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The Art of Extraction: Experts Talk Cannabis Extracts

The Art of Cannabis Extraction
This article is sponsored by Smoke Cartel, an online retailer and head shop made up of a close-knit team of glass lovers dedicated to making sure you get the best possible smoking gear.


Cannabis oil, hash oil, dabs, wax, shatter, BHO, and rosin: cannabis concentrates take on many forms and seem to have about a thousand names. There’s a strong argument to be made about why concentrates might be the future of cannabis, but few are familiar with how these concentrates are crafted. Join host Roxy Striar as she travels the country to learn about the science (and art) of cannabis extraction.

Experts Talk Extracts

You might know how cannabis extracts are made, but what happens after cannabis oil, BHO, rosin, shatter, and wax hit dispensary shelves? For part 6 of The Art of Extraction, Roxy sits down with four cannabis industry experts as they take turns sampling some of the newest products to hit the market.

Plus, hear answers to some of the most common questions budtenders receive about extracts, including tips for choosing the right concentrate, how to dabble in dabbing without committing to buying a dab rig, and more.

The Future of the Cannabis Extract Industry

In part five of The Art of Extraction, Roxy sits down with extract experts from Oleum Extracts in Auburn, Washington; Evolab in Denver, Colorado; Vapen Clear in Phoenix, Arizona; and Pioneer Nuggets in Arlington, Washington to hear their ideas about the future of the cannabis extract industry. Their responses are as varied as their cannabis extraction methods, and include pushing for an increased focus on the importance of cannabinoid and terpene ratios, striving for consistency between batches, and listening to and creating the perfect extract for medical marijuana patients.

Rosin Extraction at Pioneer Nuggets

In the fourth installment of The Art of Extraction, Roxy visits Pioneer Nuggets in Arlington, Washington, to learn about their all-natural rosin extraction process. Rosin might have humble beginnings in the cannabis community, but it’s quickly gaining in popularity. Pioneer Nuggets founder Fitz Couhig and rosin expert Ethan give Roxy a tour and show her how they’ve developed a process that meticulously combines heat, pressure, and cannabis to create small batches of terpene-rich, flavorful rosin. After learning how it’s made, Roxy sits down with Fitz to sample the product.

Distillate Extraction at Vapen Clear

In the third episode of The Art of Extraction, Roxy meets up with the minds behind Vapen Clear in Phoenix, Arizona, to watch them do distillate extraction. After learning about Vapen Clear’s extraction process and distillate, which serves as the base for all of the company’s products and contains over 99% cannabinoids, she sits down with sales manager Roman. He shows her the Vapen Clear syringe, a product that’s excellent for dabbing and contains THC levels above 90%. After that, Roxy tests out Vapen Clear’s cannabis inhaler, which was developed to ensure consistent, metered dosing.

CO2 Extraction at Evolab

In the second episode of The Art of Extraction, Roxy visits Evolab in Denver, Colorado, to learn about their unique CO2 extraction process. She meets up with founder Alex Cahoj and managing scientific director Dr. Steven Bennet, who give her a behind-the-scenes look at how Evolab is able to recreate strain-specific, whole plant profiles in extract form with their proprietary method of terpene isolation and extraction. After learning about how Evolab’s terpene-rich extracts are made, Roxy sits down with Alex to sample some of them.

BHO Extraction at Oleum Extracts

For our debut episode of The Art of Extraction, we follow along as Roxy visits Oleum Extracts in Auburn, Washington. Join her as she learns about different extraction methods, THC crystallization, live resin, and terpene ratios before getting an in-depth tour of Oleum’s BHO extraction process from owner Graham Jennings. After the tour, Roxy tries dabbing for the first time.

Subscribe to Leafly’s YouTube channel for the complete Art of Extraction series, or check out our other videos to explore all that cannabis has to offer.

  • Darius A Stokes

    The best way to extract is oxygenated pressure all day.
    or Componded pressure Love the article.

    • Chris In Minneapolis

      OK professor. You are the type of person who has to top everyones story.

      • Ken Rogers

        Says the person who has nothing of importance to say.

  • GoWiThaFlo

    Thank you Roxy Striar and Leafly for revealing an aspect of the cannabis industry that’s not often covered, considering the predominant media focus on mason jars full of dried flowers. Feel free to extract yourselves from the western states and check out what’s going on here in New York, Massachusetts or Maine, too.

    • Chris In Minneapolis

      There is nothing going on in those states, Maine cant even get its passed law in the books to enact it. What good happens in NY? Please.

      • GoWiThaFlo

        More “good” happens in New York than Minnesota! Not enough, for sure, but still lots of good. We have 5 companies in NY, including the same Vireo Health as in MN, growing cannabis for medical purposes and specializing in extraction methods. Massachusetts and Maine both have more comprehensive medical programs with sales of flower and extracts allowed. With the recreational laws that just passed in MA and ME, it will take TIME to set up the new rec programs. (full disclosure: I posted my invitation thinking how splendid it would be to meet fun and lovely Roxy Striar:)

      • Jack Sherman

        LOL—i was in Maine all Summer. there is a LOT going on! wtf?? why are u here–again!?? what u might read in the news is NOT the same as the reality on the ground. gimme a break….

  • Etidorhpa

    Concentrates should be banned in the “recreational ” market and given only for extreme medical cases such as terminal cancer or convulsions.

    • HonkyGeorge

      No.

    • Tamas Gyori

      You dont know much about cannabis otherwise you would not say something like that

      • HonkyGeorge

        Yeah! I’m gonna do extra dabs to spite the haters.

        • Chris In Minneapolis

          Go race to the red light good for you.

      • Chris In Minneapolis

        Obviously you are the one with little knowledge.

    • susie815

      I agree, I think we are headed for trouble with these concentrates as recreational…why is it, we have to make everything bigger and better, I think its too much for recreational use…the weed produced now should be strong enough, nothing like it was in the 70’s…

      • HonkyGeorge

        What? I do a gram of BHO a day, and I’m fine. Improving is good.

        • Chris In Minneapolis

          You are not improving you are getting a higher thc tolerance, in real terms you are getting worse.

          • HonkyGeorge

            Then, I’d just switch to flower for a bit, or take a break for a few days–no big deal.

          • principally sans principle

            For you, perhaps. But there are many people who are more psychologically susceptible to abusing this otherwise excellent chemical, particularly at such a high concentration. The weed they cultivate nowadays is in no way lacking in potency.

          • Jack Sherman

            well that’s what freedom is–the right to decide what’s best for ONESELF–and not have folks like you telling us what’s good and bad. you are obviously not experienced in extract use vs. bud use. buds are way worse for the lungs! you forget that most folks will not abuse this—and will feel a lot better NOT smoking buds—by using a few vape puffs instead.

    • Gerry Edwards

      totally agree. I am a grower and male pain killing ointments. All organic grow. I look for hybrids with a proper THC to CBD ratio. I use the crystallization method of extraction. I PERSONALLY DO NOT SMOKE OR EAT THE CROP. I THINK BY USING THE CONCENTRATES TO SMOKE YOU MIGHT AS WELL USE CRACK OR METH. tHE CONCENTRATES ARE NOTHING MORE THAN CHEMICALS.

      • HonkyGeorge

        That’s the point, Gerry!

      • Ken Rogers

        Everything is made of chemicals.

      • Jack Sherman

        stupid post. comparing THC to METH and CRACK??? very stupid. go ahead and TRY crack and heroin and meth —then tell me how it’s the same as THC!!! dumbass…..

      • Jack Sherman

        everything is “just chemicals” BTW. study organic chemistry–be amazed!

    • Chris In Minneapolis

      Yes to banning them no to medical use. THC has no medical value.

      • Jack Sherman

        why are you here? another idiotic post. thank god you are not in charge here! THC has LOTS of medical value u simpleton. google it and weep!

    • Brendan Clark

      What about concentrates with high cbd and low thc? I use them on a regular basis for management of extreme pain. Used in edibles it doesn’t even honestly get you buzzed

    • Jack Sherman

      you are dead wrong. using concentrates can be WAY healthier than smoking buds. fact. way less lung damage. my nephews and nieces who dab are way better off than we were–getting drunk and smoking shitty Columbian weed in the 1970’s–which did much lung damage. i am speaking from vast experience here—in the bizz and in the world. extracts have made the whole medical and recreational cannabis world much much better….

  • Sharon Warner

    Very informative video BUT Roxy cover your hair. It made me cringe, lab setting and free flowing hair is a big NO NO.

    • Edward Newman

      That because these labs are for show. Give it a few years they will fold.

      • Brendan Clark

        Agreed. Its not like you need a lab or scientists. Just take someone with a quality interest in cannabis who is willing to do the r&d and that’s how we got these processes in the first place. My step moms a physicist/chemist and when she looked into helping me all I got was a quality method to infuse drinks. Which while its very very cool it held no actual extraction value as I have to use pre extracted oils. If people at home could afford supercritical co2 extractors these companies would be out of business too fast with their excessive price tags.

  • Alan479 Martin

    Concentrates have already been proven to be not a better trip or smoke when compared to a good balanced THC/CBD plant. Excessive THC alone is not the answer. The secret of marijuana lies in finding plant combinations that will interact totally with all of your unique personalized DNA. Each individual is different and each must find his own personal plant combinations that will activate his own genetics. It takes a number of different chemical plant combinations to make the most dynamic genetic interactions. With greater interactions the “trip” potential and experiences are unlimited. Unlock parts of yourself and mind that you never knew existed by creating new neural patterns from dynamic plant interaction.

    • Chris Bodragon

      Total Bull***t. What planet are you living on?

      • Chris In Minneapolis

        Earth. Come and join us.

      • principally sans principle

        I don’t know that it is total bullshit. Concentrated THC on its own without CBD to counterbalance, for example, the negative side effect of increased anxiety, and instead bring a high closer toward that desired euphoria is important. Higher THC content in concentrates means your tolerance gets built up really fast as well, which means it has abuse potential. THC in the cannabis flower on its own is so much more potent than in the ’60s at its now common 15-30%. At a certain point it’s overkill. We also know so little about the manifold other cannibinoids present in cannabis along with their myriad potential effects… and we don’t necessarily want to remove all of those either without first properly assessing their benefits/detriments.

        • HonkyGeorge

          BHO doesn’t just extract the THC. It contains CBD and terpenes as well. Edibles can and do get people very high, but no one cares about them. BHO should be treated the same.

          • principally sans principle

            Okay. Let’s say that is a matter of fact. What’s the ratio of THC to CBD in a BHO?

            As for edibles, for some reason I don’t think they’re widely as popular, thus less dangerous, plus the concentration is somewhat significantly less.

            For the record, I’m not single mindedly “anti” about BHO, I just have a few reservations.

    • Chris Bodragon

      Next you’ll be expounding the benefits of homeopathy!

    • HonkyGeorge

      That’s too much work.

    • Chris In Minneapolis

      Thank you. One of the only people here in their right mind.

  • Antonio Briones

    These are some great videos

  • Chris In Minneapolis

    Ya lets promote the crack of cannabis. People I know who were regular potheads who now make and use BHO are borderline schizophrenic with dementia setting in only after a few years of use. Who says weed isnt a gateway drug? Most people can barely handle high grade weed yet most of the BHO users I know are half my age in their teen amd early adulthood. Want to see the effects of longterm dabbing go to the numerous dab channels in ytube and check em out. BHO reminds me of the Dennis Leary bit on how only in America is cocaine not good enough someone had to go invent crack. This is one of the reasons most states will never legalize rec and feds want nothing to do with it because it will get more powerful and some people take inch and go a mile. Most can barely handle high grade weed and here we are talking 90%+ thc vs the 15-25% of high grade. Ever heard the saying too much of even a good thing is bad for you? Ya go make it or spend 100 plus a gram for it while the rest of us enjoy our weed. Idiots.

    • HonkyGeorge

      What if I don’t have time or inclination to smoke 3 joints? What if my neighbors don’t like the smell? What if they have kids? Are we sure the smoke from a joint is super safe? It’s burning plant matter. BHO is purged of dangerous chemicals. It contains the same terpenes and cannabis found in the flower, but in purer form. You’re inhaling vapor that isn’t damaging to the lungs, and it doesn’t bother the neighbors.

      Edibles have been around for ever, and they can have just as much–if not more–of an intense high than dabbing, yet nobody gives a shit. Nobody is saying a weed brownie is “bad for the movement.” BHO isn’t either.

    • principally sans principle

      I’m pretty much in agreement with you here. I’m not saying it should be banned or outlawed out of necessity, but I think people who dab concentrates frequently are much closer being drug abusers than those who more commonly stick to the much more balanced (and still significantly potent) flower. “Stoners” already are given such a bad name as it is. Moderation is important, especially if we really want to go federal.

    • Brendan Clark

      I agree that its the crack of weed. But to say people become borderline psychotic is ridiculous. People with too low tolerances who smoke too much get retarded paranoid etc. I’ve seen someone think they melted into the porch smoking brick weed before. Its all about your body how it handles it and how much you intake. Obviously if someone who doesn’t smoke much does a giant dab they’re gonna melt into the floor, but for those of us who have loved with a med card for 5+ years we find 25-30% strains that we smoke daily which increases tolerance significantly enough that you can use concentrates without getting too high. The other part is most people underestimate their dab. A dab the size of a cannabis seed contains the same amount of thc as 2 average bowls. Then you vaporize it instead of combusting which gives you even more. It is something that takes time to learn to properly use. People doing gram dabs and shit are honestly just idiotic attention seekers. Its about as necessary as a chong sized joint.

    • Ken Rogers

      Please post the studies that support your statements or GTFO

    • Jack Sherman

      you are missing the point!! extracts allow one to use way less and is WAY better for the lungs than smoking bud. i can take a few puffs on a vape pen–every few hours–and have the proper medication 24/7. living at 9,000 ft.–I know how bad smoking a joint is for me–56 yo. i have been using ext, only for 3 years and feel 10 times better than when smoking weed.
      kids will get high and abuse this of course. but –if not for dabbing–they would be getting drunk or using harder drugs. so here in the real world–your post is way off. and your scary post is not based in anything i have seen in 35 years in this business! might work up in Minnesota—but folks here in Colorado KNOW you are way off…..

    • alkh3myst

      Who’s paying you? Pfizer?

  • Evan

    Love the racing to the red light analogy. Guess after 4years of dabbing. And i still am getting the same effects I must be doing something wrong.
    Yes I have a higher tolerance to flowers but I dislike smoking flowers anyways, because I have no where near the problems with dabs as I did with flowers. No sore throats no hacking cough no yucky taste of burned material. So yeah… Thanks for the concern…..

    • HonkyGeorge

      Dabs don’t annoy the neighbors with dank smoke.

  • Brendan Clark

    For those of you who think hash is crack. I’m about to go extract some z7(cbd:thc ratios of 15:1 to 20:1 depending on sample) which even as live resin or rosin would contain less than 5% or less thc. I switched from a diet of Percocet, flexiril, and naproxen for this. I have severe muscle spasms that are debilitating in nature. Concentrates aren’t evil. Its more about how you use them. High quality medical cannabis as a whole has given me my life and my energy back and potent concentrates are fantastic for preventing pain before it happens and helping to stop a spasm already in progress

  • Kijahna Samuels

    the comments here are ridiculous, how are half of these people are on Leafly and hardly know nothing anything about cannabis? comparing it to crack? talking about moderation? only use extracts in terminal caner ect or other medical illness??? first off if its as bad as crack why say ohhh it should only be used by people with serious medical conditions!!! then use the knowledge of NO cannabis overdose with death and the heavy argument to refute these bogus claims of schizophrenia and other b.s that are being mentioned here. If marijuana was as bad as crack or cocaine we be dropping like flies trust me they are alot of oil heads vs pot heads and the number is rising people are medicating not deteriorating.

  • Denvers Man

    I make my own concentrates using alcohol, and I can’t speak to balance or CBDs, but high THC is desirable. I take one hit of concentrate and the high lasts a couple hours. I do have a high tolerance and smoking a joint only gives me a headache, but dabs always get me high unless I’m hitting the pipe all day. Thats when dabs become less of a high, and it’s time to stop and wait until tomorrow. In fact, sleep (actual, restful sleep) is all I need to reset my tolerance for concentrates. I don’t buy into any claims that concentrates are too much THC. They’re just right for me.

  • cinderabi

    Personally, I feel that when you extract something from its natural source you will inevitably deny yourself the benefits of how the plant in question was created by nature in the first place. I do not take anything into my body that has been altered or created in a laboratory. Period. Everything I indulge in, whether for pleasure or for medication comes in its natural form with all the other important properties that make it work in the human body. Its time to get out of the labs and back into the fields. Synthetics and extracted elements will get you in the long run and side effects will begin to occur. Have a little faith in what mother nature has provided for us and respect that it was created perfectly to interact with our chemistry without humans pretending to be god and attempting to improve on perfection. If it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it. You will only end up destroying it, and it will do no body any good.

    • HonkyGeorge

      Have you seen how cannabis is grown nowadays? Hydroponic grow mediums, fertilizers, hydroton pellets, LED and HID lighting. I still consider that natural, and making concentrates is just a natural progression.

      • cinderabi

        Since I do not live in a “free” state the art of cultivation is not available to me. All I know is what I am able to learn online from those who are fortunate to live where this plant is not villainized like it is here. I did live in Washington state once and will be returning there again in the spring for a visit, at which time I do want to look into this new industry more closely because I believe that cannabis should be deregulated and made available for recreational as well as medicinal use for anyone who chooses to indulge in its benefits. It is far, far less evil than the powers that be have led folks to believe. It is, in my opinion, one of Mother Nature’s greatest gifts to all living creatures because it helps elevate mood while correcting neural problems without addiction and/or nasty side effects, which is what you get with all these pharmaceuticals that are being shoved down people’s throats by the medical industry. And that is why I do not like to see cannabis being dissected in a laboratory for its various properties or sprayed with a bunch of chemicals while growing up in a greenhouse. My opinion is to simply leave what has been perfected by nature alone and stop pretending that we are god and can make it better by messing with it. Its not just cannabis with me… its all the wonderful plants and herbs that we have at our disposal, all of which are perfectly fine as is without needing to be altered. I do not put anything into my body that is not from the earth and I hesitate to do so with genetically altered or dissected foods and herbs. I wish I could grow a plant or two in my home. They are so pretty. But like I said before I do not live in a “free” state, and until I am able to relocate back to the one I once called home I am stuck with only a virtual look at this new and potentially powerful industry. And one final note… I see absolutely nothing wrong with infusion. I would rather eat a cookie than smoke a pipe. I also really value my lungs.

  • Andrew Sweeney

    Well too be very honest, hashish has always been around, as well as concentrates, i have been making oil since year 2000, i learned from people who have been doing it since the 80’s. If you can’t handle a dab aka a hot knife, stay the fuck out of the kitchen.

    Its all about dose, you can smoke a gram of flowers to your face. Or you can smoke a 0.05g of concentrate. The difference is you are not enhaling 80% plant matter…..

    I love my flowers and i love my extract, always have always will. What i dislike is how popular this industry has become, as the corporate vulchers swoop in to pick up the remains laid out by the working class.

    The more popular something becomes… means the death of something once good. Wait til its all GMO cannabis, some bullshit excuse will be used as to why it is necessary.

  • Bill

    I think you people should just roll one or pack a pipe or a dab and relax your making my head hurt how ever you like doing it is what ever helps so just enjoy the fact your able to do it legally

  • Petpurrfectcolorado.co

    Incredable process….
    CBD at its best
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  • David Cresson

    Why the fuck are the videos in reverse order?