Vape oil for a homegrower

Hey guys, I’m new around here. I am thankful for all the knowledge that has been shared and seek some feedback. I hope it’s ok for me to post here because I don’t have any scientific background whatsoever.

I have a micro grow (1/2 pound of cured buds per harvest) and want to produce an oil that works well with vape pens (ccell style carts), retains the distinct odor of my flowers, and use no additive (terps, mct, etc…). I have a budget of 600$ to make that happen.

here’s my plan:

  1. Extract the essential oil with a sub 50˚C steam distillation under vacuum.
  2. Extract the THCa with a -20˚C EtOH wash (no easy access to dry ice)
  3. Degum with citric acid (I hear after a steam distillation, etoh will pick up plenty of gum)
  4. Winterize
  5. Neutralize the citric acid
  6. Purge
  7. Decarb (to lower viscosity?)
  8. Mix the essential oil and THC oil

Does that sound good or am i setting myself up for an epic failure :smiley: ?
If properly extracted and cleaned, is this oil going to gunk up the coil?
The citric acid removal is where I’m lost:

that is a hard one XD. @Photon_noir talked about raising the pH with MgO, is that a suitable alternative?

I’ve entertained an essential oil extraction using @pangea’s freeze drying/cold trapping tek, which would leave the flowers intact and free me from degumming in the first place, but there is not much info on the process…

Lastly, if i don’t distill further, should I be worried about trace amounts of celite and MgO, as in not visible to the naked eye?


I’m not trying to be no bubble buster, but…

I don’t think it’s possible to get into the distalation game with a set up for 600$. You must be missing a bunch! I thought the same till I really started investigating…a decent pump will set you back a grand… And I don’t even know a bunch about it but enough to say you might outta think into something like subzero ethanol extraction for a beginner, then you have NO choice but to add something to thin it up… Your back is against a wall, if your only prepared to spend 600$

You have big plans for that amount of money…all sorts of hidden cost… Unless you have most of that already, each process gets expensive

I wish you the best, your in the right place!


OP is not suggesting distilling cannabinoids. They want to strip their terps, and add them back.

I would suggest just doing a cryo-ethanol extraction, evaporating or recovering the solvent, then Decarb under pressure to retain terps? that’s a link. click it :wink:

I’ve been running just such an extract in “disposable” carts for months now. does the trick.

steam distilling your own terps is an awesome project. I don’t suggest you abandon it. However, I believe you can get an effective vape pen that gives a decent representation of the flower without that step. So I recommend you start there, and make things more complicated later.

Dry ice is available at most supermarkets here in OR, and you can make it yourself if you get a CO2 tank. DIY Dry Ice? (yep, another link)


There are a few fundamental flaws with the plan, such as using steam on plant matter to remove terpenes, leaving wet flowers, then using ethanol on them, which would pick up too much water to grab the cannabinoids properly. You should probably avoid messing with degumming or any pH changes until you have equipment and supplies to run liquid partitioning and colder solutions.

1 Like

You’re right, that’s a lot of complexity for a first try, I should aim for a simpler approach.

Hey @cyclopath I had already read that decarb thread multipe times :stuck_out_tongue:
That’s pretty neat and I might just go that way. What bothers me a bit about this tek is the possible isomerization reactions.

Thanks for the feedback, it is much appreciated.

based on my first findings of making in house vape juice -20c wont be good enough to winterize. im getting separation on my liquid although im using PG as a liquidizer for my full spectrum ETOH extract.

1 Like

There should be no problems with isomerization on crude cryo-ethanol upon decarb at 130-150C. even under pressure.

I’ve got several years of 3rd party and In House analytics behind that statement.

once you start post processing though, all bets are off.

[I’m lazy, I process cold so I don’t have to post-process. so I have no data…]


Thanks, that put my mind at ease. I’ll definitely give it a try.
I found a dry ice vendor an hour away from where I live, so now I just have to wait until my next harvest…