Advanced Cannabinoid Blending Techniques
The Nuances of Blending
On the surface, blending cannabinoids seems like a very simple task, and it certainly can be. If you were to follow my simple guide, you would end up with a good blend without a whole lot of effort. However, if you want the blend to go from good to great, all it takes is a little elbow grease. Using a combination of temperature, technique, and time, you can control the blend right down to its effects, texture, and taste with surprising precision.
Do Blends Have To Be Homogeneous?
No! Especially not if you store your blends in the refrigerator, as the cold temp will harden the distillate quite a bit allowing everything to be frozen in place, even blends that have been blended extremely poorly only need to be stirred once and a while. The only time I’d say blends “have” to be homogeneous is when they are going into carts.
There is a real advantage to having a fully mixed blend though, and it’s what I like MOST of the time. I do enjoy the occasional blend with a “crust” of hard cannabinoids on top or a blend with hunks and chunks so every dab is a little different, but having a consistent and reliable blend that you know what the effects of is a whole hell of a lot more convenient.
I’d recommend you try some non-homogeneous blends, as for some people that varied experience could actually be seen as a huge plus. It does make one blend that feels like many related blends and keeps you on your toes. If you know they are there, having hot spots of strong cannabinoids in a blend can be a whole lot of fun - kind of like playing dab roulette. “Will I get a fat hunk of THCp or not?” Is a fun game to play, I won’t lie.
The Importance of Time & Temperature
You can think of making blends a lot like you do baking - it’s not just the ingredients that make a baked good great, it’s the order of ingredients, cooking temperature, and time in the oven. These key factors make the difference between a good baker and an amazing baker, and it’s just the same for blends.
When it comes to temperature, there are a few main options to choose from. Let’s go over them from coldest to warmest.
Room Temperature “Cold Blend”
If you have the will to do it, and if the viscosity of your cannabinoids allows for it, you can simply huck all the cannabinoids into a jar and get stirring. It should be noted that your blend is practically guaranteed to not achieve homogeny without storage in the fridge. Most of the time at room temp things will separate out over time.
That being said, this is my preferred method of mixing as it allows for the greatest texture control. There are a few good tricks to note that can make practically any blend you are making into something that is fully able to be cold-mixed. (also, you get the most specific flex of all time). While most cannabinoids can be finessed into cold mixing, there are a few that just cannot (at least not by me)
The following cannabinoids cannot be cold blended:
8-OH-HHC - This is the hardest cannabinoid I’ve ever worked with. Does not even begin to liquify until around 180F. All attempts to cold blend have resulted in hunks of it showing up at the bottom of the jar after a few days in the fridge, no matter how hard I stir. I cannot overstate how stubborn this cannabinoid is. If you get it stuck to a glass container, you are going to have one hell of a time getting it off.
THCv - THCv is rock hard and has shatter-like properties. Both the D8 and D9 variants have a habit of recondense into tons of black dots, even when mixed on heat and appearing homogonous. Needless to say if you try cold mixing it does not go well.
THC-B - Same issue as THCv
Beyond that, the rest can be successfully cold blended. The hardest cannabinoids to cold blend are the most viscous ones, such as H4CBD and D8. There are a few tricks you can use to loosen up the distillates, however.
If possible, use the most viscous cannabinoid's jar as the jar you make the blend inside of. This way, you don’t have to deal with the headache of transferring it into other jars.
Mix any thinning cannabinoids or terps into the most viscous cannabinoid BEFORE adding other viscous cannabinoids or any isolates. You want to get your thickest distillate as thin as possible as soon in the process.
After this, you can then add the rest of your viscous distillates. Last, add any isolates if you have any in your blend. Doing so will cause a very rapid change in texture as your blend will get a very badder-like texture.
If your blend has only viscous distillates and isolates, mix the isolates together first, then add them to the most viscous cannabinoid. This will make it budder up and then you can pretty easily mix in the other distillates.
Cold mixing isolates is easy. Put them all in one jar with enough room left to shake the contents around. Simply close the lid and shake it!
Low Temperature Blend (120F)
Low-temperature blending offers almost all the benefits of cold blending while also not killing your wrist. Blending at 120F will loosen up all the harder cannabinoids while still allowing you to achieve all but the driest textures. Pretty much the only textures doing this cuts you off from is anything extra clumpy or extra crumble-like.
While blending is made easier at this temperature, the issues with 8-OH-HHC, THCv, and THC-B not blending are still present. At this temperature, you might be able to get THC-B to properly mix, but even that is gonna take a very long time to blend.
A positive of low temp blending is that it's hard to mess up your terpenes too much. You still should add your terpenes at the end as you should with every temperature other than cold blending. If you choose to forgo that advice or have to add an ingredient after the fact, however, at this temperature your terpenes will most likely be able to survive around 10-20 minutes at heat before degrading.
Mid Temperature Blend (150F)
Mid Temperature blending has two main advantages: speed, homogony, and amount of effort required. You simply will be able to do things much quicker this way.
Also at this temperature, making a taffy-like texture is easiest. 150F gets things loose enough to be able to pull and stretch your distillate without melting it entirely. You will start to see the blend run clear after 10-20 or so minutes though, so don’t set it down and forget about it. Once your blend has run clear and looks like disty, you are essentially trapped with a pretty classic disty texture.
Getting your blend fully homogonous is very possible here, even THC-B can be fully mixed in if you try hard enough. That being said, you are going to have a hard time getting 8-OH-HHC or THCv to get fully blended. Especially 8-OH-HHC.
High Temperature Blend (190F)
High-temperature blending is much quicker, easier, and more consistent, but you are very limited in terms of the number of textures you can achieve and the amount of time you have to achieve them before things get too hot to get anything but a classic distillate texture from.
Not that there is anything wrong with that. Functionally, it will do the same exact task, maybe with a slightly worse flavor, smell, and look, but still, it will serve the same purpose.
Sometimes you simply have to do your blends at high temperatures. Certain batches of THCv and 8-OH-HHC are just downright too stubborn to melt and combine properly at any other temperature.
High-temperature blending is the most accessible version of blending. It’s certainly the best place to start as you can literally put all your cannabinoids in a jar and place it on your mug warmer and forget about it for 15-20 minutes and you are 75% of the way to blended without even blending at all. In all honesty, for the majority of people doing anything other than a high-temperature blend is kind of a waste of time. If you don’t enjoy blending, just go hot.
This is also the proper temperature to blend anything that is going into a disposable or a cart. You are going to want to make sure your blend gets to a fully homogenous state that looks like a distillate.
Intro to Texture Control
There are a whole hell of a lot of options to choose from when it comes to what texture you’d like to have in your blend. The only things limiting you are your own stash and your own skills. After a bit of practice, it becomes fun, almost like a game. I really encourage you to not only take the advice I give you here and make some good textures, but also try out weird and whacky combinations yourself to see what you can find. There is something very satisfying about discovering a new texture and figuring out how to recreate it.
Textures can also help determine how a blend feels, such as a chunky blend having lots of hot spots of different cannabinoids, making the blend feel different every time, or a mixture of powders that you can dunk your other wet dabs in for a nice cannabinoid crust.
Let’s figure out how to achieve some of these textures.
Texture Guide: Distillate
Blending Temperature: 190F
Time: 10-20 Minutes Per 30 Grams
Required Cannabinoids: Any
Needs refrigeration?: No
Restricted Cannabinoids: None
Procedure: Occasionally stir lightly until fully melted, then, stir at a regular pace until the blend is one color, looks like distillate, and is fully mixed.
Effort Level (1-10): 3
Texture Guide: Badder
Blending Temperature: 150F or below
Time (150F): 3-7 Minutes Per 30 Grams
Time (120F): 5-10 Minutes Per 30 Grams
Time (Room Temp): 10-20 Minutes Per 30 Grams
Required Cannabinoids: Very non-viscus cannabinoids such as the acetates combined with very viscous cannabinoids such as H4CBD.
Needs refrigeration?: Not required, but recommended. Will not last long without needing a stir outside of the fridge.
Restricted Cannabinoids: The most highly viscous cannabinoids like 8-OH-HHC, THCv, and THC-B. In addition, no acetate content above 25%.
Procedure: If you are using heat, begin to melt all of your distillates. The amount you allow them to melt will affect the thickness and stickyness of your badder, so pay attention!
The more melted you let the distillate get before taking it off heat and mixing in the isolate, the more goopy the outcome will be. For example, if you choose to cold blend, you get a really light, airy, grainy badder, whereas if you did the same blend with the distillate at 150f before you blend it, you will end up with a denser, sticker end badder as an end result.
Another thing that can happen if you add too many thin distillates is you end up with a weird, soupy mess that will separate without refrigeration. With refrigeration, however, it is likely that you will end up with an odd shatter-badder hybrid that looks like badder but is hard as a rock coming out of the fridge. Digging into it cold can make a hunk shatter off and go flying across the room
Effort Level (1-10): 5
Texture Guide: Shatter
Blending Temperature: 150F 190F
Time: 15-20 minutes per 30 grams
Required Cannabinoids: Very non-viscus cannabinoids such as the acetates
Needs refrigeration?: Yes
Restricted Cannabinoids: Terpenes, CBC, CBT, CRD CBD
Procedure: Occasionally stir lightly until fully melted, then, stir at a regular pace until the blend is one color, looks like distillate, and is fully mixed. Allow it to cool then put it in the fridge.
Effort Level (1-10): 4
Texture Guide: “Live Resin” Esque
Blending Temperature: Cold Blend
Time: 5-10 Minutes Per 30 Grams
Required Cannabinoids: A medium viscosity cannabinoid blend like HHC mixed with 5% CBC as well as 15-40% THCa or HHCa
Needs refrigeration?: No
Restricted Cannabinoids: Acetates in greater than 10% concentration. Incredibly viscous cannabinoids like 10-OH-HHC and THCv
Procedure: Mix together your medium viscosity “base blend”, then add your THCa or HHCa diamonds and stir them around a bit. Don’t forget to break them up a bit so there are varied sizes of diamonds throughout the blend. Just whip that up and you are good to go.
Effort Level (1-10): 3
The Importance of Storage Temperature
While storing your blends outside the fridge is easier, I really do think there is something to be said for the longevity that fridge storage brings, not just in the cannabinoid department but in the terps too. The acetates seem to be especially time and temperature-sensitive, smelling like opening day at Vinegar World, but this issue is pretty much non-existent for me so far. Putting acetates in the fridge seems to slow that process significantly.
There was a study done about THC degradation in different temperatures called “Kinetics of CBD, Delta 9-THC Degradation and Cannabinol Formation in Cannabis Resin at Various Temperature and pH Conditions” by Wuttichai Jaidee, Ittipon Siridechakorn, Siwames Nessopa, Vanuchawan Wisuitiprot, Nathareen Chaiwangrach, Kornkanok Ingkaninan, and Neti Waranuch. You can find it on published on pubmed. While they were not able to test acetates or any of our favorite alts, they did test traditional D9 THC and the numbers showed that increasing the temperature of storage increased the rate of degradation. While this isn’t proof that you should be keeping your stuff in the fridge, it’s not a crazy conclusion to draw as a consumer. Worst case scenario you end up with blends that are colder than normal.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money or put all your blends in your regular refrigerator either. If you go on Facebook marketplace or Craigslist you can commonly find mini-fridges for 30 dollars. Just make sure to test it when you pick it up.
The Role Of Terpenes
Flavor and thinning ability. That’s really about it. While there has been some science that concludes there MAY be a connection between terpenes and certain effects, their effectiveness at altering the high is absolutely dwarfed by cnoids. If you want to non-psychoactivly modify your blend to make it sleepier, you add CBN, not indica terpenes. The difference is night and day.
The Importance of Labeling Your Blends
Labeling your blends not only helps you remember what the hell is in them, but by creating a label with a distinct look you help your brain remember what that blend felt like the last time you had it. Looking at a few blends next to each other becomes much easier to compare doing this. Also, I mean, its fun!
Using a jar that is too small for your blend
Using a jar that is too tall for your dabber
Not cleaning your dabber before blending
Thinking you don’t need to label
Burning hands on hot jars
Tipping the jar and spilling it
Adding terpenes first
Not putting your hair back
Not washing your hands
Not checking your clothes for debris like pet hair
Not blending long enough
Not cleaning your work area before starting
Using only your wrist to blend thick distillates - Grip the jar in one hand and twist with the other hand, using your elbow as your point of leverage, instead of your wrist.
Going over 10% terpenes
Not knowing the tear weight of the jar before adding your first ingredient
Listing your labels with gram amounts instead of percentages
Forgetting about the jar sitting on the heater