Discover how to make your own QWET cannabis tincture at home 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 to be used as a sublingual supplement, in cannabis recipes, or as a base to make other concentrates and extracts.
What is a QWET Tincture?
My Well With Cannabis Facebook Community has asked me many times about making a QWET tincture, so here is my easy beginner's guide to making one at home.
I did not personally invent this extraction method, and there are many different variations of this method that help you get to a similar end result.
As I always say, there is no one right way to do cannabis, just a way that works best for you.
While I am more accustomed to the old-school way of making a traditional cannabis tincture with longer soak times, also known as "the Green Dragon," I am intrigued by this new method as many of my community members prefer it.
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, we will explore the differences between a traditional tincture and the QWET tincture, the benefits of each, and the reasoning behind the QWET method's specific steps.
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Traditional Tincture vs QWET 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, while still retaining cannabinoid potency.
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
The step of freezing the cannabis flower is extremely important in the QWET tincture process for many different reasons.
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
Trichomes are the small, resinous glands found on cannabis plants that contain the cannabinoids we are after, mainly THC, CBD, CBG, and so on.
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 of 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 found in plants, is responsible for the bright green color associated with kale, spinach, celery, and, yes - cannabis.
Chlorophyll produces the very strong green taste and color that we are trying to avoid in this extraction method.
While chlorophyll plays an important role in health 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
The act of freezing also helps to remove other naturally occurring plant compounds, like waxes and lipids, also called 'the undesirables'.
When the flower is frozen, the waxes will stay frozen as well, 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
These are the questions I receive most often about the QWET tincture-making process from my Well With Cannabis Facebook Community.
If you still have additional questions, please feel free to join and post your question to the group.
What If I Can't Find Everclear?
You must be using food-safe alcohol, like high-proof grain alcohol, for this process and not toxic isopropyl alcohol to make your tincture.
I also do not recommend using anything below a 151-proof alcohol for this process.
The higher proof the alcohol is, the stronger the solvent will be, and the more successful this process will be.
Vodka and other low-proof alcohol spirits are not as effective for extracting the cannabinoids from the plant, and I do not recommend using them.
Unfortunately, it may be difficult to access 151-proof or higher alcohols in certain states.
Here are some alternative options you can try for ordering high-proof alcohol online:
Can I Make A Smaller Batch?
Yes, absolutely, 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.
To make a small batch tincture, start with just 3.5 grams, or an ⅛th, of cannabis flower.
Remember, you only need enough alcohol to cover the cannabis flower in the mason jar, exact proportions are not as necessary here.
What Should This Tincture Look Like?
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 to is, almost like a weak steeped tea.
Having more green color signifies that more chlorophyll has been infused, and thus is unwanted with this method.
Can I Make A CBD Tincture With QWET?
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; CBD flower should be decarbed at 240°F for 90 minutes.
Then follow the process the exact same process as outlined in the instructions below.
Can I Combine for Longer Than 15-Minutes?
This recipe recommends combining the cannabis and alcohol for no longer than 15-minutes, however, as with all things cannabis there is more than one way to achieve a desired result.
Many people do a simple 3-minute wash and are happy with their result, while others do a 60-minute wash and are happy with their result.
The goal here 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 any more THC or CBD, but you do 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 wash time that is perfect 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, be sure to 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 currently don't have lab tests available to compare a traditional cannabis tincture to a QWET tincture, but will test this summer to know for sure.
Anecdotally, many members from my Well With Cannabis Facebook Community report that this tincture is still VERY potent.
As with all things cannabis, I always recommend to go low and start 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 an 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 to go from.
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 off.
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 vasty different responses or experiences.
This is normal, and again why I recommend to start low and go slow when dosing tincture.
Should I Evaporate Off the Alcohol?
This is a complete personal preference and you will need to 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 of the alcohol burn.
Some people evaporate off 100% of the alcohol to make FECO or other cannabis concentrates and extracts.
There is no one right answer as to what you should do, this is all personal preference based on the final outcome you desire.
Can I Make FECO from QWET?
Yes, you can turn this QWET tincture into FECO, also known as full-extract cannabis oil.
However, the jury is still out as to whether or not the QWET tincture truly contains the full spectrum of cannabis compounds due to the quick wash times.
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 up the alcohol and evaporate it and send it to another waiting vessel, where you can reclaim it 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 Facebook Community members.
If you are interested in making your own cannabis concentrates and extracts at home, I recommend checking out Extract Craft for helpful resources and machines to help you through the process.
How Should I Store QWET Tincture?
From there, you can store the tincture at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or freezer.
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 had 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 lots of recipes and ways to use the leftovers in this article for using leftover pulp.
What Else Can I Do With This Tincture?
These are some of the most popular ways I see my Well With Cannabis Facebook Community using QWET tinctures:
How to Determine The Dosing For Your Recipe
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.
Unlike other calculators available online, this calculator aims to provide more accuracy by accounting for the losses associated with decarboxylation, infusion oils, or extraction solvents used.
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QWET Tincture Freezer Recipe (Golden Dragon)
- If you haven't already, decarboxylate your cannabis flower by baking it in the oven at 240°F for 40 minutes for THC flower, and 90 minutes for CBD flower. Click here for a full tutorial on cannabis decarboxylation, if needed.
- Place the decarboxylated cannabis flower in a pint-sized mason jar inside the freezer. Freeze overnight at a minimum, ideally 24 hours.
- Place the high-proof alcohol in a pint-sized mason jar inside the freezer. Freeze overnight at a minimum, ideally 24 hours.
- When ready to prepare, pour the frozen alcohol into the mason jar containing the frozen decarbed cannabis flower. You only need to add enough alcohol to cover the plant matter completely*.
- Screw the cap tightly and shake gently. Place 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 from the freezer again and strain the cannabis tincture through your preferred straining system, separating the plant-matter from the alcohol, into a clean mason jar. A coffee filter works well here for straining.
- You now have a golden QWET cannabis tincture. You can store this in a mason jar, amber-colored tincture jar, or other glass containers. You can store at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or freezer.
- You can choose to evaporate off as much or as little alcohol as desired. Click here for instructions on how to safely evaporate off the alcohol if needed.