Common Cannabis Extraction Methods in 2020
Alcohol, butane, CO2, water, and ethanol are common methods of cannabis extraction. All of these solvents allow for separating cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. Each extraction method has its own benefit, but the goal of each is to offer a highly potent end product.
Cannabis extracts are beneficial because extraction allows for:
- Higher cannabinoid purity
- Accurate dosing
- Stronger and longer-lasting concentrates
The most common cannabis extraction methods are:
1. Butane Honey Oil Extraction
Butane honey oil (BHO) extraction has been highly studied and is used extensively in the food and perfume industry. The extraction method requires cannabis to be placed in a container before butane is sprayed on cannabis to start the extraction process.
The cannabinoids and butane are collected in another container.
The mixture must then be left to evaporate, or a vacuum oven may also be used to remove all of the butane from the mixture. BHO extraction is dangerous due to the high flammability of the substance, but closed-loop systems have made BHO extraction much safer.
THC levels, when the BHO extraction method is used, remain around 80%.
2. Supercritical CO2 Oil Extraction
CO2 extraction is a non-toxic, environmentally-friendly method of separating cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. The extraction method leaves no traces of toxins behind and is also used in the following industries:
- Fruit extracts
Supercritical CO2 is heated and passed through the cannabis buds. The liquid will pass through a separator to help remove the CO2 gas from the trichomes and terpenes.
As an environmentally-friendly method, the gas is pushed through a condenser which allows the gas to liquefy again and be recycled so that it can be used for the extraction process in the future.
CO2 extraction requires precise equipment, but it is a great method for making waxes and oils.
3. Ethanol Extract
Cannabis producers are starting to use ethanol extraction methods more often. The extraction is safe, efficient and effective. Ethanol is often used as a food preservative and is considered “generally safe” by the FDA.
The cannabis plant is soaked in ethanol to extract the THC.
Once extracted, the product is put through a refining process that enhances the purity of the product. Ethanol will remove unwanted compounds from the substance offering one of the best tasting and purest concentrates available.
The key to ethanol extraction is ensuring that the product is properly refined.
4. Water Extraction
Water extraction utilizes a solvent-less method of extraction that submerges the cannabis plant in freezing water. The plant is stirred in the cold water causing the trichomes to separate from the plant.
Once the trichomes fall off of the plant, it will pass through a series of screens.
The end result is a product that has 50% to 70% THC levels.
5. Isopropyl Oil Extraction
Isopropyl alcohol is required for this extraction method. Dried cannabis flowers are soaked in alcohol and then shaken gently. Isopropyl strips the trichomes from the plant.
The mixture is strained into a dish and then the solvent is removed using a vacuum oven that keeps temperatures under 181 degrees. When the solvent evaporates, the remaining substance is a THC rich oil.
An Israeli startup is also working on a new extraction method that uses algorithmic extraction to manipulate temperatures to extract cannabinoids and terpenes without losing some of the plant’s properties along the way.
All extracts need to be properly stored and cooled to maintain shelf life and quality.
Our cannabis extraction chillers allow for precision temperature control after the extraction process. When properly chilled, THC-A and CBD-A remain inactive. Chillers allow for these key molecules to remain inactive and unspoiled by heat.
At JCY, we understand that the extraction process needs to be followed with accurate chilling. Rent our chiller equipment to maintain your cannabis extract’s quality and shelf-life.
Contact us to discuss your chiller needs or rent equipment from us today.