositories are the most usual ones but you can also make highly effective salves from it in the similar way the suppositories are made.

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