How to Safely Make Dabs at Home: Rosin Tech
From the depths of Instagram to the top shelf of the dispensary, rosin is the hottest trend in cannabis concentrates. But there is a lot of confusion regarding the stuff – is it effective? Does it yield? Is it flavorful? Can I vaporize it? Will it be stable? What will the replies to these questions even mean? I will help you understand the answers as well as provide step-by-step instructions for making rosin at home.
Also referred to as rosin tech, the process utilizes heat and pressure to extract the essential oils from the cannabis flower or hash. This can be performed using a simple hair straightener or a rosin press. Because the industrial rosin presses are very expensive and intended for commercial production, I will explain how to make rosin hash at home with your basic Target hair straightener as the primary piece of extraction equipment (with the option to use a Home Depot bar clamp to increase pressure). Once your rosin hash is ready, I can show you how to smoke dabs as well!
Get the Necessary Items for Pressing Bud:
Hair Straightener/Flat Iron (wider plates provide more surface area for pressing)
Press, vice, bar clamp, etc. (optional)
Extra Items when Pressing Hash:
Preheat the Iron
The first step is to plug in your iron, turn it on, and set it to a temperature ranging from 240°F to 300°F. If the temperature settings on your iron do not go low enough (ours don’t), simply select the lowest temperature. I deal with the higher temperature setting by unplugging the iron just prior to pressing. Feel free to play with the temperature settings as it can impact yield, flavor, consistency, and color.
If pressing flower, select a medium sized bud, about the size of a quarter. The area of the bud should not be larger than the area of your pressing surface (hot plates on the iron). Make sure to remove all visible stems! If your starting material is less dense or 'larfy', you can squish it into a small ball, about the size of a quarter, prior to pressing. Take the bud and place it into a sheet of parchment paper that has been folded in half.
If pressing ice water hash, dry sift, or trim, I recommend packing the material into a screen pouch prior to squishing. This will eliminate the risk of any plant material finding its way into your concentrate. Remember, the goal here is to extract the plant’s beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes while leaving behind the plant material itself. There are several companies that make pouches specifically for this purpose – search for a ‘pressing screen’ or ‘rosin screen’. The best results can be seen when the screen and material has been folded into a pouch that is just smaller than the area of the iron’s plates. Place the pouch between a folded piece of parchment paper so that the extracted material can be collected.
Squish Firmly and Hold
Now the fun part; smash the starting material in the iron! It is generally easiest to set the hair straightener on the ground and orient the pressing surface so it is parallel to the floor. If your iron runs hotter than the optimal pressing range, now is the perfect time to unplug it. Take the folded parchment and place it in-between the two flat heating elements such that the bud or hash is centered on the iron’s surface. PRESS AS HARD AS YOU CAN! Some people step on the iron, others have created DIY presses to exert even more force on the hair straightener. Increased pressure results in higher yields! I recommend pressing for 5 to 10 seconds (the perfect length for you will depend on your specific temperature and pressure parameters). By adjusting the length of each press, you can impact yield, flavor, consistency, and color.
Recently, I have been using a high-pressure bar clamp for added pressure and the outcome has been great. Want to upgrade to 600 lbs of pressure? You can buy one of these on Amazon for a meager $20. There is no right or wrong here, just do the best you can with your budget or the items at your disposal.
Clean and Collect
The next step in the process is to clean the rosin of any contaminant (plant matter), if necessary. When pressing flowers, a pistil or two typically manages to find its way into the sticky concentrate. These bits of plant matter are easy to remove with the help of a dabber or tweezers. The pressing screens are very effective at preventing plant material from even coming into contact with the rosin – the downside is they absorb some of the essential oils, resulting in slightly diminished yields.
Once the rosin has been cleaned, you can collect it using a dabber or similar tool. It is typically easiest to collect the solventless oil by gently rubbing the dabber back and forth across the parchment paper. Leaving the ball of rosin at the end of the dabber while scraping is helpful as the oil sticks to itself, making for effortless collection. Once the rosin has been collected, it can be placed in parchment paper or a non-stick silicone container for storage.
Re-Press if Needed
Depending on the effectiveness of your first press, there may be some essential oils remaining in your starting material. It never hurts to give your hash or flower another press in the hair straightener to ensure that all cannabinoids and terpenes have been extracted. One of my favorite applications of the rosin tech is using it to extract the essential oils from lower grades of ice water hash, or kief/dry sift; effectively turning your trash into treasure!
Preserve your Rosin
Did you know that proper storage can prevent shattery rosin from auto-buddering over time? I recommend an air-tight, non-stick container like the Pebble.
Bonus: Can I Vape Rosin?
What is the consistency of Rosin Tech concentrates?
The rosin tech typically produces a glassy, stable oil that takes on a shatter-like consistency. It can also be whipped into a budder consistency for those who prefer wax over shatter. Depending on certain variables like strain, temperature, and pressure, the rosin may have a snap n’ pull consistency.
How do I consume rosin?
Is rosin flavorful?
Many people worry that because the extraction process involves heat, it inherently results in lost terpenes, the compounds that give cannabis its flavor and aroma. However, you may be surprised at the flavors retained in quality rosin; especially considering that the initial product being pressed may have been riddled with plant material. Although, the answer to this question is largely based on the specific heat levels used in the extraction process. As a general rule of thumb, lower temperatures and higher pressures result in the least adulterated, most terpene-rich extracts. You can maximize the flavor of each rosin dab with a few simple adjustments.
Does the rosin tech yield well?
Yields with this extraction method can range from less than 10% to upwards of 30% which is in the range of other popular extraction techniques like BHO. Don't expect to be hitting the high end of this range with just a hair straightener and flower. Yield percentages can run higher with hash because it's already concentrated, but the primary variables impacting yield are strain, potency, and temperature/pressure used in extraction. One thing you can do to increase your yields with certainty is to use a press, bar clamp etc. to exert more pressure on the iron than would be possible with just the human body.
Is rosin better than BHO?
This is a difficult question to answer as it is largely preference based; however, there are some marked differences between the two concentrates. Rosin hash is great as it provides consumers a safe alternative to making solvent based extracts, like BHO (a dangerous process), within the comfort of home. This is especially helpful for those who lack access to safe, quality solvent-based extractions. Additionally, rosin is inherently safer to consume than concentrates made with butane, propane, or alcohol. No more feeling like your lungs are going collapse after taking a large dab! Have you wondered why your lungs hurt after dabbing? That unpleasant sensation in your respiratory system is caused by the residual solvent (generally butane) remaining in the concentrate.
Do they sell rosin in dispensaries?
Yes! Depending on the starting material used, the product will be labeled as either ‘flower rosin’ or ‘hash rosin’.
- Better starting material = higher yield
- More pressure = higher yield
- Lower temperature = better terpene retention (more flavor)