Extraction techniques are utilized to separate the components of cannabis and remove them from the plant matrix. Various methods can divide cannabis plant material into parts, or extracts, that have different chemicals. With cannabis, extraction techniques are often used to isolate specific desirable compounds, and cannabis contains at least 113 cannabinoids, including cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). On the other hand, a producer may seek to create a single extract with lots of desirable cannabis compounds; sometimes called whole plant extracts. Such as the better-known cannabinoids, scientists have identified more than 550 chemicals in cannabis generally speaking including components like terpenes. Extraction techniques can also be utilized to concentrate chemicals of interest.
This post goes over the most common methods of cannabis extraction. Before discussing these techniques, readers should take into account that cannabis extraction is chemistry, not cooking. So, some skills in analytical methods plus real lab equipment is required to perform these techniques correctly and safely. Oftentimes, the reagents and how they are used can produce dangerous situations. Consequently, most of the techniques require safety equipment, just like a fume hood. Equally as important, the extraction process should be performed correctly to produce a safe product for human use, and the results should be confirmed independently with proper analytical testing.
Cannabis alcohol extraction – Several common kinds of cannabis extraction count on a solvent, including alcohol. In brief, the cannabis soaks in alcohol, usually ethanol, the plant material will be removed, the liquid filtered, and the alcohol is taken away with some type of evaporation. One of the primary challenges will be the inherent polarity of solvents like ethanol-meaning it has a propensity to mix with water and dissolve water-soluble molecules like chlorophyll. Eliminating the chlorophyll from the extract is important since it produces an undesirable, bitter flavor.
This technique can be carried out at atmospheric pressure, but the temperature is carefully controlled, especially during evaporation. This method may also take time and must be performed carefully to prevent danger as ethanol is extremely inflammable. One of the biggest benefits of this kind of extraction is the fact that there is no probability of leaving toxic residual chemicals in the cannabis extraction and, it enables the co-extraction of all the compounds of interest, chiefly cannabinoids and terpenoids.
CO2 cannabis extraction – Using a reagent of any kind may add cost and clean-up time, so various techniques should be thought about, and something is CO2 extraction. Rather than using alcohol, this technique removes cannabis components through the plant matrix with carbon dioxide. Here, though, high-pressure and also heat are used to turn the CO2 supercritical-meaning it is actually simultaneously such as a liquid and a gas.
The gear cost with this technique is orders of magnitude more than alcohol extraction, but it produces higher yields and less valuable material is lost. Plus, this method can be adjusted to extract specific compounds by changing the temperature, pressure or runtime-more likely a combination of these. Moreover, one study discovered that different compounds get concentrated at different rates in the same process. So, the extract needs to be analyzed, especially where concentrations of specific compounds are desired.
With all the cannabis components extracted, the supercritical CO2 goes into a condenser and gets to be a liquid that can be filtered and used again. Consequently, very little reagent is utilized. That creates this technique economical to perform and reduces the necessity to get rid of waste.
In addition, if any CO2 remains in an extract following the process, it just evaporates. That is especially essential for any preparations for medical uses as a producer applying this method can guarantee that absolutely no residual solvent will likely be found in the final product.
Despite the requirement for some financial investment in a CO2 extraction system, a manufacturer can consider various amounts of equipment. For example, Apeks Supercritical makes introductory through high-production extraction systems and also offers refurbished systems. This offers customers a range of prices to consider.
Cannabis butane or propane extraction – Using butane because the extraction solvent creates what is known butane hash oil. To do this, the procedure starts with cannabis and liquid butane in a pressurized and heated system. By using evaporation under a vacuum, this will make it possible to remove the butane solvent. The vacuum turns the butane from liquid to a vapor, which makes it hlsfts to remove.
This type of extract is also called shatter, which is a clear material that typically includes THC, CBD as well as other chemical components, including terpenes. To really make shatter, which is actually a hard version of butane hash oil, terpene content should be kept low or it works like a solvent that creates the extract soft. The best starting sample will help you to decrease the terpenes contained in the ultimate product, like by beginning from cured flowers. On the contrary, the butane hash oil can be heated to eliminate terpenes after extraction as they are more volatile than cannabinoids like THC and CBD.