However, while solventless extraction technologies are well-known for their high yields and ease of use, they may also be more environmentally friendly as well as safer for the human element engaged in every facet of the industry, from producer to consumer.
Popular cannabis products such as shatter, rosin, hash, budder, and hemp oil are the end results of an extraction process, which is often carried out using hydrocarbon or alcohol-based solvents to remove the active ingredients from the plant (butane, propane, or ethanol). In addition to being pricey, these approaches are also potentially harmful. The use of solvents in a cannabis extraction factory may result in exposure to toxic dust and vapors, as well as fires and explosions, as well as asphyxiation from CO2 exposure, among other hazards.
What is SOLVENTLESS EXTRACTION and how does it work?
Solventless extractions are any type of mechanical extraction procedure that does not require the use of solvents to be successful. Water is usually regarded as a universal solvent; nevertheless, when employed in this manner, it is considered a misnomer by extractors as well. It is possible that water, rather than a solvent, will be utilized to separate plant matter from trichomes in the cannabis plant, due to the nature of the plant’s structure. Although some terpenes may dissolve in the water throughout the procedure, the resin heads are never entirely dissolved.
Solventless vs. Solvent-Free: Which Is Better?
Compared to a solvent-free extract, a concentrate derived using solventless extraction procedures such as hash or rosin is vastly different from a solvent-free extract. This word refers to a product that has been extracted using a solvent and then distilled to eliminate any remaining compounds.
THE BENEFITS AND DISADVANTAGES OF SOLVENTLESS EXTRACTION
Solventless extraction technologies, according to recent research, can be viable and more ecologically friendly alternatives to conventional extraction methods. Solventless extraction methods can generate a higher yield of a higher quality extract in a shorter amount of time than solvent extraction methods.
Because this approach does not involve the use of solvents, which can contribute to harmful ozone levels and water pollution by producing volatile organic compounds, it is environmentally friendly (VOCs).
However, all solvents (except from CO2) release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when they evaporate in Colorado due to the possible dangers associated with their use. It is not permitted to dispose of solvents by allowing them to evaporate or by pouring them out into a container. The use of solventless extraction makes it easier to control and dispose of waste products, which is beneficial.
Hydrocarbon solvents are waste products from the petroleum industry. In addition to petroleum products and byproducts, a large number of hydrocarbons are listed as dangerous goods on the United Nations’ Dangerous Goods List. Solventless extractions, as the name implies, do not require the use of any solvents.
Many high-quality industrial rosin presses are simple to operate and are available for between $3,000 and $10,000 in price. They require less resources and are less expensive than traditional methods when compared to those methods. The same grade CO2 extraction device can cost upwards of $200k in the beginning.
When compared to solvent extraction, solventless extraction poses fewer risks throughout the entire process, and this benefit is passed on to the user by eliminating the possibility of residual solvents in the finished product without the need for additional testing.
Freshly harvested or cured cannabis flowers, kief, water hash, and trim can all be used to make solventless rosin, though the final product will vary depending on the type of cannabis material utilized.
Any substance that is introduced into a solventless extraction will come out of the extraction in the same state. The quality of the finished product will be directly proportional to the quality of the plant material used.
When it comes to solventless extraction of cannabis flowers, not all cannabis flowers are made equal. Certain cultivars are more productive than others in terms of yield.
During the extraction procedure, solventless extraction does not eliminate any impurities. If the plant material is contaminated, it is likely that the ultimate product will be contaminated as well. Mold, mildew, heavy metals, bugs, and pesticides are all examples of contamination. All items must pass state-level testing before they can be sold or distributed to the public; contamination in excess would result in a failing grade.
When it comes to solventless extraction, water is a relatively safe and stable medium. However, reverse osmosis is suggested. Tap water may include contaminants, although pre-existing pesticides in distilled water are concentrated in some procedures, whereas tap water may contain toxins (ice-water hash).
Cannabinoids and terpenes are highly sensitive to heat exposure. The profile of the entire plant can be damaged or degraded by several operations that involve high heat or high pressure.
EXTRACTION METHODS WITHOUT THE USE OF SOLUTION
Microwave-assisted extraction (MAE) generates heat by interacting with polar chemicals (water and plant matter) using microwaves in order to expedite extraction and boost yield in a synergistic manner, according to the manufacturer. The solventless approach is necessary to extract volatile substances, despite the fact that there are two forms of MAE (solvent and solventless). The relatively new MAPTM method use water (as well as ethanol) to separate key molecules in biomass and concentrate energy, allowing for extraction times of only a couple of minutes.
When using Ultrasonic Assisted Extraction (UAE), a combination of water and sound waves are used to break down the cell walls of cannabis, resulting in an emulsion that can be easily replicated in the lab. United Arab Emirates (UAE) can be used in conjunction with other extraction procedures to produce more potent concentrates, and it is frequently specified in United States Pharmacopeia monographs for the extraction of active medicinal compounds from carriers for consistency and potency testing.
Solventless THC-A is produced by re-pressing terpene-rich rosin at extremely low temperatures over a 25-micron screen, which removes the need for solvent. The high-terpene sauce is separated from the crystalline THC-A during this process.
Rosin presses are used to extract cannabinoids and terpenes from cannabis plants through the application of heat and pressure. Because of advancements in rosin press technology, this approach may be employed by anyone from a beginner to a large commercial enterprise without difficulty.
Water is kept in a liquid form under pressure when the temperature is less than 374°F, which is achieved using Subcritical Water Extraction. Despite the fact that this technique is still under examination, research has shown that subcritical water extraction yielded more components than hydro-distillation (HD) and organic solvent extraction when subjected to ultrasonic irradiation. Some procedures, such as pressurized hot water extraction, could be considered (PHWE).
To extract concentrates while keeping cannabinoids and terpenes intact, Cold Water Extraction employs ice, water, and agitation as the primary methods of extraction. Because of this procedure, high temperatures or pressures are not generated, which could potentially damage the original plant profile.
In some cases, cannabinoids are extracted in acidic or neutral forms, depending on the extraction method. Using a process that involves lower pressure and heat is preferable when the preservation of terpenes is critical. The end-product characteristics must be considered while developing or converting an extraction plant to a solventless operation because there are so many different solventless processes available today. So, any move away from the use of solvents, whether organic or otherwise, may increase safety from facility to consumer while also promoting environmental protection.