March 2015 Note: This guide is out of date and has been replaced by a new method I’ve outlined in my post here. The latest guide results in an even more potent product so I highly recommend giving it a go instead!
Due to its convenience and discreetness, vaping cannabis e-liquid has become wildly popular in recent months, with all kinds of people (celebrities included!) getting on board. A little while ago, I published my original DIY thc e-liquid guide, and since then it has received much fanfare (I’ve had several e-mails from readers telling me that they’ve had great results using this method!). Although this process is a great way to make your own cannabis e-liquid, I’ve discovered a more advanced process in which to extract THC into e-juice, and thought I’d share my recipe here with you guys! Using this method to make cannabis e-liquid results in a more efficient extraction of the active chemicals in your bud, and the result is a more potent e-liquid. However, because this method involves heating alcohol, make sure that you follow the guide properly and keep your workspace well ventilated. I am not responsible for any mishaps that may arise from following this guide, so please use caution and proceed with care!
What You’ll Need
- 6 grams of good quality cannabis (you can use more or less, but this is what I find works well for me). I imagine you can also use a lot of shake and trimmings, but I’ve only tested with bud.
- High proof grain alcohol (such as Everclear or Alcool). Do Not use Isopropyl (rubbing alcohol)!
- 2 mason jars
- Pack of 5ml dropper bottles
- Cheese Cloth
- Baking sheet, aluminum foil, and an oven
- Cooking pot
The first step is to decarboxylate your cannabis. Decarboxylation is necessary in order convert the THC-A in fresh cannabis to THC (a process that normally happens through combustion or vaporization), and because e-liquid vaporization temperatures may not get hot enough to do this, decarboxylation is a good idea. Place some aluminum foil on a baking sheet and then spread your freshly ground bud (the finer the better) evenly on the foil. Next, place it in the oven for at 225-250F for 15 minutes. After this your bud should be pretty dry (and possibly a little brown).
The next step is to take your decarboxylated bud, place it in a mason jar, and then add some high proof everclear until your bud is just a little bit more than covered by the alcohol (don’t put a top on the jar). Next, fill a pot with about 1.5 inches (3.8cm) of water, and place the mason jar in the pot. This creates a double boil which prevents you from overheating the alcohol (which is highly flammable!). Next, turn on your stove vent (and maybe open a window for good measure) so that your stove is well ventilated for the next step.
In this step, you want to boil off some of the alcohol while continually stirring your cannabis. While you do this, you’re cooking the bud and the alcohol soaks up THC and other psychoactive compounds. Boil off just enough alcohol so that your bud is still submerged, but not to excess. The liquid should get fairly dark as the alcohol absorbs the active ingredients, and the more bud you use in the recipe, the darker the liquid should turn.
After you’ve boiled off some of the alcohol, add more to your jar (enough to return it to its original level or even a bit higher). Now you want to filter your product, so grab some cheese cloth and cover your second jar with it. Then pour your mixture into the second jar, and make sure to squeeze as much alcohol as you can out of the bud. Reboil some water with the new jar in it, but make sure not to create a big difference in temperature between the glass jar and water or you risk cracking it! Now boil off the everclear a second time, this time taking it down to about 5ml of liquid (use a syringe to measure how much you have left in the jar).
Finally, add the propylene glycol (PG) to your mix. I added about 20ml to bring the total volume of my mix to 25ml, which is somewhere around 6 grams of cannabis condensed into 25ml of e-liquid. The liquid should end up a dark greenish brown color, and you can dilute it with more PG (or even food grade vegetable glycerin if you prefer that). Finally, you have the choice of either continuing to heat the mix to get rid of the remaining everclear, or filter it again and give it a try. Some people like to skip this step as they like how the alcohol thins out the PG, giving a better flavor to the mix.
This process is a little more intensive than my other guide, and I only recommend performing it if you have access to a well ventilated kitchen and are experienced with these types of extractions. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me and let me know!