So what is a bare bones method to making live resin? Well, just about any extractor can be made to meet the minimum standards of a terpene rich extract. Whether you’re trying to go with fresh frozen material, or material that is just about ready to start curing, you can do your best to preserve terpenes and minimize the amount of plant waxes that are extracted.
Step 1: Dehydrate Your Butane.
This is a simple step that few BHO extraction artists I’ve spoken to take advantage of. If there’s one thing that helps the extraction process, it’s this. If you don’t dehydrate your butane, you increase the chances of there being blockages in the column or even your braided stainless steel hoses caused by freezing water. In addition, it improves the extraction efficiency because water will change up the solubility properties of the butane.
Hands down, putting 3A molecular sieves in-line on the low pressure side of your recovery pump will improve your extraction efficiency. It’s not hard to do, and it will improve your process and end product.
Step 2: Freeze Your Plant Materials.
Whether you’ve chosen to run fresh frozen, dry your buds to the point before curing, or cure your buds, you’re going to benefit from freezing them before extracting. This equilibrates the temperature of the buds to the temperature of the butane, and reduces the amount of plant waxes pulled during an extraction. In step 3, you’re going to freeze your butane. Now imagine this mass of buds packed into your column, and both the buds and the column are at room temperature. Now imagine that -50C butane rifling into the column and hitting buds and stainless steel that are at a warm 20C…
You can surely see where this is going – the butane will be warmed up and the buds will be cooled down. When that happens, you’re defeating the purpose of chilling your butane in the first place – you’re now extracting the very plant waxes that you were trying to avoid extracting in the first place! The point is, try to make everything as cold as possible to get the best results. Terpene rich extracts are higher quality and have more medicinal potential – don’t skimp out on this simple step that anyone can accomplish.
Step 3: Freeze Your Butane.
This is perhaps the simplest step to take to improve your BHO extractions. If you’re going to take any steps towards making live resin, freeze your plant materials, column, and butane. You don’t necessarily have to dehydrate your butane, but if you take steps 2 and 3 into account, you’ll certainly improve your product.
While you may not have dry ice on hand, you do likely have ice on hand just for the sake of recovering your butane. Take the time to submerge your recovery cylinder in an ice bath. That ice bath can be dry ice with denatured alcohol, or it can just be ice, salt, and water. Either way, this step will reduce the amount of waxes that are butane soluble by reducing temperature.
Step 4: Cold Purge.
While you may not have the capacity to purge your extract with an inert gas (e.g. dried CO2 gas), you do have the ability to extract BHO at room temperature and pull a full vacuum, assuming you have a vacuum chamber. The boiling point of butane is -0.5C at standard atmospheric pressure (1 bar/1 atm/14.5 PSI). When you pull a vacuum, you reduce the boiling point, and a major factor becomes time. Give an extract enough time at room temperature while under vacuum, and you’ll be able to pull off all the butane while preserving terpenes.
While it’ll be different for every situation (elevation, room temperature, quality of vacuum), 5 days at room temperature with a full vacuum will purge out your butane and leave you with a terpene rich extract. For smokable forms, it’s important to have residual solvents tested by your local testing facility, to make sure that you’re below the threshold for butane.
These four steps will take you well on your way to higher quality extracts that preserve terpenes. If you can start working in this direction you’ll be using the trade secrets that some of the best extraction artists use day in and day out. Best of luck and enjoy those terpenes!
(This was written by Andrew Samann and originally appeared on Hemphacker.com. Andrew Samann is President of Orion GMP, which helps companies through the process of meeting international GMP Standards, by Design, and builds processes from the ground up to meet GMP standards and integrate lean manufacturing into businesses. For more information, please visit: http://oriongmp.com/)