How To Make FECO (Full Extract Cannabis Oil)

Image of infused hemp oil in a bottle on East Coast Herbalist blog post on how to make FECO

With cannabis being legalized in states across the country, we get a lot of questions from people wanting to make home made products in their kitchen. One of the things people frequently ask about is how to make FECO.

FECO, or Full Extract Cannabis Oil, is an extract made by soaking cannabis flower in food grade grain alcohol, also known as ethanol. Everclear is a common brand name of food grade ethanol. Ethanol is a great solvent and easily soaks up all the good stuff you are after in the flower (cannabinoids like CBD and THC).

After soaking the flower for a short time, you can strain the alcohol from the soaked flower. Then you add the infused alcohol to a heat source and evaporate it away. Since the alcohol has a much lower boiling point than the cannabinoids, the extract left behind is extremely concentrated and is a thick oil consistency similar to maple syrup or honey. This thick oil is FECO.

Many cannabis companies use ethanol as their solvent of choice when processing flower into consumable products. If you are making edibles or other products at home, using food grade alcohol means having a bit of solvent is ok (unlike other solvents such as butane, pentane, or other gases). So, there is no need for expensive lab equipment!

How to Make FECO

I hate beating around the bush, so let’s get down to business. Here’s a quick supplies list:

Supplies List

  • 14-28g hemp flower (if you want to make CBD products, check the link for some top shelf hemp flower at cheap prices).
  • Grain Alcohol; We typically choose Everclear, which can be purchased at liquor stores. minimum 150 proof (75% ABV)
  • Baking Sheet
  • Strainer or cheesecloth bags
  • Coffee Filters
  • Mason Jars
  • Saucepan
  • Jar for storage

A quick word of CAUTION: GRAIN ALCOHOL IS HIGHLY FLAMMABLE. It could cause injury if you are not taking proper precautions. Never use an open flame, natural gas, or propane burner OR permit smoking or using any sort of lighter around the cooking process. DO NOT BLOW YOURSELF UP, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!!

Instructions

Step 1: Decarb Flower.

Decarbing your flower is a necessary step and will convert CBDA to CBD. This is the same for THCA and needing to convert it to THC. CBDA and THCA are the acidic precursors to CBD and THC, respectively. Raw hemp flower usually has high levels of CBDA instead of CBD (again, same for THCA and THC), which is why you need to decarb.

When making FECO or edibles at home, I like to use the Magical Decarb Box to decarb flower I will be using. It makes the process easier and helps minimize the smell. It also comes with a temperature probe. Click HERE to check this product out on Amazon.

Here are the steps to decarb flower:

  1. Preheat your oven to 250 F.
  2. Break up your hemp flower by hand (small pieces work best, don’t pulverize or grind flower too fine).
  3. Spread your broken up hemp flower onto a cookie sheet creating a very thin layer.
  4. Place the cookie sheet in your oven on a middle rack.
  5. Bake for 90 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Step 2: CBD Alcohol Tincture – QWET method

  1. Place the decarbed hemp flower in a mason jar. Put it in the freezer for a day or two.
  2. Place your alcohol in a separate mason jar in the freezer for a day or two as well.
  3. After the flower and the alcohol have been in the freezer for a day or two, pour the alcohol into the jar of decarbed hemp flower. Make sure the alcohol just fully covers the flower.
  4.  Give it a few good shakes and put it back in the freezer for 10-20 minutes.
  5. After 10-20 minutes in the freezer, quickly remove the jar and do a fast strain using a strainer, mesh filter, or cheese cloth.
  6. Do a second strain of the alcohol using a coffee filter. This process is much slower, but will help remove any leftover plant particles

Now you have a potent alcohol tincture. You could use this tincture as is, but it will have an extremely strong taste from the everclear.

Step 3: Reduce Infused Tincture to FECO

If you want to reduce your tincture to FECO, put the infused alcohol into a sauce pan on an electric stove.

Set the stove to medium-low heat. DO NOT USE OPEN FLAME AS GRAIN ALCOHOL IS EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE. Make sure the area is well ventilated because the evaporated ethanol will turn into a flammable gas.

If you really want to get fancy, invest in a magnetic stirrer hotplate. This is a great tool to infuse oils, and mix tinctures, topicals, etc. The link is to a reliable model we use in our lab.

Final Thoughts

FECO is extremely versatile. It can be added to butter, MCT oil, coconut oil, olive oil, or other carriers very easily. Be mindful that FECO is extremely potent. Depending on how much of the alcohol you purged, the potency is usually anywhere from 40% – 60% (this makes 1g of FECO 400mg – 600mg on average).