Extraction techniques are used to separate the components of cannabis and remove them from the plant matrix. Various methods can divide cannabis plant material into parts, or extracts, which contain 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 a lot of desirable cannabis compounds; sometimes called whole plant extracts. Including the better-known cannabinoids, scientists have identified more than 550 chemicals in cannabis generally speaking including components like terpenes. Extraction techniques are also utilized to concentrate chemicals of interest.
This post goes over the most typical methods of cannabis extraction. Before discussing these techniques, readers should keep in mind that cannabis extraction is chemistry, not cooking. So, some skills in analytical methods plus real lab equipment is needed to perform these techniques correctly and safely. In many cases, the reagents and exactly how they are utilized can make dangerous situations. Consequently, lots of the techniques require safety equipment, like a fume hood. Equally as important, the extraction process should be performed correctly to make a safe product for human use, and the results needs to be confirmed independently with proper analytical testing.
Cannabis alcohol extraction – Several common forms of cannabis extraction depend on a solvent, like alcohol. In brief, the cannabis soaks in alcohol, usually ethanol, the plant material is then removed, the liquid filtered, and also the alcohol is taken off with some form of evaporation. One of the greatest challenges will be the inherent polarity of solvents like ethanol-meaning it possesses a propensity to blend with water and dissolve water-soluble molecules like chlorophyll. Taking out the chlorophyll through the extract is essential because it produces an undesirable, bitter flavor.
This process can be executed at atmospheric pressure, nevertheless the temperature is carefully controlled, especially during evaporation. This procedure could also require time and should be done carefully in order to avoid danger as ethanol is highly inflammable. One of the greatest advantages of this form of extraction is the fact there is no risk of leaving toxic residual chemicals in the extraction and, it enables the co-extraction of all the compounds appealing, chiefly cannabinoids and terpenoids.
CO2 cannabis extraction – Utilizing a reagent of any type may add cost and clean-up time, so various techniques should be thought about, and something is CO2 extraction. Rather than using alcohol, this process removes cannabis components from the plant matrix with fractional co2. Here, though, high pressure as well as heat are utilized to turn the CO2 supercritical-meaning it is actually simultaneously like a liquid along with a gas.
The gear cost for this particular technique is orders of magnitude higher than alcohol extraction, but it produces higher yields and less valuable material is lost. Plus, this process may be adjusted to extract specific compounds by changing the temperature, pressure or runtime-much more likely a mix of these. Moreover, one study learned that different compounds get concentrated at different rates inside the same process. So, the extract needs to be analyzed, especially where concentrations of specific compounds are desired.
With the cannabis components extracted, the supercritical CO2 enters into a condenser and becomes a liquid which can be filtered and used again. Consequently, very little reagent is used. That creates this process economical to operate and reduces the need to dump waste.
Additionally, if any CO2 remains within an extract following the process, it merely evaporates. Which is especially essential for any preparations for medical uses being a producer applying this method can guarantee that simply no residual solvent will likely be contained in the last product.
Despite the requirement for some financial investment in a CO2 extraction system, a manufacturer can consider various levels of equipment. For example, Apeks Supercritical makes introductory through high-production extraction systems as well as offers refurbished systems. This offers customers a range of prices to think about.
Cannabis butane or propane extraction – Using butane because the extraction solvent creates what is known as butane hash oil. To do this, the process begins with cannabis and liquid butane in a pressurized and heated system. By using evaporation under a vacuum, this will make it easy to take away the butane solvent. The vacuum turns the butane from liquid to your vapor, which makes it hlsfts to eliminate.
This kind of extract is also known as shatter, that is a clear material that typically includes THC, CBD as well as other chemical components, including terpenes. To completely 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 makes the extract soft. The best starting sample can help to decrease the terpenes contained in the ultimate product, like by starting with cured flowers. On the other hand, the butane hash oil may be heated to remove terpenes after extraction as they are more volatile than cannabinoids like THC and CBD.