🇺🇸 Retired veteran, father, rock-climbing expert & rosin connoisseur
Vape cartridges are known to be one of the easiest and most popular ways to enjoy cannabis. Their convenience, cleanliness, discreetness, potency, and flavor combine for a truly unique and satisfying cannabis experience. It’s no surprise that vape cartridges are one of the highest-selling product categories at dispensaries. But what if you could make your own rosin vape cartridges at home?
Making your own cannabis vape cartridges from rosin provides a great alternative to the traditional dabbing experience and gives you the added convenience of quickly enjoying your rosin on the go. And it turns out that making your own vape carts with rosin isn’t very difficult or complicated!
But it’s not as simple as just throwing your rosin into an empty vape cart either...
Rosin in it’s dabbable form isn’t ideal for a vape cartridge. The cannabis within a vape pen cartridge should be a runny and oily consistency, allowing for consistent and thorough exposure to the heat source. Furthermore, the liquid within a vape cartridge needs to be homogenous, free of any suspended solids or inconsistent textures throughout.
To vaporize rosin from a cartridge, we need to make the rosin runny and less viscous than the commonly enjoyed badder, jam, or sappy consistencies.
There are three ways to accomplish this transformation: adding terpenes to the rosin, mixing the rosin with a pre-made wax liquidizer product, or winterizing the rosin. Each method addresses the problem of viscosity when using rosin for vape cartridges. Let's discuss these approaches and also how exactly to fill vape cartridges without creating a huge mess and potentially wasting your valuable rosin.
Introducing terpenes to rosin is a great way to reduce the viscosity and create the consistency we need to use rosin in vape cartridges. Ideally your rosin will have a high terpene content to start, but adding just a few drops of pure terpenes can transform the rosin into the liquid form perfect for vaping.
Start with just one gram of rosin at the bottom of a glass jar. Use a dropper to add 2-3 drops of terpenes and use a dabber tool to mix the rosin and the terpenes together. You can use a heating pad set to around 90 degrees to slightly heat the rosin before you begin mixing in the terpenes, which is sometimes helpful in combining the two together.
The exact ratio of added terpenes to rosin depends on the rosin itself and some experimentation is necessary. It’s best to start with one gram at a time until you find the magic formula.
Several online retailers ship pure terpenes which do not contain any cannabis and are the perfect solution to your rosin vape cartridge needs. You can purchase a pre-made combination of various terpenes or individual terpenes by themselves. Start with a couple different bottles to test your flavor preference.
One great advantage of using terpenes to make your rosin vape juice is that terpenes are already produced naturally by the cannabis plant and exist in the rosin. Terpenes are not foreign to cannabis and they can be safely vaporized and inhaled from a vape cartridge. They also contribute to the unique flavor profile of your particular rosin.
Using Wax Liquidizers
Pre-made wax liquidizer mixtures are another solution to preparing rosin for vape carts. These convenient formulas help remove some of the guesswork from the process by prescribing exact ratios when mixing rosin with the liquidizer. For example, the manufacturer will indicate that 2 ml of liquidizer mixed with one gram of rosin will produce the desired consistency. Although this will sometimes take a bit of adjustment, these liquidizers can allow for a larger margin of error than terpenes alone.
Some people prefer the clear direction and ease of use with pre made liquidizers, but it doesn’t come without cost. These cannabis concentrate liquidizers often contain Propylene Glycol (PG) and or Vegetable Glycerin (VG), both of which are questionable when vaporized. The FDA recognizes these substances as generally safe, and they’re found in many consumables that we enjoy daily. However, the long-term impact of vaporizing and inhaling these substances is questionable.
As a general rule, the less foreign material we introduce to our cannabis products, the better. That said, wax liquidizers can provide the quick and easy solution to turning your rosin into a vapable liquid.
The process of separating unwanted fats, lipids, and waxes from rosin using food-grade alcohol is known as rosin winterization. We can transform rosin into the consistency needed for a vape cartridge by eliminating these excess fatty compounds.
Although this process is in contrast to the solventless approach used in extracting rosin, the alcohol itself can be completely evaporated at the end. The alcohol leaves no trace.
To winterize rosin, we first mix our rosin with food-grade alcohol, freeze it, then clean the rosin using a syringe and filter. Using a shot glass or small beaker and Everclear is perfect for the in-home setup.
Mix the Everclear and rosin in a 10:1 ratio of alcohol to rosin and place on a heating pad set to low heat. We want just enough heat to help the alcohol and rosin to mix together thoroughly. Stir them together with a dab tool and within minutes you’ll see the fats and waxes start to separate.
Once they’re fully separated, place the mixture in the freezer for 14 hours, after which the fatty compounds will settle to the bottom of the glass. Use a syringe to remove the liquid rosin on top.
Then, place a .22 micron syringe filter at the end of the syringe and push the rosin through the filter and into another glass. Additional refinement can be achieved at this point by placing the mixture on a low heat source for a couple of hours and stirring regularly.
One additional step to purity involves placing a larger glass beaker or jar over the rosin, to act like a glass dome over the mixture. Placed over temps around 200 degrees fahrenheit, after two hours the rosin will be in its purest form. Only through the use of a vacuum can you achieve a higher level of refinement after winterization.
Filling the Cartridges
Once you’ve successfully transformed the solid rosin into a runny oil it’s time to fill the empty vape cartridges. 510-threaded half and full-gram CCELL cartridges work best and are easy to find online. You’ll also need a blunt tip needle and syringe.
First, unscrew the mouthpiece from the glass portion of the cartridge.
It may help to place the liquid rosin back on a heating pad at a low setting to briefly reduce viscosity for an easier filling process. This is an optional step that can be helpful, but the rosin should already be the correct viscosity for the vape cartridge before it gets any heat treatments.
Use the syringe and needle to collect enough rosin to fill a cartridge. Insert the needle into the cartridge and push down on the plunger to fill the cartridge. Don’t overfill the cartridge.
Once the cartridge is filled, remember there will be some rosin oil left in the needle!
Replace the top portion of the cartridge and firmly screw it into place. Screw the cartridge into your vape pen and start with the lowest setting. Work your way up to higher settings only as needed.
So which approach is better? As solventless enthusiasts we’re definitely biased toward the cleaner and less adulterated approach to using rosin to make your own vape cartridges. Introducing terpenes specifically derived from real cannabis to hash rosin is our preferred method of using rosin to make vape carts.
We’re more confident in the safety of vaporized terpenes than we are of vaporized Propylene Glycol or Vegetable Glycerin.
That said, we recognize there is a demand for wax liquidizers and they do offer value to people looking to make their own vape carts.
How do you make your own rosin vape cartridges? Let us know in the comments!