Extraction techniques are employed 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 contrary, a producer may seek to create a single extract with lots of desirable cannabis compounds; sometimes called whole plant extracts. Including the better-known cannabinoids, scientists have identified greater than 550 chemicals in cannabis generally including components like terpenes. Extraction techniques are also used to concentrate chemicals of interest.
This post goes over the most common strategies for 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 needed to perform these techniques correctly and safely. Oftentimes, the reagents and how they are utilised can create dangerous situations. Consequently, most of the techniques require safety equipment, just like a fume hood. Just as important, the extraction process should be performed correctly to generate a safe product for human use, and the results should be confirmed independently with proper analytical testing.
Cannabis alcohol extraction – Several common forms of cannabis extraction rely on a solvent, such as alcohol. In brief, the cannabis soaks in alcohol, usually ethanol, the plant material will be removed, the liquid filtered, as well as the alcohol is taken off with some type of evaporation. One of the primary 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. Removing the chlorophyll through the extract is important since it produces an undesirable, bitter flavor.
This technique can be carried out at atmospheric pressure, however the temperature is carefully controlled, especially during evaporation. This process may also require time and must be performed carefully to prevent danger as ethanol is very inflammable. One of the primary benefits associated with this form of extraction is the fact there is no chance of leaving toxic residual chemicals in the cannabis extraction and, it enables the co-extraction of all compounds appealing, 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 method removes cannabis components from the plant matrix with carbon dioxide. Here, though, high pressure and heat are used to turn the CO2 supercritical-meaning it is actually simultaneously like a liquid as well as a gas.
The equipment cost with this strategy is orders of magnitude greater than alcohol extraction, but it produces higher yields and less valuable material is lost. Plus, this method may be adjusted to extract specific compounds by changing the temperature, pressure or runtime-more likely a mix of these. Moreover, one study learned 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 the cannabis components extracted, the supercritical CO2 enters into a condenser and gets to be a liquid that can be filtered and used again. Consequently, very little reagent is utilized. Which makes this process economical to perform and reduces the requirement to get rid of waste.
Furthermore, if any CO2 remains inside an extract right after the process, it just evaporates. That is certainly especially important for any preparations for medical uses as a producer applying this method can guarantee that virtually no residual solvent will likely be present in the final product.
Despite the requirement for some financial investment in a CO2 extraction system, a manufacturer can consider various degrees of equipment. As an example, Apeks Supercritical makes introductory through high-production extraction systems and even offers refurbished systems. This gives customers an array of prices to think about.
Cannabis butane or propane extraction – Using butane as the extraction solvent creates what is known butane hash oil. To do this, the process starts off with cannabis and liquid butane in a pressurized and heated system. By using evaporation within a vacuum, it is then easy to remove the butane solvent. The vacuum turns the butane from liquid to a vapor, which makes it hlsfts to remove.
This sort of extract is also referred to as shatter, which is a clear material that typically includes THC, CBD along with other chemical components, including terpenes. To truly make shatter, which is a hard version of butane hash oil, terpene content should be kept low or it really works like a solvent that creates the extract soft. The best starting sample can help to reduce the terpenes found in the final product, such as by starting with cured flowers. On the contrary, the butane hash oil could be heated to remove terpenes after extraction since they are more volatile than cannabinoids like THC and CBD.