In recent years, vaping has become quite a popular way to consume weed. This is mostly due to the weed being combusted instead of burnt, the ability to vape THC oil, and the fact that vaporizers are quite portable.
Modern vaporizers and vape pens are made up of four basic parts: battery, mouthpiece, atomizer (heating coil), and the vape cartridge which can be disposable or reusable. And since most vape pens require e-liquids instead of dry herb, you’ll need that as well.
THC vape oil, also called vape juice, e-juice, and e-liquid, is a cannabis product made for vaporizers and vape pens, similar to e-cigs. Vapes make for a convenient method of consumption but they also require buying regular refills from the dispensary.
The good news is that if you ever find yourself without e-liquid, you can make it yourself. Though not superior to high-quality and lab-tested products, DIYing has its own charm, so let’s see how it can be done.
About DIY E-Liquids
DIY e-liquids use the same ingredients as manufactured ones. They use a base, such as vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, or polyethylene glycol, and cannabis. Sometimes they add a thinning agent such as MCT oil or coconut oil to make it easier for vaporizing.
However, propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol aren’t considered safe as they turn into formaldehyde at higher temperatures, making them unsafe. For this reason, we included recipes that use solely vegetable glycerin, but make sure that the one you use is food grade. Do not use any other type of glycerin other than food-grade.
The upside of making your own e-liquid is that you know what ingredients you use and what will go into your body later as there are many counterfeit cannabis products on the market that aren’t safe, which is why you should only use high-quality ingredients.
The downside is that it’s done in your kitchen. This leaves a lot of room for error and the possibility for you to end with a disappointing final product that could be a waste of time. That’s why we don’t recommend relying on your own DIY skills to make THC vape oil. The methods below are for informational purposes only, so you should proceed with caution.
Some of these methods require that you begin with decarboxylated weed, or in other words, weed that has been exposed to a high temperature so that the cannabinoids could get activated. This process is called decarboxylation.
Raw weed isn’t psychoactive and contains the inactive forms of THC and CBD, THCA and CBDA, respectively. They convert to their active forms only when exposed to heat.
You can decarboxylate the weed in the oven by placing it on a baking sheet or aluminum foil and baking it at 225-250°F for about 40 minutes until it becomes brownish-green. Then let it cool to room temperature and use as directed.
How to Make THC Vape Oil
To make the best THC vape oil, it’s best to use a weed strain with high THC levels. If you need some ideas, we have a list of high-THC strains that you can check out.
Now, let’s see how you can make your own THC vape oil with these three methods.
DIY THC Oil With Vegetable Glycerin
This method requires some work, like making an oil bath for the extraction, but at the end of the day, you’ll be able to unwind with a great THC oil you just made. It uses food-grade vegetable glycerin and raw cannabis buds. It’s recommended that you don’t use a grinder for the buds but break them up by hand.
- 3.5 g cannabis buds
- Food-grade vegetable glycerin
- Vegetable oil
- Pyrex jar
- 2 cooking thermometers
- Small rubber spatula
- Put the buds into a Pyrex jar and pour vegetable glycerin over them. Don’t pour too much as the final product will end up too diluted to get you high. This amount of glycerine will eventually become your e-juice, so it should be thick and gooey, but still liquid enough to move;
- Pour some vegetable oil into the saucepan and put it on the stovetop at a medium-high temperature. The temperature of the oil should reach and stay at 220°F. Use the thermometer to maintain this temperature as this is the most important part of the extraction;
- When the oil reaches that temperature, place the Pyrex jar with the weed/glycerine mixture and be careful not to burn yourself as the oil will be hot;
- The weed/glycerine mixture should reach a temperature of 180°F. You should use the second thermometer to maintain this temperature and adjust the heat of the stove accordingly. Don’t let it go up as this will degrade the THC into CBN which has sedative effects rather than getting you high;
- Maintain these temperatures of the mixture and the oil bath for about 45 minutes while stirring often;
- When the time is up, take the Pyrex jar out of the oil bath and let it cool for a few minutes. Then, strain the mixture and use the spatula to really press on the buds and strain them well;
- Next, you can repeat steps 3 to 6 two more times, adding fresh vegetable glycerin each time so that you can extract every bit of THC from the cannabis buds. Remember to maintain the temperature, too. Your first run will produce the most potent batch, but the following two won’t be too shabby either;
- After you’ve done that, use the cheesecloth to filter the mixture again and get rid of any smaller particles of weed;
- Next, it’s time for an oil bath again, so that the THC oil can be fully decarboxylated. But this time, both the oil bath and the e-liquid should reach 220°F. Make sure to maintain the temperature and not let it go too high. If it starts bubbling up, remove it from heat immediately and put it back once it has cooled. You should let it sit in the oil bath for an additional 30 minutes;
- Finally, let it cool before you use it to load your vape pen.
DIY THC Oil With Rosin Extraction
This method will produce the most flavorful and high-quality DIY THC oil because it involves physical extraction of the cannabinoids and no thinning agents, which also makes it the safest method.
Alternatively, instead of extracting it yourself, you can use other cannabis concentrates if you have them on hand, like BHO wax or budder.
Please note that the more resinous the cannabis flowers are, the more successful your extraction will be.
- 3 g decarboxylated cannabis flowers (whole, not ground)
- Hair straightener
- Parchment paper
- Small glass jar or vial for mixing
- 8 drops of a high-quality terpene blend, such as The Potion – Natural Terpene Solution
- An industrial syringe with a blunt tip needle
- Dropper bottle
- Mixing wand
- Turn on the hair straightener and set it at a temperature between 250-280°F as it’s the best temp for pressing rosin. Remember that since this is all done at home and not in a lab, you may not get it right the first time and may have to readjust the temperature once or twice for the extraction to work;
- Take one cannabis bud and place it on a piece of parchment paper. Fold the paper in half so that the bud is sandwiched between and press on it with the hair straightener. Press as tight as you can and hold for a few seconds before releasing. Be careful when you do this the first time as you don’t want to burn the paper or the bud. When done successfully, you should see a residue on the paper which is the resin you will later collect;
- Repeat the process with different pieces of parchment paper until you press all of the weed;
- Then place the parchment paper into the fridge for 2-3 minutes so that the rosin can harden a little because it’ll be easier to peel off;
- Scrape it from the paper using a dab tool or a butter knife and place it in the small glass jar or vial to prepare it for mixing. 3 g of cannabis flower should give you approximately 0.4-0.6 g of rosin;
- Next, use the dropper bottle to add 7-8 drops of the terpene solution to the glass vial;
- This step is very important as you’ll need to execute it carefully. Take the lighter and heat the vial for 3-4 seconds just so the rosin can melt and bubble up a little. Don’t hold the fire for too long as you’ll not only risk burning the cannabinoids and terpenes but also crack or break the glass;
- Finally, mix your DIY vape juice with the dropper tool and use the syringe to load your vape cartridge. And of course, enjoy the flavorful smoke!
DIY THC Oil With High-Proof Alcohol
This final method is a very easy and simple one, but it does take a couple of weeks for the extraction, so you’ll have to plan in advance. You’ll need vegetable glycerin again, but the extraction process is a little different than the previous one as it involves making a cannabis tincture with alcohol.
Please note that you should never ever use rubbing alcohol as it’s neither intended nor safe for human consumption.
- 7 g of decarboxylated ground cannabis flowers OR 5 g hash
- 2-4 oz Everclear (or any high-proof alcohol over 180, like vodka)
- 2-4 oz food grade vegetable glycerin
- 2 sterile mason jars
- Put the decarboxylated cannabis buds in one of the mason jars and cover them with alcohol by at least 1/4 of an inch to make the tincture. Close the jar and shake it vigorously so that the alcohol can really get into the buds;
- Leave the jar to sit in a cool and dark place for about 14 days while checking up on it constantly and topping up the alcohol if it has evaporated to prevent mold formation. Shake the jar vigorously each day;
- When the time is up, strain the tincture through a cheesecloth into the other sterile mason jar and add the vegetable glycerin. Close the jar tightly and again shake it vigorously for about 3 minutes until the ingredients are well incorporated;
- Fill up your vape cartridge and you’re ready to vape!
The Takeaway – DIY, but With Caution
Making DIY THC oil isn’t as dangerous as trying to make a cannabis concentrate at home by using a solvent, but it’s not as simple as making an edible, either. The rosin extracting method could be your best choice if you’re new to this or want a simpler way to DIY a THC vape oil. In any case, make sure you use high-quality ingredients and always err on the side of caution.