Discover how to make a Golden Dragon cannabis freezer tincture using the quick wash extraction technique, aka the QWET method. Made with frozen cannabis flower and high-proof grain alcohol, this tincture produces a lighter-colored, less-intensely flavored cannabis extract that can be used as a sublingual supplement, in recipes, or as a base to make other concentrates and extracts.
- Just 2 ingredients are needed: cannabis flower & high-proof grain alcohol
- No special equipment required!
- Quick wash soak time: ready in just 15 minutes
Why You Will Love This Method
My Well With Cannabis Community has asked me many times about making a Golden Dragon QWET tincture, so here is my easy beginner's guide to making one at home.
QWET stands for 'quick wash extraction technique' or 'quick wash ethanol extraction' and is a cannabis tincture that is often called "the golden dragon" or "ice dragon."
This QWET extraction method makes a cannabis tincture using frozen cannabis, frozen alcohol, and quicker wash times to produce a lighter colored, less-intensely flavored - but still highly potent - cannabis extract.
Below, I will show you how to make a tincture, we will explore the differences between the Green Dragon and Golden Dragon, and the reasoning behind the QWET method's specific steps with fully answered FAQ's to help you make this perfectly the first time.
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- 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 for where you can 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.
The Step-by-Step Process
- Step 1 - If you haven't already, decarb your cannabis. See the decarb recommendations guide below for different times for CBD, CBG, THC.
- Step 2 – Place the decarbed flower in a mason jar inside the freezer. Freeze overnight.
- Step 3 – Place the alcohol inside the freezer. Freeze overnight.
- Step 4 – Pour the cold alcohol over the frozen flower. Screw the cap on tightly.
- Step 5 – Gently invert the mason jar to shake – do not shake vigorously.
- Step 6 - Place back in the freezer for 5 minutes.
- Step 7 – Remove the jar from the freezer, shake gently, and place back in the freezer for 5 minutes.
- Step 8 – Repeat the step above one more time for a total of 3 times.
- Step 9 – Remove from the freezer and strain the tincture through a filter.
- Step 10 – Repeat a second and third wash, if desired.
- Step 11 – Store in a dark jar, like this dropper bottle.
- Step 12 - Move on to evaporating the alcohol, if desired.
Note: complete step-by-step printable instructions are located in the recipe card below.
Store your tincture in glass, not plastic. A dark jar, like this dropper bottle, is ideal, but clear glass is just fine if you store it in a cool, dark place like a cupboard or freezer. Tinctures can be stored for up to several months or even longer.
Green Dragon vs Golden Dragon Tincture
A traditional cannabis tincture involves combining cannabis flowers and alcohol in a vessel and letting them sit and steep for a prolonged period of time, no freezing involved.
I've seen traditional tinctures steep anywhere between a few hours, 24-hours as described in my traditional tincture method, and up to 4-6 months or longer in some cases.
Fans of the traditional tincture prefer this method because it is believed that the longer soak times help extract a full spectrum of plant compounds, resulting in a complete full-extract cannabis oil.
In contrast, the QWET tincture combines frozen cannabis flowers and frozen alcohol for only 15 minutes, often called a 'wash' or 'wash times.'
Compared to a traditional tincture, this quick wash freezer method produces a much lighter colored tincture with a much more mild cannabis taste that many people prefer.
The QWET method is generally preferred due to its mild taste and flavor, although lab tests prove this method is slightly less potent than the Green Dragon method.
The traditional long-soak tincture is generally preferred by some due to the belief that a more complete plant extract that includes more plant compounds like chlorophyll and terpenes produces a more medicinal final product.
Neither one is right or wrong, it is a matter of personal preference.
Feel free to experiment with it, adapt and adjust your method as you go along, and learn more about your own personal preferences.
The Importance of Freezing
For many different reasons, freezing the cannabis flower is extremely important in the QWET tincture process.
For these reasons listed below, it is important to keep your product and in-process tincture cold or as close to freezing as possible the entire time you are working with it.
More Effective Trichome Removal
The goal of the QWET process is to remove as many of the trichomes from the plant matter as possible.
Freezing the plant matter makes these trichomes more brittle and easily separated, or broken off, from the plant material.
This helps us get the most cannabinoids off the plant and into our tincture, resulting in a more potent final product.
Helps to Remove Chlorophyll
Freezing cannabis helps prevent the chlorophyll in the plant material from being absorbed into the alcohol tincture.
Chlorophyll, the most abundant pigment in plants, is responsible for the bright green color associated with kale, spinach, celery, and, yes - cannabis.
Chlorophyll produces a strong green taste and color we try to avoid in this extraction method.
While chlorophyll plays a vital role in healthy foods, like in the consumption of raw cannabis, many people do not want it in their final cannabis product for various reasons.
Helps to Remove Waxes and Lipids
Freezing also helps remove other naturally occurring plant compounds, like waxes and lipids, also called 'the undesirables.'
When the flower is frozen, the waxes will stay frozen, and can then be filtered out during the filtering or straining process.
This prevents the majority of waxes and lipids from entering your final product, resulting in a 'cleaner' end product.
You must be using food-safe alcohol, like high-proof grain alcohol, for this process and not toxic isopropyl alcohol to make your tincture. Here is my complete guide for getting high-proof alcohol for making tinctures.
Yes, and you should if it's your first time experimenting with a tincture. The recipe below calls for 14 grams of cannabis flower, but you can honestly use whatever amount you want. Remember, you only need enough alcohol to cover the cannabis flower in the mason jar; exact proportions are not as necessary here.
Traditional long soak cannabis tinctures appear anywhere from vibrant bright green to very dark, dark green. This QWET tincture is not supposed to look like that. This tincture should appear very clear with a light yellow or orange hue, almost like a weak steeped tea. More green color signifies that more chlorophyll has been infused and thus is unwanted with this method. See the image above to compare the color of the two tinctures.
Yes, you can use the QWET method to extract just about any cannabinoid you want, including CBD. To make a CBD tincture, first source CBD-dominant flower. Then be sure to decarboxylate the flower for the appropriate time and temperature; the CBD flower should be decarbed at 240°F for 90 minutes. Then follow the process the same process as outlined in the instructions below.
This recipe recommends combining cannabis and alcohol for no longer than 15-minutes; however, as with all things cannabis, there is more than one way to achieve the desired result. Many people do a simple 3-minute wash and are happy with their results, while others do a 60-minute wash and are happy with their results. The goal is to remove as many trichomes from the plant as possible without removing additional plant compounds like chlorophyll, waxes, and lipids. If you combine the cannabis flowers and alcohol for longer than 15-minutes, you may not necessarily extract more THC or CBD, but you run the risk of pulling more unwanted plant matter. For this reason, going for longer than 15-minutes moves you into the territory of a more traditional cannabis tincture. However, if you want to experiment to find a perfect wash time for you, please do!
Can I Do More Than One Wash?
There are also methods where people will do a 'first wash,' 'second wash,' and even a 'third wash.'
This wash method uses the same cannabis flower but a fresh batch of frozen alcohol for each wash.
After the first wash, you would strain off the alcohol into a mason jar and proceed with a 'second wash' by adding new frozen alcohol to the already used batch of flowers.
If you use this method, label your jars as 'first wash,' 'second wash,' etc so you know what you're working with.
Alternatively, you can combine all of the washes for one final tincture. Again, the choice is up to you.
Is QWET As Potent?
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. The results suggest that the longer the soak, the more potent the final product.
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. As with all things cannabis, I always recommend going low and starting slow when experimenting with trying a new product.
How Do I Estimate the Final Potency?
Without lab testing, you're essentially guessing the final potency of your tincture (or any cannabis edible for that matter).
However, if you know the starting percentage of THC or CBD in your cannabis flower and how much you used by weight in grams, you may be able to use my online calculator to get a ballpark range.
For this reason, I recommend weighing out your cannabis flower with a digital scale before making the tincture so you have a starting point.
Once you have calculated the milligrams of THC or CBD used, this number will remain the same regardless of how much alcohol you keep or evaporate.
It is also important to know that cannabis edibles will affect everyone differently.
You and your spouse may consume the same amount of an identical product and have vastly different responses or experiences.
This is normal, and again why I recommend starting low and going slow when dosing tincture.
Should I Evaporate the Alcohol?
This is a personal preference, and you must experiment to find what works best for you.
Some people do not evaporate off the alcohol and prefer the cannabis to be infused in alcohol for more effective sublingual absorption.
Some people evaporate off just a portion of the alcohol, ¼-3/4 of the total volume, to help remove some alcohol burn.
Some people evaporate 100% of the alcohol to make FECO or other cannabis concentrates and extracts.
There is no one correct answer as to what you should do; this is all personal preference based on your desired outcome. If you want to evaporate the alcohol, follow my guide full of safe evaporation methods.
Regardless, you can still evaporate off the alcohol from this tincture to make a sticky cannabis concentrate like FECO.
You can follow the same directions here for safely evaporating off the alcohol and making FECO at home.
The guide also comes with instructions for mixing your final FECO product with MCT oil for a more viscous sublingual product.
Can I Reclaim The Alcohol?
If you are serious about making cannabis tinctures at home long-term, I recommend thinking of ways to reclaim your alcohol so you're not spending as much money.
One way to reclaim the alcohol is to use a water distiller.
A distiller will heat the alcohol, evaporate it, and send it to another waiting vessel, where you can reclaim and use it again for future use.
Another way is to invest in a machine that does this work for you, like the Source Turbo or ETOH Pro from Extract Craft.
This machine will also help you make cannabis concentrates, as explained below.
Can I Make Concentrates From This QWET Tincture?
For many people, making this QWET tincture is just the beginning step for making cannabis concentrates at home.
While making cannabis concentrates at home requires a bit more investment of time, money, and energy, it is worthwhile for many of my Well With Cannabis Community members.
If you are interested in making cannabis concentrates and extracts at home, I recommend checking out Extract Craft for helpful resources and machines to help you through the process.
What Can I Do With The Leftover Plant Material?
I’ve heard people say all of the THC has been removed from the remaining plant material, but I’ve also had people save it and say they’ve had a great experience using it in various ways.
I think it’s at least worth experimenting with the leftovers to see if they're worth saving for you.
If you decide to give it a go, there are many recipes and ways to use the leftovers in this article for using leftover pulp.
Recipes You Will Love Using Tincture
Once you have your cannabis tincture prepared, you can use it in many recipes.
Our most popular recipes for using a cannabis tincture include:
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.
Learn more and enroll today →
Golden Dragon QWET Freezer Tincture
- Place the decarboxylated cannabis in the freezer. Also place the high-proof alcohol in the freezer. Freeze overnight at a minimum, ideally 24 hours.
- When ready to prepare your tincture, place the frozen cannabis in a mason jar.
- Pour the cold alcohol into the jar. You only need to add enough alcohol to cover the cannabis completely*.
- Screw the lid on tightly and shake gently. Place the jar back in the freezer for 5 minutes.
- Remove the jar from the freezer, shake gently, and place it back in the freezer for 5 minutes.
- Repeat the above step one more time, for a total of 3 times.
- Remove the jar from the freezer one last time and strain. Pour the tincture through your preferred straining system, separating the plant-matter from the alcohol, into a clean mason jar. A coffee filter in a funnel works well here.
- Store this tincture in a mason jar, amber-colored tincture jar, or other glass container. You can store at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or freezer. A tincture should last months, if not longer.
- 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. For a small, starter batch, start with just 3.5 grams.
- 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.
- If you want to make FECO, follow this guide for how to safely evaporate the alcohol from the tincture.