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 contain different chemicals. With cannabis, extraction techniques can be used to isolate specific desirable compounds, and cannabis contains at least 113 cannabinoids, including cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). On the contrary, a producer may seek to create a single extract with many desirable cannabis compounds; sometimes called whole plant extracts. Like the better-known cannabinoids, scientists have identified greater than 550 chemicals in cannabis generally speaking including components like terpenes. Extraction techniques are also used to concentrate chemicals of interest.
This article goes over the most frequent ways of cannabis extraction. Before discussing these methods, readers should remember that cannabis extraction is chemistry, not cooking. So, some skills in analytical methods plus real lab equipment is needed to perform these methods correctly and safely. Most of the time, the reagents and just how they are utilized can produce dangerous situations. Consequently, lots of the techniques require safety equipment, just like a fume hood. Just 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 types of cannabis extraction count on a solvent, such as 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 type of evaporation. One of the greatest challenges will be the inherent polarity of solvents like ethanol-meaning it has a propensity to blend with water and dissolve water-soluble molecules like chlorophyll. Eliminating the chlorophyll from your extract is very important because it produces an undesirable, bitter flavor.
This technique can be performed at atmospheric pressure, nevertheless the temperature is carefully controlled, especially during evaporation. This process can also take some time and must be done carefully to prevent danger as ethanol is highly inflammable. One of the primary benefits associated with this kind of extraction is the fact there is absolutely no chance of leaving toxic residual chemicals inside the cannabis extraction plan and, it enables the co-extraction of all the compounds of great interest, chiefly cannabinoids and terpenoids.
CO2 cannabis extraction – Using a reagent of any type may add cost and clean-up time, so various techniques should be thought about, and one is CO2 extraction. Instead of using alcohol, this technique removes cannabis components from the plant matrix with fractional co2. Here, though, high pressure and heat are utilized to turn the CO2 supercritical-meaning it is simultaneously just like a liquid along with a gas.
The equipment cost with this strategy is orders of magnitude more than alcohol extraction, nevertheless it produces higher yields and less valuable material is lost. Plus, this technique can be adjusted to extract specific compounds by changing the temperature, pressure or runtime-more likely a mixture of these. Moreover, one study found that different compounds get concentrated at different rates within the same process. So, the extract should be analyzed, especially where concentrations of specific compounds are desired.
With all the cannabis components extracted, the supercritical CO2 enters into a condenser and gets to be a liquid that may be filtered and used again. Consequently, almost no reagent is used. Which makes this method economical to operate and reduces the necessity to get rid of waste.
In addition, if any CO2 remains inside an extract following the process, it merely evaporates. That is especially necessary for any preparations for medical uses as a producer using this method can guarantee that simply no residual solvent will be present in the final product.
Despite the necessity 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 as well as offers refurbished systems. This provides customers an array of prices to consider.
Cannabis butane or propane extraction – Using butane since the extraction solvent creates what is known butane hash oil. To get this done, this process begins with cannabis and liquid butane in a pressurized and heated system. By utilizing evaporation under a vacuum, it is then easy to take away the butane solvent. The vacuum turns the butane from liquid to your vapor, making it hlsfts to eliminate.
This type of extract is also called shatter, which is actually a clear material that typically includes THC, CBD along with other chemical components, including terpenes. To truly make shatter, that is a hard version of butane hash oil, terpene content must be kept low or it works such as a solvent that makes the extract soft. The best starting sample can help to reduce the terpenes present in the ultimate product, like by beginning from cured flowers. On the contrary, the butane hash oil could be heated to get rid of terpenes after extraction because they are more volatile than cannabinoids like THC and CBD.