Guide to Making Butane-Free Rosin at Home

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Stringed instrument musicians have used pine rosin to make their bows glide across the strings for centuries. Applying rosin techniques to cannabis has become increasingly popular because it produces an affordable, solid form of high-grade hash oil without using the solvents required in traditional processing (BHO). 

The rosin extraction process uses a combination of heat and pressure to squeeze the resin from your bud, kief or hash. The result is a translucent, sappy, and sometimes shatter-like product that can exceed extract-based rosin in flavor, potency and yield. Although the technology isn’t necessarily new (tokers in the ‘60s and ‘70s used t-shirt screen-printing presses), it certainly has become more accessible to the average marijuana user. 

The primary reasons these rosin techniques have become increasingly popular is that they don’t require the use of solvents, which are dangerous because they are so highly flammable, and because unlike butane processes, they do not emit toxic fumes or leave behind any dangerous residues. 

Instead, simple and safer mechanical processes are used to apply heat and pressure to extract the resin from the plant – a process that can be done at home using easy-to-find household items. When made properly, mechanically-produced rosin contains the same amount of terpenes and serves up the same flavor and aroma as its BHO counterpart. 

Equipment

To make your at-home rosin, you’ll need:

  • A hair straightener with a temperature control mechanism and flattening panels of at least two inches wide
  • Parchment paper, cut into 4” x 8” strips (Do NOT use waxed paper.)
  • A collection tool (Razor or titanium dabbing wand)
  • A 25u Micron Screen (optional)
  • Heat-resistant gloves 

Processing

  • Step One: Prepare your cannabis by breaking it down to .2- to .5-gram increments. Preheat the flat iron to between 200 degrees F – 340 degrees F -- the lower the temp the better. If you are a serious, regular dabber, investing in a temperature gun will be worth the investment. (Some terpenes boil and lose THC content at 300 degrees or lower.)
  • Step Two: Take one of the small increments and wrap it in the center of the 25u micron screen, if you have one. Place the screen-wrapped cannabis (or the cannabis directly) on a piece of parchment paper; fold the paper over, leaving the screen/cannabis in the center. Place the parchment paper on the flat iron and apply direct pressure for 3-5 seconds. (Note: The screen keeps the cannabis particulate from traveling into the rosin.)
  • Step Three: Remove the pressure from the flat iron, carefully unfold the parchment paper and remove the screen while the rosin is still warm. The cannabis will be surrounded by rosin. Gently remove the screen, leaving all of the rosin behind. Use your collecting device to scrape the parchment paper and collect the finished rosin.

Notes: The process takes only a few minutes to complete. Many people save the compressed cannabis and add it to their smoke.

Many dispensaries, based on consumer demand, are switching from BHO-processing to advanced rosin tech, developing equipment that can process in bulk.  Check with your local dispensary to find out what’s available in your area.