The art of cannabis extraction has gained significant attention in recent years. Research shows that the application of cannabis extract has proven to be an effective remedy for patients suffering from different types of diseases and ailments.
When done right, a properly extracted concentrate is like the strain it was derived from but with a more amplified smell and taste due to a greater amount of concentration by weight. There are various techniques available through which cannabinoids can be separated from the plant and concentrated into an extract. The great thing about this extract is that it can later be used to infuse oils, creams, tinctures, and even food, making it wildly available to the general public.
While the process should mostly be carried out by trained professionals who understand the science of extraction, it is just as imperative for consumers to have a good understanding of different extraction methods and the benefits or risks associated with each.
Here we will talk about some of the best methods of cannabis extraction and their potential benefits.
1) Ethanol Cannabis Extraction
From the list of solvents available, ethanol has over the years, been repeatedly used to create the most consistent of concentrates. Deemed as “safe for human consumption” by the FDA, ethanol is commonly found in food preservatives and additives, therefore, making it readily available and user-friendly for cannabis producers in the industry.
How it works is that the cannabis plant material is soaked in ethanol and left to rest for a while. It is later purged and purified so that certain solvents do not contaminate the end-product and interfere with the aroma or flavor. It basically goes through a process of winterization, where all of the unwanted ingredients are solidified, and then sieved through so that the only thing left is the CBD-infused ethanol. This concoction is later left to rest while the ethanol evaporates and we are left with a potent CBD extract. However, if need be, ethanol, unlike other solutions, can end up retaining the chlorophyll present in the marijuana plant giving the final product an earthy flavor and a vibrant color.
Since the method is both safe and cost-efficient, it is a great option to produce commercially sold high-quality oils. Due to the scalable and sustainable nature of the ethanol cannabis extraction method, it is deemed as one of the best practices of extraction.
2) CO2 Cannabis Extraction
Instead of alcohol, CO2 can also be used to isolate cannabis components from the plant. Supercritical CO2 is put under high heat, which raises the pressure in the liquid CO2. This liquid is now made to pass through cannabis buds resulting in the extraction of cannabinoids. Liquid CO2 plus the newly extracted cannabinoids are then put through a separator, which removes both components into separate parts. Finally, the remaining CO2 is recycled back into the original tanks.
While the equipment cost for this method may be higher, it produces a greater yield of the concentrate, making it a great way to isolate cannabis from the plant material. What adds to its advantages is the fact that it is reusable, making it environmentally friendly. Better yet is that because the method ensures that there are no traces of toxins in the finished extract, it is attractive to the health-conscious cannabis consumers.
3) Butane Honey Oil Extraction
Over the years, Butane extraction was popularized in the perfume and food industry but recently, has also been turned to as a solvent for Cannabis extraction due to its potency and ability to retain terpene.
In order to perform the extraction, a container is filled with cannabis with a filter at one end. Butane is then sprayed through the cannabis to extract its components. Another vessel is used to collect the cannabinoid-butane mixture, which is finally separated through evaporation or is purged using a vacuum oven.
Due to the flammable nature of butane, this method can be risky if not done correctly; however, the industry has made great strides in developing the right machinery for safe practices.
This extraction method is commonly used to produce oils, waxes, and shatter. Because the THC concentration using this method can be as high as 90%, it is a popular choice amongst many people suffering from sleep disorders, chronic pain, and other intractable symptoms.
4) Quick Wash ISO Wash Extraction
Commonly referred to as QWISO or Quick Wash isopropyl, it is a method to produce ISO or ISO hash oil. The ISO Wash method of extraction uses isopropyl alcohol to separate the components of the cannabis plant. Dried cannabis flowers are very briefly made to soak in isopropyl alcohol and given a gentle shake before being strained into a separate dish. The alcohol isolates the trichomes from the plant into the solvent. The concentrated liquid is then evaporated in a vacuum oven to produce a highly potent THC infused oil. CBD oil, which is a powerful remedy for those suffering from sleep disorders, can be extracted this way, too.
There is a general debate in the cannabis industry concerning the optimal method of extraction and ample confusion surrounding what technique is best for certain extracts.
The bigger question to ask yourself here is what you hope to accomplish, what is your desired product is?
Once that is established, there are several methods with pros and cons attached to each.
Whatever your goal may be, we have given you the top preferred cannabis extraction methods.
Did you find this article useful? What is your preferred extraction method? Let us know in the comments section below.