An increased interest in pure cannabis distillate has emerged as cannabis enters the legal market in more and more states. The distillation process is a phase that is crucial to the final product quality.
Over 550 chemical compounds are found in the plant known as cannabis. Each one has distinctive properties that require specific extraction and refining processes that must be followed exactly in order to maintain its distinct properties and therapeutic effects. These substances are referred to as cannabinoids, with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) being the most well-known.
Depending on how efficient the extraction technique is, it’s crucial to further refine the cannabis extract in order to create finished goods like topicals, edibles, vape oils, and other things. In order to provide top-notch consistent products to the customer, the following information about cannabis extraction refinement needs to be understood.
What Does Cannabis Extract Refinement Means?
The best Cannabis oil is extracted using a solvent-based (chemical) extraction method. This is distinct from the solventless (mechanical) method used to produce cannabis concentrates which has low yield and much higher inconsistency in the additional compounds extracted which are not needed in the medicinal cannabis and has to be refined. The solvent-based method involves dissolving the flowers in a solvent, which are the portions of the cannabis plant that contain high THC, terpenes, and flavonoids. The major 3 solvents used are hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, or alcohol.
The extract received after those 3 solvent extractions has been refined by winterization and distillation. Specific extracts of CBD and THC derivatives can be isolated using this basic extraction technique. The multi-step process of cannabis extraction distillation further purifies the extract, which is nevertheless referred to as “raw” or “crude” oil. This form can be improved to create a more pure product that is ready for the market or sold as-is, leaving additional processing up to the buyer.
Post-Processing and Refinement is Important
Cannabis oil must be extracted first, then the beneficial components must be distinguished from the other phytocompounds. Chlorophyll, lipids, waxes, and other chemicals are possible pollutants that degrade the value of the extract. Depending on the final result that is required, several post-processing and refinement techniques can be employed.
Refinement as a subsequent step, is essential for separating and purifying the recovered chemical components. Some of its advantages include the ability to:
-Purify the cannabis extract color.
-Increase the extract’s potency and other desirable effects.
-Develop an extract with a certain chemical composition.
-Manage the extract to achieve the appropriate consistency and appearance.
As you can see, refining is a crucial step in the extraction process if you don’t want to leave behind specific impurities that could harm the product’s quality and safety. A further benefit of refinement is the ability to produce CBD and THC isolates, a pure form of powder with THC or CBD concentrations that are around 100%.
Techniques for Improving the Extraction Process
Crude or raw oil is left behind after cannabis processing, requiring more processing. The extract can be refined using a variety of techniques to remove impurities and other undesired elements.
Distillation entails first heating the unprocessed cannabis extract to a vapor state, then cooling it back down to a liquid state. The higher boiling point substance will evaporate first and be taken through the distillation system where it will be refrigerated and converted back into a liquid since various substances have varying boiling points. The pollutants can then be distinguished from the desired cannabis constituents in this manner.
It is common to distill the extract multiple times to come to consistency known as “polishing”. The most volatile compounds are separated in the first pass, and the lipids and other residual plant compounds are separated in the second pass. The leftover terpenes or cannabinoids are purified. THC levels in the extracts produced by this technique are extremely high.
Filtration and winterization
During winterization, the raw extract is dissolved in ethanol or another polar solvent with lipophobic properties. To achieve a temperature below freezing, the mixture is cold-chilled. Fat is rising to the surface and is filtered away. The residual extract is far more pure, stable, and clean.
Tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA), an acidic version of THC generated by the cannabis plant, is transformed through decarboxylation to THC. Although it doesn’t have the same psycho effects as THC, THCA is the main naturally occurring cannabinoid in the plant. Only when heated during vaping or smoking, or when exposed to sunlight, does THCA transform into THC. However, by decarboxylation, a chemical process brought on by heat results in the removal of the carboxyl group (COOH) from the THCA and the release of carbon dioxide (CO2), converting the THCA into THC. The purified extract can then be applied orally or via foods. Because the heat generated during extraction doesn’t always convert THCA and some time into CBN, this procedure is typically carried out before any distillation or filtration.
Depending on the intended end result, the refining procedure usually entails either distillation or filtration. You’ll always get a product that is more concentrated.
Quality of Equipment Is Important.
By 2027, it is anticipated that the cannabis industry would have grown exponentially to exceed $100 billion. Customers are demanding a wider variety of items as cannabis becomes legalized. Cannabis extraction refining makes diverse cannabis end products conceivable.
There are numerous methods for extracting cannabis derivatives, some of which are superior to others. Although the quality of the plant materials you start with is important, the extraction technique can have a big impact on the final product’s quality and make-up. However, if employing inferior equipment, even the best cannabis plants extracted using the preferred method can still create low-quality goods.
PURE5™ Extraction has the experts in the cannabis extraction refinement process and we give you the best tools in your hands. This is why we provide cutting-edge machinery that will enable you to create products of the highest caliber like our Distillation System, Crystallization Reactor, Gas Chromatography and Vacuum Oven.
Contact us by phone, chat, or email if you require any additional information and let us know how we can be of service.