RxCE Shop Manual

RxCE Shop Manual 


Welcome to the Refined Cannabis Extract Shop Manual. The following pages are a deep dive into the process of making cannabis oil at home. If you don't find what you are looking for, or wish further discussion, let us know on the Facebook group. This document will be regularly updated to bring you the most accurate information on the process. 

Modern day cannabis extraction technologies have been developed over the past several decades with large industrial systems now able to process several thousand pounds of cannabis biomass per day. Top producing extraction methods use  Butane and CO2. This requires industrial lab equipment and specialized training to operate safely and efficiently. 

For home-based extraction methods, there are several technologies to choose from. These methods include solvent-less ROSIN presses, solvent-based extraction, oil infusion and water bubble hash. Solvent-based extraction popularized by Rick Simpson's RSO method is an easy method for producing cannabis oil at home. However, without any refinements, the resulting product is a base-line crude oil. To address this issue, Graywolf introduced quick frozen wash methods for Ethanol and Isopropyl, which avoids picking up unwanted plant compounds. 

An Improved Solvent Extraction at Home

As the industry progressed in developing extraction processes, RSO was left behind. Over the past few years, Cannabis Home Sciences has focused on improving RSO by reducing cost and complexity while enhancing the quality of the oil. This improved process is affectionately referred to as a "hack" to emphasize that a few simple changes can significantly improve the quality of the oil. These changes optimize the way of making RSO by leveraging simple chemistry. 

Tools at our disposal

The tools available to us in the kitchen for improving oil quality are polarity, salinity, temperature and pH.

Polarity dominates this process, playing a crucial role in every step. Polarity is why oil and water separate making it easier to recover the oil. Distilling with water is one application of polarity, while winterizing with polar ethanol is an application of both polarity and temperature. 

Salinity is an important part of this chemistry. Salinity provided the magical Snow Globe effect first published in RSO 2.0 2022. Salt dissolved in water disrupts hydrogen bonding at the molecular level, playing a significant role for removing unwanted compounds. In RxCE, salinity plays a small but crucial role in breaking emulsions during distillation. A small 0.5% amount of salt goes a long way in reducing yield losses while allowing water to absorb the water-soluble compounds. The dissolved salt ions are polar thus remain with the water molecules, finding no attraction to the oil.

Hot and cold temperatures are used to push the oil around. Cannabis resins are solid at refrigerator temperatures. At certain times heat is used, and other times, cold temperatures are used to efficiently handle the oil. 

That leave's pH but this is a tool best left on the table. Every effort has been made to keep a neutral pH throughout this process. The reason being, in a more complex chemical process, CBD can be converted, ie, isomerized, into THC essentially using heat and strong acids. The technical aspects of Isomerization are well beyond the scope of CHS's mission and virtually all home users. Without proper chemistry, Isomerization is roll of the dice as to where the cannabinoids will orient. And it's just not CBD that will change molecular configurations. All cannabinoids can play along in the game of musical chairs, and can end up in new configurations.   

The Trade-offs

Solvent Extraction has its trade-offs and RxCE is no exception. This is the fastest process to make near distillate quality oil, which is great, but with trade-offs.  This simplified approach requires making some tradeoffs between speed and optimal results.

First, boiling off the alcohol in water causes emulations that steal cannabinoids. This is expected as the phospholipids bond water with oil. These are the expected loses. But, this is a mixed bag where a light emulsion is a useful thing, but a heavy emulsion a bad thing. Emulsions form due to the semi-polar nature of phospholipids and denatured proteins. So to have emulsions means you're removing the bad stuff from the oil but losing some of the good stuff.  Reducing this emulsion to bare minimums is the trick. Watch this space..

From a recent test. The control case generated 9.1g. The actual test case generated 6.1g oils, 1.9g waxes, and the remaining 1.1g lost to emulsions and transfer losses. Note: Other refined processes will have the same wax content and remove the same emulsion forming compounds during winterization.

Secondly, given this process boils away the alcohol and also decarbs at atmospheric pressure, the loss of terpenes is unavoidable. The oil is very smooth and can be vaped with little odor to be more discreet, not recommended with crude RSO. A higher tech approach is needed to preserve the terpenes. A popular but pricey solution is the Source Turbo or EtOH Pro models that use vacuum to hold down the temperatures. Next step up is to use lab gear, ie, Rotovap with SPD techniques to generate distillates. These systems can capture the terpenes to be added back into the final oil.  

Thirdly, simple filtering in the kitchen lets unwanted compounds slip through. Case in point, the Wash step. The solvent washes the plant, then gets passed through a strainer, fryer oil cone filter, then No.6 coffee filters, but still comes up hazy. These are smaller particles slipping by. The desire is to have crystal clear wash. For now, this will do. If you're technical, a stronger filtering setup involves using a buchner filter with vacuum to pull the wash through paper filters. Do that and you're all set. (Authors Note: Ask me about using synthetics for filtering)

Lastly, given that the final oil has been refined at atmospheric pressure, the oil oxidizes and turns amber/reddish in color. This is not harmful, but to some less cosmetically appealing. 

All said, realize this process is a great improvement over RSO using very little tech. But keeping it simple by using only kitchen gear limits the ability to retain terpenes and provide more effective filtering. 

Steps in Making Oil

This new process is an optimization of the classic steps for making RSO. After developing full blown degumming in RSO 2.0 2022, a simple water degumming was observed just by adding distilled water to the wash before Distillation. By distilling with water, water soluble compounds are removed leaving purer non-polar resins for the upcoming winterization. 

By moving standard winterization to follow distillation, wax removal can now be done in a fraction of time. Rapid Winterization uses  a polar solvent to liquefy the semi-refined oil. This immediately causes the waxes to start forming as the solution cools. By placing the solution in the freezer for an hour, the waxes solidify and can be filtered out with simple coffee or napkin filters. 

Here all the steps in the process.  Each step is presented as a chapter with indepth discussions and illustrations. At the end of each section, there is a troubleshooting FAQ to help overcome obstacles encountered when using this process. 

Table of Contents - 4 Steps to Oil

1. WASH.....................Dissolve the cannabis oil via solvents.

2. DISTILL.................Removes the solvent and clean the oil.

3. WINTERIZE..........Rapid wax removal.

4. REDUCE.................Final reduction and The Art of Decarbing.

Here are some additional pages of helpful information.

Waxes and Emulsions.....Saving waxes and emulsions.

Tips and Tools..................Trouble shooting, tips and useful tools.


Through simple optimizations, cleaner RSO can now be made faster and cheaper at home than ever before. By introducing water into the process, removal of water soluble compounds enables Rapid Winterization allowing cannabis oil can be made faster, cleaner, and cheaper.

Final words – DON'T PANIC!  If you have ever made RSO, this process is going to be very similar, but will still require new muscle memory.  Collecting the oil from a hot boiler is extremely easy, but is intimidating the first time out.  Follow the Quick Start Guide and you will be fine. Get ready to freeze, heat, then refreeze again as temperature is an important tool when doing liquid-liquid separations.  

Note: All the temperatures discussed in this procedure assume sea level atmospheric pressures. Higher altitude require adjusting the target temperatures. 

Note: It’s highly recommended to follow the written practice for each step. Each step will use the results from the prior step, and lends itself to succeeding steps so it makes it much easier to execute. 

Note: Sprinkled throughout this site and the Quick Start Guide are links to the products used. All these links point back to the RxCE equipment list page. Often products from a vendor will go out of stock resulting in broken links. Having the product links on the web site allows us to keep the list up to date. Live links will be maintained on the website to avoid link rot that happens in a static .pdf file.

Next up: Step 1 - Wash

   Join our Facebook group to discuss all the science around these projects.

WARNING: Never distill alcohol near open flame.  Alcohol vapors are highly flammable so always distill in well ventilated spaces.

This oil is appropriate for oral ingesting and vaping.  Due to the potential of residual salts, do not torch this oil.  Torch temperatures can reach over 760c/1400f and can vaporize any residual salts. 

Disclaimer:  Your use of any information or materials on the C.H.S. Website is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be held liable. It shall be your own responsibility to ensure safe use and operation of any processes, products, services or information made available through C.H.S publications and Website.

Revision History - RxCE Shop Manual Home Page

23/10/02 rewrote point 3 on filtering

23/10/01 Page published.

23/09/20 Page done

23/06/10 Soft release candidate published to the FB group.