Extract-based DIY e-liquids are all the rage among hardcore vapers, enthusiasts and perfectionists alike
For nearly a decade, smokers have been transitioning from cigarettes to vapes for their considerably reduced long-term health risks. Throughout this process, the single biggest contributing factor to the rise in popularity of vapes is a group of the most influential smokers around: celebrities. If anyone needed a discreet and stylish (yet relatively safe) aid in dealing with an extremely busy, on-the-go lifestyle, it'd be our favorite performers and professional athletes! Now, with vaping more commonplace than ever before, more and more vapers are turning to DIY e-liquids for both their nicotine and cannabis needs.
Method One: Using Cannabis Extract aka The Easy Method
The first thing you'll need for method one is butane hash oil (BHO), which is a cannabis concentrate made by using a solvent-based process to extract cannabinoids. Other liquid cannabis extracts, such as propane hash oil (PHO) or C02-extracted concentrate will do as well.
You'll also need EJMix, a popular herbal suspension liquid used commonly as an aromatherapy carrier. EJMix is made entirely out of medical grade glycols, and works very well in creating essential oil blends, terpene blends and DIY e-liquids.
- Use either a microwave or boiling water to slowly melt your extract in low heat. Note that if you go the boiling water route, you'll need to use a heat-resistant container such as a boiling bag or Cook-In-Bag to protect the extract from dilution.
- Next, you'll need to mix the melted extract with your EJMix. A 1:1 ratio of extract to EJMix is a good place to start, then go by preference from there. Obviously, more extract will result in a stronger, more potent e-liquid while more EJMix gives you a milder final product.
- Be gentle, but do your best to completely homogenize the mixture. Ideally, you'll want to use stainless steel or silicon when mixing in order to avoid influencing the flavor in any way.
- Finally, remove the mixture from all heat and allow it to cool completely. A good 24 hours in a closed, well-ventilated room should do the trick. Don't try to speed up the process with the use of a window sill, as you could impact the flavor of the mixture on top of depriving it of valuable steeping time.
Once it's cooled, bottle it and start vaping! If your ratios are off, go back to the top of this method and give it another try with adjusted ratios.
Method Two: Using Loose Leaf Bud aka The Tender Loving Care Method
To make liquid THC for e-cigs the long way, you'll need quite a few more ingredients. First, a minimum of 4.5g of loose leaf bud.
Next, you'll need a bottle of PEG 400. PEG 400 is a low toxicity, low molecular weight grade of propylene glycol, and is the best widely available suspension liquid for psychoactive material such as cannabinoids and terpenoids.
For the extraction process, get a bottle of grain or food-grade alcohol with a minimum proof of 190. The higher the proof, the more efficient the extraction.
You'll also need a number of miscellaneous items that may not already be sitting around the house. In no particular order, they are
- a stainless steel or silicone funnel
- a pack of parchment paper or baking sheets
- a pack of coffee filters
- two medium-size jars
- a cooking temperature thermometer
- a sieve
When picking out your jars, keep in mind that they should preferably be opaque in order to prevent light sources from degrading THC during extraction. Now on to the procedure:
- Start by using your hands to break up your bud. This is to make the coffee filter's job easier. Don't go overboard and ground them into dust – just enough to break them up into small pieces will do.
- Decarboxylate your bud by putting them on a baking tray covered in your parchment paper or baking sheet, and into the oven at 100°C (or 220°F) for 30-40 minutes. You'll know it's ready when it's turned a nice goldish-brown color.
- Choose a jar to put your bud into, and then add just enough of your 190+ proof alcohol to submerge it with about a half inch extra on top. Tightly lid the jar and store in a cool, dry, preferably dark place for at least 48 hours. Every 12 hours, you can choose to pick up the jar and gently swish around the contents without agitating the mixture.
- After a minimum of 48 hours prep the second jar by placing the funnel, coffee filter and sieve on top of it, in that order. Then carefully pour the contents of the first jar through the sieve, filters and funnel on the second. You can choose to pour your mixture through one or two more "filter jars" to remove as much resin and wax as possible.
- Burn off the remaining alcohol in your mixture using a saucepan (preferably stainless steel) on a stove maintaining 60-70°C. This is to cause every last drop of alcohol to evaporate without crossing into a temperature range that can harm the terpene content of your mixture.
- After the alcohol has been evaporated off of your mixture, mix in your PEG 400 at a starting ratio of 1:1. As with the Easy Method, adjust the ratios according to your preference, with less PEG 400 for a stronger e-liquid and more PEG 400 for a milder, smoother final product. Mix until completely homogenized before allowing to cool and steep for 24 hours.
Once cooled, bottle your new DIY e-liquid and give it a vape! If the ratios seem off, prep another batch from the top of this method and adjust the ratios you use after step five.
Practice (And a Little Note-Taking) Makes Perfect
There's a good reason many DIY mixers of e-liquids don't look back after making their first bottle. After sampling your initial batch, it should be very easy to identify what needs adjusting and get your e-liquid just right by the second or third try. Once you've nailed it, it becomes very hard not to fall in love with the allure of e-liquids tailored precisely to your personal tastes and preferences. So if you enjoy vaping your cannabis, we definitely recommend that you try a DIY at least once. Happy experimentation!