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Thread: The Vapor Volumes by Vlad (Part 1)

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    Default The Vapor Volumes by Vlad (Part 1)

    The Vapor Volumes 1.0 3.2013
    by VladTheImpaler aka JustAFigmentOfYours

    Foreword:
    Greetings, stoners! My name, when I first emerged in the scene at Overgrow, was Vlad the Impaler, but some of you will recognize me more recently as justafigmentofyours. Whats important is, way back in the mid nineties during the medicinalization movement, I reverse engineered the only real option for vaporizing at the time, the Vapor Bros, and released the plans for free online, paving the way for patients to medicate healthily and efficiently without paying a ridiculous $600.
    In the decades since, vaping has really caught on, and so has purified concentrates, which is really exciting. Unfortunately, this popularity has led several profiteering individuals and dispensaries to spread a lot of misinformation about the medications they provide in order to charge hefty surpluses.
    It is my hope to set the record straight about the various forms of BHO and other highly refined cannabinoids, so that people will stop overpaying for impure, low purity crude concentrates like Rick Simpson Oil (For example).
    A lot of what I will write will go against some of the dearly held mysticism involved with concentrate making, but it is based both in a firm understanding of the science involved, and in the years of experience I have gained making BHO regularly since 1998, and I will not apologize for the inevitable upset I will cause by stating facts.
    We will begin with a quick primer on vaporization, the process and the reasons for doing so. We will cover the types of marijuana materials that can be vaporized and the different ways to vaporize them. We will then describe the different techniques used to vaporize, examine each ones benefits and drawbacks, and compare the various commercial options on the market. By the end of this work, you will have gained a comprehensive knowledge about vaporizing and concentrates.
    Please note that this text is meant to guide those in the medical marijuana community and citizens in jurisdictions where marijuana is legal to consume. Do not handle or use marijuana where it is illegal! Obey all local laws! If you don't agree with your local laws, change them!

    Chapters:
    Foreword

    1) What is vaporizing?
    a. A quick primer
    b. Why vaporize?

    2) The materials
    a. Herb
    b. Hash
    c. Oils
    d. Purging/Curing
    e. Isomerization/Alteration

    3) The apparatus
    a. Skillets (Conduction)
    b. Drawn Air (Convection)
    c. Forced Air (Convection)
    d. Hot Knives (Conduction)
    e. Fritted Discs (Convection)
    f. Concentrate Bowls (Convection/Conduction)
    g. Nails/dabbing (Conduction)
    h. Ecigs/VapePens (Conduction)
    i. Magic/Dragon/Liberty Flight Box

    Afterword



    1 – What is vaporizing?

    a. Vaporizing is simply evaporating without burning. It can be accomplished by many means, but most methods focus on gentle, indirect heat. Whats important is that the temperature of the item being vaporized never reaches its combustion point, or the temperature at which it breaks down. With marijuana, the actives vaporize at about 300 degrees, and break down at about 500, so when you roast a bowl with a Bic lighter (flame temp:3500 degrees), you destroy most of the goodies. Really, with smoking, the only reason you get anything at all is because the ember formed heats and vaporizes the weed underneath. Vaporizers address this by (ideally) never getting above 500 degrees or by using indirect heat.

    b. Because the temperature never exceeds the combustion temp, the active compounds never get destroyed, or broken down into harmful byproducts. Whenever you raise somethings temperature above its combustion point it generates CO, Benzene, soot, and a whole host of other nasty carcinogenic things, and that is true for marijuana, too. By not allowing the actives in pot to combust through vaporizing, not only is the relative potency of the weed increased fourfold, but you also completely eliminate any harmful health effects that you may experience from burning and inhaling smoke. No worries about asthma/emphysema, cancer, or stuffed noses, and your stash goes farther!


    2 - The Materials
    The type of material you have effects how you will vaporize. Generally, it is desirable to concentrate your weed as much as possible if you want a clean vaping experience; the less plant material is in your pot/hash/oil, the less unwanted combustion will occur and the cleaner your hit will be.

    a. Herb – Just good ole' weed. It can be sugar trim, nugs, shake, even leaf – the great thing about vaporizing is that you will get a good stone whatever your starting material, but you will have to use more the less potent/resinous your herb material. Unprocessed, dried weed can be vaped with fritted discs, skillets, or drawn/forced air vapes. You don’t have to do any further processing to use any of these vapes – but each of these will char to a varying degree, and the vapor will be much dryer than hash or oils.

    b. Hash – This is the physically separated trichomes of the marijuana plants. There are a variety of grades and types, with purities ranging from 30% to 80% cannabinoids. As these are the trichomes, there are still a bit of plant material, and a large amount of the secondary essential oils like limonene, myrcene, and carophylline are preserved, which can really contribute to a smoother smoke. The trichomes, called keif when loose, can be pressed under gentle heat to burst the resin glands together, forming a play-do like squidgy mass.
    You can obtain the trichomes a number of ways – you can shake ground marijuana over a fine screen (100 micron mesh works well for me), which will let the trichomes break off and fall through, which can be collected from underneath. This is the traditional method of making Moroccan style hash. You can rub the buds with your hands until they are coated in resin, then you can scrape off your hands. This is the traditional Nepali style of hash making. Both these ways are very inefficient and aren’t widely used in the west anymore. Heck, if you’re vaporizing, Nepali hash is a bit gross – its got a ton of skin oils and dirt.
    You can add ground marijuana (of any grade) to ice water and agitate it for an hour or so, then pour it through mesh buckets (sold online as bubble bags, they are cheap and worth it). Generally 3-5 different mesh buckets are included, of descendingly finer mesh size, so that after pouring your slurry of ice water/pot, the trichomes are trapped in the buckets according to grade. Which grade they will fall into depends upon the size and maturity of the glands on the trichomes themselves, which is why a variety is used.
    Finally, there is dry ice extraction. This is a newer technique, and my personal favorite of the physical extraction methods. It takes five minutes and zero prep, and yields the purest concentrate of the physical extraction methods. You will need about 5 lbs of dry ice (this is enough for 1 oz bud), an 80-90 micron mesh bucket and matching plastic bucket, like the kind used for water hash, and either sugar trim or buds – lower quality will not work. Throw the mesh bag in the bucket, and throw the buds/trim and co2 into the mesh bag, then swirl it around. The buds need not be ground, the freezing of the dry ice with grind them into a powder, and instantly knocks off almost all the trichomes. After about 1-2 minutes of swirling, once the bud is ground well, pull the mesh bag out of the bucket, and shake it up and down into the bucket for a few minutes. Immediately you will see a cloud of white powder fall out – continue shaking until the color has yellowed as this is an indication that you are starting to get plant material. This method can yield budder! (more on that later)
    After you've got your keif, if you are going to be storing it, you should press it. The reason is that cannabinoids oxidize, and when the keif is separate it has a lot of surface area to oxidize, and the makeup and ratio of cannabinoids in the hash can change quite dramatically over a few months. You can quickly press a small amount by wrapping your keif in shopping bag plastic (this plastic will not stick to hash), and pressing your clothing iron briefly against it while it is on its coolest dry setting (no steam). If its not going to be store long term, the form that you keep it in is purely up to personal preference.
    Solid hashes like these can be vaped in a skillet, by hot knife, in forced/hot air vapes, and dry ice hash can be used in a concentrate bowl/wand setup (the other types have too much plant material and will clog the bowl)

    c. Oils. Here we start to venture off the beaten path. There are two classes of extraction methods that will yield oil concentrates, Whole extractions, and lipid only extractions. Generally, lipid only extractions are better, as the active compounds in marijuana are lipids, but they require more equipment (but less time and equal cost). I will cover both in detail, from least to most efficient, but firstly I'd like to discuss purified oils and their properties as a whole.
    When you get into the levels of purity that oils offer, you begin to see more clearly the widely different properties of the different cannabinoids, and how they affect the type of oil you will make, after all the extraction and purification. THC, a psychotic euphoriant and the principle compound in weed, is a light, palest yellow (white in most lights) crystalline solid that will comprise anywhere from 50% to 90%.of the cannabinoids in any given strain CBD is an antipsychotic that helps with anxiety, and is a chunky light brown wax that makes up 2% - 50% of cannabinoids in pot (new Israeli strains equaling 50% to 100% are being tested as medicine there, cant wait to see these). CBN is a disphoric sedative that is a breakdown product of oxidization and is a dark brown medium viscosity oil, and comprises about 10%-50% of the cannabinoids in a strain, depending on how late it was harvested and how long the weed was stored. There are other cannabinoids, which as a whole can be from 2%-40% of the whole, but they are less understood and mostly inactive, though certainly the flavor the experience. Then there are the plant oils: the major terpenes being caryophylline, myrcene, and limonene. These are light, clear oils that are highly aromatic and as such are easily lost. Caryophyllene is a CB2 agonist and contributes to the high, and the others probably do as well, but at the very least they make the vapor much much smoother.
    Which brings me to my major blasphemy, if you listen to the vocal oil “experts” who seem to have been popping up everywhere - the method you use to purify has no effect of the physical form of your finished product. Let me clarify: there are most definitely variations in the effectiveness of certain solvents and methods of extraction, but as long as you have a pure cannabinoid extract at the end of your process, however you purge, whatever solvent you used, the physical form of that extract is dependent upon the ratio of its constituent cannabinoids. For example, a sativah strain that is high in THC and low in CBD and CBN will yield an extract that is fluffy and jiggly to powdered, light yellow to white, aka “Budder”, not because of some mystical process, but because that’s the natural physical form of THC. An Indica that is high in CBD will be chunky and brown “earwax”, and no amount of voodoo will change that. A ruderalis or an indica harvested too late is high in CBN will always yield a sticky thin brown oil “shatter”. You can alter the ratios through isomerization (more on that later), but you simply will not get Budder from sleepy ditch weed - not through a whole cannabinoid extract, as described here. One could separate the THC from the rest of the cannabinoids in the mix, and this THC would have the form of “Budder” (details on that later). The great thing about all this is that you can visually estimate the ratio of cannabinoids in your extract: a white fluffy budder will be a THC dominant head high trip (not for the anxious), a chunky earwax will be a happy CBD couch stone, and dark shatter will make you take a CBN nap, just in the same way that pot growers judge when to harvest (Clear glands on trichomes aren't ready, white glands are peak THC, Golden is peak CBD, and Brown is too late, nothing but CBN. Most growers aim for 50/50 white/gold) It should be noted that, in addition to the variation of cannabinoids in different strains (IE, sativahs are high in THC, Indicas in CBD, and Ruderalis in CBN) there is some variation of cannabinoid ratios within a single plant itself: the trichomes will be higher in THC and non cannabinoid terpenes, while the green plant matter will be higher in CBN and secondary non cannabinoid oils (as these are contained within the cell walls). Using this knowledge, you can take all the guesswork out of your oil refining, and only make the form of oil you enjoy most. Now, on to the actual extraction methods!
    Whole extractions use non-selective solvents, that is, they dissolve more than just the cannabinoids we want. Generally these are liquid at room temperature. The method is simple: grind your plant material, cover with solvent, and let steep. Then strain off plant material, drain into a shallow pan, and evaporate (in the sun for a long time or in a water bath, never near flame or sparks). Generally used solvents are ethanol, isopropanol, and acetone, listed in order of effectiveness. The problem with this process is that chlorophyll, tannins, and a whole host of nasty shit is extracted as well, and these things cause headaches when vaped. There are 3 ways to combat this: 1) Put your solvent in the freezer overnight (this slows down how fast it absorbs lipids less slowly than how much it slows absorption of non-lipids), then put your ground plant material in, and strain the instant you see the color get a greenish tint. This helps with a lot of the chlorophyll, but also means you will be leaving behind some goodies as well as they wont have time to be fully absorbed 2) After you've evaporated your solvent and are left with oil, boil a pot of water, then remove it from heat and throw your oil in, stirring it vigorously. The chlorophyll etc will migrate to the water. To recover your oil, put your pot in the fridge until the oil solidifies. You may have to repeat this multiple times to remove most of the chlorophyll. 3) After you evaporate your solvent, you could redissolve the oil in naphtha in a jar, then add water, and shake vigorously. The chlorophyll will migrate to the water. Then siphon off the naphtha and evaporate.
    Whatever solvent you use and even if you use one of the three cleaning methods listed above, the result will be less pure than the lipid only extractions, about on par with the various hashes, and it is a good idea to purge your oil after evaporating off the solvent (More on that after the lipid only extractions). Whole extractions are really only good for oral or topical use because of these impurities. Which brings me to that shiesty profiteer Rick Simpson. He is a Canadian that supplies to a lot of dispensaries. He makes a product he calls “Rick Simpson Oil”, which he claims will cure cancer topically, and this much is true – topical THC and CBD kills squamous cells and carcinomas. The problem is price: he takes a low purity extract made from trim and leaf that is too contaminated to vape, and charges upwards of $100/g. He likes to imply that his product is the only one strong enough to cure cancer, but this simply isn’t so. In fact, you’d be better off with basically any other oil, as any other method of making oil results in higher potency. As such, its clear this individual is just profiteering and preying upon the sick and dying, and so I would like to take this moment to say a resounding “Fuck you, Rick Simpson, and every sack of shit profiteering dispensary that overcharges patients for your shit product”
    Lipid only extractions are a bit more involved in terms of equipment, but are far superior and require less post processing. There are two popular solvents: liquid butane and liquid co2. Liquid co2 is slightly more selective a solvent, but is more highly compressed than butane and requires equipment that is not easily made or obtained by layman, and as such I will be skipping it here. Suffice it to say the the technique for both is similar, and they achieve similar results, though CO2 extraction is more environmentally sound and easier to scale up. I will also cover steam distillation of essential oils.
    The process for butane/co2 is simple: liquid solvent rushes over the plant material, bursting the cell membranes with cold and extracting out only the lipids, then is discharged out the bottom, filtering out the plant material. The solvent quickly evaporates as it is a gas at room temp and you’re left with a mix of about 90% cannabinoids and 10% other plant oils. You can easily make an extraction rig from a 2' length of 1” diameter copper pipe. Fit a 1” PVC end cap on one end, and tape it on with 3M masking tape. Drill a 1mm hole in the center of the end cap. Fill it from the open end with your ground herb of keif. Then cut a 4” square from a clean white cotton hanes t-shirt, and cover the open end with this, taping it on with 3m masking tape. You must use copper for the main tube – using PVC for the pipe will result in BPA and other solvents used in the plastic manufacturing process becoming dissolved in the butane and ending up in your final product. You can use a PVC end cap as the liquid does not actually touch the end cap. You must use 3M masking tape because this is the only tape with a glue that is not dissolved by butane. Using a different tape will result in some glue being in your end product. If you can, get a commercial glass extractor. Avoid plastic ones like the Honey Bee, and avoid any with gaskets or connections of any kind – these leak, leech chemicals, and don’t work well. The best kind of commercial extractors are a solid tube of glass, tapered at one end to a point with a small hole big enough to accept a butane nozzle, and rimmed at the other end, with a gold fine mesh held in place by a steel hose clamp. These are worth the $60 average cost.
    Now, remember where I said that there are different ratios of cannabinoids in different parts of the plant? This is where that comes in: Your starting material, or at least the ratio of cannabinoids of said material, will determine what type of oil you have. There are three basic grades: Budder, Earwax, and Shatter.
    Budder is what happens when your oil is >85% THC and <5% CBN and other plant oils. You can get this by running a pure sativah (that was picked before decomposition to CBN occurred) through your tube, or by running keif previously extracted via the dry ice method above from a sativah dominant strain, and by completely purging with heat (more later). By using only the keif, you avoid the parts of the plants that are highest in secondary cannabinoids while still getting most of the THC. If you process the whole herb, the cells themselves will be broken down, releasing a ton of secondary cannabinoids and plant oils. This is not always undesirable, but if you are looking to make Budder it is. The person responsible for popularizing “Budder”, BudderKing claims that you can only get powdery, jiggly, fluffy type hash oil from a super secret strain that he extracts with isopropanol, which he named “Budder”. This is, of course, utter BS – isopropanol extractions are green to black without further purification,. And if you’re doing that level of additional purification, you might as well do a better extraction to begin with. No, BudderKing says this to misdirect and create glory for himself, but the truth is, THC is a powdery, white, semi crystalline solid. Anytime you get the ratio mentioned above, you get “Budder”, however you arrived at that ratio. Budder is scarily head high, as it doesn’t have enough CBD to cancel out the psychotic effects of THC, but there is no better painkiller.
    Shatter is a dark glassy oil that is tactically similar to silly putty - its will bend under moderate force, then snap and break under more force. It occurs in oils that have a >25% CBN/other oils content and less than 30% THC. Sometimes, shatter can be turned into earwax by heating, which drives the thinner, lighter oils out (more on that later) You can get this from Ruderalis, American/Kansas/ditch-weed/flat-bud, or from medicinal Indicas that have been aged too long before harvest (when the trichomes have turned brown). If you're looking to make shatter it is a bad idea to use keif or previously processed hash, use the whole herb instead, as this will contain more of the secondary cannabinoids and oils required to make shatter. The high shatter produces is not euphoric, in fact it can be downright disphoric, but it will make you sleep like nothing else. Instant couch-lock, but not really enjoyable as you just space out, there’s non of that creative thinking etc you would expect from earwax or budder, but shatter has its uses.
    Earwax is a light to darker brown chunky wax that resembles, you guessed it, earwax. It occurs in oils whose ratio is 25%-50%CBD and not more than 15% CBN/other oils. This is my favorite. You can get this from Ruderalis/Ditch-weed keif, or from most Indica/Indica mixed train herb. 75% of the oil you make from any random herb will turn into this. Sometimes, with heat curing will turn this into Budder, but not often – more often it goes in a hybrid form sometimes called honeycomb or foam. The high from earwax is the classic stone – a nice couch-lock without much sedation and still that creative ideation you get from THC. This is you workhorse stone – you might take some dabs of budder to blast you into space every now and again, but generally you’ll want to toke on earwax so you can get things done.
    With all this in mind you've selected your starting material, loaded your extraction tube, and now its time to do the extraction, right? Well, there’s still one big hurtle: The solvent itself. If you know where to get super-critical co2, you also know where to get the equipment to handle it and how to assess purity, so lets focus on the home consumer, who will need butane.
    Most butane on the market, even those aimed at the BHO medical community, are loaded with industrial lubricant oils. The reason for this, is that butane’s legitimate use is filling lighters, and the lubrication helps preserve the life of the lighter. The problem with these oils is that they are oils at room temp, don’t cure or purge off, and *can fucking kill you*. The good news is you can easily test for them – just take a canister of the brand you wish to test and discharge it into a glass baking dish. Let it evaporate outside in the sun for several hours. After the butane evaps, the plate will still be cold and it will cause water condensation. Don’t be alarmed, this is not an indicator of contaminants. Wait several hours so that the water can evaporate off, and then run your bare finger across the glass where the butane was. Is it greasy? Do you see a smear? If so, that butane is unsuitable for extraction. I have historically liked Neon 5x, Mega 5X, and Colibri, as I have tested these as clean, but formulas change, so it is important that you perform the clean plate test yourself every time! Don’t rely on others – I've been recommended the hugely popular Vector 5x by several in the medical community, and every time I do a clean plate test, there are at least 5g of industrial lubricants left behind. Turns out everyone liked it because of how much more oil they got when they used it, until I told them that extra 5g of oil wasn’t cannabinoids but poisons!
    So now you have a loaded tube, clean butane, the only thing left is to do it! This must be done outside away from flames or sparks. To ignore this warning is to die. Holding your tube upright over a glass baking dish, discharge 2-3 8 oz canisters of butane into the tube per oz starting herb while holding it with an oven mitt. Leave it outside to evaporate, you can help this ply resting your baking dish on a pot of hot water, but this may partially heat cure it, which you may find undesirable.
    If you can get a tamisium extractor, these are self contained and reuse old solvent indefinitely with little loss, but they cost several thousand, and as they are out of the reach of most I shall not cover them in detail.
    There is another method of lipid only extraction: steam distillation. These require a still (about $100 on Amazon or Ebay) but uses only water. It takes about 30 hours to process half an ounce, but the results are spectacular when done right. You place ground herb or keif in a a large flask with a ton of water, then heat the water gently. Eventually, the temperature reaches high enough to vaporize the lipids in pot, and it along with steam, goes into a condensing coil, where it condenses and drips out into a waiting receptacle. The heat needed is greater than with essential oils, but the essential oils are still preserved (and can be removed with further heat curing). You are left with a very pure hash oil floating on top of water. It will be solid when cool, and can just be scooped out and rested on a plate to dry. There is no need to purge oils made by steam distillation – the minor amounts of water inside do not hinder vaporization and in fact smoothen out the vapor.
    However you made your oil, with isopropanol, butane, etc, if you used a solvent, you need to purge the oil. You may also want to heat cure it, depending on preference. Lets discuss this now.

    e. Purging/Curing. Purging purges out micro-bubbles of solvent from your oil. You cant see them until you begin to purge, but it is vital that you do so. These micro-bubbles make your oil thinner and runnier than it would otherwise be, and if you attempt to vape anything unpurged you will notice a crackling as these pockets of solvent explode. Don’t smoke crack – purge that shit! You can purge by heat curing (which causes other effects as well), or by vacuum. Vacuum purging is great if you want to preserve the terpenes and plant oils in your concentrate. You can make a vacuum purging system easily using a hand-held vacuum sealer like the kind sold in groceries, and using a plastic Tupperware lid that is big enough to cover your baking dish. With your concentrate in the dish, tape the lid on with duct tape, then make a small hole for your vacuum sealer, attach the sealer, and let it run for about five to ten minutes. This is the fastest method of purging.
    Heat curing is placing the concentrate on gentle heat, like in a glass baking dish on top of a pot of boiling water. This does two things: it keeps the oil liquid which allows the micro-bubbles gradually migrate out (you can increase the rate somewhat by “whipping” it – raking back and forth quickly with an unbent paperclip or similar), and evaporates off the terpenes and plant oils. This makes the concentrate thicker, as these terpenes and oils are thin liquids, but can also make it much harsher. You can add back the terpenes afterward, if you wish (more later)
    If you want budder, it can be had sometimes by just vacuum purging your concentrate if you started with keif from a sativah strain, but if you started with plant material or with a sativah indica mix you’ll want to heat cure at the same time. Heat curing while vacuum purging will remove the lighter oils and terpenes very quickly, which will have the added effect of fluffing up your concentrate, giving that nice classic Budder look. If you don’t heat cure out these lighter terpenes (vacuum purge only) but the ratio of THC is still >85%, instead of lightly attached fluff you’ll wind up with a foam or candy-honeycomb-looking concentrate due to the liquid plant oils binding together the semi-crystalline THC grains as the vacuum forces the bubbles of solvent out. This foam is not just smoother due to the extra terpenes, but is a bit easier to handle as it is in chunks, although it quickly crumbles into a consistency almost as fluffy as budder upon handling. Heat curing earwax can turn it into foam as well, if the THC ratio is high enough.
    As you can see, at this stage with heat curing you can alter the ratio of cannabinoids and oils a bit. Whether you choose to do that or not is up to personal preference regarding taste and physical form, but if you do not heat cure you must vacuum purge! It is vital that, whatever else, you get rid of any solvent trapped in your oil.

    d. Isomerization/Alteration. Ah, the fun part! These are unnecessary, and are not needed for good hash oil. But, if you enjoy tinkering around and having fine tuning control over your hash oil experience, you may want to give these techniques a read. Firstly, the alterations: If your oil is hitting too harsh, is dry and crumbly, you can add up to 10% limonene (available online). This is a part of the essential oil of orange peel, and of marijuana. By adding this terpene back in, you smoothen out the smoke and add that citrus pot flavor that is so desirable. The commercial company Pure Gold uses 10% limonene in the oils it supplies to dispensaries. This has the added effect of making the hash oil a liquid at room temp, meaning you can use it with ecigs with some success (not much, there are many better portable vaping options, more on those later). You can also add a tinge of glycerin (a natural oil in every plant including pot), which adds a sweetness and smooths nicely.
    You can, with materials available at home, alter the cannabinoids in your concentrate. By dissolving you concentrate in isopropanol and placing it in the sun in the open air, you can accelerate oxidization several hundred percent – a few hours is enough to break enough of the THC down in budder into CBN that after evaporation, that nothing but dark brown shatter is left. This is useful if you have anxiety problems and get a batch of paranoid inducing sativah, you can oxidize it and end up with some relaxing couch-lock instead.
    By evaporating white vinegar until you have glacial acetic acid, then (carefully) simmering your oil in the acetic acid, then allowing the mix to cool and straining out the oil, then throwing the oil into boiling water that has been removed from heat, then allowing these to cool and straining off the now solid oil, you can convert your CBD into THC (at about 80% efficiency), and your THC in to the much more potent THC-Acetate. Now, THC-Acetate is to THC as Crack is to Coke, and I would not consider it recreational as it induces psychosis (especially as you’ve just turned all your antipsychotic CBD into the hallucinogen THC), but if is better than a fentanyl/heroin/propofol smoothie for chronic pain, and so this is a useful tool for those patients who cannot get relief elsewhere.
    You can cause the same process but with Hydrochloric rather than Acetic by dripping muriatic acid (about 3 drops of 3% per gram of cannabinoids) into concentrate dissolved in isopropanol or ethanol, evaporate, then remove any excess hcl by throwing the concentrate into boiling water removed from heat (as above), and cooling then straining. There is a device that was sold in the seventies call the Thai Power ISO2 Extractor, which can be found for resale today at the same ridiculous price it debuted at. All this thing does is make an isopropanol extract and then you drop some of the included muriatic in and it isomerizes. It was highly sought after back then as isomerization was poorly understood and they didn’t tell you what was in their magical isomerization packet you added at the end, so this crazy super potent (for the time) hash oil was well loved. Unfortunately, even though it has some increased potency due to isomerization, its still a crude isopropanol extract and is laden with nasties like tannins and chlorophyll.
    Finally, you can isolate the individual cannabinoids by fractional distillation. This is similar to the steam distillation, but uses no water, and shouldn’t be attempted on whole plant material, only previously refined extracts. You will need, in addition to the still, an oil bath heater accurate to within .5 degrees F. You should heat cure the extract first to drive off any terpenes and plant oils. Place your extract in the still and set the heat for 315 degrees. This is the temp at which THC evaporates. After several hours, you will have a distillate that is pure delta-9-THC. Set this aside, put a new receiving dish under the condenser, and set the temp to 330. After several hours, you will have pure CBD. Then 350, which yields delta-8-THC. Then 365, which yields CBN. Then 428, which yields both THCV and CBC (these add only minor effects, can be discarded or used topically as an anti-fungal/anti- inflammatory). By going slowly up in temp, you isolate out in order each component, as each has a different evaporation temp. You can then recombine as you like for your desired effects. You can even just extract the THC, isomerize it, then put it back in with the rest, so you've got some nice CBD and CBN to even out the crazy hallucinogenic THC -Acetate, whereas if you isomerized your whole spectrum cannabinoid extract all that CBD would turn into THC, a mix that is often unpleasant.

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    Here's part 2:

    4 - The apparatus
    The different types of apparatus fall into two categories: Conductive and Convective. Conductive types of vaporizes have the heat source in direct contact with the material to be vaped, which can result in scorching and burning. Convective uses warm air currents to evaporate the material, which is gentler and minimizes scorching.

    a. Skillets (Conduction). These are devices that hold your concentrate or herb and allow you to heat it from the bottom. The very best are glass globes, but as these are frequently used by meth heads to vape tweak, there is a stigma attached to their use. The light bulb vape is a good example of this. These are operated by placing your material in the globe, heating the bottom with a lighter, and swirling the material around inside to even out the heating. If you use a warm oil bath or a digital heat gun as the heat source, this device is actually the most efficient method of vaporizing, with no scorching and 100% vaporization. There are metal versions of this made specifically for hash oil, they have a small metal plate that swings under a hood, the hood being connected to a bong or other device. These don’t really work. The hash always just melts and runs off before getting completely vaped. An old style of skillet that dates back to the seventies is a soldering iron, mounted vertically, with a small metal plate attached at the top horizontally, all encased in a globe that lets you suck up the vapors produced. The advantage of this is that you can slowly raise the temp to just perfectly the vaping temperature, and no more, preventing scorching, although there is still the hot metal taste.

    b. Drawn Air (Convection). These are solid products. They work by placing a heat source in the same air path as herb. You use a tube or “whip” to slowly inhale and draw hot air past the herb. This gently vaporizes. The tabletop ones, like VaporDoc/VaporBros, are just a soldering iron without a solder tip inserted into a tube which has an attachment on the end to hold the herb and connect to a whip. You can easily make your own (as detailed in my original VaporBros FAQ) using a 30-40 watt soldering iron, a dimmer switch to control heat, and assorted galvanized pipes to form the cover/herb chamber, and whips formed of simple nylon hosing. If you want a solid tabletop vape for herb, these are a good workhorses. The drawbacks are that the heating element is metal (the ones that tell you its a ceramic heating element are lying – they just put a fritted disc over the metal element, but air is still being drawn past the metal heating element), and so the vapor this produces is very dry and harsh with metal ions. You can minimize this by filtering it through water with a bong attachment, and by vaping at the lowest possible temperature, which also minimizes scorching. Surprisingly, actual ceramic heating element soldering irons are available on the market, so you can totally make a truly ceramic heated vape if you choose to build your own. Be wary of the $40 tabletop vapes on Amazon and Ebay, they are covered in industrial grease, which can be partially removed by turning it on for a long period with no weed, but generally they always still taste bad..
    Portable versions of these exist, but they all produce rather anemic vapor. One, the Iolite, uses butane and a catalytic converter for the heat source, and is a combination skillet/drawn air (the herb rests in a heated chamber that also gets hot air sucked through it when you inhale), and actually produces some good vapors, but it still isn’t as good as the tabletops and I would have to recommend using a fritted disc on top of your bowl over these as a portable vaping device, for reasons both of cost and effectiveness.

    c. Forced Air (Convection). These are the same as the drawn air, with one major difference: a fan blows the air past the heat and over the weed. This is cool because you can then attach a heat proof bag (Turkey/Oven Bag) and fill it up like a balloon. These are better in social situations because you can fill up several balloons and pass them around, whereas with a drawn air vape a single person must take upwards of a minute to slowly draw the vapor out of the device. The first of these was the Volcano, which debuted over a decade ago at $600, and hasn't lowered its price or added any features since. They claim a ceramic heating element, but a quick peek inside reveals a metal one instead. If you're going to buy a commercial one, go with the Arizer Extreme Q. Its still $250, but it has 3 fan speeds, is digital, adjustable to 5 degree increments, and comes with a ton of extra glass converters and chambers and bits, and works with both whips and bags (drawn and forced air). It has a metal element that is covered by a fritted disc and a pipe screen (this can be removed to great effect), but the herb chamber is Pyrex (unlike the Volcano), and its the smoothest forced air vape I’ve found. As a bonus, the included glass attachments for filling the bags have standard ground glass 14 mm joints, meaning you can just fit the bag straight onto your bong, no need to mess about with anything.
    A different form of forced air vaporizer is the heat gun. These are used to strip paint, and the higher end models have digital temperature control and a ceramic element. If you're going to throw down about $100-$200 for a forced air vape, this is the way to go. These things send a very precisely heated blast of air out of the front, sort of like a hairdryer. These are used with oversized bowls in bongs. You place your ground herb in the bowl, turn on the heat gun a bit to let it heat up, then push the nozzle flush with the bowl. The hot air will quickly strip the cannabinoids and fill up your bong chamber. You can then turn off the heat and clear the bong. This yields massive, smooth hits, and is my preferred method of forced air vaping. You can also build a little adapter for these out of pipe fittings and use it to fill bags far quicker than the commercial bag filling vapes do.
    There are a number of portable versions of this. Some, like the Vapir and thermovape, run on batteries and use a nichrome heating element, but don't really gets hot enough to produce good vapor (the thermovape can get hot enough, but then it seems to only burn). There has been a huge proliferation of so called “Click Vapes”, pen shaped vapes that use a torch lighter to direct heat into a chamber with herb while you inhale. These do not work. I know, $8 for a portable vape is tempting, and after years of underpowered portable electric vapes, you might think “butane, surely that will get hot enough!”. And it does, and then it gets too hot. There is no temp that the butane jet flame is capable of reaching that is low enough not to burn. You can make some mods, like putting a fritted disc at the bottom of the herb chamber, and this will deflect enough heat usually to let you actually vape, but these things are so cheaply made that they don’t withstand any kind of use anyway, and they always end up scorching regardless. Again, I'd just avoid, and go with a fritted disc instead.
    To use hash with either forced or drawn air vapes, simply crumble it and use like herb. For hash oil you’ve got to get a bit creative. Volcano sells steel wool discs for oil – avoid these, hot metal ions suck. Use a fritted disc instead – drop a drop of oil on top, and place in the herb chamber – the oil will melt into the disc and vaporize as hot air flows through the disc. You can use shredded rolling paper dipped in oil to the same effect.

    d Hot Knives (Conduction). The basic concept is that you place your concentrate (hash or oil only, herb doesn’t work) on the end of a knife, heat up another knife, then rub the two knives together while you huff the vapors that are produced. There are glass versions, and pipes with little flat ledges instead of a bowl for use with knives, but the concept is all the same, and like most conductive vaporization methods, it causes about 50% scorching/combustion. You get huge rips this way, but its mostly smoke. You can try to minimize this by heating up the hot knife less, but then it wont vaporize all of your concentrate, and it will instead smear and get lost/scorched anyway. This is fun as a novelty for getting huge rips, but not a healthy option for continuous use.

    e. Fritted Discs (Convection/conduction). These are small, sand sized grains of glass that have been sintered (loosely joined) together to form flat discs of varying sizes. They look like sugar cube, are sold in various sizes, and are measured by porosity. These are the handiest little things. They can turn any pipe into a flame powered vape. There are two ways to use these: You can heat them up with a torch, in a regular bowl if you can, if not hold it with tweezers to torch it and then drop it into your bowl, then place a drop of oil or hash onto it and inhale. This is similar to dabbing (more later) but is far more efficient. The concentrate will melt into the hot disc and vaporize completely almost instantly, with little scorching. The other way to use a fritted disc is to pack your standard bowl like normal, then cover it with a fritted disc, then smoke like normal with a lighter. The disc will block the flame, but let the hot air of the flame past. You can scorch your weed this way, but with some quick practice you can master this method, and vaporize easily on the go. You can do something similar with metal screens, but they don’t block the flame as well. There is a commercial product called VaporGenie which operates by the same principle, but uses a carbide ceramic mesh that has a very harsh dry taste (and costs an unreasonable $60 to boot, and produces dangerous byproducts if flame ever touches it). Sadly I never see the fritted discs in head-shops or dispensaries, but you can easily order them online from lab supply shops in a ton of sizes. Order one that will fit the top of your bowl, at around 100 micron porosity.

    f. Concentrate Bowls / Glow Wand (Convection/Conduction). These are wonderful, but they only work with highly purified concentrates, no hash or herb here – the plant material will just clog and burn. They are like standard, glass on glass herb bowls for your bong, with one huge exception: the air hole at the bottom, where your smoke travels down into the bong, has been removed, and instead, there is a series of holes along the top inner rim. This keeps the melted hash oil in bottom of the bowl (unlike almost every other device supposedly designed for hash oil) You can get them cheap at AMS medical supply. The bowl must be used with a matching glow wand, which is simply a thin stick of Pyrex that fits inside your bowl. The selection of your wand to fit your bowl is important – too thin and it wont impart enough heat, but if its so big that there’s not at least 1mm clearance around the sides, you will likely scorch your oil. I find that wands that are thin and have a nice sized ball on the end work best for me. You can get wands for about $.50 each online, search Amazon or Ebay for “Pyrex Swizzle Sticks” and get a 12 pack. Be sure to avoid colored wands: you never want something exposed to flame to have pigment, because the flame will strip some of the silica and release the pigment, and the pigments used to color glass are super toxic.
    You operate one by placing a bit of oil in the bottom of your concentrate bowl (I like to use enough for 4 people to pass around twice, too much loaded at once increases the chance of scorching). Then heat your wand using a torch. You do not want it glowing hot, this is too hot, glowing hot will scorch! It takes practice, but a good way to judge the correct temp is to heat it until it just starts to glow, then remove it from heat for `30 seconds, then use it. You use the wand by placing it, hot side first, into the bowl, making a quick up and down motion against the sides, while inhaling. You'll quickly see a ton of vapor come off. Some complain because this method makes you smear the oil around the bowl, but it isn’t lost, like in a nail, it all gets vaporized in subsequent hits. Its better to have some unvaporized material left in the bowl than to have combusted material. The really neat think about this method is that you get 80-99% vapor, with very little scorching, but you still get a nice big bong rip, which you wouldn’t get with a 100% efficient glass bulb/heat gun combo, for example. There will be some condensation in the inside of the bowl after repeated use. It will have a greater ratio of CBD/CBN than the original oil due to breakdown by heat, so it is generally runny. Feel free to scrape this condensate (or melt it out) and vape it again in the bowl – as long as you didn’t scorch your hits (you'd know, smoke and vapor taste very dissimilar) it will be as clean and pure to vape as your starting material. This design has very little waste, minimizes scorching, and delivers moderate-large hits. If you want bigger hits, I suggest a fritted disc, you get bigger hits than with nails (more on those later) and less scorching too, but as a go to attachment for your bong, a concentrate bowl is the only way to go – its the only method that lets you load up multiple hits of oil and just pass it around, the other methods require you to dose out a single serving each hit.

    g. Nails/dabbing (Conduction). These are curious devices that, like hot knives, really don’t vaporize in that they create as much smoke as vapor. I know I just made a lot of people really pissed – it seems that everyone who has converted to hash oil in the last few years was introduced to it for the first time on a nail, and since hash oil, even half burned hash oil, is so very much smoother and better than bubble hash or plain herb, those folks just went ahead and assumed that that is the best way to consume it. Not so: The nail works by heating a glass or metal nail with a torch until it is glowing hot, then scooping up some oil/hash with an instrument (usually a dental probe), and placing the oil onto the too hot nail, the vapors are then sucked down past the nail, into a bong or similar. Red light is generated at above 1500 degrees, so if you heat your nail to red hot, guess what temp it is - and now guess at what temp THC vaporizes and the combusts: THC vapes at about 300 degrees, and breaks down completely at about 500, so when you drip you oil directly onto a small platform that has been heated to glowing, about half of it boils away (vaporizes) before it can touch the nail, and the rest drips down directly onto the nail and is burned. Or you can heat your nail less, and instead of scorching half of it (only ~25% instead), it will just vape about a third of the oil and the rest will run down the side of your nail and be lost. Really, this is a terribly complicated design that doesn’t really work, which is something of a reoccurring theme amongst the new products popping up aimed at vaping oil and the medical community: for some reason, they never account for the fact that oil will melt and drip downward, and it will burn and scorch when placed directly on a heating element that is too hot.
    If you must use a nail, you can minimize the scorching by using a scoop that is cupped and will cradle the melted oil, and hold the oil on the probe without letting it drip down onto the nail, from a few millimeters away. This will let the hot air around the nail vaporize the oil on your scooper/probe. Its not as efficient as a concentrate bowl or fritted disc, but it is smoother than dabbing directly onto a hot nail. Avoid titanium nails, they taste bad, never use any other metal either as they release hot metal ions. Avoid quartz nails, they are just overpriced regular glass (Quartz is crystalline silica, Glass is amorphous silica, and if you melt quartz to shape it, it loses its crystalline structure and is just regular glass), get a temp resistant Pyrex one with a nice broad cup instead.

    h. Ecigs/VapePens (Conduction). Ecigs use a nichrome metal coil to heat propylene glycol (PG) solution. As with all conductive methods (and especially as with all metal equipment) this scorches a great deal, at least 50% of your oil will be burned. Some use wicks to wick liquid up to the heating element from a large storage tank. These do not work for hash oil. There are several on the market that claim to work with hash oil (Atmos etc), but as hash oil is often solid at room temp, these wicks never actually wick the hash into the heating element. If you water down your hash oil with PG or with vegetable oil, you can get it thin enough that it will work, but then, if you’re just going to water it down, why did you bother refining it in the first place? Just vape herb instead – you’ll get less burning. Some don’t use wicks, instead they have an exposed element at the bottom of a metal chamber that you can directly drop concentrates into. These are called “Direct Drip Atomizers”, and cost around $5. Several manufacturers re-brand generic direct drip atomizers as specialty hash oil pen vapes (THC Stick, the Gentleman's Vape, Medstick, Sticky Wax Burner, etc), but despite the price tag the dispensaries put on them, they are generic ecig atomizers meant for nicotine PG solution. They all have the same problems: the nichrome coil atomizer generates too much heat over too small an area, so your concentrate gets burned where it is in contact with atomizer, and the heat doesn’t really travel far enough to vaporize much. Some, like Delta9Vapes Omicron or the g-pen, are not direct drip atomizers but re-branded tank type atomizers, with the tank being omitted and the hash placed into the tank feed (they call it a nail, but it just drips down onto a standard atomizer coil). Some, like Thermovape Revolution, try to alleviate the scorching by putting a fritted disc on top of the atomizer, and this does increase efficiency, but there is still a great deal of scorching after the first couple hits. Ultimately they are all profiteers, re-branding off the shelf generic Chinese e-cigs and slapping a 400% price increase on them. Many claim “ceramic heating elements”, and while the wick may be ceramic, the heating element is always nichrome (which emits hazardous to inhale ions when hot), and the oil always directly touches the heating element and burns, and there is always a hole underneath the atomizer that will start to leak and get plugged up (this is because they were designed for ecigs, which are frequently activated by drawing breath, so there has to be an air path from the battery underneath the atomizer. If these were actually designed for hash oil, as claimed by the re-branders, you'd think they'd not place a hole right where hash oil melts and drips). If you like the portability these offer and don’t mind the health problems from inhaling smoke and hot metal ions, just buy a generic direct drip atomizer and generic ecig battery, and if you can find a fritted disc that fits, pop that in there. You'll have just spent 20 bucks on the exact same rigs the “Vapor Pen” companies are charging upwards of $100 for.

    i Magic/Dragon/Liberty Flight Box. These things are all similar, but the MagicFlight came first. Its interesting in that the quality of construction is poor, clearly homemade, it is made from jury-rigged parts, and it doesn’t even work very well, but it has taken off in popularity as a portable way to vape herbs. The concept is this: copper mesh is strung between two nails, and current is supplied via an AA battery that has had its plastic covering removed. The current runs through the mesh, heating it gently. You herb is ground and resting on top of the mesh, and you must shake the device as it is on in order to make sure the heat is even. These look different, but they are just a modified skillet design – it isn’t hot air passing over the mesh that causes vaporization, it is the contact of the mesh itself and the herb, so all the same problems of a skillet apply, you can burn the material directly in contact with the mesh, especially as there is no heat control, and then there is the additional problem that the heat from the tiny mesh doesn’t travel very far. You can absolutely, with a ton of practice, get nice vapor clouds without burning from one of these, but pretty much every other option on the market for vaping herb is better.


    Afterword
    So there it is, we've covered all the basic concepts and dispelled the major rumors. I know I left a few items out, didn’t review all the available vaping products, but I have covered all the concepts involved and all the basic designs for vaporizers. I have chosen to do without reference links for two reasons: link-rot, and the hopes that you will do some studying on your own. The only things not based on my own experience here are the temperatures at which the different cannabinoids evaporate and the specifics of their other physical properties – this was tested by folks with real labs and expensive mass spectrometers, and as its been confirmed by a variety of scientists and it meshes with my observable results, Ill take it as fact, and you should look it up on chemblink to hear it from the horses mouth. Beyond that, its just simple science. I know, a lot of hash oil “experts” on several forums will wax idiotic for pages about how the only way to get budder is to follow some complicate ritual of purging and whipping only certain kinds of extract made using certain solvents, but this is silly - as the different cannabinoids have very different physical properties, and since your cannabinoid extract is comprised of varying ratios of these cannabinoids, it follows that the physical properties of your extract will be determined by this ratio, as long as you're refining them out to any reasonable purity. Extractions are just that: extracting what is there, they don’t alter the chemicals you’re extracting. You can't make a fluffy pure Budder out of CBN laden oil from ditch-weed with just a regular lipid extraction – only THC is fluffy and powdery, CBN is a thick liquid oil. Similarly, any highly pure THC extract (>85 %) will be Budder, regardless of extraction or purging or curing method, and there’s no way to turn it into a runny oil like shatter... The only way to change the chemical makeup is through isolation, oxidization, or isomerization – and you've just been given the tools to do just that! As for the nail enthusiasts I've certainly offended by simply pointing out that the 1500 degrees hot nail they use will burn their oil; try a concentrate bowl and wand or a fritted disc, then decide whether you're upset with my evaluation.
    For the rest of you, I really hope you will all embrace concentrates and vaporizing as a whole – its much healthier, much more economical (even after the additional materials cost!), and hopefully I've helped cut down on a lot of the mysticism and BS that surrounds the current concentrate scene and is so daunting for medical users just trying to be a little healthier. And that's what it really comes down to: all this conflicting and erroneous data regarding concentrates is making hard for patients to embrace them, which, considering that most of the misinformation is being spread by dispensaries and their suppliers, is unacceptable. Now, if you run into some shady dispensary trying to sell some nasty black “Rick Simpson Oil” for $100+/g (or whatever the overpriced fad du jour is), you'll be well informed enough to not be taken advantage of.

    See you in another decade, to throw the light on whatever BS the profiteers will surely be running on my beloved medical community!

    -VladTheImpaler, aka JustAFigmentOfYours


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