While cannabis extract is quickly becoming a popular way to deliver the therapeutic effects of medical marijuana, the practice of creating a stable, pure concentrate is still relatively new. If you're wondering what this practice entails, then you'll want to know about rosin. Rosin is a simple mechanical process that has been around for several years and has recently gained notice. You don't need to be an expert in botanical extractions or chemistry to get an excellent return on rosin.
Rosin Is Low-Cost & Simple
Violin players know rosin as a process that converts resin into a substance used to coat their bows to help ease friction when its applied to the violin strings. Rosin is also what the substance is called. Meanwhile, marijuana aficionados know it as a way to distill resin from the plant using only heat and pressure. This extraction process is inexpensive and easy to do. Necessary tools to extract resin include:
- An inexpensive hair straightener
- Parchment paper
- A metal dabber
- An oven glove or other safety glove
Compared with a closed-loop extraction system, which requires professional pumps and can easily cost several thousand dollars, the tools for rosin are surprisingly cheap. The final product is similar to butane hash oil, but without its potentially carcinogenic residual hydrocarbons—since chemicals such as butane and propane are unnecessary.
How to Produce Optimal Rosin
Depending on how many flowers are going to be pressed, the rosin process may only take a matter of minutes. Before getting started, you'll want to consider the following:
- Doing the rosin procedure in bulk may not be worth the effort. Processing about 7 grams or fewer per sitting can offer the best return.
- While most hair straighteners work, ones with a digital temperature display are useful since the plates will need to be between 200–300 degrees F.
- Two-inch wide plates on the hair straightener are best for pressing the buds—although thinner plates will also do the trick.
Making the Rosin Extract
- Heat the hair straightener to at least 200 F. Buds used in this process should be moist, although they don't need to be wet. Wear safety gloves when handling the hair straightener, since your fingers will get close to the hot plates.
- To get the tightest press, lay the the hair straightener down like a stapler, with one paddle on a sturdy, flat surface and the other paddle in the air. A harder press typically results in a better return.
- Fold the bud over once, then cut a small envelope of parchment paper, at least four times larger than the now-folded bud. Slide the bud into the paper. This step is similar to making a dumpling or ravioli, but with the marijuana as the filling.
- With the gloves on, line up the pouch with the bud inside between the two paddles of the hair straightener. Then snap the two pieces of paper together. The paper holding the flower should be placed on the bottom plate and flattened between the two paddles. (Take care not to get your fingers clipped between the two plates.)
- When the plates are pressed together, you'll hear the sound of sizzling. Press the flower 5–10 seconds. Given the strain and freshness of the cannabis, different pressing times may need to be tested.
- Remove the flower from the parchment paper. Check how much oil is on the paper. Depending on the success of the press, it may be necessary to fold the buds over and press them again. It's common to fold and re-press buds 2–3 times.
- Once a satisfactory amount of oil is on the parchment (a 20% yield is common), use the dabber to pick up the rosin. Oil on the tool can be used to help pick up more oil.
The result is a marijuana extract, also called rosin, that's easy to make and free of solvents. Once you've completed the rosin process, you can inhale it with a hash pipe, vaporizer or dab rig. Making good rosin may take some trial and error, but the rewards are worth the effort.
Photo credit: Dominique Cappronnier