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Isopropyl Alcohol is an excellent solvent for extracting cannabinoids and making QWISO hash. There are multiple methods of making weed extract using solvents, here we are going to focus solely on the “short soak” or “quick wash” (QWISO) method using 99.9% Isopropyl Alcohol.
In the traditional long soak process, alcohol (and water) stays in contact with the plant material for up to months at a time. As alcohol is a polar solvent, this technique also extracts water soluble materials like chlorophyll and various plant alkaloids and waxes into your final product.
Keep it brief
Using a quick wash involving only brief contact with the solvent, cannabinoids can be separated from the plant material while leaving behind most of the water-soluble materials and keeping them out of your final product. The quick wash method (QWISO) will still extract some impurities, but they can be quickly and easily filtered off.
A note on Purity
A quick note on Isopropyl Alcohol: The higher purity of alcohol that is used, the lower amount of water-soluble materials will be pulled into your product during your QWISO. 70% Isopropyl Alcohol, available at the grocery store, is 30% water so you will pull much more water solubles using this strength versus a 99.9% ISO. Also, properly cured and stored cannabis will have between 10-15% water content as well.
Using a low strength 70% Isopropyl Alcohol for your QWISO will absorb way more unwanted impurities, making your final product far “dirtier” because of the water solubles that were pulled into the mix. More water also means a longer evaporation process. For the absolute best results, spring for the 99.9% Isopropyl Alcohol – your final QWISO hash will be night and day better.
Getting Good Alcohol
Amazon sells 99.9% Isopropyl Alcohol for a reasonable price if you truly want the best extraction. In comparison to 100% ethanol, Isopropyl Alcohol is far less expensive but does have its drawbacks. You cannot use Isopropyl Alcohol to make a tincture that you will ingest, as Isopropyl Alcohol is poisonous if taken internally. QWISO extractions are for making concentrate only.
As with an ethanol extraction, you can recover the Isopropyl Alcohol that you would normally evaporate off using a recovery still or a product like the Source Turbo by ExtractCraft. This will save you money by allowing you to reuse the alcohol, especially if you do this often. If the Source is a bit out of your price range, you can also use a simple water distiller.
Want it Cleaner?
If you want to have very clean, pristine oil you can also choose to first water cure your weed. This involves some extra time, so plan accordingly. This step is totally optional but makes a night and day different product.
There are those who advocate processing these 2 QWISO washes separately to achieve products with 2 different effects. Feel free to explore this method if desired, but here we will be combining them into a single product.
*NOTE: The cannabis used in this process may still contain some cannabinoids after the 2 soaks. Save the leftovers! Dry them thoroughly to ensure all the ISO has evaporated off and use it to infuse some coconut oil for topical balms or salves or for cooking purposes. You can also grind the dried herb and put into gelatin capsules to ingest. Waste not, want not!
To perform a QWISO extraction, start with fresh or dried cannabis buds or shake/trim. Freezing the cannabis overnight will help to help tie up the water content as ice crystals that can be filtered off later.
There is no need to grind your plant material, that will just make filtering 1000 times harder. Simply break up your buds a bit by hand on your favorite custom rolling tray. If using shake or trim, just use it as is. Place the broken up cannabis into a clean dry mason jar. Put it into the freezer along with the bottle of alcohol you will be using until they both reach freezing temperatures. (overnight will be sufficient). Alcohol will not freeze solid in your home freezer, so do not wait for that to happen or you will never get started.
The Next Day
Once the correct temperature has been achieved, working quickly pour alcohol into the jar of cannabis until covered by an inch or so. Screw on the lid and gently swirl for a few seconds. Place both back into the freezer immediately. For the next 3 minutes, gently swirl the QWISO jar of cannabis once a minute, keeping in the freezer until complete.
After 3 minutes, remove the lid and pour the cannabis / alcohol mixture through a quick draining stainless steel mesh strainer into another jar. Cover the cannabis with more alcohol and place everything back into the freezer. Repeat the previous 3-minute process, straining the alcohol into the same jar you used to collect the first wash and place that jar back into the freezer.
Filter out the big stuff
Loosely attach a coffee filter to top of a second jar with a rubber band so that it can sag in a bit. Remove the jar from the freezer and pour the contents from your QWISO into the jar with the filter. If the liquid has not been left out of the freezer for more than a few moments, any remaining water will be removed by the filter in the form of ice crystals.
You can further filter the alcohol at this time in order to remove any plant matter that made it through the coffee filter. Use a 20 micron syringe filter attached to a large 150ml syringe for this process. This will give you the cleanest possible extract.
Now you must evaporate off the Isopropyl Alcohol, leaving the cannabis oil behind. Pour the ISO mixture into a shallow glass dish, like a pie plate or baking dish. Place the dish preferably in a sunny spot and use a small fan to circulate air over the plate. You can also put the place on a nonflammable heat source at a very low temperature (<100 degrees) to speed up the process.
Isopropyl Alcohol is Extremely Flammable and heavier than air, so DO NOT evaporate this near any source of ignition. Never use a gas stove to heat your ISO. Vapors will settle into low lying areas and carry an explosion risk.
After evaporating off the alcohol you will have a very high-quality extract that can be smoked or dabbed. I suggest if you plan on doing this often or in large quantities, look into the available methods of alcohol recovery. That will help you keep your price down. Good luck and enjoy your homemade extracts!
Have you made QWISO weed extract using this method? Let us know how it turned out in the comments below!
Easy Step-By-Step QWISO recipe
QWISO Quick Wash ISO Extraction
Time to prepare 30 minutes
Prepare your Cannabis
Break up your cannabis and put it in a jar. There is no need to grind it, just break it up by hand into pea sized pieces. You can grind your cannabis if you desire, but all that is going to do is make your filtering harder. Remember, the trichomes are located on the outside of the flower, not the inside. You can also water cure your flower first if you want the cleanest oil.
Freeze your ingredients
Place the jar of cannabis in the freezer along with the bottle of Isopropyl Alcohol. Let them both sit overnight. This entire process should be performed in the freezer for best results.
The Next Day
While still in the freezer, pour the ISO into your jar of frozen cannabis. Put the lid on tight and gently swirl for a few seconds. Let this sit for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes in the freezer, gently swirl one more time.
Hold the strainer over the second jar and quickly pour your alcohol/cannabis concoction into it. Put the soaked cannabis back into its jar and cover with ISO again. Place the jar of cannabis & ISO back into the freezer.
Repeat the process a second time to collect any remaining cannabinoids. The first wash should get 80-90%, so the second wash will not be as potent. The second wash can also extract more impurities, so keep that in mind. Some people will combine the 2 washes, others process them separately. This is up to you. For this tutorial, we are combining the 2 washes.
If there are particles in your extraction that went through the strainer you can refilter, but this time place a coffee filter inside your strainer. This will catch any remaining sediment as well as any missed ice crystals from residual water. If you really want pristine oil, you can use a syringe with a 22 micron syringe filter to really clean it up.
Once you have filtered your ISO mixture, all you need to do now is let it evaporate. You have several options for this. You could pour the alcohol into a glass pie plate or similar glass dish and let nature take its course (If you are patient).
Another alternative is to place a fan blowing over your dish. This will speed up the evaporation process.
WARNING: Alcohol fumes are heavier than air and will pool on the floor or your work surface. They are explosive! Do not do this near any source of ignition. It’s best to do this outside or in a room with a fan and windows open.
Another option to evaporate is to place the dish on an electric hotplate or griddle on the lowest heat setting. This method is faster but can produce different results if you aren’t careful.
A hybrid option would be to use the hotplate until about 75% of the alcohol has evaporated, then let it evap naturally for the remainder.
Whichever way you choose, once all the alcohol has been evaporated and you have a seemingly dry film on your dish, wait one more day. Just kidding, maybe, but if its really dry then go ahead and start collection.
Personally I air dry with a fan and then let it sit for 3 more days after I think its dry.
Recovering your Alcohol
I know that a small bottle of ISO isn’t very expensive, but if you do this a lot this adds up pretty quick. One thing you can do to help stem the tide would be to recover the ISO that you used and reuse it next time. An inexpensive device readily available on Amazon can help!
You can use a standard water distiller to evaporate your alcohol and collect it for you. You basically place a dish with your mixture inside the water distiller and run until the evaporation stops. After it cools, remove the dish and collect your product.
Collecting the extract is best accomplished with a flat razor blade. Use the razor blade to scape up all the residue and collect it into a pile. Your residue may be sticky, dry, waxy or anywhere in between.
This residue is your extract! Every strain can produce slightly different results. Some have a much higher yield than others. Some produce beautiful wax, others will only solidify to a sap.
If yours is kinda runny, put it on a piece of parchment paper and place it inside the freezer for 30 minutes. This will make it useable but it will eventually soften again. Just keep these kind in the freezer until use.
If you wish to use your extract in edibles, the cannabis needs to be decarbed first. The best thing to do is to decarb your cannabis first, then do the extraction. This way the extract you recover is already decarbed. You can then use this in your favorite recipe!
If you would like to test your extract to see how potent it is, you can use a device like the tCheck 2 to do this in your own home instead of sending it to a lab.
Estimated Cost: 20 USD – Cost varies
- A few Mason jars or similar containers – You can use whichever size suits your needs
- Strainer – Stainless Steel preferred. A finer strainer may negate the need for further filtering
- Coffee Filter – to capture any fine particles suspended in your ISO extract
- 20 Micron syringe filters for really clean oil
Materials: Isopropyl Alcohol – The higher percentage the better. You can buy 91% ISO at your local market Cannabis – How much you use is up to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does QWISO mean?
QWISO is an acronym for “Quick Wash ISO” with the ISO referring to Isopropyl Alcohol. It is a simple method of extracting cannabinoids such as THC and CBD from cannabis.
Can you dab QWISO?
Yes, you can definitely dab QWISO! Just make its fully evaporated or the remaining alcohol can cause little mini explosions when you drop it in your bucket.
Can you use isopropyl alcohol to make DABS?
Yes you can! Here is an easy to follow guide to help you with the process! https://www.mediblereview.com/quick-wash-iso-extraction-qwiso/
Is QWISO the same as QWET?
Although the methods are the same and the final product is the same, the solvents used in each method are very different. Isopropyl Alcohol is poisonous if ingested while ethanol is not. If you are dabbing