Dabbing for Dummies – How are dabs made?

BHO inside vacuum oven

We could probably go on *forever* due to the many different methods or ‘techs’ used by extractors to produce all of the different kinds of extracts and concentrates. In this blog post we will focus on a few of the main techniques used. This is by no means a comprehensive list as new techs are being developed all the time.

Typically extracts and concentrates fall into two distinct categories Solvent Extracted and Solventless.

Solvent Extraction methods :

BHO/PHO – These extraction techniques use Butane (BHO) or Propane (PHO) which is typically chilled and then ‘shot’ through the starting material (usually, but not always, flower), which has been packed into a vessel of some sort. The resulting liquid is what you would call a raw, unprocessed dab.

Isopropyl Extraction – Done by largely soaking your starting material in 99.9% or lab grade Isopropyl alcohol and agitating the material within. Produces a much ‘dirtier’ concentrate as there is typically plant matter and whatever residuals were left in the Isopropyl (industrial oils from manufacturing etc.)

Solventless Extraction methods:

C02 Extracted – This method requires highly specialized gear and a lot of costly, extra resources (liquid nitrogen, lab grade C02 gas) when compared to your typical BHO/PHO extraction. C02 extraction requires the gas to be cooled to a state called ‘Super Critical’ which enables the cannabis extraction to take place. Technically C02 is the solvent here, but it is included in this category because any residual solvent is biologically inert and cannot combust.

Rosin – Making rosin extracts is a process that involves heat and time. Typically the starting material is ‘squished’ between sheets of parchment paper, silicone pads, PTFE or similar non-stick materials. The surfaces used to squish (commonly ‘plates’) are heated to easier allow the rosin to flow out of the starting material. For a more refined product, you would put your starting material, be it flowers, hash or the like into a mesh bag, which would then separate the larger fibrous pieces of cannabis plant from the smooth ‘rosin’.

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