Learn more about full-extract cannabis oil, also known as FECO, a powerful cannabis plant extract that can be used as a potent sublingual, topical, or edible and get step-by-step instructions for making your own at home.
- A powerful plant medicine that can be made at home
- Just 2 ingredients needed: cannabis flower & high-proof grain alcohol
- It can be used as a sublingual tincture, edible, or topical
Why You Will Love This Method
For many people in my Well With Cannabis Community, FECO is the holy grail of all cannabis extractions.
Full-extract cannabis oil, also known as FECO, is a concentrated, whole-plant, full-spectrum cannabis extract made by soaking the cannabis in a solvent like alcohol.
The alcohol is then evaporated, leaving behind the concentrated plant oils containing cannabinoids like THC and CBD.
One of the few concentrates that are easy to make at home, this powerful product can be used for many different needs, from edibles and topicals to tinctures and capsules.
Continue reading to get step-by-step instructions for making FECO with tips on how to do it safely so you end up with the purest plant medicine.
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What is Full-Extract Cannabis Oil?
Let's break down the name FECO or full-extract cannabis oil.
We know cannabis oil is just an oil obtained from the cannabis plant.
Full extract means that all of the important plant compounds, from cannabinoids to terpenes and other plant materials, are present in the extract.
FECO is a powerful concentrated cannabis extract that interacts with our endocannabinoid system.
The Difference Between FECO and RSO
If you're unfamiliar with the following abbreviations, check out this cannabis terms and abbreviations guide.
One important thing to note is that many people confuse FECO with RSO – also known as Rick Simpson Oil.
RSO is FECO. Both FECO and RSO have the same final characteristics and appear very dark, thick, sticky, and tar-like consistency upon successful completion, and both utilize alcohol as the solvent for extraction.
The main difference between FECO and RSO is the type of alcohol used for the extraction.
FECO utilizes food-grade grain alcohol, a much safer solvent than the isopropyl alcohol or naptha used in the RSO method.
The outcomes are similar, but isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol, like the kind you would find in your medicine cabinet) IS NOT SAFE TO INGEST.
I DO NOT support the RSO extraction method.
Again, here we are making full-extract cannabis oil, FECO, with a tincture made with food-grade grain alcohol, which is safe for human consumption.
If you are having problems finding high-proof, food-grade grain alcohol, check out this guide to help you access safe products.
- Cannabis flower: You will need your desired amount of cannabis flowers, ranging from 1 gram up to 1 ounce or more. Choose THC, CBD, or CBG-dominant flowers. You can purchase them from your local dispensary or hemp flower from my online shop. Do not forget to decarb before getting started.
- High-proof alcohol: You need high-proof grain alcohol. You want at least 150 proof, but ideally 190 or 200 proof. Lower-proof alcohols, like vodka, are not ideal. Be sure to check out my guide to order high-proof grain alcohol online and have it shipped to your door, or learn more about what to ask for when visiting your local liquor store.
Note: a complete list of ingredients with amounts and printable instructions is located in the recipe card below.
Super Quick FECO Instructions
For my friends who just want a quick overview of the process, here it is.
Below you will find more detailed instructions for each step.
- Decarboxylate your cannabis in an oven or Instant Pot
- Prepare a cannabis alcohol tincture like the Green Dragon or Golden Dragon
- Evaporate the alcohol using our safe evaporation methods
- Store your medicine in a glass syringe or other container
- Consume your medicine as an edible, topical, sublingual, or in a capsule
At the end of this process, we will have evaporated all of the alcohol, leaving a small amount of concentrated cannabis oil.
It is important to note that you will have collected a very small amount of oil at the end of this process.
A rough guesstimate expects to use 1 cup of tincture and collect only approximately 3 milliliters of FECO.
The Step-by-Step Process
Note: complete step-by-step printable instructions are located in the recipe card below.
Step 1 - Decarboxylate Your Cannabis
Before jumping in and pouring alcohol over your cannabis flower, you must ensure you don’t forget this crucial step – decarboxylation.
Without decarboxylation, you may not experience the full range of effects from cannabinoids like THC or CBD.
With this process, we heat the cannabis flower at a low temperature over a long period to allow complete decarboxylation without destroying the other beneficial compounds, such as terpenes or flavonoids.
Use this guide to decarb at the right temp for the type of flower you have:
- THCA to THC → bake at 240° F for 40 minutes
- CBDA to CBD → bake at 240°F for 90 minutes
- CBGA to CBG → bake at 220°F for 60 minutes
- THC to CBN→ bake at 240°F for 180 minutes
Step 2 - Make A Cannabis Tincture with Alcohol
The second step to making full-extract cannabis oil is to prepare a cannabis tincture with alcohol.
I ran lab tests to compare the traditional Green Dragon cannabis tincture to this Golden Dragon QWET tincture, and the results are posted here.
According to the results, the Green Dragon long soak tincture method produces a more potent tincture. However, this method produces a stronger-tasting tincture with more residual plant matter like chlorophyll.
This leaves you, the consumer, deciding to choose potency over taste.
For both processes, you will need your decarbed cannabis flowers and food-grade, high-proof grain alcohol. It is important to use high-proof grain alcohol for the best quality extraction.
Here is my complete guide for where you can get high-proof alcohol for making tinctures. You will not achieve the same results with lower proof alcohol like vodka or rum.
From here, you have many choices on what you want to do with your tincture. You can leave it as is, not evaporate, and simply have an alcohol tincture to use in cocktails like sangria.
You can also move on to Step 3, where we evaporate off 100% of the alcohol to make FECO, or full-extract cannabis oil.
Step 3 - Safely Evaporate the Alcohol
There are a few safety concerns to keep in mind before evaporating the alcohol of your tincture.
We are using high-proof alcohol, which is EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE.
That is why we want to be careful about how we evaporate the alcohol.
If you introduce an open flame while trying to evaporate the alcohol, you risk starting a fire or, worse, having an explosion.
I never recommend evaporating the alcohol over an open flame or gas-burning stove. This is dangerous and unnecessary.
Thankfully, I have safe evaporation solutions outlined below.
Evaporation At Room Temperature
You can allow the alcohol to evaporate just by sitting at room temperature. It is the safest option, but it takes a long time.
Here is a picture of a shot glass I filled with 1 ounce of the tincture. It took approximately 3-4 days for the alcohol to evaporate.
I recommend adding a coffee filter or other breathable material to your vessel's top to prevent contaminants from getting in.
Use glass when possible.
Evaporate Alcohol With Heat
We want to introduce heat to help evaporate the alcohol faster without an open flame.
My safe solution is a small (0.65 quart) mini-warming crockpot.
This is a perfect solution because the mini-crockpot does not heat above 160° F, meaning it won't destroy any cannabinoids.
Simply pour the tincture into a clean mason jar, place the jar in the mini-crockpot, and pour water around the jar, creating a water bath. Turn the mini-crock pot on and allow the water to heat up.
You want to ensure you do not have the lid on the jar, which will slow the evaporation process.
I recommend doing this in a room with good ventilation to keep the windows open and airflow moving.
The evaporating alcohol has a strong odor that may be unpleasant in a small, confined space. A fan can help here, too.
Additionally, if you don't have or want to use a mini-crockpot, I have many more ideas in my guide for safely evaporating alcohol from tinctures.
The alcohol will begin to leave the container during the evaporation process, and your volume will drop significantly.
Don't worry; the good stuff is what is left behind.
You know you are getting close to the final evaporation stages when the mixture turns into black, thick oil.
Only a very small amount of this oil will be left at the end.
Step 4 – Store Your Medicine
When you have successfully evaporated all of the alcohol, you will be left with a small amount of very dark, thick, sticky, molasses-like oil.
This is your FECO, full-extract cannabis oil.
From here, you can collect and store it in an airtight glass vessel of your choice.
I recommend using these reusable glass locking syringes.
Not only are they a great way to store your medicine, but they contain mL labeling, which helps make dosing easier.
Collecting the FECO may be difficult due to its sticky nature. Be sure to collect the oil while it is still warm.
If it is too thick to draw into the syringe, add a few drops of either more alcohol or carrier oil of choice, like MCT oil, to thin it out.
How to Mix FECO With A Carrier Oil
Because of the sticky, molasses-like texture of the FECO, many people prefer to mix in a carrier oil, which will help to dilute the FECO and make a more viscous, tincture-like oil.
One of the most popular carrier oils to mix FECO with is MCT oil, a form of coconut oil that is liquid at room temperature.
Note: you may need to heat them together slightly to get them to combine.
You can then store it in a dark bottle tincture like this one.
Step 4 – Consume Your Medicine
If you are new to using a concentrate like FECO in recipes and edibles, check out my guide to making edibles with cannabis concentrates.
How To Put FECO Into Capsules
Another way to consume FECO is to put it into capsules that can then be swallowed or used as a rectal or vaginal suppository.
Check out my guide to making and filling cannabis capsules to make capsules that can be swallowed.
My Edibles Made Easy Online Cooking Course will teach you how to easily make cannabis edibles and topical recipes at home. This step-by-step video course will teach you how to infuse, extract, and create edibles with many different product types - all from the comfort of your own home.
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Full-Extract Cannabis Oil (FECO)
- Decarboxylate the cannabis according to its dominant cannabinoid. Click here for a full tutorial, if needed.
- Choose between the Green Dragon or Golden Dragon tincture methods.
- For the Green Dragon method: place the decarboxylated cannabis flower at the bottom of a pint-sized mason jar.
- Pour the alcohol over the cannabis. You only need to add enough alcohol to cover the plant matter completely*. Screw the cap tightly and shake gently.
- Place the mason jar in a cool, dark location like a cupboard or closet and leave to sit for 24-hours or more, as desired.
- After your desired soak time, strain the cannabis tincture through a coffee filter or filter into a clean mason jar, separating the plant matter from the alcohol.
- Place the mason jar in the mini-crockpot. Carefully pour water into the crockpot but around the jar, creating a water bath. Turn the mini-crock pot on warm and allow the water to heat up.
- Make sure you do not have the lid on the jar, as this will slow down the evaporation process. Additionally, I recommend doing this in a room with good ventilation to keep the windows open and airflow moving.
- The time it takes to evaporate all of the alcohol will be dependent on the starting volume of the tincture. For example, 1 cup of tincture will take approximately 4-5 hours to evaporate down into FECO. More tincture will take longer, and less will be shorter.
- The alcohol will evaporate off during the cooking process, reducing the volume and leaving behind a thick, black, sticky substance. This black oil is your medicine.
- If this black oil gets too sticky or hard to work with, add a few drops of alcohol or carrier oil to the jar and mix well to create a more viscous oil.
- Store your FECO in a glass syringe, capsule, or another airtight glass container. Store in a cool, dark place like a medicine cabinet.
- You do not need to use the full 14 grams of cannabis called for in this recipe. You can use as much or as little cannabis as you want. Just know that your yield will be very small, as little as 1mL.
- Only use high-proof alcohol, the higher the better. Lower-proof alcohol, like vodka, is not ideal. Use this guide to finding high-proof alcohol, if needed.
- *You do not need to use the full 8 ounces of alcohol, you just need enough to cover all of the cannabis in the container you are using. Anything more is a waste.
- *How long to soak? I’ve seen traditional, long-soak tinctures steep anywhere between a few hours to up to 6 months, or longer, in some cases. Soaking your plant material for longer will slightly increase the potency, but will also increase the amount of chlorophyll and plant matter in your final infusion.
- If you want alternative evaporation options, follow this guide for how to safely evaporate the alcohol.