Fully Extracted Cannabis Oil (FECO)
There are many methods of extracting/infusing cannabis. Each has it’s own benefit. In this instructional, we’ll be going over using alcohol to extract from the cannabis plant.
What is FECO?
Fully Extracted Cannabis Oil, or FECO, is an alcohol extraction of cannabis. Alcohol/cannabis preparations have been utilized throughout history. Some of the earliest recordings are included in Chinese medical texts:
Cannabis sativa L. (Cannabaceae) has a long history of utilization as a fiber and seed crop in China, and its achenes (“seeds”) as well as other plant parts have been recorded in Chinese medical texts for nearly 2000 years. While the primary applications of cannabis in Chinese medicine center around the use of the achenes, ancient indications for the female inflorescence, and other plant parts include conditions such as pain and mental illness that are the subject of current research into cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Brand EJ, Zhao Z. Cannabis in Chinese Medicine: Are Some Traditional Indications Referenced in Ancient Literature Related to Cannabinoids?. Front Pharmacol. 2017;8:108. Published 2017 Mar 10. doi:10.3389/fphar.2017.00108
Rick Simpson is widely recognized for his applications of Rick Simpson Oil, or RSO, to treat a variety of medical conditions- cancer in particular. But is Rick Simpson Oil really different?
Rick suggests specifically using a 99% alcohol:
There are also many other solvents which could probably be used to perform an extraction effectively such as acetone, but the only solvents that I have direct experience with are ether, naphtha and 99% isopropyl alcohol, therefore I do not feel qualified to tell the public what other solvents they can use.
While he does not agree with the use of lesser alcohol content mediums, no scientific research has been done to conclude that the use of such noxious solvents increases efficacy. I have made RSO with 99% isopropyl alcohol, however, I did not feel comfortable using it internally. I used it to make salve to treat basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer) for my dad. He used to see a dermatologist yearly (at least) to have spots from years of skin damage that would develop burned away. He was able to dramatically decrease his visits once I learned how to make the salve.
RSO in dispensaries is made with 99% ethanol in order to extract as much of the medicine, or cannabinoids, as possible. The less water content there is, the purer & more concentrated the extraction will be.
Which is more effective- FECO or RSO?
There is no way to know for certain until studies are performed & replicated. RSO claims to be but keep in mind that this method was also well marketed and not studied so we have no way of knowing how many unfortunate cases with the noxious solvents occurred, was there any damage that could have been avoided by using something gentler?
Given that Rick Simpson developed his method within the last century I tend to look the fact that people making various forms of FECO successfully as far back as written records exist.
If you don’t need to use hazardous materials, why take the chance?
Extraction facilities put a lot of money into their equipment but they are still not pharmaceutical companies. What they are making is not that different than what you can create on your own! & you might very well find that yours is more effective as you can specifically choose to use the strain(s) that help your symptom(s) & make it the strength that YOU are looking for!
Why am I making FECO?
FECO is my mom’s go to med to get out of pain due to a herniated disc & a couple other beat up ones from a car accident because it’s quick, simple, & effective. She doesn’t need to take very much & she’s comfortable/clear headed & can go about her day. I’m purposefully trying to make a very strong medicament for a family member who’s suffering from debilitating pain. He’s not noticed other meds so I’m not even weighing out, just throwing a bunch in & see if it will make a difference. I’m also purposefully trying to make a very strong medicament for a family member who’s suffering from debilitating pain. He’s not noticed other meds so I’m not even weighing out, just throwing a bunch in & see if it will make a difference. As such, this batch will be stronger than I usually make.
FECO made in an Instant Pot
Everclear (97% 1.75 L)
Run on the pressure cooker setting for 1 hour (if using a slow cooker, run 8 hours on low)
There was still a bit of green left in the trim so I decided to reduce on "sauté" to create a rapid boil to reduce quickly.
Ultimately, I over reduced so I will skip this step next time.
I reduced this batch of FECO 30 minutes on the slow cooker setting.
My goal was to reduce the FECO so that the alcohol was mostly evaporated so that it wouldn’t overwhelm but to create at least 20oz of tincture.
You can also choose to reduce the FECO until it’s almost like molasses and fill 1 gram syringes (traditional RSO reduction).
I choose to only reduce to a strong tincture to allow the product to produce more & for ease of use, it can be messy once reduced to fill syringes.
As I over reduced, next time I will:
Next time, I will eliminate the rapid boil step
How much cannabis should you use?
That is up to you but I have a recipe from a friend who uses 1oz of trim for a 1.75 liter bottle & she is more than satisfied with the strength.
The fantastic thing with this recipe is how adjustable it is.
Play with a few recipes yourself!
I tend to purchase 1/4oz of bud/”flower” per cup of Everclear for day to day meds and 1 oz per cup if I’m trying to make something really strong.
I strongly suggest you start low, a little cannabis goes a long way.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC - or skin cancer) Salve
I take advantage of making FECO & make salve for my dad to treat his sun damage (he has a dermatologist, as well…). It makes for less waste when cleaning up, as well.
Remaining FECO in pan
1/2 c liquid oil (olive, grape seed, almond, etc)
1/4 c beeswax
1/4 c coconut oil
2 tablespoon Cocoa Butter (or Shea Butter)
1 teaspoonVitamin E oil
10-15 drops of essential oil
Make the salve!
Combine liquid oil, coconut oil, beeswax, and cocoa butter in a small saucepan
Heat over “keep warm” setting on Instant Pot or med-low heat, stir occasionally to incorporate
Once all ingredients are melted, add vitamin E & essential oil(s)
Pour into sterile, labeled container(s)
Apply topically to effected area 2x daily, will likely help with pain
Comment below with questions &/or comments/suggestions &/or email photos of projects for me to post to email@example.com if you give either &/or both projects a go!