marijuana extraction methods
marijuana extraction methods

The Different Types of Cannabis Extraction Methods - Which One is Best?

What are the different ways marijuana extraction can be done?

Posted by:
Joseph Billions on Thursday Aug 20, 2020

The Facts on Cannabis Extraction Methods

cannabis extraction methods

The cannabis plant has a good number of beneficial roles that are due to the different types of beneficial phytochemical compounds embedded in the plant matrix. In order to get the much-needed effects of these compounds, they need to be separated out of the plant matrix. This can be done by different extraction methods which serve the purpose of removing important components of the cannabis plant for better efficacy of the product. The cannabis plant contains different types of phytochemical compounds, chief of which are the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.

A closer look at "Extraction"

The extraction of cannabis can be done through different types of methods and the product of the extraction process depends on what the producer is looking for. The cannabis plant contains special and important cannabinoids such as THC and CBD which are the major cannabinoids among over 100 cannabinoids present in cannabis.

The purpose of extraction can be to isolate these singular compounds and it can also be aimed at extracting the compounds of the plant together as a whole plant extract. This then goes to explain the need for skill and expertise on the extraction process. If the extraction process is to be successful, you need the necessary reagents and equipment.

We will be looking into some of the prominent extraction methods that are commonly used to extract the needed components of the cannabis plant. We will look into their working principle, their advantages, and drawbacks. Read on!

Alcohol Extraction

The first extraction method we will be looking into is extraction through the use of alcohol as an extracting solvent an example of which is ethanol. Ethanol can be used to extract the needed compounds present in the cannabis plant and this is done by first soaking the cannabis plant in the ethanol for a considerable amount of time. The plant is then removed after the necessary compounds would have been extracted into the solvent. The solvent is then filtered and evaporated to collect the needed extract of the compound.

One important thing to look out for when using alcohol extraction to separate the beneficial components of cannabis is avoiding water due to the polarity of ethanol which allows it to mix with water and dissolve chlorophyll. The presence of chlorophyll, however, gives the tincture a bitter flavor which is why it should be carefully avoided. When the process is carried out at atmospheric pressure and the temperature needed to allow evaporation, the extraction process is easily done. Extraction using alcohol also ensures that there are no residual toxic chemicals in the extract and the extract easily contains all the necessary compounds of interest which go to make this extraction process very beneficial and easy to use.

Carbon Dioxide Extraction

Another beneficial method of extraction for isolating and purifying the compounds of cannabis is with the use of carbon dioxide (CO2) to carry out the needed extraction. Extraction using carbon dioxide is carried out under high pressure and heat which makes the carbon dioxide supercritical and able to carry out the need extraction of the compounds. The system needed for the carbon dioxide extraction is more complex in comparison with the setup needed for alcohol extraction but the carbon dioxide system makes up for this by having more yield as well as less loss of important constituents.

Different types of beneficial compounds can be easily extracted using the carbon dioxide extraction system as all that will be required will be adjustments of the system based on changes in temperature, pressure, and time of running of the system to determine which compound will be collected. This system is very economical because makes use of a small amount of reagent with less waste however, it is still very much on the high side in terms of cost.

Butane or Propane Extraction

This method of extraction is used to produce the common butane hash oil and can be modified to give shatter which is the hardened version of butane hash oil. The system for this extraction contains liquid butane under a pressurized surrounding where it turns to vapor before it is removed. This vaporized butane helps to separate the cannabinoids and terpenes which gives the butane hash oil. On the application of heat, butane hash oil loses a large part of its terpene content which is more volatile than cannabinoids and gives shatter.

The vaporization of butane happens rapidly and temperature must be carefully controlled in this system because of the explosive nature of butane. This is one of the drawbacks of this type of extraction. There is however less need for complex equipment and the produce contains extracts full of flavor. Butane can also be replaced as the compound used for extraction.

There are still other means of extraction and some of them do not require the use of solvents. Some can be done with the application of physical methods such as grinding and sieving.

What do you think of the major extraction methods of cannabis? Drop your opinion in the comment section below.








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