Weed brownie science: solid-liquid extraction of THC


Preface- This site does not endorse illicit drug use. The following post is for educational purposes only. Please use your own discretion and avoid breaking laws.


Structure of THC. Note hydrophobicity and hydrogen-bond donating groups

Structure of THC. Note hydrophobicity and hydrogen-bond donating groups

THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol, is the primary psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant. Human consumption typically presents with analgesic effects and appetite enhancement. Despite its hydrophobicity (not miscible in water), THC can be effectively isolated through use of organic solvents.

Brownie Recipe (makes 16 brownies)


Typical extraction funnel

Typical extraction funnel

Part 1: Solid-liquid extraction using ethanol

  1. Grind dried cannabis leaves to fine powder. The finer ground the leaves are, the more quickly extraction occurs.
  2. Add ground leaves to 95% or higher ethanol/water (w/w) solution such as Everclear (190 proof) or reagent-grade ethanol. Use approximately 30 grams alcohol to every gram cannabis leaves.
  3. Shake vigorously for 5 minutes, opening the bottle top to vent every 30 seconds. If possible, perform extraction using lab-grade extraction funnel.
  4. Leave overnight with in sealed container (on shaker table, if performing extraction in a lab)
  5. Vent bottle carefully. Filter liquid from leaves using coffee filter. Put liquid aside (separate bottle, store in freezer).
  6. Add leaves to appropriate amount of new alcohol. Repeat steps 2-4. Performing the extraction twice is superior to a single extraction, as most recipes suggest, because of THC’s fixed partitioning coefficient in ethanol.
  7. Filter again, and combine the 2 liquid extractions. Discard used cannabis leaves.

Part 2: Brownie cooking

Flour, sugar, and cocoa

Flour, sugar, and cocoa

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees C. THC boils at 157 degrees C so low cooking temperatures are a must. Butter an 8″ square pan.
  2. Whisk 4 eggs until fluffy.
  3. Add 1 cup sifted white sugar and 1 cup sifted brown sugar. Sugar measurements are fairly lax and can be adjusted based on preference.
  4. Add 75 grams sifted flour and 180 grams sifted cocoa.
  5. Add 1 gram kosher salt and ~2 grams vanilla extract.
  6. Melt 8 oz (~180 grams) unsalted butter and add to mixture.
  7. Add up to 236 grams alcohol containing THC extract. Mix thoroughly.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes. The brownie will rise during the baking process.
  9. Stick toothpick into center of brownie to confirm thorough baking. If the toothpick comes out dry, remove from oven to cool. Refrain from cutting into brownie until it is mostly cool. Otherwise, continue baking and reapply toothpick every 8 minutes.
  10. (Optional) Once cooled, add frosting and decorative pecan.

Nutritional Information

Serving size: 1 brownie


Pastry Chef (https://butterhub.org), software engineer (http://jamesding.org), and fitness enthusiast.

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  3. Denny Rufi says:

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