Extraction techniques are employed to separate the components of cannabis and remove them from the plant matrix. Various methods can divide cannabis plant material into parts, or extracts, that contain different chemicals. With cannabis, extraction techniques are often 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. Including the better-known cannabinoids, scientists have identified greater than 550 chemicals in cannabis in general including components like terpenes. Extraction techniques are also utilized to concentrate chemicals of interest.
This short article goes over the most frequent ways of cannabis extraction. Before discussing these techniques, 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 just how they are used can create dangerous situations. Consequently, many of the techniques require safety equipment, like a fume hood. Just as important, the extraction process has to be performed correctly to produce a safe product for human use, and the results should be confirmed independently with proper analytical testing.
Cannabis alcohol extraction – Several common forms of cannabis extraction depend on a solvent, including alcohol. Briefly, the cannabis soaks in alcohol, usually ethanol, the plant material will then be removed, the liquid filtered, and also the alcohol is removed with some form of evaporation. One of the greatest challenges is the inherent polarity of solvents like ethanol-meaning it has a propensity to blend with water and dissolve water-soluble molecules like chlorophyll. Taking out the chlorophyll from the extract is essential as it produces an undesirable, bitter flavor.
This technique can be performed at atmospheric pressure, nevertheless the temperature is carefully controlled, especially during evaporation. This procedure can also take time and should be completed carefully in order to avoid danger as ethanol is highly inflammable. One of the biggest benefits associated with this kind of extraction is that there is not any risk of leaving toxic residual chemicals within the final cannabis extract and, it enables the co-extraction of all compounds of interest, chiefly cannabinoids and terpenoids.
CO2 cannabis extraction – Employing a reagent of any kind can add cost and clean-up time, so various techniques is highly recommended, and something is CO2 extraction. Rather than using alcohol, this technique removes cannabis components vrpmen the plant matrix with co2. Here, though, high-pressure and also heat are used to turn the CO2 supercritical-meaning it is actually simultaneously like a liquid and a gas.
The gear cost for this particular strategy is orders of magnitude greater than alcohol extraction, nevertheless 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-much more likely a combination of these. Moreover, one study found that different compounds get concentrated at different rates in the same process. So, the extract ought to be analyzed, especially where concentrations of specific compounds are desired.