CANNABIS CONCENTRATES go by many names: shatter, wax, dabs, sweat of Freddie Mercury (no, not really). Oftentimes, concentrates are made by using butane or propane as a solvent to extract THC and terpenes from cannabis, resulting in a product that tests very high in THC—80 percent or greater.
But, as an excellent article in the Oregonian by Noelle Crombie recently revealed, there are sometimes nasties that linger in some of these products. (NOT ALL of them—there are surgically clean cannabis processors out there, and much love and respect goes out to them.) You can also extract using ice water (ice-water hash), or by rubbing the plant over a fine screen (kief, which, when compressed, gives us hash).
I was visiting with local dispensary owner John Bayes of Green Bodhi farm and Calyxes dispensary when he asked if I had ever had "rosin." I had not, so he offered to make me some, and I was so taken with the ease of the process that I asked him to show me his step by step method. Not long thereafter we found ourselves photographing this series at the office of the Portland Mercury. This solvent-free way to make a concentrate takes less than three minutes. Depending on your hairstyle, you may already have the crucial tool at hand, and because this doesn't involve an explosive gas under high pressure, it eliminates the danger of blowing up your fucking house.
Here's what you will need:
- A decent-sized bud. The ones we used weighed about .5 to 1.5 grams.
- Parchment paper
- A hair-straightening iron (If it's not yours, get permission. Seriously.)
- An oven mitt or something else to protect your fingers. The iron is hot. Iron hot.
- A metal tool with a blade of some sort
And here's what you do:
1. Plug your iron in, and begin heating. We set ours to about 270 degrees.
2. Fold the bud into a small piece of parchment paper.
3. Clamp down onto the paper-wrapped bud with the now-hot iron. Hold down for 6 to 10 seconds.
4. Remove the bud from the iron. Let the paper cool for 5 to 10 seconds.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4, if desired.
6. Slowly open the paper. You will see the bud has been mashed flat. DO NOT DISCARD! Save for tinctures, cooking, or smoking.
7. Using a metal implement or knife, scrape up the resin that has been hot-pressed out of the bud onto the parchment paper. That's your rosin, which is also what you call the pine resin that's used for baseball bats and wooden decks. The shared manufacturing technique is how it got its name.
8. Ta-da! You now have a concentrate that you can consume as you would any other. Look how happy John looks!
Photos by Jason DeSomer