How To Make CBD Wax
Before we can discuss how to make CBD wax, it’s important to understand a few key points about the process. First, making CBD wax and other CBD concentrates typically requires access to special machinery or technology that can be very expensive.
It also may require specific conditions or expertise beyond the reach of the average consumer trying to make CBD wax at home. For these reasons, we will be separating this, “how-to guide” into multiple parts.
Please note that for the manufacturer’s guide the CBD must already be extracted from the hemp itself. If you require more information regarding the various extraction methods, please see our extraction guide.
HOW TO MAKE CBD WAX AT HOME:
In this guide, you will learn how to make CBD concentrates, like wax, yourself with common household items. Technically the CBD concentrate we will be making with the following method is called rosin. This is the safest method of making a CBD concentrate because there are no harsh solvents or fumes. Solvents can be toxic if inhaled and can present a fire or explosive hazards which is why we will not be including methods that use solvents in our “at home” guide. All of the ingredients and equipment used in this guide should be on hand or simple to find and use.
The Hair Straightener (Rosin Press) Method
Required Equipment / Ingredients:
- Wax or parchment paper
- Razorblade or a sharp knife
- Hair straightener (Preferably with digital temp. display)
- Small Scale
- Oven Mitt
- A few grams of high CBD hemp flower (Kief is even more ideal)
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS:
Step 1: Thoroughly grind 1-2 grams of the hemp strain of your choice.
Step 2: Heat the hair straightener to 250 to 300°F, this will typically be a lower setting. If you do not have the digital temperature display, start with the lowest heat setting and work your way up as needed.
IMPORTANT – High heat poses the risk of simply burning the hemp and the extract up, which will ruin it.
Step 3: Fold the wax or parchment paper in half, and place about a quarter of your ground hemp flower or kief in the middle. Ideally, you want to use smaller amounts to maximize the surface area that will make contact with the heating element of the hair straightener. Then, using an oven mitt for safety, grip the portion of folded wax paper that contains the bud/kief with your hair straightener.
Step 4: Put on the oven mitt for safety, and use the hair straightener to grip the portion of folded wax paper that contains the bud/kief. Press down for approximately five seconds, you may hear a slight sizzling sound. Take care not to burn it up.
Step 5: Relax your grip on the hair straightener, and unfold the paper. You should see a spot of resin that was extracted from the bud or kief.
Step 6: You will want to immediately transfer the bud/kief and rosin to a new sheet of wax /parchment paper. Fold the new paper over top so the rosin is covered and press down again for another five seconds using the oven mitt.
Step 7: Continue pressing and repressing until there is little to nothing left of the hemp bud or kief.
It’s a messy process, but when it’s all said and done you should end up with several sticky spots of rosin on the paper.
Step 8: Finally, using your razor or a sharp knife, scrape the rosin spots together.
That’s it, you should now have a small supply of CBD concentrate to use as desired.
It should be noted that the method mentioned above is probably the most rudimentary process for creating CBD wax. Due to a lack of control over the temperature of many hair straighteners, this method is not very efficient. You could use the above recipe for making wax with more efficiency by using a temperature-controlled heat press. However, these devices are generally more expensive than a hair straightener would be.
THE ALCOHOL METHOD
This method uses isopropyl alcohol to create CBD wax. It will explain how to make shatter-quality concentrates cheaply without the use of solvents like butane or CO2.
Required Equipment / Ingredients:
- Airtight Tupperware/container
- Mesh kitchen strainer
- Coffee filters
- Glass Bowl
- Hair Blow Dryer
- Quarter ounce of CBD hemp flower
- Bottle of 91% isopropyl rubbing alcohol
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS:
Step 1: Thoroughly grind a quarter ounce of CBD hemp flower.
Step 2: Decarboxylate your CBD hemp flower.
Start by preheating your oven to 270 F.
Spread the ground hemp flower out on a baking sheet. Try to create as thin a layer as possible.
Bake for 45 minutes on the middle rack.
Step 3: Remove the hemp from the oven and allow it to cool. It should be brown in color and feel dry to the touch. It should also crumble easily.
Step 4: Place the alcohol and the decarbed hemp (in an airtight container) in the freezer overnight. Ideally, you want the cannabis flower and the alcohol to reach sub-zero temperatures.
Step 5: Remove both items from the freezer, then pour just enough alcohol over the hemp flower to cover it. Stir the mixture for five seconds, then place the glass bowl in your sink and immediately begin straining the mixture into the glass bowl with the kitchen strainer and at least two coffee filters.
IMPORTANT – The alcohol and hemp flower should not be in contact for more than 15-20 seconds maximum.
Step 6: Strain the coffee filters to get as much of the alcohol out as possible. Then, use the hair blow dryer on the lowest setting possible to continually blow hot air onto your alcohol-marijuana mixture in the glass bowl. Keep drying it until all of the liquid is gone, leaving behind yellow wax.
Step 7: When the alcohol is completely evaporated, scrape the wax out of the bowl and store it in a resealable container. Wax or parchment paper can be used to prevent it from sticking.
CBD WAX MANUFACTURER’S GUIDE:
DISCLAIMER: THIS GUIDE IS NOT INTENDED FOR NOVICE CBD WAX MAKERS. DO NOT USE THIS GUIDE IF YOU ARE NOT SURE OF WHAT YOU ARE DOING.
BLAST AT YOUR OWN RISK!
SOLVENTS LIKE BUTANE ARE TOXIC AND POSE FIRE AND EXPLOSION RISKS. ALWAYS WEAR SAFETY EQUIPMENT AND CONSULT YOUR SAFETY OFFICER BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH CBD WAX CREATION. ALWAYS CHECK LOCAL AND STATE LAWS TO ENSURE MAKING CBD WAX IS LEGAL IN YOUR AREA BEFORE PROCEEDING.
SAFETY: It is imperative that you use proper safety precautions during this process because there is a lot that can go wrong. The worst thing that can happen is igniting the butane fumes.
You should NEVER blast indoors, or near any source of open flame or electricity. If there is any kind of spark the butane fumes could ignite and cause an explosion. Do not try this at home or in any area not designed for this kind of work. Even flipping a lightswitch could cause a spark that could ignite the butane fumes.
In addition to blasting outside, you may want to tape down any light switches so no one can accidentally turn on the light as even something like an electrical switch could potentially ignite the fumes. Always wear safety goggles and other safety equipment. Butane WILL likely splash or spray out at some point, especially if you are unfamiliar with your equipment. Finding the correct adapter from your butane can to the tube is vitally important.
This complete, step by step guide, will detail how to create butane hash oil (BHO), also known as wax, shatter, honeycomb, honey oil, etc. The goal of this article is to provide the most complete instructions possible to make CBD wax. There is still room for error and this guide should not be considered a recipe for guaranteed success. There is a lot that can go wrong when you make BHO. Many who engage in the practice will go through periods of trial and error. In that sense, it’s a bit of an art form, and your own trial and error may be necessary to become an expert. However, if you follow these directions exactly, your product should turn out in a usable form of good quality that should be able to satisfy almost anyone.
(This setup is intended to blast roughly 1-2 hundred grams at a time)
- Nice tube
- Tube stand to hold it in
- Electric skillet
- Infrared temperature gun
- Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)
- Chamber to purge in
- Heating pan
There’s no point in skimping here. Plan on spending about $500 in equipment to get started. If you just want to blast a couple of ounces at a time, you can expect your budget to be around $350. There’s really no point in skimping as you will need a good vac pump and a quality chamber.
If you’re already a semi-pro manufacturer and you’re planning on blasting pounds at a time, you’ll still get some benefit from this article, but you will most likely want to reclaim your butane and should consider more advanced equipment.
As previously mentioned, this manufacturer’s guide is intended for about 200 grams at a time. That equates to roughly one pound of trimmed hemp flower. Reclaiming your butane is not ideal for such a small amount.
Ideally, you should be able to get a minimum of 10% yield from quality trim. Meaning if you start with 100 grams of product, you should get at least 10grams of CBD wax.
From bud, you can get about a 22-23% yield, but normally the yield on bud is around 16-20%, depending largely on the quality. With lower quality strains, yields will be around 12-15%.
A good principle to keep in mind is that like many crafting projects, If the starting material is bad, the end product will be bad. You cannot just take low quality bricked hemp and expect it to make quality CBD wax.
However, you can get great quality from trim if the leaves are dried and cured properly they will be frost enough. Product that is grown outdoors will probably be the best possible for this. Essentially it boils down to the frostier the starting materials, the more yield you will get.
The tube that you pack your material in should be of good quality, typically made of stainless steel. You also want one with a stand that will be able to hold the material in place so you can run butane through it. These can vary in size, and there are multiple companies you can purchase a tube from, however for our purposes you should be using a tube designed for 200g-250g of starter material.
For this guide, you should only put 180-200 grams in at a time.
For the average home grower harvesting a pound or two at a time, I would suggest this method.
Alternatively, you can sometimes find a small tube online or from your local head shop.
I do not recommend getting tubes that use hose clamps and rubber corks to hold the material in as rubber stoppers can easily pop out under pressure. If this happens it will ruin your product and cause butane to go everywhere potentially soaking something and causing a major hazard.
A vacuum chamber and an electric skillet are also required. Brands like Vac-it pro and ProVac are reputable, but either way, you will want at least a 10-inch vac chamber for our purposes.
You will also need a plain electric skillet. Ideally, you will want one that can hold a consistent temperature. You’ll want to make sure what you have will hold a specific temp within a few degrees.
Also, it is highly recommended to use a round silicone device at the bottom of you chamber. This device, referred to colloquially as a Silpat, insulates the oil slightly so it warms more evenly. This prevents the oil from becoming too hot on the bottom.
An infrared temperature gun can typically be found at your local hardware store for around $30. If you want to make quality CBD wax, this tool is a necessity.
For the vacuum pump, you will want to use a 3 CFM, single-stage vac pump. You can find a cheaper one for around $50. For one-ounce shatter patties, the standard three-gallon vac chamber size should be all you need.
You will also need a double boiler set up. If you’ve used a double boiler setup before you should be familiar with them. If possible you can use a round oven-safe dish inside a regular stove top pot secured with clips. A round dish works the best because it transfers more easily to the round vac chamber.
The big pot that your round dish is in should have warm water in it. NOT HOT WATER.
If you attempt to blast without water in the big pot, the inner dish could freeze to the surface.
You will need to let the butane out of the tube over the double boiler setup.
Be careful not to let it out too fast as it is very likely to splash if you do.
(PTFE) or polytetrafluoroethylene is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene. It is hydrophobic, non-wetting, high density and resistant to high temperatures, which makes it an incredibly versatile material with a wide variety of applications, though it’s perhaps best-known for its non-stick properties.
You can blast straight into PTFE. You can this material online. After you finish with the vac, the wax should peel right off the PTFE.
You can experiment with different butane brands, but any of the top recommended brands for the blasting process should be fine. Ideally, you just want butane that will create a wax that is less opaque (more clear) and is inexpensive.
Preparing Your Material
There are differences between blasting bud and blasting trim. If you are blasting bud you’ll want to dry it and cure it the same way you would if you were planning to smoke the buds themselves. Ideally, you will want to chop the buds up with scissors so that no individual bud is bigger than a marble.
You want your material to be dry before blasting, but it’s okay if there is a little moisture in the buds. You don’t want them to be so dry that they turn to dust when you handle them. If there is too much moisture in your material, your wax may take on a greenish color.
Remember to be gentle with your materials and move them as little as possible. Every time you move the source material you are losing trichomes which are essential for a higher yield.
If you are blasting trim it’s best to think ahead while trimming. Collect all the frosty trim into a bin and discard excess material like trash leaves without frost on them. You might have some small leaves with a little frost so it’s up to you if you want to use these or throw them away. If a leaf is at least half way covered it’s fine to use.
IMPORTANT – When you are done trimming, you should have a bin full of wet trim. This trim must be spread out thinly and allowed to dry. It should dry for about five days, and turned over approximately once a day. Ideally use the same bins for your trim over and over to collect trichomes. Eventually, you will have plenty of kief in the bin to use if you like. Once it is fully dry, put a lid on the storage bin and allow it to breathe once a day for a week. Once that is done, finally, it is ready to blast.
Packing the Tube
Before packing your tube, make sure you know which end is which. The tubes should come with a fine screen on the output. You can also add additional layers for extra filtering, like a coffee filter, which might result in a cleaner product.
If you add any additional filters, just make sure they are cut to fit inside the rubber gasket.
Make sure the bottom of your tube is sealed and start packing it from the top. After three handfuls or so, pack the material down lightly with a piece of PVC pipe, wooden rod, or similar packing tool.
Ideally, you want the material to be packed so there is no air space around it, but not too tight either. This process is where some of the trial and error takes place as packing too tight can decrease your yield.
Attach the top of your tube and do a final check for important things like making sure all fittings, hose clamps, rubber stoppers, and valves are secure. Pressure will build up inside the tube, and lose parts could cause leaks or even a blowout.
Before putting in butane or blasting, you should review this checklist to make sure you have everything you need.
1. Tube packed and sealed tight! PTFE should be placed inside your round dish (the inner part of your double boiler setup) secured with clips. Remember to have warm water, not hot, in the outer portion of the double boiler.
2. Approx. One 300ml can of butane for each ounce of material you are blasting.
3. NO ELECTRONICS SHOULD BE TURNED ON IN THE BLASTING AREA. BLASTING AREA SHOULD ALWAYS BE AN OUTDOOR LOCATION.
4. Safety goggles and other safety equipment should be on.
5. Finally, you will also want a clean, dry towel.
1. Check the tip of your butane can and put it into the top of your tube. It should fit tightly, if not make sure you get the proper adapter as butane cans can come with a variety of tips. You can exchange them to find the best one that works with your tube.
2. With both the top and bottom valves wide open, start putting in butane at the top. When your can runs out, close the top valve, remove the can, put on a new can, open the top valve. This will help you avoid butane squirting out the top of the tube.
3. Try to work quickly as you want to flood the material as quickly as possible. Keep putting in butane at the top and soon it will start coming out the bottom. When it does, close the bottom valve slightly so it doesn’t spatter. Let a good amount of butane come out (about a full can), then close the bottom valve. After that, put in one more full can, if possible. If there is too much pressure, that’s ok. You still want to get in as much as you can, as quickly as you can. You should be able to get in roughly four cans in a 250 tube.
4. After the tube is full of butane, take the tube out of the stand, and flip it upside down. This helps evenly disperse the butane and will ensure all the material is soaked. If the tube is frosty or sweating, you may want to wipe it down with the towel.
MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT GET WATER INTO YOUR OIL. Let the butane flow to the top of the tube for about three to five minutes. The less time spent soaking the better, but make sure you are trying to flood all of the material with butane.
5. Put the tube back in the stand and open the bottom valve slightly so that some butane comes out. Let it keep coming out until only air is coming out. Now, close the valve and wait one minute for more butane to flow down. Open the valve again, letting all the additional butane out until it stops again. Finally, close the bottom valve and put in a total of two more cans. You may need to let a little pressure out the top or bottom of the tube to fit two more cans in. Then repeat step 4.
6. Again, put the tube back in the stand and open the bottom valve very slightly. Butane will come out as before and you will want to let it keep coming out until only air is coming out. Now, use one more can to flush everything out and get the last of it. Keep the bottom valve open slightly until only air is coming out. Then close the valve, wait one minute for more butane to flow down, and open the valve again, letting butane out until it stops again. Do this a few more times until you feel like all the butane is out. You don’t need to worry about every last drop however. The final can will contain very little product in it anyway.
7. Pull your double boiler rig out from under the blasting tube. This will prevent any water droplets from falling into our oil. If at any time during the process you see water droplets on the tube, you can close the bottom valve, take the tube out and wipe it down quickly.
Boiling Off The Butane
Because butane boils at room temperature, you’ll notice the butane / oil mix is boiling. Aslo, the water in your double boiler should have cooled by now. You can pour it out and replenish it with warm water, but again it should not be hot. Ideally no warmer than bath water.
You will see some material in your butane that looks spongy. This is basically frozen moisture that was pulled out of your plant material. You should remove this with a fork or other straining tool. Excess moisture should evaporate out in the vac during the purge process.
Keep a watchful eye over your solution as the butane will slowly evaporate off. You will know when it’s ready to go into the vac when it looks mostly drained with some bubbles forming.
It is critical that you do not use hot water as this can instantly ruin your oil. When it is almost done, only use room temperature water. Remember to have your water ahead of time and never use any electronic devices near the blasting area.
DO NOT STIR. Do not pop bubbles, do not swirl the oil around. Move it as little as possible. Any stirring and your wax will not look clear at the end, and it will be more difficult to purge the remaining butane off.
Carefully transfer it out of the PTFE to your vac. If the product is runny and about to spill out, then it is too thin. You need to wait longer. The oil should be the consistency of maple syrup.
There is no penalty for letting it sit a few extra minutes during this step. The vac chamber should be in the skillet, which should be filled with water. It’s best to space the bottom of the chamber off of the skillet, in order to heat the chamber more evenly. The idea here is to create oven-like conditions. Heat your water to 89-91 degrees and put the lid on your chamber so it starts to warm up inside. Watch the temp closely. Always start low and turn the dial up a hair at a time until you reach the right temperature. It is highly suggested you watch during the entirety of this process to avoid the temperature going over 92 degrees.
Pulling the First Vacuum
Pay attention here because there is a lot that can still go wrong during this step. Your chamber should have a valve between the chamber and the vac, and another valve to let air inside the chamber. You must use the air valve to control the pressure in the vac. Use the pump valve to hold the pressure in the vac when the pump is off.
CAUTION, if the vac is under pressure and you turn off the pump with the pump valve open, your chamber will suck in air from the pump line, and could potentially pull in lubrication from the pump that will ruin your product.
With the lid on, turn on the pump and watch the oil. It should start to puff up like a giant muffin. The goal is to get the muffin as big as possible, without it touching the side of the chamber. If it touches the sides, you won’t be able to get it off.
By making the muffin shape as large as possible, you are expanding the oil and allowing air to get to most of it. This allows any butane left in the oil to evaporate. Watch closely during this step and use the air valve to control muffin size. It may expand rapidly, so be prepared. Keep the vac on for about fifteen minutes, or until the muffin drops. The higher quality oil you have, and the more vac you have, the longer the muffin will stay puffed up. Usually, the muffin will stop expanding after about fifteen minutes though. After it does you can fully close the air valve and take it to full vac. A more expensive pump doesn’t achieve a higher vac, but it does work faster.
After about an hour, the muffin will deflate and start to flatten.
After a few hours it should be flat enough to be ready for the first flip.
The first flip is the most difficult, but once this step is complete, you’re basically done with the challenging steps.
First, slowly let the air into the chamber to equalize the pressure. Then, pull the PTFE out.
Fold the outer edges of the PTFE onto the shatter (then pull it back again) in order to get the small amounts of shatter on the outer edges off the PTFE. Do this all the way around so you have a piece that will fit inside your chamber.
Now, place it on top of a piece of parchment or wax paper and peel it off.
The first time you do this, you may have some trouble. To make this step easier you can try putting it in the refrigerator for five minutes first before attempting. If you do that, It should come off more easily.
Now, put it back in the chamber and vac again, still at 90 degrees. Take it to a full vac this time and run the vac for about five minutes every two hours, or however long it takes to keep a full vac. Flip it every 4-5 hours for 24-48 hours.
Remember, each time you flip it and vac it, you are exposing more oil to air, and getting out all the butane. After a vac, the patty should raise up some and resemble CBD wax shatter.
Leave it in the chamber, and turn the heat up to 95 for five to ten minutes. This step is only to make the shatter look nicer so remove it immediately once you achieve the desired effect. Do not let it cook for longer than 10 minutes at this higher temperature.
That’s it! Once it cools you’re finished. You now have your very own CBD wax.
LEARN MORE ABOUT CBD WAX
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FINAL THOUGHTS FROM THE AUTHOR
Founder & CEO at Cannabidiol Life
I hope you learned something new today!