closed loop marijuana extraction
closed loop marijuana extraction

Closed-Loop Extraction: What is It, Benefits, and Downsides?

What is closed loop extraction for creating cannabis concentrates?

Posted by:
Joseph Billions on Friday Feb 7, 2020

Closed-Loop Extraction: What It Entails, Benefits and Downsides

closed loop marijuana extraction

Although they have been around for a while, cannabis concentrates have become increasingly popular in the United States. This is as a result of the legalization of cannabis in several states such as Colorado, Washington among others and can be gotten through the use of different extraction methods. These extraction methods are usually carried out with the use of special solvents and extraction agents like propane, ice water, butane, and others to separate some beneficial products from trichomes within the cannabis plant. There have been different cannabis extraction methods and some significant changes made to them over time and it was only until recently that the closed-loop method was found to be preferable to others.

The closed-loop method is a chemical extraction system used in making cannabis concentrates. What the closed-loop extraction process involves is for the raw cannabis plant to be coated in pressurized solvents, exposed to high pressured blast which reduces it into resin before being further processed into the required form of cannabis concentrate. These concentrates include live resin which contains the most active terpenes and butane hash oil which is usually further processed into products such as budder, crumble, wax, and shatter.

The major characteristic of the closed-loop extraction system that closes off the air from the solvent during the extraction process and this is what distinguishes it from the open-loop method. The system is a professional set up made up of several apparatuses such as the solvent holding tank, a recovery tank, a scale, and several pumps. The system involves continuous checking of pressure and operating of valves and also allows reuse of the solvents. 

Although people have consistently used the closed-loop extraction over the years for the production of perfumes, beauty products food additives and other essential oils, it became a popular cannabis extraction method only recently after it was found to be safer than open blasting and loop system as it minimizes the risk of explosions and provides a safer way of using the flammable solvents. There are no openings in the machinery used for extraction which enables it to contain the solvents safely nor allow the escape of any gases.

To carry out a closed-loop extraction, there are some required apparatuses and equipment which are important to make up an efficient extraction system. These include:

Pressurized solvent tank

Pressurized pump

Blasting chamber

Collection chamber

Vacuum oven

Recovery pump

After extraction, the resulting concentrate can be converted into different products and the methods used may differ based on the product being made. The THC levels of concentrates made from the closed-loop system are usually quite high reaching up to about 80-90%.


Benefits of the Closed-loop extraction method

The closed-loop extraction system has several benefits which is one of the reasons it is preferred than the open-loop extraction system, some of these benefits are listed below.



The closed-loop method is a very safe method of extraction when compared to others as it minimizes the risk of explosion. Explosions could be caused by the escape of gases and solvents through air vents, thus, the sealing of the solvents off from air reduces the possibility of such escape happening. Although, it is also important to have proper ventilation while extracting to ensure complete safety.



The ability to fully control the closed-loop system makes it better efficient as it prevents the loss of any pressure which in turn allows its further build-up and consistency to ensure efficient extraction.



Sealing off the closed-loop system allows you to control it and hinder the escape of the chemical solvents. As a result, the solvents can be reused at a later time making this extraction method to be economical and cost-effective.


Better Quality

The closed-loop extraction system gives some of the best quality products. The increased temperature and pressure balance present in the system allows for the production of very pure, strong and flavorful concentrates. Compared to the open-loop extraction system, the closed-loop extraction process does not also leave any residue from the solvents or other impurities as everything is sucked out from the vacuum, thereby resulting in a cleaner concentrate.


Disadvantages of the Closed-loop system

Although it minimizes the risk of explosion, the closed-loop extraction system is still dangerous and should only be done outside or if done inside, a fume hood is to be used as the solvents used in the extraction process are highly flammable.

The solvents used in this system of extraction cause destruction to the plant tissues, cannabinoids, and chlorophyll.

End products of extraction usually require additional processing before they can form a consumable product.

The extraction equipment is quite expensive as the basic one costs about $5,000 while the more complex setup costs between $30,000 - $500,000 which is something not everyone can afford.








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