Sunday, October 23, 2016

Perfect Cannabis E-Liquid Recipe

In this article we'll walk through the steps of making cannabis e-liquid. While we are going to be doing actual organic chemistry, the whole thing is very simple and can be broken down to five basic steps:

  1. Collect and prepare marijuana flower
  2. Activate the THC by heating it
  3. Extract THC from marijuana flower using grain alcohol 
  4. Remove grain alcohol to leave a THC oil concentrate
  5. Get it ready to vape by adding food grade propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin to the concentrate
At the end of this process, you will have a THC infused e-liquid suitable for vaping from any vape-pen, box-mod or refillable electronic cigarette.

There is a materials list and some handy links at the end of the article.

Step 1: Collect and Prepare the Flower

First, collect your bud. Most pot shops around Seattle seem to have low price options for bags of trim, which is the stuff that gets cut off while they are preparing the top shelf bud. This is a great option, since you can get around 15% THC trim as low as $50 per ounce.

The potency of the end product really depends on the quality of what you start with, so start with high quality flower for the best end result. I used about 10 grams of potent Dolittle Kush (~23% THC) and a few more grams of trim.

Next, grind the flower up very finely. Since your not smoking it, go ahead and leave the smaller stems and all.

Step 2:  Activate THC with Heat

You might be tempted to skip this step, but don't. There really aren't any psycho-active compounds in marijuana until it goes through a chemical process to turn THCA into THC. Luckily, its a pretty simple processl; you just heat it up. When you smoke flower, the hear sets off the decarboxylation process. Since your going to be vaping the e-liquid and not burning it, we need to perform the decarboxylation process ahead of time by heating the marijuana. Just follow the pictures below.

Spread the ground flower across a baking sheet

Bake at 225 for 10 minutes

Bake for 5 minute increments until the flower in browned

Step 3:  Extract THC

In this step, we will use grain alcohol to extract THC from the decarboxylated flower. To get the most out of your time and effort, use the highest proof grain alcohol - 90% (180 proof) or better. I used Everclear, but the brand doesn't really matter. This should go without saying, but I am going to say it anyway: only use grain alcohol for this step, rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) is not made for human consumption and should not be used.

Put your bud into a glass container (I used a Mason jar) land fill with grain alcohol up to about a half inch over the top of the weed. Put the jar into a cool dark place for 2 to 3 days. 

It takes 2 - 3 days to extract the THC
It takes patience, but it produces the best result. Some tutorials will have you double-boil the alcohol/marijuana mixture to force the THC out. Its faster, but you'll get much better results if you wait.

Step 4: Reduce the solution

In this step, we will remove all of the alcohol and other impurities to leave a THC oil concentrate.

First, we want to remove any vegetative matter from the solution. Use a blunt tip syringe or a dropper to strain the alcohol though a coffee filter to remove any plant matter/ Stain the alcohol solution into a small jar or shot glass.. 

Next, we are going to double boil the solution to remove the alcohol. Put the container (I used a shotglass) into a cooking pot (I used a fondue pot) and fill the pot with water up to about the same level as the alcohol solution. Heat the water until it reaches a very light boil, not too hot.

After 5 to 10 minutes, the solution will no longer smell like alcohol and will have a noticeably oily texture. This is extremely potent THC oil. 

THC Oil Concentrate

Step 5: Get it ready to vape

For the last step, we want to add some propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin to concentrate to get it ready it to vape. These additives are used to make the smoke effect from vaporizers. You can use just propylene glycol, or add a little vegetable glycerin to your preference to make a good vaping mixture based on your tastes.
Put the glass or jar with the THC oil concentrate back in the double-boiler. Add about one milliliter of propylene glycol per gram of concentrate. Stir lightly while the water heats. Remove the heat once the water reaches a light boil.

After it cools, transfer the vaping solution into a using a dropper or blunt tip syringe into a dropper bottle and you are ready to vape!


  • Marijuana flower or trim (at least 1/8th ounce)
  • Mason jar
  • 190 proof grain alcohol
  • Baking sheet
  • Shot glass or small jar
  • Propylene Glycol and/or Vegetable Glycerin
  • Blunt tip syringe or dropper
  • Dropper bottle
These are my top picks.

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