The marijuana industry has always been surrounded by innovative strategies to get high, and this is especially true when it comes to making hash. For years people basically relied on two methods – cold water extraction using bubble bags or butane extraction. The latter can produce some incredibly potent shatter but it’s not without risk of explosion and burning yourself. Plus there’s always the worry that some butane might remain in the finished product, not to mention the constant need to re-up on cases of butane (trust me, this gets pretty expensive!!).
In search of the ultimate dab
Now that the stigma of cannabis is finally beginning leaving society, we’re seeing some impressive extraction techniques as people search for the perfect dab. Thanks to the rise of Instagram as a place where growers and cannabis connoisseurs are showcasing their wares and techniques, along with places like FuckCombustion, we have way more access to detailed techniques than ever before.
And one thing is perfectly clear: rosin is near the top of the concentrate pyramid. The only way to get something stronger, purer, and more perfect would be to invest $50-100k in a serious supercritical CO2 extraction system. Pure, unadulterated, and highly potent. Rosin is a concentrate that is VERY easy to self-manufacture (cue the “rosintech” term). Production facilities and equipment manufacturers have tried to convince consumers that expensive equipment and complicated methodology is what yields a clean and potent product. You can get started using a few simple tools you probably already have laying around, and for a small investment of around $500 or so, you can get a pretty nice hydraulic/heated system.
The truth is that as long as you have a few of pieces of extremely basic equipment, you can make incredible, clean rosins in your own home.
How to make rosin at home
Here’s the basic idea: rosin is created when a flat heat source is used to press marijuana flower. This separates the granular trichome heads from the other plant material of the cured flower. The waxy, melted trichome material is then collected. This straight-forward process concentrates the terpenes and oils of the flower, maximizing flavor and potency. Terpenes contain all those wonderful aromatics, and lately there’s been a lot of focus on their complimentary effects alongside THC, THC-A, and CBD.
Here’s a basic list of what you need to get started:
- A flat iron (wider is better. 2+” with temperature control) or a hydraulit/manual heated press (more on those below)
- Non-stick parchment paper
- Collection tool (titanium dabber, razor)
- Good flower or hash
The exciting part about this method of extraction is its simplicity and it became a sensation in 2015 thanks in part to @soilgrown on Instagram (his account has since been deleted sadly), who shared his method.
“I was sitting in my garage pressing out some half melt [lower quality] hash to dab, when I accidentally over pressed, separating the oil from the contaminant,” said @soilgrown
Step 1: Heat the Flatiron. Between 200 degrees Fahrenheit and 250 degrees Fahrenheit is the recommended temperature target zone. For a better product we’d recommend using a laser temperature tool, like this one available on Amazon.
Step 2: Fold cured cannabis flower into parchment paper. Make sure that the flower is completely and securely covered by the parchment paper before moving on.
Step 3: Press parchment paper between the two flatiron plates. For max pressure use your foot and step on it hard. If you’re holding the iron, ,ake sure that you use a heat resistant glove to avoid burn injury when handling the parchment and the flatiron. Press the flat iron shut for about 3-5 seconds and then release the parchment from the plates.
Step 4: Unfold the parchment paper and remove pressed cannabis flower. There will be a waxy substance stuck to the parchment.
Step 5: Scrape the rosin off of the parchment paper and dab away! You many need to press each flower nug more than once to ensure that you’ve extracted everything possible.
Yes. It IS that simple.
Recommended straighteners to use for making rosin
This is the most basic tool you might need to buy if you don’t have a hair straightener laying around. It’s available for $29.99 on Amazon. It comes with three temp settings and you should use the lowest one. Even at that setting it might be just a bit too hot for our needs, but it’ll get the job done for sure.
Now we’re getting somewhere! This puppy has a built in temperature control that makes it super easy to dial in the exact temperature, plus you can play around with some different temps to see what works best. Some buds might extract better than others at different temps.
Now we’re getting serious! This bad boy will work FAR better than the hair straightener. With a much larger surface area and the ability to dial in the exact temperature you need, you’ll be squishing some serious rosin like a pro.
LilSmasher Rosin Press
If you want a serious hydraulic press designed specifically for making great rosin, here’s your best bet – the LilSmasher. Made in California, with a lifetime warranty, this heavy-duty press packs a big punch in a relatively small footprint. Just check out the reviews and judge for yourself.
Coming in a little cheaper than the LilSmasher ($599 vs $799), the Rosineer offers a very similar setup with two heated pneumatic press plates, temperature control, and an overall heavy duty design. They also have a manual version that’s a little cheaper.
Making a better DIY rosin press
If you’ve been making some decent rosin with the above tools and want to step up your game, but don’t want to drop hundreds of dollars on an industrial press, here’s an option. Reddit user HystericalDeer came up with this rig, which uses the plates from a hair straightener attached to a 1-ton Harbor Freight press. Sure, it’s a little hacked together, but it basically does the same thing as the Rosineer or LilSmasher for less.
Why rosin is better than butane or other extracts
Rather than using harsh and arguable dangerous chemicals to create a concentrate product, this uses the natural reaction of a pressed heat source. Many insist that pressed rosin is far less harsh than concentrates that are produced by chemical extraction. There are also many who argue that involving these chemicals in cannabis extraction is actually harmful to patients and consumers. Plus the flavor – incredibly pure!
While there is a wide debate about whether or not these extraction methods are safe, heat is a natural and worry-free alternative that isn’t debatable. It is also far less complicated.
Why it’s so effective
There is a reason that this rosin technique has many hopeful cannabis corporations upset. They invested thousands of dollars in complicated CO2 and butane extraction setups, only to find this technique after. The process is easy, affordable, and completely accessible to consumers.
We’ve already seen a rise in industrial setups that work MUCH better at extracting those precious oils. Some of the better ones include:
- Rosintech products makes several presses starting at $440 for a 5″ one
- Rosinbomb also makes some high quality presses
- New Vape has our favorite, the Errl Press
Companies fear that DIY extractions will affect their ability to make a profit. If a patient or consumer can make a product in their home with little to no hassle, it may diminish their desire to pay someone else for it. Some contend that the inability to make large batches of heat-pressed rosins should ease corporate fears. But if all it takes is flat, heat source and a way to press cured cannabis to it, it is only a matter of time before the large quantity consumers catch on to something called the pancake griddles.