RSO & FECO Using Ethanol Extraction: Home Healing

By Troy Ivan

Recently I’ve been making medicated coconut oil (previous post) for a friend that was diagnosed with lung cancer, and it got me curious about making a better, richer, more medicinally potent extract for home healing.  Again, I came back to the Source because you can control exactly what is going into your medicine, insuring against harmful, irritating and unwanted chemicals.  You can even experiment, extracting and adding other botanicals with additional healing properties to the cannabis extract or simply add your choice of flavor.


These abbreviated terms refer to types of extracted resinous cannabis oil (CO) with concentrated amounts of cannabinoids, like THC and CBD, used for therapeutic and medicinal uses for treatment of various conditions.

RSO is short for ‘Rick Simpson Oil’, named after the man that made it famous and has helped an unfathomable number of people with his ‘Run From the Cure’ documentary showcasing the cancer curing attributes of cannabis. I think we all owe this man a huge debt of gratitude. Eventually, his method fell out of favor due do the use of the solvent Naptha. Naptha is non-polar so it’s a very effective solvent, but unfortunately it’s use comes with a number of health risks. Extractions moved back to using 190-proof food-grade ethanol in substitution for Naptha, solving the health risk problem, but introducing a new problem. While Naptha is completely non-polar, ethanol has polar attributes making it difficult to use without collecting chlorophyll and other undesirable water based components of the cannabis plant. Using the same steps to produce RSO using ethanol results in a dark-green and almost black oil. This process and resulting extract is known as Full Extract Cannabis Oil (FECO). These extracts are meant to be used orally, topically, or in suppositories and are not suitable for smoking. The Naptha in the original RSO recipe makes it a very unhealthy choice for inhalation, while the plant matter in RSO and FECO made with ethanol make the oil unsuitable for a quality smoke.

There are many people that will disagree with me equating RSO and FECO as the same thing, but that’s ok as I’m not afraid of people disagreeing. The reason I’m addressing them the same here is that now they are both made with food grade ethanol, and if you make either of them with ethanol, without augmenting the process and changing the way the cannabis is handled before extraction, both operations will result in a green full plant extraction. The only difference will be how long it soaks and how dark green it gets.  To avoid green color when extracting with ethanol you must freeze materials before extraction and this has never been part of neither the RSO nor FECO practice. Thus, when using ethanol RSO and FECO are the same to me, and for the remainder of this blog, and probably for the rest of my life, I will refer to this kind of deep, medicinal extraction as FECO and I’d advise others to do the same.

FECO is a full extraction, differing from what’s commonly used for smoking or clean edibles (edibles made without all the green plant taste or color but just as potent).  By ‘full extraction’ I refer to the use of a more vigorous wash to bring out the most beneficial compounds of the cannabis plant in the highest efficiency.  The longer, vigorous, deep wash results in a very dark extraction. Some people feel the deeper extraction unlocks enough extra medicinal power to make the extra green in the meds acceptable, or even preferred.


1. DECARB:  Decarb your cannabis  (if unfamiliar with ‘Decarb’ see this post)

2. WASH:  Add 95% Ethonal, like 190-proof Everclear, to the decarbed cannabis  (the ‘wash’) until the alcohol completely covers the cannabis plus a little extra for good measure.   Allow the combination to soak for as short as 5 minutes to as long as overnight.  Opinions vary on how long the alcohol needs to interact with the cannabis to get the best extraction results.  From my experience 5-15 minutes is plenty for cannabis, but I would highly encourage everyone to experiment and find what works best for you.  If quality flower is being used, repeating this step and performing a second wash with the same cannabis material can collect the 15-20% of THC and CBD left behind in the first wash, however, if you are using low quality flower or trim a second wash is not so productive.

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3. FILTER:  Separate the alcohol solution from the cannabis material by filtering through an unbleached coffee filter.  It is important to filter well or the particulate concentration will become mud like.  I make this step a little easier by doing the wash in a ziplock, cutting a small corner from the ziplock, and draining slowly into a coffee filter (makes cleanup very easy).

4. PURGE:  Separate the alcohol from the cannabis extraction and presto!  You have crafted your own FECO! I recommend using a DIY system detailed in my DIY posts ( links for part 1 & part 2). Due to the price points, noise, low performance and various equipment problems I no longer recommend ExtractCraft equipment. We now have better solutions.

5. EXERCISING YOUR CRAFTING SKILLS:  Lastly, exercise your Crafting skills and combine other botanical extractions with the FECO to charge it with additional healing properties or add great flavor.  There are a few ways this can be accomplished.  First, if the additional botanical is of similar extraction characteristics to cannabis, like hops, add it right in with the cannabis at the ‘wash’ stage, wash them together, and complete the extraction as directed.  Second, if the required wash time of the additional botanical(s) is substantially different from cannabis, like oak chips or citrus peel, wash separately from the cannabis but combine the washes and purge together in the Source.  Third, if you have a previously prepared botanical extraction and would like to incorporate it with your FECO you can either dissolve it into the alcohol solution during the FECO wash stage, or, after the FECO extraction is complete simply mix the previously prepared concentrate into the FECO while it’s still warm.

I hope this helps anyone in need of some help and hope.  If you would like to shoot me an email with any questions you can get me at

If you want to see this process in a video:




70 thoughts on “RSO & FECO Using Ethanol Extraction: Home Healing

  1. I have bought machine but if you can please give me step by step directions for rso. Have illinois patient. That requires it. From extractcraft way.

    1. Hi Gina, you mentioned Illinois and I am unfamiliar with the current laws and regulations there so I would encourage you to check and make sure you are working within the confines of that regulation. In regard to your question I’m a little confused as I thought my post was pretty comprehensive. Do you have a specific question?

      1. Do you have a copy of the original RSO recipe which calls for the entire plant? Roots to tip?

      1. That isn’t necessarily so, and it is also mostly correct. RSO is a process and product that Rick Simpson developed and brought to the world. In that process he explicitly included Naphtha as the solvent used, so even now we have to be careful with the distinction of if the process is using Naphtha or not. FECO is used as a term to differentiate itself from an extraction created with the use of Naphtha, and is usually made using Ethanol or IPA. The difference is solvents also makes the end product different in components as Naphtha is non-polar while alcohol has both polar and non-polar attributes, hence RSO made according to the original guidelines is not as dark and black as FECO made with ethanol. So, as you can see, they defiantly are not the same thing, but they are of the family if you will.

  2. I am currently making rso for a few of my cancer and ms patients. The biggest complaint I get is the taste. Can you give a few examples of how I can add a flavor to it. I read the article but would like to know more specific details. Appreciate any help

      1. That was original way taught. Old school. This is 190 to 194 proof liquor. Put mint in bottle 3 to 5 min soak. Strain put in machine. 3 to 4 times cycle. Pour into mold in between 3-4 time. Keep checking. If thick enough put into tube. Simpson oil.

      2. I use a mixture of trim, bud and kief. Everything is ground to a powder. I fill a stainless pot with the grounds and ISO to cover the material and stir about 5 minutes and strain. I do a second wash the same way. And then burn the ISO off at about 200-250 Fahrenheit until it stops bubbling. Then I add a splash of water and continue to cook until water has evaporated. Then I suck the rso up with a syringe and put in the fridge overnight

      3. Cool, I get your process and it sounds very efficient and thorough. I know a lot of people like to grind, however I’m not convinced it’s necessary for a solvent as aggressive as ethanol or ISO. The taste complaints are due to all that extra plant matter in your wash. Having said that, even if you don’t grind there will still be some of that taste just no where near as much. So I would first suggest not grinding. If you are going to grind, you may do a very good winterization to filter some of the waxes and heavier stuff out. Lastly, if you are thinking about flavors and aroma you can do the same alcohol extraction on other things like rosemary, cloves, citrus peel, coffee and such. Hope this helps???

  3. Thanks for publishing this awesome article. I’m
    a long time reader but I’ve never been compelled to
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  4. I am confused regarding the decarb process. I thought the machine uses heat to activate the thc. I saw a couple videos that just washed and used machine. If the machine does not do it then exactly how would I ?

    1. The Source operates at around 100F so it doesn’t assist in decarb. Some people prefer non-activated THC-A for certain uses so it’s important for them, and for accuracy for those that do use activated THC. So if you do prefer to use a decarbed final product you need to decarb the plant material prior to wash or decarb the oil after processing.

      1. Would decarbing the oil after in a gas oven be a problem with the residual 190 proof?

    2. Hi People. I watercure my weed, bring the total dissolved solids reading down to below 200ppm. That way i get rid of chlorofill. Then i dry the cannabis, then decarboxalyte. I use isopropyl extracting. After filtering through a coffee filter, The liquid before boiling of looks like a good brandy.

      1. In my opinion water curing just takes far too long and too much effort. You can get better results, much easier, with the frozen QWET process I have in other blog posts here.

  5. This is so great am alive to testify the good work of hemp oil and it’s miracle healing.

    In April 10th 2016 i was diagnosed of breast cancer and bone cancer when the doctor told me it was already too late for me, that i have only ten month’s on earth to live. I shared tear’s and all hope was gone thinking that i will just sleep and go just like that.

    My mom came to visit me in Serbia two month’s later and bought me some hemp oil product saying that it work’s well on cancer, ever since she told me about the benefit’s and encourage me to use the medication. I have been on treatment for the past 4 months now which was the required treatment plan for me.
    Last week, I went to hospital to do my test and to God be the glory my cancer was not found there anymore. I have been cured with Rick Simpson hemp oil which my mother had bought for me.

    My family is forever grateful to Rick Simpson Cannabis Oil.

    Last week my mom gave me his email which i contacted him in person and thank him for the life saving. Below information.

    1. The water a couple problems. First, the water content takes the place of ethanol content leaving less ethanol available to act as a solvent and collect the components of the extraction. Water will collect chlorophyll quite handily which in my opinion is undesirable. Lastly, it will make your concentrate cloudy with water contamination. It will actually separated and you can carefully remove the water later once the oil is coagulating, but if it can be avoided its best. Lastly, if you are using equipment like the Source, the performance will be substantially inhibited.

  6. I’m waiting for my machine to arrive next week – thank you for the detailed instructions. I’m not sure why this seems to confusing but I’m sure once you’ve done it, it’s smooth sailing.

    Do you think that an oven decarb will bring the THC levels up to the same as the traditional heat-based method?

    1. Hey Hoss, Quite honestly the process is dead simple it’s just like anything new it can feel overwhelming until you actually do it yourself. The other problem is that there is no shortage of people spreading really bad information. Good solid information is hard to come by and the main reason I am doing what I can to help out with this. Now, your decab question, I don’t really understand what you are asking me. I kind of think of the oven as the “traditional heat-based method” but you are asking me to compare the two. Any chance you can maybe ask this question in a different way so I can have a better understanding of what you are asking me?

      1. Thank you for helping calm my nerves! I’ll see if I can pose the question better:

        Would an oven decarb and using the Source to purge give roughly the same THC level as performing the Rick Simpson method where the decarb happens as you burn off the alcohol? I’m trying to get the highest THC count I can and didn’t know if there was a big difference.

        Another quick question: As the solution gets closer to being done, is there a rule of thumb on pulling it out for RSO/FECO? Do you just wait for the bubbles to stop and see if it looks like heavy oil?

        Thank you for all the help! It’s greatly appreciated!

      2. Ok, so what I think you are asking is if the decarbing in the oven and using the Source will result in too much decarb? I would say the answer to that question is, no it will not. The Source operates at around 105F during most of the process. That means that almost no decarb will occur in the Source so it shouldn’t be a problem. Your other option is decarbing the oil after the extraction.

        The finishing consistency is a personal preference and depends on how you plan on using oil. With FECO I would probably take is out while it is still in the viscous oil state. If you wait for the bubbles to stop you will have a thick sticky oil that can be hard to handle. If you are sensitive to some residual ethanol there are ways to remove it post processing. If you read my tincture concentrate blog post it will give you an idea on how to do that using a tincture for delivery. Also, if you decarb the oil post process that will also get rid of almost all the residual ethanol. I myself don’t mind a little residual food grade ethanol because is a minute amount of a safe to consume substance and it will get even further diluted if you are using any carrier.

  7. I’m awaiting the arrival of a Source Turbo, 200-Proof Ethanol, and glassware. In the meantime I have 1-lb+ of med. qual. shake & buds. After breaking up the buds, would it be beneficial to start freezer storage of it all right now, assuming it may be a month befoore my mini-lab is ready to add the ethanol & start producing FECO? (soley)

    1. You can freeze the ingredients as long ahead of time as you’d like. If you are getting a Source I would stick with getting support from the user group and company, its by far the best resource out there.

  8. I have been trying to figure out whether or not oil has the same efficiency being extracted with ethanol versus doing a super cold ethanol wash. I am making RSO/FECO for someone who has a very aggressive brain tumor, and want to give the best oil I possibly can. Doing washes at -65 and below reduces the ability for the ethanol to pull the chlorophyll, fats, lipids, waxes etc almost to zero.. However, the RSO/FECO methods most people discuss do not use any sort of chlorophyll/fat filtration or winterization process. Is there some sort of medical benefit to having those compounds in the oil versus a more refined and overall potent oil with less undesirables? Seems that having those compounds removed allows for easier digestion (some peoples stomachs cannot handle large doses of chlorophyll apparently) Seems like doing a cold wash would produce an overall cleaner oil for high thc cancer treatment with a wide spectrum of cannabinoids. Thoughts?

    1. I think you are correct in your thinking. Some people are of the opinion that as much plant matter as possible should be consumed, but I’m not in agreement with this view. There are exactly 2 types of chlorophyll in the world in all plants and algae, the chlorophyll in cannabis is not unique. Moreover, it tastes terrible and gives many people gastric problems. I myself am more interested in cleaner concentrates for medicines. The one thing I will say, is that there is always that trade off between efficiency and clean concentrates. The cleaner the end product, typically the more of the good stuff was left behind so I would always do a second wash, longer and warmer that will end up pretty green, to collect what was missed the first time, and use it in edibles where the oil can be thinned enough to not worry about a little extra green………

  9. It is possible and easier to decarb the cannabis using a pressure cooker by putting the buds into a stainless steel sieve ,place the sieve so that it is above the water.Set the timer for 20 minutes if it is an electronic one and air dry the material after removal of sieve .

  10. This blog is fantastic!! I finally understand why you don’t want chlorophyll in your concentrate. Since I got the Source and started following your directions for making the tincture, my concentrates are much yellower in color. Thank you IchibanCrafter, for your invaluable contributions, your expert advice, and the CLARITY OF YOUR INSTRUCTIONS!!!

    1. I’m VERY thankful I’m able to help and it made a difference. Happy crafting and stay lifted!!!

  11. hello a friend of mine has aggressive breast cancer. While ive been using my source for making concentrates for vape pens, i wish to make her some RSO. Can you tell me if im wrong in thinking i can just melt my concentrate (already snap and pull consistancy and purged via vac chamber) and add some sort of carrier oil, then suck it up in a syringe? LMK

      1. yes forgot to mention the decarb… what do you think the ratio should be, given its already fire!!

      2. Ratio will depend on what potency and delivery. Maybe checkout the tincture post, I think it’s the best way to medicate

  12. hey i just have a question when reducing the wash with the source. For my qwet washes for smokable oil i know how much to reduce it down, but what about feco? Im thinking that i dont reduce it as much? And, do i need to purge further if im just sucking it up with a syringe?

    1. Its all personal preference. Its food grade ethanol and it is a very minute amount, so unless you have an acute alcohol sensitivity its not necessary. I surely don’t worry about if for myself.

  13. First off what an awesome blog, thanks for helping out us concentrate noobs. So I just got a Source Turbo and want to make nice clean CCell’s. I have not used it yet but I believe I have the whole decarb, winterization, wash, and buchner filter process down. Where it starts to get dicey with me is the process of events that happen starting from the final minutes of Source Turbo processing thru to final oil for CCells. I would like all alcohol purged in the final product. 1.How do I know when I have gone far enough in the Source Turbo processing? 2. What’s the difference in just letting it dry on a silicon mat as opposed to using a heated vac chamber? Does one create oil and the other shatter? 3. If I do end up with shatter, is heating the shatter in a stainless steel crucible with a candle warmer, then mixing in True Terpenes Viscosity liquifier seem like the correct process? I don’t want to use MCT oil for fear of lipid pneumonia.
    Thanks in advance for all your time and awesome knowledge.

    1. Did you read ? 1) viscosity of cooking oil is good. Taking out early is better than later. 2) the only difference is speed for the most part. With a vacuum chamber you will be able to get down to a lower ppm, but you can get pretty low either way. Shatter is oil, just a more stable form of it. 3) Shatter is nothing more than stable oil, heat it up and goes back to the oil form. I don’t see MCT causing lipid pneumonia unless you are making an infusion instead of an extraction, or you are using a lot of the longer chains. Caprylic acid, the 8-chain triglyceride seems to ok and is sold in isolated form, but that is a health issue/concern you have to make for yourself. Luckily, we have terpenes to make that decision easy. Thank you for the kind words and stay lifted brother

  14. I’m trying to make FECO for cancer treatment. How many runs on the Source does it take? Turbo mode. Do I just keep resetting it, or just leave it alone? I’ve only used it for reducing tincture and reclaiming ETOH so far.

    1. On Turbo it should take about 2.5 hours for a full crucible. It’s finished when it’s about about the viscosity of cooking oil

      1. Oh wow! I was resetting it like three times in turbo mode until it was like road tar on a cool afternoon. I would gently heat it on a coffee cup warmer along with a 2 ounce dropper bottle filled with safflower seed oil that I’d dissolve the FECO into.

        This post finally clarified for me why my product is thick and black. I’m going to try the winterizing to see if I can get it to lighten up. I’ve never minded the taste of the darker stuff though.

        Thanks so much for making your knowledge understandable for those of us just starting out with extraction.

  15. Question, I know how to decarb, but do you decarb and then freeze before you put the grain alcohol(190 proof) on it? That’s where I’m confused I’m trying to find out all I can before using my machine

    1. Hi, yes you are correct. Decarb, then freeze, make your wash, then put the wash into the machine.

  16. Is it ok to do a mix of decarbed and un-decarbed flower in the same batch when I make my tincture? I’m looking for a 1:1:1:1 ratio CBDA:CBD:THCA:THC made up of a variety of selected strains. I guess without testing I won’t know if I’m there but I might be able to get somewhat close. I’m hoping that the final extract will have a diverse terpene and flavonoid profile. What temperature does the machine operate? Will the heat cause any issues?

    I’m a stage four sarcoma patient looking to make FECO. I suppose I could separate the batches out but it would be nice to have everything I need in one extract. I guess I could have it tested somewhere.

      1. I’m looking for the easiest way to make feco possible. Can I just buy vanilla extract and mix it in the source?

      2. If you purchase an extract there is no need to run it through a distillation process

      3. Ok, you said “Can I just buy vanilla extract…” so you already have the extract, no need to process it again, just mix with the FECO when its ready

      4. I’m sorry I don’t know anything about food, flavors, and infusion so these are all probably really stupid questions but won’t that make a tincture? I’m looking to make oil in a syringe to put on frozen foods but my last batch tasted awful, what would you say is the best way for a complete beginner to make the feco tasty or at least tasteless and also something that will stay fresh for a while?

      5. Make it clean like in my QWET posts, you will get all the medicine and none of the green

  17. I certainly agree Larry. Concise and understandable directions. Bravo! Well done indeed. I think FECO is the answer to all the world’s problems…

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