Now Trending: Rosin Tech
by DJ Reetz
A new extraction method seems to be sweeping the Internet these days. Rosin Tech, as it’s called, a method that involves applying heat and pressure to buds or low-grade hash to melt and squeeze out the resin. Generally attributed to Instagram user @SoilGrown, the extraction has caught widespread attention recently for both its ease and safety. With all the hype surrounding the technique, we here at THC decided to take a whack at it, and report the results to our loyal readers.
Admittedly, I don’t have too much experience when it comes to extraction. Some halfhearted attempts at making bubble hash in my younger days resulted only in crappy, usually brown-colored garbage that might be acceptable scattered into a blunt, but certainly wasn’t anywhere near the full-melt solventless stuff dabbers have come to expect these days. I’ve had friends who’ve engaged in the clandestine and incredibly risky technique of open blasting, which involves stuffing a tube with plant matter, spraying canned butane through it then purging the syrupy drippings in a heated vacuum. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet some of the skilled extraction artists who use complicated and expensive closed-loop butane systems and CO2 extractors, but I’ve never actually learned how these machines are run, and I certainly don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on equipment just so I can be a little more self sufficient with my dabs.
For casual home extractions the options are either bubble hash (which can be tough to master and generally has a very low yield) or open blasting (which, frankly, terrifies me, as it should you). However, if the Instagram posts are to be believed, Rosin extraction can yield translucent amber and gold colored hash similar to solvent-extracted shatter.
The term rosin usually refers to resin extracted from coniferous trees through a heat extraction process. The hardened resin is used for any number of purposes, usually intended to increase friction. Rosin is rubbed on the bow hairs of stringed instruments such as violins and cellos, applied to the shoes of athletes and dancers, and is even used to increase friction at the starting line of drag races. But this rosin will be used exclusively for getting stupid high.
After watching several YouTube tutorials made by dopey stoners pressing rosin in less than ideal situations, I decided it was time to give it a shot myself.
To start, I picked up a cheap flatiron at my local Kmart, opting for the model with the widest heating plates, rather than run the risk of ruining my girlfriend’s. I chose one with a variable temperature setting and a digital readout so I wouldn’t end up over or under heating my plant material. With my high-tech extraction equipment now in place, it was only a matter of choosing the right material to Rosin the shit out of.
My first impulse was to go for my excess weed, the stuff that wasn’t getting smoked and was likely headed for the shake jar, rather than waste any of my preferred smoking material. First, I turned on the flatiron, adjusting the temperature to a notch above 300 degrees Fahrenheit, which I double checked with my handy laser thermometer. Though the tutorials I watched varied, the general consensus was somewhere between 300 and 400 degrees, hot enough to melt the terpenoids and unlock the resin, but not so hot that it vaporizes the THC, which boils and turns into vapor at 315 degrees.
Next, I placed a small nug, maybe half a gram, into the fold of a sheet of parchment paper (note: do NOT use wax paper for this, it will melt and you will be left with nothing but a sticky mess and a reminder of your own failures) and carefully placed the folded paper between the ceramic plates. I squeezed the paddles together with all the zeal of a teenage girl straightening her hair before prom, giving it a five count before releasing and opening up my parchment to see what I had accomplished. The dryness of my herb had worked against me, as what I discovered inside my carefully folded parchment paper was a crumbly mess, and no rosin.
Realizing my mistake, I opted to try a fresh bud. Fortunately, I had a fresh plant readily available, cut down just the day prior. I ripped off a squishy fresh bud, put it into a newly folded piece of parchment paper, and gave it a squeeze with the flatiron. My first couple tries didn’t yield anything impressive, a few spatters of resin on the paper that I collected with my dabbing tool. After folding the smooshed nugs and pressing again, I quickly realized the key to getting the most resin from your nugs was pressure.
The process is similar to cold-press juicing — the key difference being the application of heat and the viscosity of the resin you are trying to extract — meaning the more pressure you can apply, the more resin you will squeeze out. I began pressing with my full weight, and the results were phenomenal. Soon I was pulling out sizable dabs from my half-gram nugs, and I was dabbing my own homemade, golden amber extract, excited as a child that has just helped prepare dinner for the first time.
I found each nug could be folded over on itself several times after being flattened, and I generally saw returns diminish beyond what I felt was worthwhile on the fourth or fifth re-pressing. What’s left over is flattened, darkened nugs resembling old-fashioned Mexican brick shwag. Some tutorials suggested using this leftover bud in edibles or tinctures, as the heat extraction also serves to decarboxylate the bud, but I felt it had served its purpose and trashed my leftovers.
Collecting the freshly squeezed resin by rubbing the tip of my dab tool across the paper would occasionally catch bits of plant matter as well, so for this reason I would recommend dabbing rosin on a ceramic or quartz nail that can be easily cleaned with a quick blast from your torch.
While the dabs I managed to press out certainly did the trick and got me nice and stoned, the flavor was lacking compared to higher-end concentrates like full melt bubble hash and live resin. This is likely due to the destruction of terpenes and flavonoids caused by the heat extraction. Still, the promise of safe, easy homemade extracts is awfully attractive, and I’ll likely be doing it again. If you’re looking to save some money on extracts or just to avoid potential contaminants such as butane, Rosin Tech is a great option. It seems like hash extracted in this manner is likely to be showing up in dispensaries any day now, and undoubtedly someone is already working on a pricy commercial extractor. But you can do it at home, all it takes is a $40 hair straightener and a little bit of trial and error.
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