'How can I isolate and benefit from CBD or another specific, individual cannabinoid, at home?'
This question, has been coming up a LOT lately.
That's GREAT news, and it only means that awareness is increasing!
And I'd like to share a very basic method that we use at home, whenever possible.
* This method requires an accurate digital vaporizer. A classic numerical dial may be used, but only if your model has been generally tried and tested for consistency (classic Volcano vape dial settings for instance, are generally some of the most consistent on the market).
Where CBD, and more and more frequently other, similar, cannabinoid-specific meds are becoming more and more important to our own patients, as they begin to realize the unique and (as science and testing, improves) growing array of benefits they provide, and where I've noticed that folks here at GC are beginning to discuss and appreciate cannabinoids for their individual importance more often, I've decided that this topic may deserve its own thread, as well as being included (perhaps in more detail) in the CannaPharm.
Some of you have probably seen me around the net once or twice before.
I'm BadKittySmiles ( ) and I make edibles, for patients. Usually with their (but sometimes donating my own) homegrown meds.
I find it hard to think of as volunteering or work, where it's my favorite pass-time
I've traveled around a bit over the years, living on a few continents for the medical and recreational cannabis community, learning from some of the masters early on, and later helping to educate others where I can.
In our kitchen....
When at all possible, if a patient has the need and owns a digital vaporizer, with a temperature gauge we can test, or trust, I'll make as many cannabinoid specific oils as possible, and freeze them. But really, it's never enough.
( I do not own a Volcano or similar vaporizer myself.. my own vape is embarrassingly low-tech and simple. )
These extracts are crucial for many 'THC-sensitive' patients, in my own experience they are particularly crucial for patients suffering from MS, epilepsy, and similar conditions where nerve damage and/or convulsions and seizures are concerned.
CBD specifically has also been shown to be wonderful for those with psychological distress, who suffer from everything from simple anxiety, to delusional, auditory or visual hallucinations.
And beyond those ailments, where inflammation, nausea, and a plethora of other symptoms and conditions are concerned, CBD and the other lesser/primary cannabinoids can do so much more, medicinally, especially when combined.
But in terms of isolation, we often focus on 'THC-sensitive' patients and their ailments specifically, where the intake of additional THC that would normally be present or coincide with adequate or even small levels of CBD, can be enough to make them uncomfortable, or even potentially trigger an attack in and of itself... and that's not what you want your medicine to do!
This is fortunately a very simple extraction!
But unfortunately, if isolating larger amounts of material, you will find it is a tedious process.
I suggest 'purging' all the more volatile cannabinoids first, in however many portions required (this is where it becomes a day/week-long, tedious process, if you're making more than just a few weeks supply for a single patient or two).
Once purged, you can then collect the next (isolated) cannabinoid, in portions, but all at once without pre-purge sessions in between. This tends to save some confusion and prevents potential over-purging, as it spares you from switching back and forth between two different temps...
You can see how this would become time consuming and tedious if working with several ounces of material.. in a lab on the other hand, some clinics, or if you happen to have quite a lot of money, you can use equipment similar to or in some cases the same, as that used for gas chromatography. (I've been fortunate enough to see a few nifty things, over the years ) Smaller amounts, well ground, with the most surface space exposed still work the best, but when working with better tools you can at least process up to several grams or more at a time with good accuracy.
This tutorial is for people who are, for whatever reason, strictly interested in CBD-heavy (or other cannabinoid-heavy) concentrates, but who have limited or no access to medical strains with the appropriate cannabinoid ratio. Degradation of cannabinoids WILL occur, for the same reason Gas Chromatography produces a lower cannabinoid content than Liquid; once you approach the vaporization point you will lose a small percentage to degradation and outright destruction, this is why for other oil purposes safe solvents are key. This method will also NOT produce CBDA; this is because, simply by nature, decarboxylation occurs prior to vaporization. If your needs require a full or broad spectrum cannabinoid extract, or carboxyl-intact cannabinoids, another extraction method should be utilized.
We've found that in most small-scale circumstances, for most individual patients or if I'm only providing for only a few people, a simple home vaporizer provides just enough accuracy to provide a fairly, to 'entirely' isolated end-product almost every time (in terms of tested major cannabinoids, excluding similarly heat-sensitive phytochemicals/terpenes which may be included but were not tested at the time.. to explain the quotes around 'entirely' isolated).
So it's tedious, but at least with a decent vaporizer it's within reach, with good accuracy, for MANY patients!
However it's worth noting that, if you find in your own home, kitchen or lab, you have the means to control temperature with strict accuracy, and if you feel confidant that you can purge and process larger amounts of material, evenly, then by all means:
The same concepts apply!!
This specific process has been rigorously lab-tested by my own group, as well as by (inadvertently though it may be) Dr. Hornby, and several other specialists when researching cannabinoid vape-points, and the below tutorial CAN be used on a larger scale!
On to the tutorial...
There are a few ways to go about it.
But really the only way that most of us can do it at home, is the 'easy' or layman's way, via purging or vaping off the individual cannabinoids, one at a time, and then isolating the specific one you desire in a clean collection chamber when its turn and temperature is reached.
Unlike the more expensive and tedious chemical and gas lab methods for isolation, this can potentially cause a bit more degradation to your end product in the process, but it's a reasonably negligible amount if you're working with large enough quantities of material.
In short, in order to easily isolate specific cannabinoids at home, you must begin by purging either at the beginning of the cannabinoid 'list' (ie. at the lowest end, in the order of their unique temperature sensitivity), at the most volatile cannabinoid in order to purge off or collect them individually, or, purging may begin at the temperature just a step or a cannabinoid below the specific one you wish to isolate and collect.
You will need;
- A digital temperature-controlled vaporizer
- Collection bags (I trust the oven bags meant for cooking).
- Ethyl Alcohol, pref. above 90-95%
- And the below concentrate tutorial, if you wish to process your isolated cannabinoid concentrate into edible form;
-Medical Grade Cannabis Concentrate-
Flash Point: 137.6 °C (279.68 °F)
Flash Point: 144.5 °C (292.10 °F)
Flash Point: 149.3 °C (300.74 °F)
Flash Point: 174.2 °C (345.56 °F)
Flash Point: 206.3 °C (403.34 °F)
Flash Point: 207.2 °C (404.96 °F)
Flash Point: 212.7 °C (414.86 °F)
The below, I saved and set aside from an old article (not sure where it's linked or located now ) by Dr. Hornby, who had at the time performed similar lab-testing on, rather than on the extract, instead on the remains of pre-vaped bud:
Volcano Setting THC remaining mg/g CBN remaining mg/g CBD remaining mg/g
" Volc.... THC..CBN..CBD
6.0 - 260 / 0.05 / 0.6
7.5 - 245 / 0.05 / 0.6
9.0 - 75 / 0.05 / 0.15
In order to collect for instance CBD alone (keeping in mind with the others, you can either choose to 1) collect them individually, 2) combine, or 3) discard the remaining cannabinoids), you would begin in something like a Volcano, or other digital (and temp-tested), bagged vaporizer.
Again, using CBD isolation as an example, you would begin NOT at its flashpoint, but instead just beyond 175 C or 346 F, or just above the flashpoint for CBC, while still remaining safely below that of the CBD you are trying to collect.
We would usually 'purge' pre-CBD content at roughly 390 - 400 F...
When referencing Dr. Hornby's results, this coincides with his findings.
In which case, for those of you with classic Volcano dials, that's hovering around settings 7 - 7.5 on your dial.
The lower the temp it's exposed to beforehand, the less degradation will occur to the cannabinoid you're attempting to extract, so shooting for the 'middle' between the two flash points, above the last one you're purging and the one you intend to collect can be good because it's cooler, but in terms of isolation and purity, your potential for more accurate results, improves, the more closely you purge to the flashpoint of cannabinoid you're collecting.
Meaning in the case of CBD, first approaching 206.3 very, very closely but without going over during the purge of the earliest cannabinoids, and then, only just barely going over its flashpoint later on, during collection.
But the less that you can trust the reliability of your temps, or the less accurate your vape is, then better off you are staying near the middle.
Once you've satisfactorily purged off the lower-temp cannabinoids, again in the case of CBD, you would attach a NEW collection bag and set your temperature for 206.5 C or 404 F.
You can go very slightly higher, if you like, and if you do not mind the inclusion of CBG.
Once the bag is full, allow the vapor to condense, and repeat.
The isolation bag can be re-used over and over, until it becomes too sticky and difficult to use. Just always remember to pause and allow your vapor to condense, before pressing the air out and repeating the process.
Washing, Cleaning and Collection:
When you've finished extracting the cannabinoid in question, from your last portion, take your bag or bags, and one by one, fill them with high proof ethyl alcohol.. and yes, you may use other alcohols or solvents, but in the case of non-food grade ingredients, purging carefully and completely is all the more crucial.
Tip to Save Solvent - If you're short on good alcohol, you can work one bag at a time, pouring the alcohol from the first bag (once the isolated glandular material has been stripped) to the next, and repeating until all bags have been washed out.
** Be careful with this alcohol, don't spill a drop!... it contains the fruits of your labor; it's what you've spent all this time and effort on! **
(Cleaning: If you've extracted a particularly high-temp cannabinoid, and some minor combustion of the inert plant matter has occurred, you may find your extract is a bit dirty.
These extracts can be cleaned by soaking the cannabinoid-solvent/solution with activated carbon overnight, then siphoning off the solvent from the settled carbon, and finally filtering the resulting, clearer liquid through fine mesh, the following day. The carbon can be bought at health food shops, and fresh alcohol can be poured through it once it's been used, to wash out and claim any remaining cannabinoid residue. )
Once you've got your alcohol, you can finish up by an open window, with a fan.
If you don't want floating debris to land in your concentrate, just wrap and secure it in screen, or paper towels (be careful not to drip the screen or towels in your alcohol as it dries, or you'll need to double your efforts and your alcohol budget washing it back out!)
Tip - If alcohol tincture is suitable for you, and if you used safe grain/ethyl/drinking alcohol, then instead of evaporating it off you can skip that step, and simply allow it to rest in a sealed bottle for several weeks, until the concentrate finishes slowly blending and bonding at a microscopic level (similar to dragon) and becomes more bioavailable.
Tip - If you will be eating ALL your concentrate, and do not plan to smoke/vape any of it, then the extraction from the bags can be performed entirely with hot coconut oil, saving your funds on the cost of alcohol/solvent.
Vaping, or Eating:
And now you can finish processing, as described in the -Medical Grade Cannabis Concentrate-!
- If you want it for vaping, just allow it to finish evaporating fully before scraping and collecting.
- If you want it for edibles, just add a little coconut oil, just before it loses the last of its alcohol content, and begin processing in the oven at 180 f - 200 f, for no longer than 80 - 90 total minutes (less for the lower end heat-wise, longer for the higher end).
How much oil to use:
As a guide for the amount of oil to use, you should be using a minimum of -.5 - 1Tbsp per oz of processed flowers... less oil per ounce for weaker material, leaf, trim, etc., and more for frosty med-grade flowers.
On processing in oil....
*** Keep in mind, if you want to ABSORB and benefit your cannabinoid/potency***:
This is adequate time for a bioavailable solution to occur; simply dissolving in oil well enough 'for the naked eye' is not the same, and that does not ensure the creation of solution your body can readily absorb.
You do not need to be concerned with decarboxylation; it occurred during extraction.
When processing in oil, a freeze between two separate periods of heating 'can help', but it is not necessary for the same reasons it's recommended during an extraction, in which case freezing is used instead to ensure the contraction and expansion of glandular material, it causes it to become brittle and easily manipulated, and it encourages it to exit trichome husks. In this case, you would be freezing only to subtly aid in the formation of the solution as it thaws and re-heats.
I've explained some of the 'how and why', in hopefully short and easy to understand terms, but here are the steps summarized... just fill in the temps for the specific cannabinoids you're purging, and isolating, and away you go!
Steps in short:
Part 1- Purge:
1) Grind your material well
2) Set aside purge bag/s (or don't, if other cannabinoids are irrelevant to you)
3) Vape within required temp/range for purging, below the flashpoint of the cannabinoid to be isolated
4) Remove and Repeat
Part 2 - Isolate:
1) Set aside fresh collection bag/s
2) Refill and re-vape material at required isolation temps, heating above the flashpoint of the cannabinoid to be isolated
3) Pause, and allow vapor to condense
3) Repeat until completed, switching bags only as they become 'full'/too-sticky
Both the purging, and the isolation steps, should each take between at least 3 - 8 bags (varying on resin/glandular content) to complete, per portion, at the required temperatures.
Part 3 - Wash & Collect:
1) Fill isolation bag/s with high proof alcohol; hot coconut oil may be used right away, if this is to be eaten, only.
2) Soak and manually manipulate until stripped 'clean'
2a) Optional if using alcohol* - clarify/filter away potential 'near-combusted' product contamination, if desired, using activated carbon.
3) Pour into collection dish
4) Evaporate in front of a window with a fan
5) And continue processing for edibles or for clean vaping material as described here:
-Medical Grade Cannabis Concentrate-
** Remember, for the best bioavailability, to use at least between 0.5 - 1Tbsp coconut oil (that's 1.5 - 3 tsp!) per each oz of pre-processed or starting material; less for leafy trim, more for frosty med-grade flowers.
Follow these steps carefully, and viola; you have a relatively pure Isolated Cannabinoid Oil ! ! ! !
And the best part? It can be used just the same, as you would use any concentrate.
** Keep in mind that this is a variable and rough extraction and isolation, and if you don't extract enough total material per batch, that you can send samples off to a lab without feeling regret from 'losing out' on a portion of your meds, then you can't say for certain what your extract contains - this goes for similarly un-tested clinic/dispensary-provided meds as well; just know that it's more likely than not, primarily, the cannabinoid you intended to isolate, just so long as your temps are for the most part accurate. **
** Most quality vaporizers, at any given temperature setting, heat the material within a fluctuating, roughly 5 ° - 10 ° F span. If you are not using a quality vaporizer that shuts off either at, or just before the desired temperature, or in other words if your vaporizer heats inconsistently, you will have more varied results.
The more variable your heat source, the less accurate the results, in which case for the most reliable product you will especially want to aim as closely as possible for the middle of the flashpoint range during the purge, and during the isolation of the specific cannabinoid. Sending in samples from at least the first few batches you produce for potency analysis, can help you to eventually pinpoint the temperature settings required, with the tools you're using. **
** Do NOT assume or consider any extracts you produce, especially those produced without lab testing, to be absolutely 100% pure, or without trace amounts additional cannabinoid 'adulteration'...
In most cases, at best (and also to avoid losing too much of the cannabinoid you are specifically isolating) you will be very dramatically reducing the ratio of any additional cannabinoids present, so much so, to the point where you can medicate and benefit off MUCH higher quantities of the cannabinoid in question, allowing you the ability to take in many multiple times more in volume/weight, without experiencing the side-effects of the additional cannabinoids. **
Classic Volcano Dial 'rough' Temperature Settings:
1 - 130° C / 266° F
2 - 142° C / 288° F
3 - 154° C / 309° F
4 - 166° C / 331° F
5 - 178° C / 352° F
6 - 190° C / 374° F
7 - 202° C / 396° F
8 - 214° C / 417° F
9 - 226° C / 439° F
I hope this helps, guys.. have fun, and stay healthy!
Remember; "An edible a day, keeps the doctor away"
PS - Thank you for ALL the wonderful comments, and support! And for being so patient over the last few days, while I finished hammering this out. Edited to embolden a paragraph for those who needed some help