4 Different Ways To Extract Marijuana

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Just as much as there are different ways to make eggs, there are also 4 different ways to extract marijuana. But unlike making eggs, not all extraction methods are the same.

This article highlights the following:

-Extracting THC using ethanol

-Extracting THC through supercritical carbon dioxide filtration

-Extracting THC using butane or propane

-Extracting THC without any solvent (interesting one)

– Lastly, the article gives a bonus of 5 marijuana extracts that you should know about in 2020!

Without wasting any more time, let’s dive right in.

Marijuana extraction involves the techniques used to separate the different important compounds in cannabis from the plant material. Regardless of the approach used, the end-game is to isolate the individual compound while aiming at the highest purity levels. The best method, therefore, must be the one that gives the purest form of THC.

Methods of extracting THC from weed have evolved. We will start with the simplest method that you can DIY at home. However, be warned that these are potentially hazardous chemical processes. This means that the right apparatus, as well as safety equipment, is needed to be in place. 

Is this an empty threat? Not, if you Google butane explosions from BHO labs you will see that there’s nothing empty about this threat.

1.  Extracting THC Using Alcohol

This is one of the simplest ways of extracting THC from weed. It is basic and involves soaking the plant material in alcohol. The alcohol draws out the THC which is then filtered out in the liquid. Alcohol is then evaporated to leave behind THC. 

Alcohol is highly flammable and adequate precaution needs to be taken to prevent a fire breaking out

Pros: Simple to DIY at home. Also allows the extraction of a full-spectrum extract

Cons: Some chlorophyll is left behind and this changes the flavor of the weed


Note on Soxhlet Extraction

This is a form of alcohol extraction that uses a different set of apparatus to extract THC. This process can be broken down into two steps; alcohol extraction and alcohol recovery. In the second step, alcohol that was used to extract THC is recovered and can be re-used making it economical.

2.  Super Critical Carbon Dioxide Filtration

For a long time, this has been the holy grail of extracting THC commercially. In this method, carbon dioxide gas is subjected to high pressure where it turns into a thin liquid. The pressurized gas is then passed through the plant material to extract THC. The carbon dioxide is then eliminated and stored for later use. Any residual carbon dioxide is evaporated to ensure that there are no residual solvents. 

Pros: Produces THC with the highest purity levels

Cons: The equipment used to carry this out is costly and prohibitive for small scale use. 


3.  Butane Hash Oil Extraction

Butane hash oil and the plant material are subjected to high pressure and heat in a vacuum. The butane extracts the THC from the plant material and is later evaporated through heating. The extract is known as shatter and is highly concentrated. It may also be referred to as butane hash oil. 

Butane explosions are all-too-common making this method a very risky one. When carrying this out make sure there are adequate ventilation and a fire extinguisher in sight.

Also, butane is toxic to humans and therefore caution must be exercised to ensure that no residual butane is left behind. 

Pros: No fancy equipment needed and it produces highly concentrated shatter
Cons: This method is potentially hazardous as butane in its gaseous form is highly flammable.

4.  Extracting THC without any Solvent

All the methods mentioned above use solvents to extract THC. This last method is basic and unique. 

Kief is an extract that is obtained by grinding and sieving the plant material. All you need is a grinder with a kief catcher which can be easily purchased on Amazon. The trichomes which contain cannabinoids (such as THC) and terpenes are separated from the plant material and made into a powder that can be consumed as kief.

The trichomes can also be separated by passing the buds through ice water. The separated trichomes are then compressed into blocks, this is known as hash. 

Pros: Simple and does not require expensive equipment

Cons: Low purity levels

Marijuana Extracts You Should Know About

Marijuana extracts are highly concentrated forms of cannabis. They offer a significant therapeutic and recreational advantage because they contain concentrated cannabinoids. Here are 5 that you should know about:


As discussed above, kief is simple to make and is made by separating trichomes from the nugs. 

Butane Hash Oil (BHO)

The process of making BHO is as described above. The result is a glassy extract that is super concentrated, also referred to as shatter. The THC in shatter may be as high as 90% making extract very popular among both medicinal and recreational users.


This is a refined form of kief that has been subjected to cold temperatures. Hash which is a solid form of kief is made through ice water extraction which is a clean and natural process.  

Rick Simpson Oil

RSO was popularized by a man by the name Rick Simpson. This man created cannabis oil that he used to treat his skin cancer. RSO is made from full-spectrum marijuana extract. It contains 60%-90% THC.


This cannabis concentrate has been gaining a lot of popularity lately. Heat and pressure are used to separate THC without using any solvents. The result is a waxy substance known as rosin.

Of the 4 ways to extract marijuana let us know which one you are planning to try out.



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