Extraction techniques are used to separate the components of cannabis and take off 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 other hand, 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 a lot more than 550 chemicals in cannabis in general including components like terpenes. Extraction techniques are also used to concentrate chemicals of interest.
This article goes over the most common strategies for cannabis extraction. Before discussing these methods, readers should keep in mind that cannabis extraction is chemistry, not cooking. So, some skills in analytical methods plus real lab equipment is required to perform these methods correctly and safely. Oftentimes, the reagents and exactly how they are utilised can create dangerous situations. Consequently, most of the techniques require safety equipment, 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 needs to be confirmed independently with proper analytical testing.
Cannabis alcohol extraction – Several common types of cannabis extraction count on a solvent, like alcohol. Briefly, the cannabis soaks in alcohol, usually ethanol, the plant material will then be removed, the liquid filtered, as well as the alcohol is removed with some kind of evaporation. One of the biggest challenges is the inherent polarity of solvents like ethanol-meaning it features a propensity to blend with water and dissolve water-soluble molecules like chlorophyll. Taking out the chlorophyll through the extract is important since it produces an undesirable, bitter flavor.
This method can be performed at atmospheric pressure, but the temperature is carefully controlled, especially during evaporation. This process can also take time and must be completed carefully to avoid danger as ethanol is highly inflammable. One of the biggest benefits of this kind of extraction is the fact there is absolutely no chance of leaving toxic residual chemicals in the final cannabis extract and, it enables the co-extraction of all compounds of interest, chiefly cannabinoids and terpenoids.
CO2 cannabis extraction – Using a reagent for any kind can add cost and clean-up time, so various techniques is highly recommended, then one is CO2 extraction. As opposed to using alcohol, this process removes cannabis components vrpmen the plant matrix with fractional co2. Here, though, high pressure and also heat are employed to turn the CO2 supercritical-meaning it is actually simultaneously like a liquid as well as a gas.
The machine cost for this particular strategy is orders of magnitude more than alcohol extraction, nevertheless it produces higher yields and less valuable material is lost. Plus, this method 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.