Solventless extraction is the most environmentally friendly method for extracting cannabinoids. However, solvents are expensive and require specialized laboratory equipment and highly trained personnel. It also requires a basic to advanced understanding of chemistry. But solventless extraction has several advantages that make it the way of the future.
Cannabinoids Are Concentrated Without Plant Matter
Los Angeles solventless extraction of cannabinoids and terpenes from cannabis plants is a process used to produce cannabis products. This method involves the removal of the plant matter, including the trichomes and hair-like structures on cannabis plants. This method is more environmentally friendly and safer than solvent-based extraction but requires laboratory-grade equipment and know-how. However, using solventless extraction can produce more potent and varied products.
A typical solvent in solventless extraction is vegetable oil, which is inexpensive and nonpolar. The nonpolar property of vegetable oil allows it to have selective dissolving properties. In addition, vegetable oils contain 95 to 98 percent of triglycerols, comprising six fatty acids with emulsifying properties. Olive oil is an exception to this rule, but most commercial oils are refined. This refinement may alter the concentration of cannabinoids.
Chemical-based Solvents Can Result in Impurities
Chemical-based solvents are not always the best choice, as they can pose a health risk. So, extraction industries run additional tests to ensure safe solvents. One such test is headspace gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). During this process, a sample is dissolved in a high-molecular-weight compound and heated to the gas phase. The technicians then remove a small portion of the gas and inject it into the GC detector, which separates the compounds by size and polarity.
As a result, many states have adopted guidelines from the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention and the Food and Drug Administration to minimize the number of residual solvents. These guidelines categorically categorize over 59 extraction solvents into three categories. However, some solvents, like butane and propane, produce impurities that cannot be eliminated.
Environmental Impact of Solventless Extraction
Solventless extraction is an excellent choice for the marijuana industry because of its reduced environmental impact. Its solvent recovery capability saves concentrate extractors money while reducing hazardous waste. The collected solvent is cooled and is then recovered for further use. Solventless extraction is more environmentally friendly than traditional solvent extraction methods, which require a lot of energy and resources.
Solventless extraction reduces waste by eliminating solvents and other chemicals used during the extraction process. It also reduces toxic residues on finished products. Solventless extraction consists of two basic steps: the solubilization of the plant material in a supercritical fluid, typically CO +. Then the plant compounds are recovered from the solvent and transformed into a useful end product. This method is beneficial because supercritical fluids are gaseous at room temperature, allowing for simple evaporation.
Solventless extraction is becoming more popular among health-conscious consumers and those looking for an inexpensive way to produce their cannabis extracts. The key is choosing a suitable solvent. Among the solventless extraction, options are hydrocarbons, ethanol, and CO2. Hydrocarbons can be used to make solventless extracts, but CO2 does not have a good chemical application.
Solvent-based extraction methods tend to have a high carbon footprint and pollute local water supplies. In addition, they produce high concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which pose a severe health risk. These compounds can harm the respiratory system and liver and even cause cancer.