Botanical extraction entails removing desired chemical components from a material such that it is separated from the initial source. Botanicals hold that various parts of a plant can be used, such as the fruit, flower, root, or stem. For instance, in cannabis extraction, different plant elements can be extracted, including THC, CBD, and Terpenes.
There are different methods that you can use for cannabis extraction. Each technique typically results in a different final product, but the differences are not widely separated. In fact, after refinement of the final product, the differences may not apply.
One thing worth noting is that you can extract cannabis with or without solvents. The constant requirements include filters, pressure, and temperature control. Any of the methods discussed here can be executed on a large scale and small scale while offering varying trade-offs.
1. Hydrocarbon extraction
Just as the name suggests, hydrocarbon extraction entails hydrocarbon gas (propane, isobutane, butane) under high pressure and low temperature on the cannabis product enclosed in a loop system until it is stripped of materials.
Propane and butane are the most popular hydrocarbons used in the process; hence the method can be done as isobutane extraction, propane extraction, or n-butane extraction. Butane extraction requires low pressure ranging between 0 psi and 30 psi.
One of the most significant advantages of hydrocarbon extraction is the large number of products you can create from a single standard extraction process. Each of the fractions made from the extraction can be sold as separate SKUs or combined at a given ratio.
Hydrocarbon custom blend has been increasing over the years due to their relevance to the cannabis extraction process. Mainly, a 70 30 butane propane mix is crucial because an incorrect blend makes it unsafe for human consumption.
2. Co2 extraction
The reasoning behind the Co2 extraction method is that CO2 gas has important properties capable of stripping materials from botanical substances. The cannabis plant material is placed in controlled temperature and pressure to build phase changes in carbon dioxide. The overall goal is to extract the cannabis material without interfering with the integrity of the components involved.
The importance of Co2 extraction is that it is inexpensive, non-flammable, non-toxic, and chemically inactive. Additionally, it can diffuse through the cannabis plant as gas and dissolve the material like a liquid. Also, using CO2 in the extraction produces less residue than methods like Butane Hash Oil Extraction (BHO).
3. Ethanol extraction
The ethanol extraction approach follows the same step as hydrocarbon extraction, in which the plant material is subjected to low-temperature solvent. You can comfortably conduct ethanol extraction on a large scale, while the final product may not need refinement.
Despite the cannabis extraction method used, you still need to convert your crude into ethanol and winterize it to make a distillate. Whereas ethanol extraction forms a powerful way for distillate production, it may not produce the same clarity as other methods.
4. Water extraction
The rationale behind water extraction is to clean preserve cannabinoids and terpenes without adding ingredients. Just as the name suggests, water extraction operates at certain temperatures. That helps secure sensitive components that may be hard to do so under solvent extraction conditions. Water extraction is simple to run and can be done on a small scale.
5. Isopropyl oil extraction
You need isopropyl alcohol to use this extraction method. The petroleum-based product does not have additives and is pure. Furthermore, you may prefer this method because it does not have a bitex component.
The Isopropyl oil extraction process is easy, and anyone can do it. All that’s required is to submerge dried cannabis flowers in alcohol and shake gently. The isopropyl strips trichomes from the plant. Keep in mind that the crude product will be of dark green color as a result of chlorophyll extraction.
The resultant mixture is strained into a dish and solvent removed using a vacuum oven under a temperature of 181 degrees. The evaporating solvent leaves behind THC-rich oil.