How to Make Hash Oil (aka Cannabis Extract Oil or RSO)

Published Jul 20, 2019

Table of Contents:


 

What is Hash Oil (Cannabis Extract Oil)?

There are several ways that cannabis growers can turn their homegrown bud into edible extracts. Some of the most popular are canna-caps, cannabutter, and tinctures.

Hash oil – also known as Cannabis Extract Oil or RSO – is a popular cannabis extract that many home-growers are producing themselves using their trim (trimmed off, trichome-covered leaves) or bud. Simply put, hash oil is the resin from a cannabis plant mixed in with a tiny amount of a solution. In a perfect case, the solution would be totally removed from the hash oil when it’s done.

Why is hash oil so great?

  • Super concentrated form of cannabis that’s edible and smokable
  • Easy to make hash oil with typical kitchen items
  • Specialized tools can automate the process
  • Easy to store and dispense in measured amounts

A syringe with ready-to-use hash oilThis hash oil took about 1/2oz of bud! Yikes! (It was worth it)

While some extracts use coconut oil, butter, or even isopropyl alcohol to bind to THC, hash oil is made with food-grade high-proof alcohol. Growers usually use ethanol or Everclear, but Spirytus, high-proof grape alcohol, or anything along those lines, will do the job.

After the alcohol and weed are mixed, the mixture is strained and evaporated leaving a thick, oily substance that is mostly resin. Since this “oil” is so potent, very little needs to be used at a time which means that a small amount of hash oil can go a very long way. Hash oil can be eaten, vaporized, smoked, dabbed, or even used for topical applications.

What’s with the name “RSO”? A guy named Rick Simpson coined the term “Rick Simpson Oil” to refer to his style of hash oil. It turns out that RSO is much easier to say/type than “Cannabis Extract Oil”, so people tend to use RSO more often. We prefer “Hash Oil” as it’s more descriptive, but the two terms can be used interchangeably.

 

What Type of Alcohol Should You Use?

Any high-proof (190-proof or higher) alcohol that is meant for human consumption will work. Although isopropyl alcohol can be used for topical applications, we recommend using food-grade alcohol even in that case. In other words, please don’t use isopropyl alcohol for this tutorial! You can use any 190-proof (or higher) alcohol such as:

  • Ethanol
  • Rectified/Neutral spirits:

You can legally get your hands on at least one of these options in all 50 states in the US, plus Canada, UK, and Australia. Bacardi 151 is available in most places and it has a pretty high alcohol content (151-proof), but it should only be used as a worst-case option.

A mostly-empty bottle of pure ethanol

 

Do I Need to Decarb My Weed First?

For those who aren’t familiar, decarb is short for “decarboxylation”. Decarboxylating (or decarbing) describes the process of slowly cooking your weed to activate all the good stuff in it by turning THC-A to THC.

Now that we’re all on the same page, do you need to decarb your weed before making hash oil?

The answer to this question can vary based on your reasons for making hash oil. However, in my opinion, the answer is “Yes, you should decarb 100% of the time when making hash oil!

So, why wouldn’t you decarb? There are two main reasons people don’t decarb their weed before making hash oil:

  1. They believe THC-A has medicinal properties
    • The process of making hash oil on its own doesn’t create enough heat to turn THC-A into the more potent THC. If you don’t decarb, you’ll have oil that’s mostly THC-A.
  2. They don’t want psychoactive effects
    • THC gets you “high”, THC-A does not. Ingesting hash oil without decarbing the weed won’t get you “high” since it will be mostly THC-A. For some people, that’s a plus.

For the rest of us who do want our oil to be psychoactive, decarbing your weed is an absolute necessity. If you don’t decarb, the oil will have a much weaker effect on you. So if you want that “high” feeling, make sure to decarb your weed!

We have a full article on different ways to decarb, but here are the quick steps:

How to Decarb Weed

Supplies:

  • Oven
  • Baking Sheet
  • Foil or Parchment paper (no wax paper!)
  • Weed

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F
  2. Line your baking sheet with foil or parchment paper
  3. Place your broken-up or ground cannabis on the baking sheet
  4. Bake cannabis for 30 minutes (your cannabis will turn golden-brown)

Decarbed weed before and afterDecarbing weed: Before and After. [Click on image for a larger version]

Check out our full article on decarboxylation for more info: https://www.growweedeasy.com/how-to-decarb-weed

 

Tinctures & Quick Wash

One last thing before we start…

Do you have cannabis tincture just lying around your house by any chance? I know it’s a weird question, but some growers have some lying around in the fridge or freezer (a tincture is a cannabis-infused alcohol). If that’s the case, you can skip straight to evaporating the alcohol!

If you don’t have tincture around your house (which is probably the case), you can do a “quick wash” to make the tincture. It’s a super easy recipe, but it’s also effective despite its ease. Although you can have a quick wash done in around 20 minutes, you can make it even better by freezing your alcohol and weed overnight.

Your starting mixture will determine the color, flavor, and strength of your resulting hash oil. Tinctures like the one on this tutorial come out dark, and the resulting hash oil will be almost black, which is the “traditional” RSO look. Adversely, a well-done quick wash (like in the instructions below) will produce a gold-colored tincture that will result in golden hash oil. Both methods have their perks and I would encourage you to try making hash oil both ways.

Note: If you’re interested in using tinctures on their own, we have an article on making those, too! Check it out here: https://www.growweedeasy.com/how-to-make-cannabis-tinctures

Supplies Needed:

  • 2x Mason Jar
  • Decarbed weed (recipe above)
    • If you don’t want psychoactive effects, don’t decarb the weed
  • High-proof alcohol (190-proof or higher)
  • Paper coffee filters

A perfectly made ethanol quick-wash tincture !Despite how it may look, that’s a well-made quick wash tincture. Gold is the color you’re looking for.

How to “Quick Wash”

  1. If possible, place your alcohol and weed in the freezer overnight. This makes the alcohol absorb less unwanted material like chlorophyll.
  2. Place your cold, decarbed weed in a mason jar.
  3. Pour in enough freezing-cold alcohol to completely cover the weed, plus another 1/4”(1/2cm) or so.
  4. Let the mixture sit until 20 minutes have passed.
    1. Tip: I like to shake up my mixture for about 30 seconds after the 20 minutes are up.
  5. Place a coffee filter over your second mason jar
  6. Pour the mixture through a coffee filter
  7. You now have quick wash tincture!

 

How to Make Cannabis Extract Oil – Manual Method

Believe it or not, you’re already about halfway through the process. You’ve already made a usable tincture. The next step is to reduce the alcohol in the tincture until the cannabis resin is (almost) the only thing that’s left. This could be accomplished by just letting the mixture sit out until the alcohol evaporates, but that could take many days.

Instead, we’re going to use a double-cooker method to evaporate the alcohol using a stove. As long as you are careful and use low-heat on an electric stove, you’ll be totally fine. Don’t try this on a gas stove because high-proof alcohol combined with an open flame is a recipe for disaster.


Tincture being reduced to hash oil using a double boiler on a kitchen stove

Safety Checklist:

  • Make sure there is good ventilation in the room your using. Opening a window will usually do.
  • No open flames. That means no lighters, candles, or gas stoves.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Remember, a fire extinguisher can turn a disaster into a minor inconvenience.
  • Don’t go anywhere. Stay with your hash oil until it’s done and you’ve turned everything off.

Supplies:

  • Tincture
    • Use one of the simple Quick Wash recipes above or check out our tinctures page)
  • Double boiler
    • You can make a double boiler using a pot and pan. Click here to see an example picture.
    • Important note: If you make a double boiler using a pot and pan, make sure they don’t fit together perfectly. Steam needs to be able to escape from the bottom pan or else there will be trouble.

Steps:

  1. Fill the bottom pot of your double boiler with about 3 inches of water.
  2. Heat the water until it boils, then turn the heat to medium-low
  3. Put on the top part of your double boiler. If you’re using a pan, make sure steam can escape.
  4. Pour your tincture into the top pan
  5. The tincture should heat up and eventually roil a bit
  6. Continue to monitor the tincture as is slowly evaporates into an oily, sludge-like substance
    • Note: The longer you cook it, the more the texture will change. Less cooking evaporates less alcohol which makes it more liquid, more cooking makes it harder/waxier.
  7. Turn off the heat and collect your hash oil. Collecting your oil will be much easier while it’s still warm, so be quick!

Finished hash oil waiting to be collected

 

 

How to Make Cannabis Extract Oil – Automated Method

Making hash oil is pretty easy with a stove, but it’s even easier if you use a machine.

There’s a device called the Source Turbo extractor and it does the same job as a double boiler, but with a few added benefits:

  • The source extractor recovers about 95% of your alcohol so you can use it again and again. High-proof alcohol is a bit pricey, so this can save a heap of money over time.
  • It’s safer. The source creates a vacuum so there are no fumes to ignite. Additionally, the Source doesn’t get hot enough to ignite alcohol fumes, so fire isn’t really a worry.
  • It’s much easier to do than using a double boiler. You pretty much set it up and come back when it’s done. Still, we recommend staying in the same room with your extractor until it’s done.

Here’s our Source Turbo extractor in action. Notice the little pool of pure alcohol collecting at the bottom.

It’s a really cool machine to have if you want to make hash oil, but it has one major setback: the price! The Source Extractor Turbo costs quite a bit ($600) even though it’s the cheaper version of another extractor made by the same company. I wasn’t happy spending the money to test this thing out, but now that I have it and have tried the hash oil, I feel it was worth the money and I would definitely make the purchase again.

Supplies Needed:

Steps:

The Source comes with a web link that leads to instructions on how to use the device. It’s a quick read and will help you get the most out of your extractions. Here’s an even quicker version of what you need to do.

  1. Place your Source on a flat surface and make sure all the parts are aligned.
  2. Pour your tincture into the reservoir cup and screw the cup into the Source.
  3. Put the lid on your Source, then plug it in and seal the vacuum using the valve on the front.
  4. Start the Source and it will make a loud sound as it starts to create a vacuum.
  5. Make sure it reaches full vacuum (the sound will stop) which should take less than 5 minutes. There’s also a phone app to tell you when it’s at full vacuum. If it’s vacuuming too long, turn it off and troubleshoot with the company’s guide.
  6. When the extraction is finished, stop the machine, release the vacuum and let the chamber cool for a few minutes.
  7. You can allow the oil to cook for as long as desired. The texture will change as it cooks, going from a tincture to oil to some sap-like stuff to a wax. Stop it whenever YOU like the texture and consistency.
  8. Collect your extract
  9. Collect your alcohol from the extractor and store for reuse.

A Source Turbo making some hash oil!

 The Source Turbo extractor is like a crockpot for making awesome hash oil. You can get one on Amazon.com.

 

How Do I Use Cannabis Extract Oil?

You can use hash oil in a ton of different ways! The way you use it will depend on the consistency of the oil you made.

  • If you boiled it down to a much-stronger tincture, you can just eat it or put it into a liquid with a strong flavor.
  • Oils can be mixed into food, put on flowers, or rolled into joints
  • Wax can be melted into weed (called “caviar”), vaporized, or dabbed.
  • Since all of the substance you make will be decarboxylated, you can just eat it directly and you’ll definitely feel the effects.

 

Edible cannabis oil in a blunt-tipped syringe. Ready to be stored in the fridge (must be warmed up to dispense)

Hash oil can be stored in the fridge, though cold hash oil is almost solid until it’s warmed up. You can eat it directly or add it to anything edible to help mask the taste.

Want to eat oil with zero taste? Use an empty gelatin capsule. Pop one open, squeeze in some oil, and snap close for easy swallowing. Bonus: these caps are easy to hide in a vitamin bottle.

Nebula enjoying some hash oil on toast with jam

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