In this post, you will learn more about full-extract cannabis oil, also known as FECO, a powerful cannabis plant extract with instructions for making your own medicine at home.
What is Full Extract Cannabis Oil?
Full-extract cannabis oil, also known as FECO, is a concentrated, whole-plant, full-spectrum cannabis extract.
This 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 own endocannabinoid system.
FECO can be more potent than other products on the market today, making it an excellent choice to be used for medicinal purposes.
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What Is The Difference Between FECO and RSO?
One important thing to note is that many people confuse FECO with RSO – also known as Rick Simpson Oil.
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 used in the RSO method.
The final outcomes are similar, but isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol, like the kind you would find in your medicine cabinet) IS NOT SAFE TO INGEST.
We DO NOT recommend 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.
At the end of this process, we will have evaporated off all of the alcohol, leaving a small amount of concentrated cannabis oil.
It is important to note that at the end of this process, you will have collected a very small amount of oil.
A rough guestimate expects to use 1 cup of tincture and collect only approximately 3 milliliters of FECO.
Super Quick FECO Instructions
For my friends who just want a quick overview of the process, here it is.
Below you will find more instructions from each step.
- Decarboxylate your cannabis
- Prepare a cannabis alcohol tincture
- Evaporate off the alcohol
- Store your medicine
- Consume your medicine
Step 1 - Decarboxylate Your Cannabis
Before jumping in and simply pouring alcohol over your cannabis flower, you need to make sure you don’t forget this crucial step – decarboxylation.
Without decarboxylation, you may not experience the full range of beneficial health effects of cannabinoids like THC or CBD.
Decarboxylation aims to heat the cannabis flower at a low temperature over a long period of time to allow complete decarboxylation to occur without destroying the other beneficial plant matter such as the terpenes or flavonoids.
Decarboxylation can be done in your own kitchen at home by baking the dried cannabis flowers in an oven-safe baking dish or mason jar.
- The most common recommendation for decarboxylating THCA to THC is to bake the flower at 240° F for 40 minutes
- The most common recommendation for decarboxylating CBDA to CBD is to bake the flower at 240°F for 90 minutes
- The most common recommendation for decarboxylating CBGA to CBG is to bake the flower at 220°F for 60 minutes
- The most common recommendation for degrading THC into CBN is to bake the flower 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.
For both processes, you will need your decarboxylated cannabis flowers and food-grade high-proof grain alcohol.
It is imperative to use high-proof grain alcohol; I recommend Everclear 190 Proof for the best quality extraction.
You will not achieve the same results with lower proof alcohol like vodka or rum.
To Make a Green Dragon Tincture:
- In a mason jar, pour Everclear alcohol over the decarboxylated cannabis flower. Screw the cap tightly and shake gently.
- Place the mason jar in a cool, dark location like a cupboard or closet and leave it to sit for 24 hours.
- After 24 hours, strain the cannabis tincture through a coffee filter or cheesecloth into a clean mason jar, separating the plant-matter from the alcohol.
Additionally, you can follow the QWET Tincture method for a quicker extraction process.
I ran my own 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.
The results suggest that the longer the soak, the more potent the final product.
However, this method also produces a stronger tasting tincture with more residual plant matter like chlorophyll.
This leaves you, the consumer, with the decision of choosing potency over taste.
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 cannabis sangria.
You could use it in some of your favorite recipes, like gummies made with tincture.
You can also pour the tincture over white sugar and make cannabis sugar with it.
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 Off the Alcohol
There are a few safety concerns to keep in mind before you start evaporating off 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 off the alcohol.
If you introduce an open flame while you’re trying to evaporate the alcohol, you run the risk of starting a fire or, worse, having an explosion.
We do not ever recommend evaporating off the alcohol over an open flame or gas-burning stove.
This is dangerous and unnecessary.
Alcohol Will Evaporate At Room Temperature
You can allow the alcohol to evaporate off just by sitting at room temperature, but that takes a very long time.
Here is a picture of a shot glass we filled with 1 ounce of the tincture.
It took approximately 1 week for all of the alcohol to evaporate off.
We recommend adding a coffee filter or other breathable material to the container's top to keep any contaminants from getting in.
Evaporate Alcohol With Heat
We want to introduce heat to help evaporate off the alcohol faster, without an open flame.
My safe solution has ended up being 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 the plant cannabinoids.
I also recommend using the mini-warming crockpot because the small surface area makes it easier to collect the sticky final product.
Simply pour the tincture into the mini-crockpot and allow it to heat up, uncovered.
You want to make sure you do not heat it with the lid on, which 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 evaporating alcohol has a strong odor that may be unpleasant in a small, confined space.
Step 4 – Store Your Medicine
When you have successfully evaporated off all of the alcohol, you will be left with a small amount of very dark, thick, sticky, and tar or molasses-like substance.
This is your FECO, full extract cannabis oil.
From here, you can collect it and store it in an airtight vessel of choice.
Collecting the FECO may be difficult due to its sticky nature.
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.
Step 5 – Consume Your Medicine
If you are new to using a concentrate like FECO in recipes and edibles, be sure to check out my guide to making edibles with cannabis concentrates.
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-infused 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.
If you have to heat them together, do NOT heat them in the microwave.
Combine in a double boiler. You can then store in a dark bottle tincture like this one.
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.
For making capsules that can be swallowed, be sure to check out my guide to making and filling cannabis capsules.
How to Determine The Dosing
While a calculator is no replacement for lab testing, this tool has been designed to help you get a more accurate guesstimate of the potency of your cannabis infusions and extractions.
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Full Extract Cannabis Oil (FECO)
- ½ ounce decarboxylated cannabis flower
- 8 ounces Everclear Grain Alcohol 190 proof*
- Decarboxylate your cannabis by baking it in a 240° F oven for 40 minutes (for THC dominant flower). Click here for a full tutorial on cannabis decarboxylation, if needed.
- Place the decarboxylated cannabis flower at the bottom of a pint-sized mason jar.
- Pour the Everclear over the cannabis flower. You only need to add enough alcohol to completely cover the plant matter*. 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.
- After 24-hours, strain the cannabis tincture through a coffee filter or cheesecloth into a clean mason jar, separating the plant-matter from the alcohol.
- Pour the strained cannabis tincture into a mini warming crockpot. Turn the warming crockpot on warm or low and allow the mixture to cook down without the lid.
- The alcohol will evaporate off during the cooking process, reducing the volume and leaving behind a thick, black, sticky substance. This black substance is your medicine. The timeframe will be largely 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.
- Store your medicine in a glass syringe, capsule, or another airtight container. Store in a cool, dark place like a medicine cabinet.