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how to make dabs at home

DIY Dabs At Home

Dabbing is the latest and greatest method for cannabis consumers to enjoy elevated effects. The pure concentrated extracts used for dabbing are not only heightened in potency but deliver instant relief, with refined flavors too. However, these desirable dabbing benefits come at a cost, as concentrates are typically the priciest products on the shelves. Many cannabis consumers are therefore asking themselves, what’s an easy way to make dabs at home? We’ve got the answers to saving on dab costs with the easiest ways to make your own delectable concentrates.

Defining Dabs

Prior to making your own dabs, you should understand what a cannabis concentrate or extract really is. Concentrates are made by extracting the beneficial oils from cannabis flowers. The crystal coating you see on marijuana buds are actually ‘trichomes’ that contain terpenes, as well as cannabinoids like THC and CBD. By isolating and purifying these compounds, concentrates are oil/wax-like in consistency and ideal for dabbing or vaping. With the rise of extraction techniques has come a wide range of concentrate products on the market today. To learn more about each type of concentrate and how they differ, visit our in-depth guide here.

What Is Dabbing Good For?

Concentrates isolate beneficial cannabinoids at concentrated levels to provide an extra potent punch. In fact, most extracts boast THC levels of 90% and up, compared to standard nugs with THC levels of 10-30%. Dabbing is therefore highly beneficial for those who need instant relief and higher potencies for serious ailments or conditions, or for those who just want an elevated experience. When taking a dab, effects set in almost immediately and last for as long as a normal buzz would.

Many cannabis connoisseurs also prefer dabbing due to the refined taste and pungent flavors that concentrates deliver. When using a portable dab rig or vape pen, dabbing can also be discreet when you’re on the go. While you’ll be able to taste the distinct cannabis flavor on the inhale, exhales are uniquely scentless.

Now that you know the benefits of dabs, let’s review the best ways to make them at home.

Making Dabs At Home

Even though the process of extracting oils from cannabis can be complex, there are of course ways to do so on your own. Homemade dabs are just as potent and flavorful, but precautions should be taken with a few methods to ensure safety, especially when using butane or alcohol, as these are highly flammable. You’ll also want to open a window or use an extractor fan to dispel any fumes. When you’re ready to go safety-wise, here are the top four best ways to make dabs.

How to Make Dabs With Butane

This method will deliver a ‘shatter’ type of concentrate ideal for dabbing or vape pens. Be extra cautious with this technique due to the use of butane and heat. First, gather the following materials and supplies:

  • Butane (preferably N-Butane) – multiple cans (takes 300ml (10 fl oz) butane to 30g (1oz) flower)
  • Cannabis flower (30g+ (1oz+))
  • Tube for extraction with mesh screen on one end
  • Two Pyrex dishes (medium & large)
  • Heating pad
  • Container & scraper (razor) for dabs

Step One: Flower First

Ensure your flower is completely dried, then pack the material tightly into the extraction tube with the screen on the bottom. Place the tube over the medium-sized Pyrex and begin blowing butane from the top of the tube. Blow until you see liquid oil drip into the pan below, using as much butane as necessary until the drip slows or ends.

Step Two: Butane Removal

Next, place your medium dish into the larger one. Add hot water to the larger dish, allowing it to surround the smaller dish. Continue adding hot water as necessary, as the butane rises to the top of the solution and evaporates. This step should take 15-20 minutes. Make sure that your area is well-ventilated!

Step Three: Purge Completely

Set your heating pad to high heat and place your dish onto the pad. The butane will continue to evaporate over a span of 1-2 hours. You’ll notice the mixture becoming clear, and it’s complete when there is no haziness left. Once the material is cool, you can scrape into the container and store it in a cool, dark place for preservation of potency and quality.

How To Make Dabs With Alcohol

Making dabs with alcohol can be a slightly safer method than with butane, but still involves a flammable liquid together with heat, so take necessary precautions. Keep your area well-ventilated, collect the following materials and follow the steps carefully.

  • Cannabis flower (at least 7g (¼ oz))
  • Glass jar
  • Mesh strainer
  • Coffee filters
  • Rice cooker or low heat source (e.g. double boiler or heating pad)
  • Glass bowls or containers (e.g. Pyrex)
  • Food grade alcohol such as Everclear

Step One: Prepare Your Flower

For the alcohol extraction method to be successful, your cannabis buds or flower should be as dried out as possible. To do so, you can decarboxylate your weed in the oven on a low setting – 82-104°C (180-220°F ) for 20 minutes.

Step Two: Soak In Alcohol

Add your dried-out cannabis flower to the glass jar and pour the alcohol over it until the flower is fully covered. Stir the material for approximately 10 minutes.

Step Three: Strain & Purge The Solvent

Place the strainer over the glass bowl and add coffee filters to the strainer for additional filtration. Pour the cannabis flower and alcohol mixture into the filters/strainer and let the material drain into the glass bowl completely. To purge the alcohol further, you’ll need to use your low heat source. You can place the mixture over a double boiler on low heat, into a rice cooker on low heat, over a heating pad on low heat, or use a blow dryer on low heat to blow over the mixture manually. Let the alcohol evaporate from the mixture for a span of a few hours. You’ll know the purge is complete when your mixture is sticky and when it does not spark a flame when applying a lighter to a small amount of it.

Step Four: Complete And Contain

You can pour the mixture into a container for storage or place it onto parchment paper. The mixture can be cooled in a freezer or refrigerator to make handling easier.

Sweet Strains

How To Make Dabs With An Iron/Hair Straightener*

This method is by far the simplest and will produce a rosin-like concentrate that’s usable for dabbing purposes. You’ll need just a few ingredients that are readily available in your home.

  • Cannabis flower
  • Parchment paper
  • Hair straightener or iron

Step One: Heat Your Flower

Power on your hair straightener or iron to medium heat. Fold your parchment paper in half to create a pocket-type enclosure. Place the cannabis into the parchment paper and fold the top over the amount. Do not overstuff your parchment paper – use small amounts at a time for this method. Run the hair straightener or iron over the parchment paper for approximately 5 seconds or until you see yellow oil extract from the cannabis flower. You can repeat this step until the flower stops producing oil.

Step Two: Collect Your Dabbing Material

Once your flower is completely extracted of oil, use a razor blade or scraping tool to collect the oil and put it into a glass container for storage.

How To Make THC Vape Oil

While this method takes a few months to complete, by the end, you’ll have homemade THC vape oil to dab, or to put into carts or a vape pen for vaping consumption. You’ll need:

  • Decarbed cannabis flower (heat your flower as described in our alcohol method) – 3.5g or ⅛ of an ounce will produce 30 to 60 ml of oil
  • Food grade vegetable glycerin
  • Airtight glass containers (mason jars are ideal) or glass bowls
  • A stirring tool (butter knife will work)
  • Small rubber spatula
  • Mesh strainer
  • Syringes for transferring oil to vape pens/carts

Step One: Soak Flower In Vegetable Glycerin

Put your decarbed cannabis flower into an airtight sealable jar and pour vegetable glycerin over it, just enough to cover. Stir the mixture and seal the jar for storing in a cool, dark area for 3-4 weeks. After 3-4 weeks, re-open the jar and stir generously. Add an additional tablespoon of vegetable glycerin to the mixture, stir well and store for another 3-4 weeks in the same cool, dark place.

Step Two: Strain Material

After the allotted time of soaking, unseal the jar and stir completely with your butter knife or stirring tool. Place your mesh strainer over a glass bowl or another clean jar. Let the mixture drip through the strainer and use your spatula to press as much remaining liquid from the flower material as possible. You’ll strain the material once more, this time using cheesecloth over the strainer. Get another clean bowl and place your cheesecloth in the strainer. Place the strainer over the bowl and pour your mixture into it for another round of straining. Squeeze the cheesecloth to extract as much liquid as possible.

Step Three: Transfer Oil For Use

Now that your mixture is completely strained, you can use a syringe or eyedropper to fill your carts or vape pens. You can also pour the strained solution into a jar for storage.

Using Dabs And The Equipment You’ll Need

Whether you’ve purchased dabs or are using your own homemade ones, there are a few methods to consume the potent material. The most common consumption technique is to ‘dab’ with a dab rig or bong. We’ll cover all of your options for consuming dabs below.

Dab Rig

A dab rig is essentially a water bong with a specialized ‘nail’ to place your cannabis concentrate into for vaporizing. You’ll use a torch to heat the nail so that high temperatures are reached to flash-vaporize the dab material. From the mouthpiece, you’ll inhale the vapor for instant onset effects.

Joints, Bowls Or Blunts

Most cannabis concentrates are fluid or pliable enough to add to your standard joint, bowl or blunt. You can pack your bowl normally or break up the weed for rolling into a joint or bowl. Depending on the consistency, you can pour the concentrate over the flower, or break it up into smaller pieces and sprinkle it on the material for smoking.

Vape Pen

Refillable vape pens with an atomizer is a convenient and on-the-go option for dabbing material. You’ll simply open the chamber where the atomizer is located and place your dabbing material on it for heating. Attach the mouthpiece, power on to apply heat and inhale as normal.

Dabbing For Elevated Effects

Dabbing is increasing in popularity due to its elevated effects and flavors. While the concentrated versions of beneficial cannabinoids can be quite pricey, as you’ve now discovered, there are many easy ways to make dabs by yourself at home. With careful consideration and by taking the necessary precautions, you can transform cannabis flowers into homemade dabs using a number of methods. Whether you’re dabbing, vaping or enhancing your flower consumption, there are benefits to dabbing for any cannabis connoisseur.

How to make dabs at home and save on costs using just an average hair straightener, parchment paper and basic techniques. Check out our guide on making highly concentrated marijuana wax

How To Make Your Own Homemade Rosin (dabs)

by Sirius Fourside

Table of Contents

What Is Rosin?

If you’re going to make Rosin, it’s a good idea to know what you’re getting! Rosin is a solventless (that means no chemicals) cannabis concentrate that you can make at home. Since it’s solventless, it’s a lot safer than concentrates that use solvents like BHO, Shatter and Wax. Rosin is versatile; you can place it on flowers as a “topper”, or you can smoke it as a “dab” if you have the appropriate equipment. In fact, if you’re looking to turn your weed into a dab-able concentrate, rosin is a great way to go.

Freshly made rosin on a wax tool

Rosin vs Resin vs Live Resin

If you’ve been to a dispensary, or if you’re active in the cannabis niche online, you’ve probably heard of these three similar sounding things. They’re actually pretty different from each other, but it’s not as complicated as people make it seem.

Rosin

Rosin is the result of putting cannabis under intense heat and pressure. If you stick some weed between two hot plates and press the plates together as hard as you can, a golden/golden-brown substance will be left over and that substance is rosin!

Resin

When you hear the word resin, it can refer to one of two very different things. One usage refers to “the sticky stuff” on your plants, aka the trichomes. This is the stuff you can collect in a grinder as “kief”. You could also use cold water to agitate resin off your weed (bubble hash) or freeze the trichomes off your plant matter (dry-ice hash).

Resin also refers to the black sludge left over in bongs and pipes after extended use. This type of resin is also called “reclaim”, and many people smoke this leftover gunk so they don’t waste weed. Although this can be effective in a pinch, it’s about as gross as it sounds and we don’t recommend using it. The stuff is sticky and stinky (not in a good way) and it stains anything it touches.

A ball of black “reclaim”; the gross kind of resin

Live Resin

As the newest kid on the block, Live Resin is the most sought-after of these three. Live Resin is a concentrate made from freezing a newly harvested plant then using additional means to extract the trichomes from the plant. This is usually done with a solvent and it takes some sophisticated equipment to do.

Wait, I’ve heard these names before…

If you think you’ve heard the terms “Rosin” or “Resin” before, it’s because you probably have! The lack of legal legitimacy makes it so that many of the terms we use as cannabis growers are repurposed from other stuff.

  • Rosin refers to a substance used on the bows of cellos and violins. Rosin makes it easier for the bows to grip the strings of their respective instrument.
  • Resin is a thick substance made by plants that is usually composed of terpenes. This definition is perfect for what we’re talking about, but Resin can also refer to the sticky stuff from any plant.

Rosin vs Bubble Hash/Kief/Dry Ice Hash

There are already a ton of cannabis concentrates, so it might be hard to remember what the difference is between them. Here’s a really quick breakdown of some differences between some of the heavy-hitters:

Rosin (left), dry-ice hash, bubble hash, kief (right)

Rosin

  • Made with high-heat and intense pressure.
  • Makes a strong, sticky substance that you can dab or put on flowers

Bubble Hash

  • Combine weed, ice-cold water and agitate to make Bubble Hash
  • After drying, you’ll have a crumbly pile of tiny, super-potent pebbles and dust
  • Learn how to make Bubble Hash
  • This stuff just falls right off of dry cannabis if it’s agitated enough
  • Makes a golden-green powder that can be sprinkled on flowers

Dry-Ice Hash

  • Like Bubble Hash, but uses Dry-Ice instead of cold water
  • Dry-Ice Hash is essentially Kief, but using dry-ice makes the process more efficient
  • Learn How to make Dry-Ice Hash

If you’re going to make your own homemade rosin, there are two main methods: you can use a dedicated Rosin Press, or you can use a hair straightener. Both these methods will work, but they each have their strengths and weaknesses. Let’s go through each method of making rosin and some of the pros and cons of each technique.

Before You Start Making Rosin…

Rosin is just plain great! It’s impressive, fun to make, and even more fun to use. However, before you start on your rosin making journey, there are a few important pieces of information you should know:

  1. Rosin is weed intensive. It takes a bunch of weed to do, and if you’re lucky with a high-quality hydraulic press and a cooperative strain, you’ll get 25% of your weed-weight back as rosin. In my experience, a hair straightener should return between 5%-10% while a non-hydraulic press (like the one I use in this tutorial) will get you 8%-17% That number can get a little higher or a lot lower and that largely depends on your rosin press, your technique, and the weed you start with. Some strains will make lots of rosin, and some will make very little. Seriously, your weed will make a huge difference in determining how much rosin you can press out of it.
    1. If you harvest lots of weed at a time like with this method, you can make rosin without much worry.
  2. Making rosin involves high levels of heat. Be careful not to burn yourself during the process of pressing, no matter which method you use.
  3. You will have to experiment a bit. Although you can use the default settings provided below, you’ll do even better if you test out different strains, temperatures and length of pressing time.

Captured rosin looks almost like a Rorschach test

How Much Rosin Will I Get?

This is a common question growers have before they invest their homegrown weed into making rosin. There isn’t an exact answer since no one can predict the future, however, there are a few factors that will give you a good idea of what to expect from your next pressing.

  1. Strain – The strain you use will make a huge difference! Some strains make tons of trichomes and will give you good returns on rosin, so weed will make next to nothing.
  2. Pressure – The more pressure your Rosin Press can produce, the more rosin you’re likely to get.
  3. Grow Method (Lights) – Powerful grow lights are more likely to produce weed with lots of resin. So, good lights = more rosin!
  4. Heat – In short, less heat (down to 220°F) will produce a better product, but less yield. Higher temps will produce more rosin of lower quality.
  5. Moisture – Dry buds will soak up much more of your rosin before it can make it to your parchment paper. Buds at about 62%RH will work great.
  6. Age – Although we can’t say this definitively, our testing shows that newer bud seems to put out more rosin that older bud. This could be a side-effect of moisture, but again, we don’t have proof besides informal testing.

As a very rough estimate, you can expect about

  • 5-10% return from a hair straightener (in good scenarios)
  • 8-17% returned from a manual press
  • 20-25+% from a hydraulic press

Factors 2 and 4 are largely dependent on your rosin press. In general, you can expect the most rosin from a hydraulic press, a fair amount of rosin from a manual press, and the least from a hair straightener.

The NugSmasher XP – A high-quality Rosin Press with a price tag to match!

If you want a high-quality rosin press, be prepared to PAY!
(Note how the price jumps from $500 to $2000. Guess which ones are hydraulic…)

All 6 factors will drastically affect how much rosin you’re able to press out of your cannabis. When pressing your rosin, try testing out these factors individually. Not only will you have a good time producing rosin, but you’ll learn the best way for you to maximize the amount of rosin you get in while maintaining a level of quality you like.

How to Make Rosin with a Rosin Press

The MyPress Gen 2 Rosin Press – A midrange press that gets the job done

  • Easier method
  • More efficient; you’ll get more rosin per press
  • Fun! Making your own rosin is actually fun with a press!
  • Expensive. A decent press costs a pretty penny and higher-end presses can cost thousands!

You’ll want to thoroughly read the instructions for your Rosin Press before you use it. Although the instructions are simple, they can vary quite a bit depending who makes the press.

What You’ll Need:

  • Rosin Press
    • In this tutorial, I’ll be using the MyPress Gen 2, but there are higher grade (more expensive) ones like the Nugsmasher XP
  • Minimum 1g of weed (you’re going to want more, but only press 1g at a time unless your machine says otherwise)
  • Parchment paper (do not substitute with wax paper)
    • You can get squares or a roll
  • Pollen press (not absolutely necessary, but it helps)
  • Wax collecting tools
  • 25-micron press bags (for pressing hash/kief)

Making Rosin

  1. Plug in your Rosin Press and turn it on.
    • You’ll need to figure out what temperature works best for each strain, but 220°F is a good place to start.
  2. While your press heats up, grind up 1-1.5g of cannabis. You can also just use a whole nug to avoid wasting resin.
    • You can also press kief, dry-ice hash, or bubble hash.
  3. Use your pollen press to turn your weed or hash/kief into a thin disk.
  4. Make an envelope out of parchment paper for your weed.
  5. Place your weed at the back of the envelope.
    • If you’re using hash, place the disk in a 25-micron bag first to keep the hash from absorbing rosin.
    • Warning: the micron bag will absorb some of the rosin. It’s just the way it is.
  6. Open the heated plates of your press.
  7. Place the envelope on the bottom plate and then press your weed by closing the plates (consult your Rosin Press instructions)
  8. Leave the disk between the plates at 220°F for 60-90 seconds.
    • You’ll have to experiment to find the best heat/time combination for the strain you’re doing, but that’s part of the fun!
  9. Carefully open the plates (please don’t burn yourself) and remove the envelope
  10. Carefully open the envelope. Note the sticky substance all around your weed. That’s homemade rosin!
  11. Take out the used disk of weed without letting it touch the rosin and allow the rosin on the parchment paper to cool for about a minute.
  12. Use a scraping tool to collect your new rosin.
  13. (Optional) Press your weed once more to get all the rosin you can.

How to Make Rosin with a Hair Straightener (the low-budget method)

Kipozi makes a high-quality hair straightener that can also make rosin!

  • Dirt cheap compared to a Rosin Press. If you have a hair straightener or a very forgiving partner with a hair straightener, you already have most of what you need!
  • The act of pressing only takes about 20 seconds compared to a Rosin Press that takes 90 seconds.
  • The resulting product just isn’t as good.
  • Much more likely to burn yourself!
  • Little-to-no control over the level of heat. This can be fixed by using a high-quality straightener like this one.
  • Less efficient. You’ll actually get less rosin per press than if you had used a dedicated press.

What You’ll Need:

  • Hair Straightener
    • I used a hair straightener by Kipozi and honestly, I was surprised at the options it had and how well it performed.
  • At least 1g of weed (doing more than 1g at a time can be wasteful)
  • Parchment paper (do not substitute with wax paper)
    • You can get squares or a roll
  • Oven-safe gloves
  • Pollen press (not absolutely necessary, but it helps)
  • Wax collecting tools
  • 25-micron press bags (for pressing hash/kief)

A few rosin presses collect on a wax tool. Yummy!

Making Rosin

  1. Grind up 1g of cannabis or just use a whole (1g) nug if you’re feeling saucy.
    • You can also press kief, dry-ice hash, or bubble hash.
  2. Use your pollen press to turn your weed or hash/kief into a thin disk.
    • Again, you can also just use a whole nug to avoid wasting resin.
  3. Use your parchment paper to make an envelope for your weed.
  4. Place your weed at the back of the envelope.
    1. If you’re using hash, place the disk in a 25-micron bag first to keep the hash from mingling with the rosin.
    2. Warning: You will lose some rosin to the press bag. I know it hurts, but it’s normal.
  5. Plug in your hair straightener and turn it on. Make sure it’s on a surface that won’t be affected by the heat (like a kitchen counter).
    1. Turn it down to the lowest setting if you have the option. If your straightener has a temperature control like this one, set it to 220°F.
  6. Put on your oven-safe gloves while the hair straightener heats up.
  7. Place the envelope on the bottom heating element of the hair straightener plate and then close the straightener around your weed-envelope.
  8. Press down firmly on the hair straightener for 15-20 seconds. You should hear sizzling.
    • Seriously, press down hard!
  9. Remove the envelope from the hair straightener and put the straightener out of the way so you don’t accidentally burn yourself.
  10. Carefully open the envelope. Note the sticky substance all around your weed. That’s homemade rosin!
  11. Take out the used disk of weed without letting it touch the rosin and allow the rosin on the parchment paper to cool.
  12. Use a scraping tool to collect your new rosin.
  13. (Optional) Press your weed once more to get all the rosin you can.

Using and Storing Rosin

Now that you know how to make rosin, it’s important that you know what to do with it!

Usage

Rosin can be placed on top of flowers to make your bud stronger and tastier. It can also be used directly as a dab if you have a dab rig or a portable dab vaporizer/rig.

Storage

Firstly, you’re going to need containers to put your rosin in. Rosin is super-sticky (and some strains can be even stickier than others), so you’ll want a silicone container so your product is easier to handle.

There are the “standard” silicone containers you’ll see in dispensaries, and then there are cool wax containers like these if you prefer a little more flair.

Officially, it’s advised that rosin only is kept for around 3 days in regular conditions, or up to a week if stored inside an air-tight container in a refrigerator. The reasoning behind this schedule is that rosin will lose its distinctive flavor quickly, and keeping it for a short amount of time will prevent that from happening.

Just to be safe, this is a good rule to follow. It ensures that you don’t waste anything and that any rosin you make will be super-fresh. That being said…

Some growers just aren’t as concerned with flavor profiles. If your main concern is potency, you can probably keep your rosin for much longer without a noticeable drop in its apparent strength. I’ve stored rosin at room temperature in a non-airtight container for about 3 weeks and it felt just and powerful as the day I got it.

There you have it! Now get out there, make a bunch of tasty rosin and send us pictures to show how well it worked out for you!

Rosin is a potent, solventless cannabis concentrate that is most popular when used by itself as a "dab". Learn how to make press your own Rosin at home! ]]>