Liquid THC - What is it and how is it made?

Published Jan 29, 2019 02:14 p.m. ET

What is it?

 Liquid THC (A.K.A. marijuana tincture, green dragon, tink, mayzack, liquid weed, and cannabis tincture) is a product made with cannabis-infused solvents such as alcohol, oil, vinegar and glycerin that are used to extract the THC content from marijuana plant material. Thanks to the trend of vaping encouraging higher demand for liquid THC, it has become a widely available, more popular option particularly among younger crowds of marijuana users. Unfortunately, a true understanding of a product doesn't come from popularity alone, and many have no idea what is in the liquid THC products they are consuming. Marijuana in vape juice sounds harmless enough but tends to come with additives listed as a flavoring that has been proven to have cancer-causing effects due to the carcinogens released when the products are heated such as acrylonitrile, acrolein, and propylene oxide. Luckily there are ways to make your own at home without any of that, but it will require some time, patience and a few specific ingredients.

How is it made?

As mentioned above, liquid THC has many ways it can be made and can begin with a diverse variety of ingredients and time required depending on which one you choose. Here we will cover three different methods most commonly used to make liquid weed.

1.   Room temperature method

Time to Make: 40-60 days

This method requires a bare minimum cooking time. No fridge or stove top necessary, you just need to have an approx. 22-24 C room available that won't have too much traffic during the process and an oven that can go up to 230 F. There will be fumes and smell, so this isn’t a great time to invite grandma over if she takes issue with your marijuana use. The downfall of this method aside from smell is the amount of time it takes to complete as this one requires 40-60 days to finish. Bud is always the preferred base, but leaf trimmings will also work, you will just need to add more to achieve the same potency.

Tools/Ingredients

  • 3.5 grams of dried bud (or more) or leaf trimmings
  • Cookie sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • 32oz alcohol (highest proof available)
  • Two clean sealable jars
  • Oven
  • Cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 230F. Break up the bud or leaf trimmings. You don’t quite want powder as you want to be able to strain all the plant material out with the cheesecloth.

  2. Decarboxylate bud by placing parchment paper over a cookie sheet and spreading the ground bud over it, keeping the grind away from any exposed metal edges to prevent burning. Bake in an oven for 30 minutes.

  3. Remove bud from cookie sheet and dump it into one of the glass jars. This can be done easily by lifting the parchment paper and forcing it into a funnel shape over the jar.

  4. Pour 32oz of alcohol into the jar. Seal the jar then shake it vigorously mixing the solution and ground bud for 1-2 minutes.

  5. Store the jar in a dark temperature space for 40-60 days. The longer it sits, the more potent your THC liquid will be.

  6. Once 40-60 days has passed, retrieve the jar and open it.

  7. Place cheesecloth over a clean jar, using twine or an elastic to ensure it doesn't fall in. Strain the mixture into the clean jar through the cheesecloth. Go slow; you don’t want the cheesecloth to overflow.

  8. Now it’s ready to use! Store jar sealed and out of the sun and extreme heat to preserve the THC content.

2.  Heated method

Time to Make: 1 hour

The heated method involves many of the same steps as the first; only this one requires heating to speed up the process. For the heated method, you will need access to a stove top and a high-quality thermometer.

Tools/Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized saucepan, frying pan, or pot
  • 1 cookie sheet
  • 3.5 grams of dried bud or leaf trimmings
  • 2 sealable mason jars
  • Water
  • 1 cooking thermometer
  • Cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer
  • 32oz of alcohol (highest proof you can access)

Instructions

  1. Grind or chop bud/plant matter.
  2. Decarboxylate by baking bud on a layer of parchment paper on a cookie sheet at 230F for 30 minutes.
  3. Mix the decarboxylated bud and 2oz of high proof alcohol into a clean mason jar.
  4. Fill saucepan or pot with approximately one inch of water. Leave enough space for the jar to sit without overflowing it.
  5. Place saucepan or pot on a burner and turn it to medium heat. Bring mixture to a simmer.
  6. Once simmering take the temperature of the mixture in the jar and another of the water in the pan with a cooking thermometer. Once you achieve 170F on the jar and 173F in the pot, try to maintain that temperature while you continue to simmer the mixture for 20 minutes.
  7. After 20 minutes turn off the heat and remove the saucepan or pot from the burner, once a safe handling temperature retrieve the jar from the saucepan or pot.
  8. Once cooled take a second clean mason jar and cover it with either cheesecloth or rest your small mesh strainer on it. Slowly strain all plant matter from the mixture.
  9. Now you have THC liquid ready to use! Store in a cool place away from sunshine.

3. Freeze method

Time to Make: 48 hours

This method requires freezing. Therefore access to a freezer is necessary to complete it.

Tools/Ingredients

  • Cheesecloth or mesh strainer
  • Cookie sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Oven
  • Alcohol
  • 1oz of dried herb or if using leaf trimmings at least double that
  • Freezer
  • Large freezer safe baggie
  • 2 mason jars

Instructions

  1. Decarboxylate plant matter. To do this preheat oven to 230F. Grind your dried herb or leaf trimmings. Cover a cookie sheet in parchment paper and evenly spread ground bud across it. Now, bake it for 30 minutes.
  2. Empty decarboxylated bud into a freezer-safe plastic baggie. Freeze for three hours along with the bottle of alcohol you will be using.
  3. Once plant material is frozen solid pour it into a large, clean mason jar. Seal and shake for five minutes.
  4. Place the jar into the freezer. It will need to remain there for the next 48 hours. It is recommended to retrieve it every 2-3 hours to shake the mixture to ensure maximum extraction. Be sure to immediately return it to the freezer each time as the cold is a necessary part of the process.
  5. Once 48 hours is up, cover a clean jar with either cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer. Pour the mixture slowly through the strainer to remove all excess plant matter.
  6. Seal jar and store in a cool dark place to maintain freshness. Your THC liquid is now ready to use!

Does THC e Liquid get you high?

No matter which process you use the extraction principles are the same. During the process of extraction, the cannabinoids (including THC and CBD) are effectively extracted from the marijuana plant. In the end, all plant matter leftover cannot be reused, but the THC liquid you gain from the process is worth much more than any average bud. Liquid THC can contain anywhere from 12%-90% THC depending on the base plant used for the extraction. There’s potential for THC liquid to get you a lot higher than traditional marijuana smoking, it all depends on how the THC liquid in question is made and to what THC percentage strength. Keep this in mind if you’re thinking of using a vape to consume cannabis, as always, it’s a good rule of thumb to know, even approximately how much THC percentage you are consuming.

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