Extraction techniques are used to separate the components of cannabis and take away them from the plant matrix. Various methods can divide cannabis plant material into parts, or extracts, that have 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 many 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 methods of cannabis extraction. Before discussing these methods, readers should keep in mind that cannabis extraction is chemistry, not cooking. So, some skills in analytical methods plus real lab equipment must perform these methods correctly and safely. Most of the time, the reagents and how they are utilised can create dangerous situations. Consequently, many of the techniques require safety equipment, like a fume hood. Just as vital, the extraction process should be performed correctly to produce a safe product for human use, and also the results needs to be confirmed independently with proper analytical testing.
Cannabis alcohol extraction – Several common forms of cannabis extraction rely on a solvent, including alcohol. In brief, the cannabis soaks in alcohol, usually ethanol, the plant material will then be removed, the liquid filtered, and also the alcohol is taken away with some kind of evaporation. One of the primary challenges is the inherent polarity of solvents like ethanol-meaning it has a propensity to combine with water and dissolve water-soluble molecules like chlorophyll. Removing the chlorophyll from the extract is essential because it produces an undesirable, bitter flavor.
This technique can be practiced at atmospheric pressure, nevertheless the temperature is carefully controlled, especially during evaporation. This method can also take some time and should be performed carefully in order to avoid danger as ethanol is extremely inflammable. One of the greatest benefits of this form of extraction is the fact there is not any risk of leaving toxic residual chemicals inside 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 the kind can add cost and clean-up time, so various techniques should be thought about, then one is CO2 extraction. As opposed to using alcohol, this process removes cannabis components vrpmen the plant matrix with carbon dioxide. Here, though, high pressure and also heat are employed to turn the CO2 supercritical-meaning it is simultaneously like a liquid as well as a gas.
The equipment cost for this particular technique is orders of magnitude higher than alcohol extraction, however 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 should be analyzed, especially where concentrations of specific compounds are desired.