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!!).
Then came CO2 extraction, short path distillation (SPD) and wiped film distillation – all of which involve extremely expensive equipment ($50-100k in a serious supercritical CO2 extraction system) which also requires a decent knowledge of chemistry.
Luckily, there’s another option for the home hash maker who wants a clean, potent, solventless concentrate.
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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.
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.
What you need to make rosin at home:
- 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
How to make Rosin at home
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 getting a hair straightener with digital temperature controls.
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.
Entry level options: the hair straightener
If you’re only looking to make small amounts of rosin at home, using maybe a few grams at most, you could start with a hair straightener. They won’t be nearly as effective as an actual press, but with a little force you can get the job done.
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 under $40 and it has the crucial digital temperature controls.
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.
Level up: recommending the best rosin press
The above method might work for a gram or two of sticky. But if you’re trying to press anything more than an eighth at a time, it gets old fast. Plus, it’s just not that effective.
You can only put so much pressure on a hair straightener. Now if you want REAL results, you need a serious rosin press. One made exclusively for smashing those nugs into a pancake at the precise heat needed to extract those precious terpenes and other psychoactive compounds in the purest form.
These units cost a few hundred dollars on the low end, so if you’re ready to plunk down some cash, let’s make sure you’re getting something that will do the job, and do it well!
My Rosin Press
This is, without a doubt, our top pick for a rosin press under $500.
This unit has everything – comes precalibrated to smuch 1 – 1.5 grams of product on 3×3 heated plates. The company behind it is dedicated to the cause and they have several very helpful Youtube videos showing exactly how to use it. It’s about the size of a coffee maker and can easily fit on your desk. With around 6 tons of pressure, it’s perfect for the rosin maker who needs something for personal use. Just read the glowing reviews!
Rosineer RNR-MV2 Manual Rosin Press
Similar to the NugSmasher, the Rosineer MV2 offers a very similar setup with two heated pneumatic press plates, temperature control, and an overall heavy duty design. One big difference? This is a manual press, meaning you’ll have to use the lever to exert enough pressure to smash your nugs.
Dulytek heat press
Coming in around $200, this manual heat press does the job if you’re working with about 3-7 grams of flower per batch. Definitely a personal size press, but based on the 4+ star reviews, it does the job well.
How to build your own rosin press
If none of the above options work for you, and you’re so inclined, you can manufacture your own.
It’s not hard to be honest.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Tuopuke Rosin Press 3×5″ Plates
The basis of any rosin press is the plates. This set comes with two 3×5″ plates and an electronic controller with a digitital readout that heats up to and above 400 degrees (not that you’ll want to go that high)! Perhaps best of all, it comes arranged in a slick carrying case.
Harbor Freight Hydraulic Press
You’ll need a press to attach those plates to. Most people seem to like the Harbor Freight ones. They’re sturdy, American made, and reliable.
With a 6-ton (or a burly 20 ton) Harbor Freight press, you should be able to generate around 800 PSI which is more than enough to extract the rosin (600psi is generally considered the benchmark). At a cost of around $80, that means your total cost with the heated plates is around $300-350. Not bad for a DIY press that can compete with the bigger, more expensive versions!
Why Rosin is The Healthy Choice
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.
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 who want to make their own healthy rosin extracts in the comfort of their home.