The 5 Steps of Cannabis Extraction
Extracting cannabis oil can be a time-consuming process that lacks energy efficiency. As the cannabis industry moves from the black market to a legal one, techniques of extraction and purification have become a focal point for researchers.
Dried cannabis flower has traditionally been used for smoking and vaping, however as the industry grows, the need for cannabis products in various forms increases for both medicinal and recreational use. This article will outline the five key steps in cannabis production and how they are carried out.
Start with Extraction
Cannabis extraction works to concentrate target components for specific products. A range of solvents can be used to extract cannabinoids including ethanol, propane, and petroleum ether. The solvent should be selected according to the differing solubilities of particular cannabinoids.
When using ethanol, the cannabis plant is soaked in ethanol, which reacts with the plant and can bring out a broad range of compounds and stop other compounds from solubilizing. The solvent must then be removed from the solution, using an evaporator decreases the exposure to heat, offers excellent repeatability, and is environmentally friendly.
Winterization is the next step in cannabis extraction, beginning with the material extracted in the previous step. This liquid is made up of cannabinoids, THC/CBD, waxes, fats, lipids, and terpenes. The oil is added to proof alcohol and combined, the alcohol then thins the oil, and the fats and lipids coagulate and freeze ready for filtration. Once the unnecessary elements have been removed, an evaporator is used to remove the alcohol.
Solvent recovery is the step in cannabis extraction where the majority of the solvent in the crude cannabis extract is removed. Solvent recovery can often be a bottlenecking, time-consuming aspect of cannabis extraction. Tools such as high-speed evaporators are well-suited to significantly decreasing the time taken to achieve solvent recovery.
Decarboxylation is the process in cannabis extraction which involves converting THCA and CBDA into THC and CBA via heating and drying. It is a chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group using heat or chemicals. Decarboxylation traditionally requires the use of a reactor, chiller, condenser, and vacuum pump and will take up to ten hours. The time-consuming nature comes from using thermal fluid to heat the extract which is a very inefficient process.
The Final Step is Distillation
To further refine the cannabis extraction, the oil goes through distillation. In this technique, the extract is heated and each one is separated due to its different boiling point. Rotary evaporators can be used in cannabis extraction distillation as solvents can be distilled under decreased pressure at a low temperature. The process is speeded up due to the larger surface area. Using a rotary evaporator also means the cannabis extraction does not have to be heated to such high temperatures, decreasing cost and environmental impacts.
The Best Tools for Cannabis Extraction
As is shown in this article, evaporators are used in many of the steps that make up the cannabis extraction process. However, traditional equipment such as slow, standard rotary evaporators can be extremely time consuming and costly to run. Ecodyst evaporators set a new standard in cannabis extraction, significantly decreasing the time it takes. The EcoChyll combines high-speed evaporation with high loading capacities and continuous cooling for faster cannabis extraction.
Ecodyst is an expert in the field of cannabis extraction and the use of evaporators. If you would like to find out more, visit their website and explore their wealth of information on this subject and much more.