Absolute Shatter: Make Your Own!

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Alright dabbers, let’s face it: most of us just can’t puff on live resin all the time. For those of you who live in states where medical marijuana is outlawed, it can be particularly difficult to find clean concentrates of reasonably high quality. Even in California, it’s not uncommon for people to settle for darker, harsher, less expensive concentrates processed under less-than-optimal conditions when options are slim or money is tight.

Luckily, there are several processing methods one can use to clean these concentrates— one method, commonly referred to now as “winterization,” is particularly safe and can be used to further purify even high-quality concentrates.

Winterization

Butane-extracted hash oil tends to be a mix of cannabinoids, terpenes, lipids and other plant waxes that get pulled out by the solvent during extraction.

In order to separate the active cannabinoids and terpenes from inactive plant waxes via winterization, the concentrate must be redissolved in a new solvent (ethanol aka grain alcohol) that is liquid at room temperature so its solvability can be more easily manipulated by temperature.

Once the concentrate is dissolved, the mixture can be cooled such that the inactive waxes and lipids precipitate out of the solution (form solids) which can then be filtered, leaving you with a pure cannabinoid/terpenoid mixture.

The resulting resin is known as absolute shatter because it contains no inactive impurities.

Make Absolute Shatter

In order to convert your concentrate (any kind of hash!) into absolute shatter, you’ll need the following:

Grain Alcohol (Everclear)

(optional) 5A molecular sieves if you only obtain 151 proof Everclear

Metal funnel

Round coffee filters

Freezer

hotplate or a hot water bath (pot of water)

Glass containers

(optional) A/C vac and a vacuum chamber, preferably with a cold trap

Step 1: Preparation

AbsoluteShatter - 1First about the alcohol: if you live in a state where you can obtain 190 proof grain alcohol then all you have to do is buy a bottle and you’re ready to go!

Those of us who can only obtain 151 proof are wise to purchase a few lbs of molecular sieves from a legitimate lab supply store online in order to dry out 151 proof alcohol.

Molecular sieves are zeolite pebbles with pores just big enough to trap water molecules. Slowly pour the alcohol into a mason jar (preferably cooling in ice, the reaction gets HOT!) and let it sit overnight to allow particles to settle at the bottom and the water to be trapped by the sieves… you can leave the alcohol in that container until you’ve used it all (at which point you should burn off the remaining alcohol outside and then bake the sieves in the oven at max heat for a few hours to dry them out…. 

Be careful not to put alcohol
soaked sieves in the oven, the fumes can ignite and pop the oven door open… dry them or soak them in water first)

Step 2: Dissolution and Separation

Once your alcohol is ready, it’s time to get to it. Combine the alcohol and concentrate in a glass container and heat it up with your hotplate or water bath such that all solid particles have dissolved, it takes a few minutes.AbsoluteShatter - 11

I’ve found about 30ml of alcohol per gram concentrate is sufficient, it’s preferable to use as little alcohol as possible since you’ll be evaporating it off later.

After your concentrate has fully dissolved in the hot alcohol, cover the container and carefully place it in the freezer overnight along with the funnel and another container— we need these to be cold.

When you come back in the morning, you will see some solids floating in solution. Those are the inactive waxes! Time to filter these out.

Fold the coffee filter in half then in half again so it’s a quarter circle.

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With the pointy side facing down, pull out a single of the filter so it forms a cone-shaped pocket like those cheap cups you see in office water coolersAbsoluteShatter - 17

Stick this in the frozen funnel and let it sit in the freezer for a few minutes to make sure it’s cold.

Now you’ll want to position the funnel-with-filter so its resting over your empty frozen container and  slowly pour your alcohol-concentrate mixture through the filter.AbsoluteShatter - 22

You’ll want to use a mason jar or some other container that makes it easy to rest the funnel and let the solution filter with the freezer door closed.

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If the solution warms up, the waxes will dissolve back into solution… the colder the better!

Step 3: Evaporation

You will be left with wax residue in the filter (throw this away) and a container full of frozen mother liquor full of your purified concentrate. All you have to do is pour this liquid into a dish and evaporate off the alcohol and you’ll be home free! There are two ways to do this:

Method 1: (no vac) if you pour the liquor off into a thin layer, the alcohol will evaporate off with just a little air circulation (you can put it somewhere warm to speed things up).

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Method 2: you can use a vacuum chamber to “cold boil” off the alcohol but if your pump uses vacuum oil, a cold trap is advised to capture alcohol fumes which quickly ruin clean pump oil.

Check the consistency, it should form a fairly stable shatter once fully purged (and even if not fully purged, you’re just vaporizing small amounts of ethanol which reacts with water) and even darker absolute shatter tends to be exceptionally smooth and enjoyable since no long plant molecules are being burned.

As always, use an abundance of caution (with regards to safety and publicity)! Alcohol is still flammable! But don’t be afraid to try this process on a small scale if you have a hard time finding good quality concentrate.

Stay safe, stay educated, happy dabbing!

The Advantages of Closed-Loop BHO Extraction

vacuum purged shatterMarijuana extraction technology has changed rapidly over the last few years thanks to a greater demand for concentrates and wide-spread decriminalization and legalization. The black, tarry “oils” that were once acceptable forms of “hash” have all but disappeared (apparently some poor fools are still smoking that toxic ‘Rick Simpson Oil’) and in particular, the development of closed-loop extraction technologies has represented a paradigm shift in the way both producers and consumers approach concentrates. At this point, closed-loop butane extraction is the best, most efficient method we have for extracting THC and when set up properly, it provides a scientific level of safety and control that can yield the highest quality products possible.

Closed-Loop Extraction is Safer

The most obvious advantage to a closed-loop extraction setup is that it provides a much greater degree of safety than “open blasting.” BHO extraction has gotten a bad rap over the last few years because plenty of stupid, inexperienced stoners try their hand at open BHO extraction and end up on the news because they blew themselves up. A closed-loop extraction is just that– it’s completely sealed off so that no butane can escape the system into the surrounding environment (thus avoiding filling the room with butane, though proper ventilation is always necessary, closed-loop or not). 

Closed-Loop Extraction is More Efficient

Closed-loop systems will naturally be under greater pressure than open systems which, while not directly affecting solubility in any meaningful way, does increase the interface time between the raw marijuana and butane thus allowing for a more complete extraction.

Closed loop systems also allow for a more precise control of temperature which does have a direct effect on the solubility of THC into butane– though there are two ways of thinking about it. While an increase in temperature of the butane does allow for greater solubility of THC (and thus a more efficient extraction), it also increases the amount of water in the product (as water is just slightly soluble in butane), though thorough drying of the raw material and solvent could combat this.

Rather, many extraction artists choose to cool the extraction column to sub-zero temperatures which, while decreasing the solubility of butane, prevents many of the undesirable plant fats and waxes (and water) from making it into the solvent. This is a choice method since it avoids the need to “polish” or de-wax later using a cold ethanol wash. Closed-loop extraction systems also prevent butane from being needlessly evaporated and some systems even offer the ability to recover butane, allowing solvent to be used many more times without needing to be recharged.

Closed-Loop Extraction Yields The Highest Quality Product

The great Budweiser-endowed beer-scholar Charles Bamforth says with regards to taste in what is good, “to each her own,” but it’s hard to deny that the strongest, most flavorful, most cosmetically pleasant concentrates have been produced through closed-loop extraction. The only products that seem to come even close are the most carefully crafted, ultra-fine ice hashes which can hardly be seen as representative of an efficient extraction method.The use of these technologies is always accompanied by temperature-controlled vacuum purging which is the other half of the art & science of MMJ extraction. The vacuum purge is used to remove butane below the taste threshold of 3ppm, far below any level that could be considered dangerous to anyone.

While concentrates still have some legal-grey area, even in states where marijuana is legal, these advantages to closed-loop extraction are the reasons why the most forward-thinking states– states like Colorado– are creating regulations that will impose industry standards requiring closed-loop extraction for the safety of everyone.

If marijuana helps you and you live somewhere where it isn’t legal, you should move to Colorado (seriously!). Let’s stop open blasting once and for all, it’s just not very good.

Vape Pens and Hash Oil: Revolutionizing Cannabis Culture

vapes and hash oilVape pens represent the leading edge of America’s marijuana revolution.

While bongs, tight joints and big blunts still accomplish their medicinal work with reliable rituals involving rolling and unsavory bong water, the contemporary vaporizer is as easy and portable as its e-cigarette brother.

No one has to know you’re getting your medicine. But if they find out, they’ll be impressed that you’ve got a state-of-the-art vaporizing device that administers mind-blowing doses of clean butane hash oil (BHO) while allowing exhalation of cool, discrete vapor.

The vape pen is to medicinal users of dabs and other THC concentrates what a flask full of single-malt scotch is to the sophisticated nightlife denizen.

The rechargeable dab rig has become de rigueur for live music fans, club-goers, barflies and even foodies who need a quick hit without the production of cigarette-making or pipe-stuffing. In this day and age, who wants to be stuck in a corner holding a lighter to a glass pipe?

BHO and other concentrates commonly used in vape pens as well as dab rigs(wax, shatter, honey oil, dabs) is produced by extracting more pure forms of THC with butane. The process creates bubble hash, “budder,” BHO and more solid concentrates like wax and shatter.

Unfortunately, from 2011 to 2013, the butane used in the process has wreaked some havoc and created alarm for authorities. Butane is essentially lighter fluid, and it’s highly flammable. Some inexperienced amateurs have sparked explosions and fires. In California, a failed, 2014 bill that would have applied new regulations to medical marijuana dispensaries initially included language that would have outlawed concentrates altogether.

But a funny thing happened in the last year or so. The fires subsided and the professionals took over. It’s now possible to obtain BHO, dabs and other concentrates from professional labs that specialize in safe, transparent processes. Just ask your local budtender.

The realization that even low grade marijuana can be turned into high-potency concentrates through this butane process has revolutionized American cannabis culture. Stores in most medical and recreational marijuana states display and sell concentrates front-and-center. The potency and value, even compared to a strong strain of traditional bud, is manifold. It’s the hottest segment in the red-hot pot market.

And so, the stoner’s hour of 4:20 has been transformed into 7:10 which, flipped over, says OIL, as in BHO.

In places like California, Colorado, Washington and more, dab rig users are getting their OIL on at City Council meetings, kids’ soccer games, golf courses, and anywhere else they can puff relatively privately on a pen-sized miracle.

Vape Pen Review: Smooth 2 Loaded Vaporizer Gold (Wax & Oil Pen)

vape pen

Now that you’ve been well versed as to how vaporizer pens work and operate, we wanted to review one of the best, and shockingly, most cost effective marijuana concentrate or dab vaporizers on the market to date.  The Smooth 2 Loaded Vaporizer Gold (Wax and Oil Pen), sounds like tongue twister when you first say it out loud, but once you use it, you realize it’s one of the better vape pens for wax, oil, dabs, etc., that’s out there currently.

Smooth 2 Loaded Vaporizer Gold (Wax & Oil Pen) setup

When you buy this pen you get one 650mah Battery, one 2 loAded Atomizer, one packing tool (dabber), one wireless USB charger, and one user manual

What Makes This Vaporizer Stand Out?

One thing that I find disconcerting from some vaporizers on the market today is the fact that they take FOREVER to use. Some require you to hold a button for five minutes, wait half an hour for the damn thing to load, or read a set of instructions that when you’re done reading, will have you thinking…..”WTF did I just read? I wanted to vape, not join N.A.S.A.” The great thing about this pen is that there is none of that.  A matter of fact, the pen comes with barely any instructions at all and you kind of have to be in “the know” as to how the heating element works, because in the end, it’s the speed of the heating element that makes this pen stand out from the pack.

The Heating Element

heating element

If you’re like me, you like your vape pens to be quick and stealthy, especially when your blazing your dabs on the go. Unlike other concentrate vaporizers that can sometimes take minutes to heat up, this one heats up your dabs in less than a few seconds. All it takes is a double click from the vape pen’s button and you’re ready to inhale.

How to Use the Smooth 2 Loaded Vaporizer Gold (Wax & Oil Pen)

  • Make sure pen is fully charged before using (the pen comes with a USB charger that you can plug into a laptop or PC)usb charger
  • Once you know the pen is fully charged by the green light indicator, you can screw the titanium GR2 coil on top of the base which had previously been charging.titanium GR2 coil
  • When the titanium GR2 coil is screwed on top of the base, you can add your dabs, but not too much as to over-fill or block                                      the flow of air to the mouthpiece.

dab

  • After your dabs have been placed on top of the coil, you can seal the deal by screwing the 2 loaded atomizer on top and then placing the glass mouthpiece over it l like so. vape pen
  • Now, simply double click the button on the device while inhaling and enjoy your dabs!

All and all, this is great pen at a surprisingly great price, but since it’s our first review we’ll give it a 9/10 instead of the 10/10 since we’ll be reviewing some more products for dabs.

How to Make Quality BHO Shatter in 5 Easy Steps

How To Make BHO Shatter Now that you’ve been properly versed on “what is a dab?”, as well as “how to do a dab in 4 easy steps”, it’s about time to head into the kitchen to learn how to make your very own dabs.

Update: Since this article was written back in 2014, there have been a number of cleaner, safer methods for making dabs, some of which we have covered in more recent articles. Please check out the latest: How to Make Closed Column BHO and Live Resin.

What you’ll need: 

(Butane Canister: one can of butane typically should be sufficient to extract a full tube of material) Marijuana ounce Step 1: Gather Greens Gather an ounce of high quality uncut marijuana that has been dried. It’s good to note that about an ounce of dried weed will produce 3.6 grams of shatter if you use 12 ounces of butane and a double wash. BHO Plastic Tube

Step 2: Pack Extraction Tube Stuff your marijuana in an extraction tube that is made of thick glass and is relatively clean. It’s important not to have excess residue in your batch which can degrade your dabs. If air pockets begin to form inside the tube, this can be prevented by gently packing your bud until it is firmly packed in the tube like so. Drip Butane

Step 3: Butane Drip On the opposite end  of the extraction tube that you used to pack your marijuana in, you now want to begin dripping your butane through, in a slow yet controlled manner. On the opposite end, attach coffee filters tightly around the tube, so that the liquid which runs down will have to go through it. The drippings should fall onto a collection dish.

Caution: Note that it is best to do the extraction process outside as there is less chance of explosions or bursts of fire in case the butane is dripped too fast.  bho drain Step 4: Drain O’ Weed Once your butane can is spent, and you feel you have inundated all of the cannabis in solvent, remove it and let the excess butane still in the tube make its way down through the filter and into your pan.

Step 5: Evaporate Next is the evaporation part of the process. Your pan should be filled with a golden brown liquid similar to the one here. Take your collection dish and place it in a larger frying pan filled with hot water and your mixture should begin to bubble. Change the water as needed if it cools and don’t expose it to the hot water for a long time as your product will become dark and degraded. Once the oil stops bubbling you are done. You can take the left over marijuana concentrate and place it on a non-stick silicone parchment paper to dry, or you can place it in concentrate containers.

Safety Note: Butane is HIGHLY FLAMMABLE and ALL extractions are to be done OUTDOORS only, doing extractions indoors is extremely dangerous. Butane gas is heavier than air and will pool in low areas. If left to collect butane gas becomes flammable. Wear eye protection, as well as gloves and always keep a fire extinguisher near by. Never smoke and avoid having an open flame around when doing any kind of extraction, even outdoors.

Rule of Green Thumb:  When the liquid dripping from the extraction tube appears completely transparent, that’s your indication that all the THC oils from the cannabis have been extracted from the tube. A proven way to test this is to put one or two drops on the dish next to your BHO “puddle”, to see if it immediately evaporates or if it  leaves a thick bubbly residue on the dish. If the drops of oil leave a thick residue, you should inject more butane into your tube and continue extracting. If the oil evaporates away quickly and cleanly with little to no residue, that’s your sign that the extraction process is over.