I just made a batch of full-spectrum organic cannabis medicine. Here are some photos and clips of the process.
Please note: This article does not contain everything you need to know to make cannabis oil. Not merely because it's impossible for any one writing to enclose all possible knowledge on the subject, but because it isn't intended as a "how to" instructional post. My intention is to show newcomers to the process generally how it is done, and to provide some tips and info for people who want to refine their technique. I have been making cannabis oil for many years, but even so, I'm still evolving and upgrading my process. I've made it dozens of times, and none of those times was identical to any other. The exact method will vary depending on factors like starting material, solvent used, equipment available, and intended use of the finished product.
The best way to learn how to make cannabis oil (other than working alongside someone experienced) is to learn from a variety of media, such as articles, books, videos, how-to posts, documentaries, etc. Seeing it or reading about it being done by different people in different situations will give you a good understanding of the steps and chemistry required. If you can cook, chances are good you'll be able to learn to make medicinal oil from cannabis. This post can be a good starting point. I have dozens of others like it, such as this, this, and this.
Once I had my bud, I busted it up roughly.
In batches, I transferred the plant material into this massive Erlenmeyer flask.
Isopropyl alcohol had been placed in the freezer the previous night:
With glassware, silicone tools, cheesecloth, and other tools handy, I was ready to begin.
Anyone who took college chemistry remembers this kind of experiment. (But for some reason, they never let us mess around with this particular plant!) The active ingredients (and many different nutritious compounds) are dissolved into alcohol, allowing removal of the unwanted plant fiber and other matter.
In goes the cold isopropanol. Why cold? For this first extraction, I'm only after the THC and some of the most volatile terpenes. It doesn't take long to pull those out, and can be done at cooler temperatures, which discourages the uptake of everything else.
A gentle shake and a few seconds, and it's time to strain.
A thin layer of cheesecloth over the top, and out pours the alcohol into glass. Sounds like serving a drink! But don't you dare take a sip, alcohol is poisonous! Isopropyl is good as a solvent, but not to be taken internally.
After 4 flasks done this way, I had a tray of cloudy extract.
Here's where another kitchen staple comes in handy - coffee filters!
The extract slowly trickles through the unbleached coffee filter into a clean glass jar.
Here's the first run! A full liter of yellow-green isopropyl extract, loaded with THC, terpenes, and a trace of chlorophyll and other plant compounds.
A future post will show the resolution of this run. It will make dabs, high THC edibles, and topicals.
For now, my goal is full-spectrum oil to cure brain cancer and liver cirrhosis, so I want more than just the THC and the tasty terpenes. I want it ALL!
So back to the bud we go. It's still full of medicine and nutrients.
Using isopropyl at room temperature this time, and with adequate ventilation, the tray is again filled with solvent.
I covered it and set it aside overnight to really soak.
The next day, I prepared a strainer lined with cheesecloth for this big load of mash.
I poured it through, into a clean glass tray. This extract was dark and murky, but I chose not to put it through a further filtering using coffee filters. That's because it is intended for making edible oil (for baking or taking orally in capsules). There's no need to remove the fine particles of plant material, which are either inert, or beneficial (medicinal or nutritional). At this point, all we need to remove is the alcohol.
I don't recommend using a stove element to evaporate off your isopropyl unless you have worked with it before. This step is potentially dangerous. There are safer (but generally slower) ways to get rid of the solvent. If you've got the right glassware and skills, you can even reclaim it and use it again. For me, in this instance, the best option was opening a window, turning on a fan, ensuring nobody else was around... and cooking the f___ out of it.
Evap and decarb
Decarboxylation ("decarbing") is the process of converting cannabinoids into their active forms. You can think of it as rapidly aging the medicinal compounds. Naturally, THCa (the clear acid form) goes milky in the plant trichomes as activated THC is formed, and then to yellow and amber as CBD is created. Time, heat, sunlight, and other factors contribute to decarboxylation. We decarb extracts to be used as edibles, so the cannabinoids are fully active and ready to be absorbed and utilized by our endocannabinoid system.
Using heat simultaneously accomplishes rapid removal of the solvent AND full decarboxylation of the extract. A fume hood would be a nice addition to any extract-maker's tool kit!
About half way through the evaporation process, the colour was a duller green, and it was less transparent than before.
I eased off on the temperature as the last of the iso evaporated. I added a few drops of water to assist.
And then into the oven at about 220oF for 30 minutes or so, just to be 100% certain.
At that point, we have medicine. The closest thing known to pure life essence, or to magic. They claim the Covid "vaccines" are safe and effective? Cannabis oil is millions of times safer and millions of times more effective, and I mean that literally. It heals almost everyone, it harms almost nobody, and it can cure almost every known illness, disease, or injury. Cannabis oil could singlehanded replace the entire pharmaceutical industry. In fact, until 100 years ago, it did. It's time to remember and use old plant-based medicines we forgot about or prohibited for profit.
That said, it looks like tar!
I purchased a bunch of 5mL syringes from a local medical shop. With plastic caps instead of needles.
Before it cooled too much, I drew the medicine up into my syringes.
That's really all there is to it!
The best news of all just came in, so I wanted to share it in this post.
My elderly friend and his adult son with a brain tumour have agreed to try the cannabis oil! They appreciated the studies and personal anecdotes on treating cancer with cannabis I shared, did their own research and contemplation, and decided it was definitely worth a shot. Excellent! His son sounds positive and hopeful, which in itself is actually enough to bring a tear to my eye, because I know he has been struggling with not just the symptoms, but also the hopelessness that comes with a terminal diagnosis. Hope and positivity alone can save lives. That combined with super high quality cannabis oil? We definitely have a fighting chance.
I made it clear to them I want nothing for it, and I'm simply happy to help. The medicine will be handed over in person soon, along with dosing instructions. Like to begin slow and increase as tolerated, and always consume with a fatty food such as peanut butter. If things go well and they need more, I'll find a way to make them more. This is definitely enough to get the treatment started, and hopefully halt the progression of his parietal tumour!
If you take away nothing else from this post, hear me now:
The cannabis plant can be easily grown in and around the home, using household items and regular gardening skills. Oil can be extracted from the dried flowers with alcohol, using household items and regular cooking skills. Cannabis oil can be taken internally, applied to the skin, made into suppositories, baked into food, smoked, or vapourized. It can treat pain, shrink tumours, stop seizures, put MS in remission, heal wounds, knit bones, protect brain cells, beat depression, tame anxiety, and banish PTSD. None of this is theory, and all of it is well known in the alternative medicine community and by scientists not on the payroll of big pharmaceutical companies. You can save your life and the lives of those you care about with a safe plant that can be grown for free at home. This knowledge will never be handed to you on mainstream platforms and channels - in fact, it will be censored. Learn it, practice it, keep a copy. And please, pass it on to others.
The healthcare system in Canada and many other countries is shaky at best right now. Many don't know if they will have any medical care available to them, if they were to need it. Cannabis oil can't do everything, but it's one of the most powerful tools we've got, that doesn't require anything from the system, or pharma corporations, or doctors. We can heal ourselves, as we have done for thousands of years. No matter what happens, we must not lose this knowledge.