what are cannabis extracts

One of the oldest practices in cannabis history is extracting the plant resin. This is done for a wide variety of reasons, primarily because the resulting concoction is often significantly more potent than simply drying and smoking the leaves. The reason that this isn’t an extremely common practice is simply that it can be very difficult and time-consuming. This is certainly not suggested for beginners or amateur growers. However, for those who are happy to slog through the rather intense process, it can be extremely rewarding. 

Why Extract Resin?

As I said there are a number of different reasons why we extract resin from cannabis. Usually, it’s to make hash which has been around for hundreds of years. It can be more potent for recreational use, so THC, and for medicinal use, with the CBD. This means you can get a lot more out of your plants if you do it right. 

What Kinds of Extracts Are There?


This is one of the most popular types of extracts. This is likely both to do with its impressive potency and its being one of the easiest to make. Rosin is simply collected with heat and pressure which can be done with a heat press or even in an oven. The only thing with extracting rosin from a plant is that it is time-consuming and requires a good deal of patience. If you can manage it it is definitely the most cost-effective method. 


Cannabis oils are usually extracted from the plant leaves, buds or seeds. This very much depends on the type of oil you are trying to collect. There are a lot of different oils to collect from cannabis but the most popular is BHO, butane hash oil. BHO is definitely more complicated to make but is well worth it if you have the skills. Surprisingly enough BHO is made using butane and depending on the extraction method it can come in a variety of textures and densities. 


This is a runny version of cannabis oil also known as budder. They are easier to roll out than normal oil and have a different texture, but are often very sticky. Another form of wax is honeycomb, which is very similar but a little more brittle and crumbly as the name suggests. Not as easy to roll out but a heck of a lot easier to get out of the container. 


Of course, most of us are already very aware of hash. Hash is made using keif, a run-off product from grinding weed. It needs to be carefully squished with heat, but not so much that it just burns away. The pressure needs to be pretty intense to squish the keif into a mouldable mass. Hash comes in a wide range of colours and textures that totally depend on how it is made. Bubble hash is similar but uses a water bath to extract the resin from the plant. The cold bath knocks the trichomes right off the leaves and creates extremely clean and pure hash. Of course, it is a little trickier to manage than making regular hash. 

Making Your Own

We simply don’t have space to look into a full breakdown of how to make all of these extracts today. It is extremely complicated so at some point, we will have a detailed look, but for now, I can give you an idea of what you will need to get started. 

You will need: 

  • Baking paper or parchment paper, anything that doesn’t stick. 
  • A heat press or perhaps a straightener if you don’t have a lot of cash to throw around. 
  • A 25u micron screen. 
  • A blunt blade or something else that won’t damage the paper when you collect the resin. 
  • Processing materials like flower or bubble hash. 

Because the first time making resin, hash or any concentrate can be quite dangerous no matter how safely you do it. Choose a space that is quite bare and good for using heat. The first time you make any of these guys there is a good chance you can accidentally set something on fire. For this reason, you should always have a buddy with you when making extracts. 

Quick Look at Hash

To give an idea about how these processes work we will have a quick run through making hash. 

First, you need your screen and a bowl for the plant matter. Pop the most resinous buds you can find onto the screen and cover them with plastic. Hit the buds with a small rod until all of those little crystals fall off into the bowl. If you used a fine enough mesh screen there shouldn’t be any plant matter in with the crystals but you’re definitely going to want to give it another sieve through. It might also be a good idea to cool the buds right down beforehand by putting them in a closed container and submerging them in ice water. This makes it far easier for the trichomes to pop off. 

We then want to pop the resin crystals into a pollen press, a very inexpensive piece of equipment you can easily get off the internet. These little bullet-shaped things are used to press and condense the resin until it forms a little block which can then be smoked. This method is thought to be one of the safer options as it involves pressure but not heat. If you have a bit more set aside for the project there are more complex tools and machines that you can use for removing and pressing resin. 

Most other methods will require heat and a press so if you do decide to go ahead just make sure you have someone with you and you’re not just having a go at home. 

Once you have mastered the basics you can always move on to the slightly more advanced extraction methods. Remember, the extracts will be far more potent so maybe go a little easy on your first try. 

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Photo by Cambridge Jenkins IV on Unsplash