Did you know you can make potent infusions without any heat at all? The goal of infusing cannabis is to pull (extract) cannabinoids like THC and CBD from the plant into an easy-to-use liquid, referred to as the solvent. Some solvents require heat to effectively extract the THC or CBD. Most oils, including coconut, olive oil, MCT and avocado oil, as well as butter, all require heat to efficiently move the THC and CBD from the plant into the oil. When you make cannabis oil and cannabis butter therefore, it requires a second heated infusion step after the first step of decarboxylation.
There are many solvents, however, that are strong enough to extract cannabinoids like THC and CBD without any additional heat. Alcohols fall in this category. We wanted to show how simple it is to make a topical solution with ethyl rubbing alcohol, This alcohol is for topical application only – it is available over the counter at any drug store or pharmacy. Ethyl alcohol is great for skin irritation, minor cuts and bruises. It acts as an antiseptic as well.
Extracting with Ethyl alcohol is very simple. The first step is to decarboxylate. You need to activate the cannabinoids before you pull them into the alcohol so you will have a THC or CBD rich end product. After decarboxylation, mix the decarbed flower with the ethyl alcohol and shake it. This is the beauty of science, because there are a lot of misconceptions floating around on the internet with respect to this process, leaving many people genuinely confused. Some suggest that cold infusion requires you to leave the jar for several weeks in a dark, cold place with continuous shaking. That is simply not true and we are happy to share the testing results to show how easy this can really be. The testing below shows the results of one gram of cannabis mixed with one ounce of ethyl alcohol.
In the Skywalker Goo flower below, the decarbed flower had just over 200 mg per gram. With a quick cold infusion, 142 mg of THC was pulled into the solution. That’s an over 70% infusion rate with a quick cold infusion.
The more you agitate or shake the solution, the more opportunity the alcohol will have to pull those cannabinoids off of the plant, and the infusion will proceed faster. With minimal shaking, we usually let our cold fusion sit for about an hour or so, but the infusion starting immediately because alcohol is such a strong solvent. When you’re choosing your alcohol, know that stronger alcohol with extract more quickly. Some rubbing alcohol formulations are 50/50 alcohol and water. Choose 70% alcohol or higher for the best results.
You might be surprised to find out that you can extract so well with quick cold extraction. Let us know what you think below in the comments!