12.18.2015
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I Made Rosin: A Normal Person's Guide to Extraction With a Hair Straightener

How to lower the barrier to entry to flying higher.

Rosin's a hot trend developing on the fringes of pot pop culture. You may have heard of this new DIY concentrate, one some enthusiasts say could replace butane hash oil and CO2, both of which have a much higher degree of difficulty in production. The extremely simple process implemented in extracting this prodigious concentrate is a bit of an embarrassment to anyone who shelled out thousands of dollars on the pricey closed-loop systems.

Memes are all over Instagram.

But how easy is it to extract a personal rosin supply? According to the Internet, all you do is wrap weed or kief in parchment paper and press it in a hair straightener for a few seconds. The heat melts the trichomes off the plant, and they reconstitute on the paper. You've made your own high-quality wax!

Sounds simple enough, but this is uncharted territory with potential to ruin expensive ingredients I could be smoking. How easy is it to fuck up? Is the yield worth the effort and risk? I asked these questions and, hair-straightener in hand, I answered them as well. 

SUPPLIES

Ceramic flat iron with digital temperature adjustment

Oven mitt

Parchment paper

A gram of good weed

Scale (optional)

PROCESS

First, I wanted to find out if you could use just any old weed or if it needs to be high quality. I stopped by a dispensary and picked up an excellent gram of Hybrid Mendos Breath (20 percent THC), and a half ounce of popcorn nugs/shake for the comparison-contrast segment of the experiment.

Left to right: Nug of Mendos Breath in parchment paper, a gram of dispensary shake/popcorn nugs

The hair straightener I'm using, a hot pink Remington Diamond Ceramic Shine, was $25 at Target. It's extremely important the iron has a digital temperature adjustment. I set mine to 330 degrees.

I try a popcorn nug first, slightly nervous. The dollar $$ bill background can be used to scale.

Fold the nug into a small piece of parchment paper and close the iron around it. It's important to apply a good amount of pressure, but not too much. They break easily, and you want the nug intact. The iron gets hot; so wear an oven mitt.

After applying pressure for three seconds, I heard a sizzling sound. Let that rock for a little. When the sizzle begins to quiet down, remove the iron. The longer you hold the iron, the darker the wax will be.

Total time: six to ten seconds.

Not a fabulous yield, but something. Watch out for getting plant matter stuck in the wax, like I did here.

Now, on to try a .3 nug of the Mendos Breath.

I repeated the process, with a higher yield:

I decided not to ruin any more of the popcorn nugs I could be smoking and just stick with pressing out the gram of Mendos.

Next nug, a .4 of Mendos:

Final .3 Mendos nug:

The room will reek of vaped weed, and you'll end up with crunchy little cracker buds.

Here's the final yield from 1 gram of Hybrid Mendos Breath, about two dabs: 

CONCLUSION

I would regularly make rosin under two conditions.

One: I lived on the East Coast where wax goes for up to $80 a gram and is relatively difficult to come by.

Two: I preferred dabbing to smoking.

Neither of those being the case, I'll probably just head to a dispensary and buy my wax pre-made. Extracting potent drugs with the aid of an everyday beauty supply tool is a great thing to know and a fun thing to try, but it takes a good amount of time, and the visual reduction of beautiful nugs to a few drops of concentrate, to me, is somewhat upsetting.

There was some consolation, of course, in consuming them, but not enough.

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