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The Art of Extraction: How To Make Dabs At Home

Milan Khali

by Milan Khali

March 27, 2024 08:00 am ET Estimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
Fact checked by Kymberly Drapcho
The Art of Extraction: How To Make Dabs At Home

Dabs are a highly potent form of cannabis. Also called “concentrate,” this type of product is exactly what it sounds like: wax or oil that contains highly concentrated levels of cannabinoids like THC and CBD. But have you ever wondered how to make dabs from the comfort of your own home? Wonder no longer — this guide will walk you through a few different methods of extracting your own cannabis concentrate

What Are Dabs?

First—what are dabs? Simply, dabs are concentrated cannabis. Parts of the plant (especially cannabinoids) are extracted and concentrated for a highly potent end product. Typically, a dab contains about one hit. Dabs are one of the many forms in which you can enjoy cannabis! 

Dabs can also take a variety of forms, including wax, hash, shatter, rosin, and more. To consume this type of cannabis, you apply high heat to the dab and then inhale it using a tool called a dab rig.   

>> Learn more with our easy-to-use guide on how to dab.

Traditional Dab-making

Over time, a wide variety of methods have evolved to create dabs. Traditionally, they have been made with a solvent like butane. These solvents are highly flammable, and they are fed through an extraction system. They dissolve the cannabis plant, leaving behind compounds that are then filtered. Lastly, the solvents are taken out, creating the consumable dabs. 

If that sounds a bit intimidating (and dangerous), don’t worry—several other methods are now available, some of which do not involve flammable solvents. 

How To Make Dabs At Home

Learning how to make dabs at home doesn’t have to be intimidating. Below are three easy-to-follow methods for making your own dabs. Across all of these methods, be safe! Perform the extractions in well-ventilated areas, wear gloves, and use proper materials and equipment.

Alcohol Extraction

The most common method of creating dabs is alcohol extraction. Here are the basic steps:

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  1. Break up your cannabis flower into small pieces. 
  2. If the cannabis is not already completely dry, dehydrate it in the oven. 
  3. Immerse the cannabis in alcohol so that it is completely covered. Gently stir.
  4. Strain the mixture using a filter, and set the remaining solids aside (you can extract from them again!)
  5. Strain the mixture again using a finer filter. 
  6. Allow the alcohol to evaporate by covering the container with a filter. It’s very important that all of the alcohol is evaporated before you use them. 
  7. After the alcohol has completely evaporated, collect the dabs by scraping along the bottom of the container. 
  8. Store the dabs on parchment paper in a container in the refrigerator.


Ice Water Extraction

In comparison to alcohol extraction, this method takes a longer time and a bit more work. However, it is significantly safer without the use of highly flammable alcohol.

  1. Break up your cannabis flower into small pieces. 
  2. Freeze your cannabis. Though it is not necessary to pre-freeze your cannabis, it is ideal to keep all materials as cold as possible throughout the process, and this will help! 
  3. Line a bucket with micron filters, with the smallest/finest filters on the bottom.  
  4. Add the cannabis to the bucket, along with enough ice and filtered water to cover it. 
  5. Stir the mixture for 15-20 minutes, adding ice throughout. 
  6. Remove each filter one by one, scraping off the buds each time. The smaller the screen, the more concentrated and pure the buds will be. 
  7. Dry the dabs with a fine screen or cloth. Again, it is important that all of the water completely evaporates from them. 
  8. Store the dabs on parchment paper in a container in the refrigerator. 


Rosin/Flat Iron Extraction

This is almost certainly the quickest and easiest method of the three, utilizing high heat in a controlled and quick manner. The best part? The only tool you need is a flat iron! Just make sure to be cautious when handling the iron, and use oven mitts for safety.  

  1. Heat your flat iron to around 230-300 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Break up your cannabis into small nugs. 
  3. Put a nug inside of a folded piece of parchment paper. 
  4. Flat iron the nug inside of the parchment paper, pressing hard. 
  5. Scrape the concentrate off of the parchment paper. 
  6. Store the dabs on parchment paper in a container in the refrigerator. 


Keep in Mind

As a reminder, when creating your own cannabis products, it’s important to keep legal restrictions in mind. Be aware of whether cannabis is legal in your area and what any restrictions are around extraction equipment and solvents that you may use. 

Additionally, if you intend to distribute or sell your dabs, stay aware of any legal requirements regarding selling and licensing in your country and state. 

There are pros and cons to each, but no matter which you choose, creating your own dabs can be a fun and cost-effective way to enjoy cannabis. Do you have a favorite method? Let us know in the comments below! 

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