QWISO Extraction with Isopropyl

Quick Wash Isopropyl, also know as QWISO is one of the techniques the skunk pharm uses to extract oil from mixed leaf for topicals and sometimes buds or trim for vaporization.   Here is our techniques for producing a pristine oleoresin extraction.

We also decarboxylate our oil for topicals and based on the 122C/252F curve shown in the attached graph, courtesy of Jump.

Note that the boiling point of the terpene ß-caryophyllene is 119C/246.2F, so it is boiled off at that temperature, and its anti-inflammatory, cytoprotective (gastric mucosa), and anti-malarial properties are diminished or lost.

The first question is why use a quick wash technique to extract the resins, instead of long soaks to extract as much resin as possible, or just reflux boiling the material in alcohol to get the greatest amount of extracted material?

The answer to that is that because alcohol is a highly polar solvent that is soluble in water, the latter two techniques also extract the water solubles like chlorophyll and plant alkaloids, as well as the plant waxes and vegetable oil.

Even quick wash does to a lesser degree, but the added steps that we include here minimize pickup even further and we take additional steps to remove the impurities that we do pick up, so that they are not left behind on the skin.

The first wash will usually extract 75 to 80%, leaving the balance for the second. If you use a hand microscope, you can easily see when the trichome heads are gone and the stalks look like wet fur.

A cured material QWISO absolute made from prime bud, is one of the most aromatic and tasty of the extraction and consistently gets high raves from the volunteer test panels, as well as the patients and students when vaporized. Both from an efficacy, as well as a flavor standpoint.

This process is for mixed leaf material however, which includes fan leaves, so it usually isn’t all that tasty.

The first step in the process is to get as much water as possible out of the material. Typically material for smoking has been cured to about 15% water content. 15% is a lot of water and the alcohol already has 1% in it, so unless we reduce the water content even further, we will be extracting a lot of water solubles.

We dry our cured material even further by spreading it on a cookie sheet and baking it in a 200F oven until just frangible when rolled between the finger and thumb.

At this point, we have a choice of running the leaf whole, or reducing it in size to improve packing.  Leaving it whole will produce a more pristine extraction, with the least amount of chlorophyll pickup, and we do it both ways.

When we make QWISO for vaporizing, or for a show and tell beauty contest, we always leave the leaves whole.

When reducing it in size, while it is still warm from the oven, we force the material through a pasta strainer.

In both cases, we seal the material in a jar while still warm and place in the freezer to tie up any remaining water as ice. We also put the 99% Isopropyl alcohol in the freezer.

When they have both stabilized at about -32C/0F, we pour the alcohol into the jar of plant material, so that it is at least an inch above the material, and shake it gently for 20 seconds.

At the end of 20 seconds, we dump it through a wire strainer to drain quickly. I use a pasta strainer to catch the bulk of the material, followed by a fine mesh French Chinoise. This allows the material and the alcohol to separate fast.

We set the material aside to dry and refreeze for a second extraction.

Next we filter the alcohol, using either vacuum and a #1 lab filter, filter or a simple coffee filter, depending on the quantity we are processing.

After filtration, there are a couple of directions to go, depend on use.  If it is to be used for vaporizing, we may place it a large surface area dish, like a Pyrex pie plate, and just blow air over it.  That reduces it fast, but is not a suitable technique in dusty areas.  That can be improved somewhat by placing cheese cloth over the dish and blowing over the top of that.

When the alcohol is visually gone, place the dish on a 140F heat mat, or float it in a hot water dish, until the smell and taste of the Isopropyl is gone, usually around 30 minutes to an hour.

For our use in topical, we place the filtered liquid in a bain marie stainless vessel and place that into an oil bath heated to 121C/250F.

I throw four jar lids in the bottom of my electric fondue pot to suspend the container up off the bottom, to eliminate hot spots and never trust the numbers on the fondue pot dial. Instead, I use a good a mercury lab, or a digital thermometer to set the dials. Good temperature control is key to the process.

That means the device that we use to control the oil temperature must have a narrow dead band, so that the temperature control is stable.

We paid about $60 for a Quisinart fondue pot that was designed to heat sensitive sauces like chocolate and has excellent control throughout its temperature range. We scored a second one for $15 at Goodwill, so do shop about.

There are a couple of Revels in our group that are slightly larger and work well, plus cost only about $30, though they have a slightly larger dead band.

Some fry cookers have sensitive enough controls, but many deep fryers designed to primarily run at 375F, lack control sensitivity and have large dead bands at 250F.

We boil off the alcohol until the liquid is reduced to a pool of oil and all but minor bubbles cease rising at the edges and then pour in at least ten volumes of ethanol and wash out the whole pot by swirling it and washing off any resin stuck to the sides.

Using a funnel, we pour that liquid into a jar or bottle, seal it, and place that in the freezer. After about 48 hours at -18C/0F, the liquid will lose its clarity and become slightly cloudy, from marginally dissolved inactive ingredients like waxes and lipids flocculating out. There will also be precipitant on the bottom of the container. While this step isn’t totally necessary, it makes a cleaner, more pristine oil.

Next, we carefully decant and filter that liquid one more time, leaving a bell clear extract, that is ready to reduce down a final time.

We pour it into a Pyrex beaker or a stainless bain marie container for return to the oil bath and since we. have much less material, we use a smaller one container to keep film losses low.

When the oil is completely bubble I free, we remove it from the oil bath, wipe it off, and weigh it. As we know the tare weights of our containers, we subtract it from our total weight and add the rest of the required ingredients for the topical into the same container, based on the amount of cannabis oil present.

We then set the container back into the oil bath and stir until thoroughly mixed and then remove it from the container using a glass syringe, so as to not leave a streak of material in the vessel.

Attached thumbnail(s)

GW

187 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by butters on September 9, 2014 at 8:01 AM

    What advantage do you gain from freezing your solvent? I’ve looked at several QWISO guides and I can’t find anyone who explains why the solvent and not just the plant material should be almost frozen.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Ryan Mooney on September 5, 2014 at 8:38 AM

    What are the thc/cbd/cbn extraction contraptions in QWISO compared to BHO or CO2 extraction… ??

    Reply

  3. […] Fair call Fx. Properly purged QWISO for consumption. Proper technique can be found here: QWISO Extraction with Isopropyl | Skunk Pharm Research LLC […]

    Reply

  4. I’m purging now with Pyrex and griddle how hot is too hot and how long should it take depending on amount?

    Reply

  5. Posted by david on July 28, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    I jave a quick question.. I to the freezing…. Well just finiahed the freezing point…. How do u filter this without the fats and lipids defrosting back into it? Do u keep it cold? Do u not use a coffee filter for this filter process? Im stuck on how to take the fays and lipids out. Im all out of dry ice

    Reply

  6. Posted by hay on July 14, 2014 at 10:38 PM

    How does the yield of a 20 second Iso wash compare to extracting the same amount of trim/buds with butane? Making bho, the butane is continually shot thru the material until the runoff comes out of the tube clear. So it’s (presumably) stripped as much resin as it’s going to. Being new to qwiso, the 20 seconds needed to prevent picking up polar compounds seems awfully ‘quick’. I would guess that in the attempt to avoid removing chlorophyll alot less resin would be extracted. Have you compared the weights (before winterizing) of qwiso vs bho?

    Also, so many people use e-cigarettes (with/without an attachment for oil). My friend bought one today, tried some good, low-temp-vacuum-purged bho in it, but said he wasn’t impressed w the high. I then found that the temp they operate at is around 250F compared to oil-rig/butane torch around 2000F. So now i’ll fully decarboxylate oils both for oral consumption and for e-cigs. Probably do partial-decarb for oil-rigs, too; if it takes 27 min to decarb @ 252F, even at 2000F it’s got to take more than the 5 seconds of toking to fully decarb?

    Reply

  7. Posted by hay on July 14, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    I’d like to use the largest container that one person can comfortably hold/swish to put the cannabis in for the extraction. I have a 4-gallon steel cookpot like the one in the photos below this article. If i cover that volume of trim/smalls with Iso, and do that a couple dozen times, i just calculated that’s going to require a hell of a lot of gallons of Iso. So i wondered can i do a 20-second wash in the 4-gallon pot, strain/press off the alcohol, refill the pot with fresh material, and cover that with the alcohol strained off the previous wash?

    1) About how many times could i re-use the same alcohol before it would become too saturated to work?
    2) Would i be losing some of the resin already in the alcohol when i pour the alcohol onto the fresh material (i.e. it get trapped/filtered into the fiber of the fresh material)?
    3) After a 20-sec wash, when the alcohol is poured off, should the trim/buds be pressed or squeezed in a chessecloth to get the most alcohol out of it, or will that squeeze out chlorophyll?

    Reply

  8. Posted by mario on July 11, 2014 at 9:55 PM

    i gotta ask this is driving me crazy, do you decarb before you swish the material in alcohol?

    Reply

  9. Posted by Rob on July 9, 2014 at 6:43 AM

    I’ve been experimenting with ISO wash a few times. I usually put my Pyrex dish on a pot of boiling water. A small fan blowing on it and do it in small batches in one run. So I would pour my first batch in to the dish, evaporate it until it doesn’t smell like alcohol. Then pour second batch over first batch and repeat until all my batches are in the dish. I let cool, then scrape it off and on to parchment paper. I heat it up in a pan until it turns golden in Color. Usually a few minutes and then into the freezer. It looks like shatter, it smells great. Now when I use my atomizer, it has a alcohol taste to it. I do get super high but I can’t get past the slight alcohol taste. How do you fully purge all the alcohol? And I have a vacuum aswell. Please help

    Reply

    • Posted by Nick on July 9, 2014 at 9:26 AM

      You need to let it dry more or spend more time on low heat. Why not try following the very detailed instructions in this article? After you get that right, then try mixing in your own technique/optimizations.

      Reply

  10. Posted by Jake on June 25, 2014 at 2:59 PM

    Now my question is this. How long after evap should I wait to scrape. Should I wait until everything is completely dry on my dish?

    Also does differnt evap temperatures effect the consistency of the oil? For example shatter vs. honey. And what is the optimal temps for such consistencys.

    Reply

  11. First off, thanks for these amazing gifts of knowledge!

    I’m completely new to solvent extraction so have been experimenting with small(3g) amounts of AVB and getting reasonable results following your guide.

    “When the alcohol is visually gone, place the dish on a 140F heat mat, or float it in a hot water dish, until the smell and taste of the Isopropyl is gone, usually around 30 minutes to an hour.”

    I’ve been doing the above, but I noticed when the iso is visually gone what is left is mostly dry not oily, I then finish with hot(140F) water heating for 1hour…topping back up with hot water to 140F after 30 mins or so.

    1) I notice elsewhere you say you need to keep the surface molten for it to purge properly but mine is dry…should I be worried?

    2) Also, I’m a bit confused about the temp(140F) because I’m sure I read a comment of yours elsewhere mentioning 130F & 110F …would it be better to keep the temp lower at 110F but purge for longer say 2hrs?

    Thanks for Everything you guys do for us!

    Reply

    • Posted by cleanz on June 25, 2014 at 12:03 PM

      Almost forgot:

      “I use a French Chinoise strainer, with about a 10mm mesh, which is stout enough that I can press the alcohol out of the material.”

      Is this a typo: 10mm/1cm ..I just measured the mesh hole on my new FCS & it’s only 1mm? …10mm seems huge!

      Reply

  12. Posted by reaper on June 22, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    So I’ve been making some good shatter lately using ISO. A bit different. I’m using 91 tho. All frozen. Quick washed, metal strainer to coffee filter, to freezer for a few days filtered again. Parchment paper on top griddle at 225 til its done. Shatter everytime.
    one thing tho. Once I do my quick wash I run IPA over the material for a bit to extract more then I ditch the material.
    I dont decarb before hand. I smoke with a rig or lightning rod. Thinking of getting it tested soon.
    I did notice tho today since someone thought it was over and u plugged it they didn’t realize the changed my temp when I told em to plug it back in. I come out the bathroom a couple min later and noticed that it had huve bubbles and the temp was at 400. Luckily only the inside was cooked it the rest had jus barely if at all changed color. I scraped up the almost 4 g now oil. Smoked it and was definatly headcase narcotic.
    I was evaping at 90 then 100 then 110 and all the same but when purging I noticed that unless you purge at atleast 180.7f no vacuum it stays oily. So I figured in no reason not to boil it at 200-225. Shatter everytime. And it decarbs at the purge temps. As for taste idk I do t get crazy tastes I use a mix of strains and sugar leaf or bud or both.
    I was doing this with everclear but at the lower temps. I went back to ISO and just treated it more delicately.
    any opinions?

    Reply

  13. […] I would go with a qwISO for the first time. It might be easier for a first time. https://skunkpharmresearch.com/qwiso/ Reply With […]

    Reply

  14. Posted by gascan021 on March 3, 2014 at 2:43 AM

    I did a iso run awhile back, for vaporizing purposes. My product came out golder then most “absolutes” you see around (i live in san jose CA). I did the washes for 20s because i saw that any longer and it goes from gold to green to black. But just a thought, since heat distorts color, kills chlorophyll, lowers THC content and lowers clarity wouldnt it be ideal to not use any heat? or do i have heat and UV rays mixed up?
    I didnt use heat to purge at all (except for Decarb at the end), instead i left the mixture in a pyrex under a fan in a semi perfect environment. The downside was evaporation time and fumes. So i thought, if i were to make a “Fume Hood” box (a box lined with glass along with 2 fans, like a speed evaporation chamber), that essentially is a perfect environment, contains the irritating fumes and increases evaporation speed, would that lead me to not have to use any heat and my final product would be clearer, have higher thc value and better taste? or would my ppms still test high?
    Just wondering if the fume hood would make a sizable difference in my procedure, as i have not seen something like that used before, at least in my internet travels.
    One last thing, is the difference between industrial grade iso worth it over the walmart iso?
    Thanks for the compassion and for actively pushing and setting the high standard that is very much needed right now, keep it up GW!

    Reply

  15. I did a iso extraction(vaporizing, not topical) awhile ago and it came out golder then i see butane extractions come out.
    I did the quick wash at around 20sec, because i saw distinct color change if keep the iso in the plant material longer.
    I just had a quick thought, if heat decreases thc content wouldnt it be advisable to not use any heat?
    When you stated that blowing air on it was ideal for a purge, this is thin-layer evaporation correct? I was wondering if you were to make a “fume hood” box that was a perfect environment blowing constant air via fans, wouldnt that completely eliminate the need for heat and the end result would be greater clarity, higher thc content and a overall cleaner oleoresin? Because most “absolutes” i see were i live (the bay area, CA) are definitely not an absolute and defiantly don’t have the clarity my iso run had. I could watch tv 20ft away thru my slab.
    One more question, what is the highest ppms you would test for iso runs(for vaporizing the oil)?
    Thanks, GW, I love the forums and this site, your definitely setting the standard that many are completely unaware of. Pls respond tho, im in need of help.

    Reply

  16. Posted by tbone on February 9, 2014 at 7:32 PM

    Will the iso (99%) fully evaporate with a fan (pantyhose covering Pyrex evap. Dish) if given enough time? All available heat sources available to me currently require ignition and an open flame, other than a hair dryer. flame obviously not a great idea with 99% iso, nor do imagine the hair dryer being particularly effective.
    Just for dabbing.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,267 other followers

%d bloggers like this: