Extraction techniques are employed 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 a lot of desirable cannabis compounds; sometimes called whole plant extracts. Such as 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 typical ways of cannabis extraction. Before discussing these methods, readers need to 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 techniques correctly and safely. In many cases, the reagents and how they are utilized can create dangerous situations. Consequently, many of the techniques require safety equipment, like a fume hood. Just as vital, the extraction process must be performed correctly to generate a safe product for human use, and the results should be confirmed independently with proper analytical testing.
Cannabis alcohol extraction – Several common types of cannabis extraction rely on a solvent, such as alcohol. In brief, the cannabis soaks in alcohol, usually ethanol, the plant material is then removed, the liquid filtered, as well as the alcohol is taken off with some form of evaporation. One of the primary challenges is the inherent polarity of solvents like ethanol-meaning it possesses a propensity to combine with water and dissolve water-soluble molecules like chlorophyll. Taking out the chlorophyll from the extract is essential since it produces an undesirable, bitter flavor.
This technique can be practiced at atmospheric pressure, but the temperature is carefully controlled, especially during evaporation. This procedure can also require time and must be completed carefully in order to avoid danger as ethanol is very inflammable. One of the greatest advantages of this kind of extraction is the fact that there is absolutely no probability of leaving toxic residual chemicals inside the final cannabis extract and, it enables the co-extraction of all the compounds of interest, chiefly cannabinoids and terpenoids.
CO2 cannabis extraction – Employing a reagent of the kind can add cost and clean-up time, so various techniques should be considered, and something is CO2 extraction. Instead of using alcohol, this method removes cannabis components vrpmen the plant matrix with fractional co2. Here, though, high pressure and also heat are utilized to turn the CO2 supercritical-meaning it is simultaneously like a liquid and a gas.
The machine cost for this particular strategy is orders of magnitude more than alcohol extraction, but it produces higher yields and much less valuable material is lost. Plus, this process can be adjusted to extract specific compounds by changing the temperature, pressure or runtime-more likely a combination 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.