Right techniques for cannabis extraction

Right techniques for cannabis extraction
Dec
17
Fri

Traditionally, the dried cannabis flower has been a popular product for the use of smoking and vaping. However, in recent years, extensive studies on cannabis have shown its surprising therapeutic effects, resulting in a drastic increase in the popularity of cannabis products.

The cannabis plant contains over 400 known compounds, among which cannabinoids (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the most active ones. These active compounds, particularly CBD, have therapeutic effects and can potentially treat various conditions, such as anxiety, stress, pain, and metabolic and neurodegenerative disorders.

In addition, other chemical constituents, such as terpenes, fats, and waxes, are increasingly used as additional ingredients in the cosmetics industry. Hence, the extraction and isolation of all these chemical compounds are critical during extraction, thus allowing for each product to serve a particular purpose.

Here are some of the best techniques for cannabis extraction to isolate specific desirable compounds and eliminate the non-desirable ones.

Solvent-Based Extraction Methodology

The solvent-based extraction technique is the most common form of cannabis and hemp extraction, and for good reasons. This technique is relatively safe, easily scalable, and efficient at delivering the desired cannabinoid-derived end products.

Moreover, this extraction form follows strict FDA regulations, thereby eliminating any risk of toxic residual chemicals in end-products. For these reasons, the solvent-based extraction method is excellent for producing quality extracts for pharmaceuticals, food, and personal care materials.

The solvent-based technique is ideal for extracting several potent cannabis strains like MK Ultra, which can be used as a natural sleep aid. Moreover, MK Ultra weed strain effects are fast-acting, making it an ideal alternative for strong medications. Furthermore, the sweet, piney taste makes this strain super refreshing with a hint of mustiness.

  • Using Alcohol/Ethanol

Ethanol is among the most popular and effective solvents to extract CBD and THC from cannabis relatively easy and safe. This technique soaks raw cannabis plants in ethanol, a colorless, food-grade solvent, to dissolve the desired compounds from cannabis.

Ethanol’s versatility to exhibit both polar and non-polar characteristics makes it ideal for dissolving fat-soluble compounds. This ability makes ethanol a very flexible solvent to make full-spectrum, cannabinoid end products.

  • Using Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

This methodology utilizes pressurized CO2 to extract several active compounds, such as CBD, THC, and cannabinoids. In this technique, liquid CO2 is subjected to high temperature and pressure to a point where the gas reaches a critical point, simultaneously behaving like gas and liquid. This CO2 state makes it ideal for cannabinoid extraction as the gas easily seeps through every part of the plant and separates CBD, THC, and other desirable compounds.

In addition, CO2 extraction uses a non-volatile solvent for cold separation, thus protecting fragile cannabis and terpenes. Furthermore, this technique doesn’t leave any traces of the solvent behind, making it a safe extraction method.

  • Using Hydrocarbon 

Hydrocarbon, or butane hash oil (BHO), extraction is another effective solvent-based technique for cannabis extraction and can deliver up to 90% concentration of cannabinoids. This extraction method uses decayed organic materials, such as butane and propane, as solvents. 

The low boiling points of these non-polar solvents allow extractors to dissolve the plant’s resin gland heads and remove them without risking the evaporation of heat-sensitive cannabinoids or terpenes.

A significant advantage of using the hydrocarbon extraction technique is its cost-effectiveness compared to CO2 and alcohol methodologies. Besides, this extraction technique has a faster throughput rate and delivers higher yields than other methods.

  • Solventless Extraction Methodology

The solventless or non-solvent technique involves a mechanical separation method, which means that a physical force isolates the desired compounds without using solvents.

This environment-friendly extraction technique is ideal for high yield and better-quality extract.

  • Using Ice Water

Ice water separation, or cold-water extraction, mechanically separates cannabinoid-rich trichomes from cannabis plant material by combining water/ice and an agitational force. This technique breaks down trichomes that remain as undissolved solids in the water. Finally, this mix is filtered and separated, thus minimizing undesired plant particles in the end product.

Extractors then dry the resulting trichomes for a high-quality hash end-product.

  • Rosin Presses

This technique exposes cannabis plant material to heat and pressure, squeezing cannabinoids and terpenes out from the trichome glands of the flower. The resulting sticky, potent oil is called rosin, which is then infused into various products, such as edibles, topicals, and tinctures.

Rosin pressed extraction has gained popularity over the last couple of years due to its simplicity for beginners and commercial operations alike. Moreover, extractors only require a hair straightener, a collection tool, baking parchment, and heatproof gloves to produce highly potent extracts.

Conclusion

The cannabis industry is quickly gaining space in the mainstream market, especially in pharmaceutical and food applications. This drastic rise in popularity means that there are numerous products available for recreational and medicinal purposes. However, apart from product development, the extraction methods are a vital point that focuses on gently separating all ingredients and eliminating impurities. 

Furthermore, cannabis extracted using the proper techniques produces the most refined end-products while ensuring consumer safety and protecting the environment.