We went to a top-secret location to investigate a private grow operation, taking a deeper look at just how pure head-kicking concentrates are made from the cannabis plant.
The Stoner’s Cookbook just had to know how pure terpenoids (the primary constituents of the essential oils of plants and flowers) are extracted from the cannabis plant to make the strongest and most mind-blowing marijuana medicines to date.
We were offered the opportunity to see just how “Shatter”—known to be the strongest of pure extracts— is made. Quickly we gathered our gear bags, gummies, and dialed our heads with some “Northern Honey” (a cross between Northern Lights and Honey Badger Haze) and were on our way to investigate the process.
Marijuana concentrates are extracts from the cannabis flower itself and are the strongest smokable and edible forms of administration. These include Wax, honeycomb, hash oil, bud butter, sap, and shatter forms. While some may prefer smoking joints, the heat from a lighter’s flame burns hot enough that more harmful carbon chemicals are produced when lit. While cannabis is being shown to have a plethora of medicinal healing properties these additional chemicals have been shown to have negative effects on the body over time. With concentrates and their specific utensils for use, dab rigs, nectar collectors, hash oil vaporizers, one can get the most of their high with smaller amounts of these “dabs” while eliminating harmful carbon chemicals found in other smoke-based forms.
Using solvents such as Butane, CO2, and other hydrocarbons the marijuana plants THC and CBD chemical compounds can be extracted from the plant. This process is not legal without the proper licensing, however, given the dangers of flammable chemicals and contents under pressure which can be explosive without the proper understanding of the process.
Shatter is known to be the purest of all the smokable forms of cannabis extracts. It has an amber, glass-like transparency and some of the highest terpene content of all concentrated extractions.
We decided to talk to our private grower in the Colorado area on just how the process was done and just how much shatter could be yielded through a Butane extraction (known as BHO or Butane Hash Oil).
He explained that you need plenty of high trichome buds, large hollow glass tubes to pack the herbs in, several cans of butane, coffee filters and clamps to hold them to your tubes, a glass holding dish for your resinous oil, a heating oven at just the correct temperature and vacuum pump to purge the butane away from the extract once it has been pulled off from the plant itself.
“With a 4 ounce tube packed full, I can produce 32 grams of shatter between a day and two days.”
One tube of high-end grass will take a couple cans of butane. Insert the butane can and let this filter off your product into a measuring cup. You can also remove the marijuana and run it a second time to get even more from your plant. Next is purging the solvents (evaporation method) from the butane hash oil so that it can dry into a candied amber resin.
Our grower stated the following about his purge operation: “We purge our butane at 91 degrees for 16 to 30 hrs. We do this with a 3 cfm one-stage vac pump. The oil sits in a big glass dish with a lid on top with a line going in which pulls the air and butane out through our pumps. It is important to use a pressure gauge that tells you how hot the glass dish your oil sits on is getting so you don’t burn off your product. All you want to do is remove the solvents from your product, getting the purity back held within your plants.”
He states that one major secret to the operation of making your shatter as strong as possible is getting the high numbers of trichomes from your plant. This involves using root strengthener from the start of the grow. “We go above the call for root growth, taking it as far as possible at the earliest stages. I have air lines that go into our soil to push in fresh air and use one inch rocks mixed in the soil. I also foliar spray my plants every two days.”
*Foliar spray is a spray mist that feeds nutrients to the plant through its leaves. This ensures the plant won’t become stressed and is 3 to 5 times more effective than standardized root fertilization. Foliar spraying helps strengthen the plant for much larger harvest and stronger bud yields.
What are your experiences with concentrates? Do you use a different method for extraction? Let us know your thoughts on our social media page or in the comments section below.