THC remediation is the process of removing the psychoactive Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from hemp-derived extracts or products. To be legally compliant, CBD products must contain in general no more than 0.3% THC for US and 0.2% for EU with some exceptions. For many consumers, however, the presence of any THC is unacceptable and producers in this category must achieve non-detectable, or “ND” levels of THC. Keep in mind that the allowable level of THC in the hemp plant at harvest is around 0.3% in most countries and more of the worldwide harvested hemp will exceed the 0.3% legal limit, which will convert it to 3% when extracted making the need for THC remediation of extract and even flower extremely necessary.
THC “free” products like Broad Spectrum Extracts have had serious price cuts in the last couple of years, as well as many other hemp products. That is more likely caused by large scale operations and vastly improving the operation efficiency of the process. There are a number of techniques used to reduce THC within the acceptable limits, all generally relying on various methods to degrade or separate THC molecules using chromatography, chemicals, heat, enzymes, or oxidation. Most of the involved companies are exercising their methods in complete confidence not sharing details which makes them very suspicious.
Chromatography is off the book process for THC remediation, mostly flash chromatography as the cheapest alternative, a process that applies pressure to speed up separation, and has high operating costs. The costs are in the $200-$300/ liter range, adding significant overhead to each Kg or liter of end product. Solvents – along with ancillary recovery systems – add to costs, and labor demands can be substantial, requiring a skilled operator.
New technology like the wave manipulated distillation process developed by PURE5TM and sold through COMERGTM have the potential to change the understanding and the economics of THC remediation. Tolling fees for remediating THC in crude extract to ND levels have exceeded $1/gram while selling price for THC free distillate have been down to $.60 cents/gram which created a need for more effective scalable solutions for THC remediation.
The chromatography technology initial investment may start from a few hundred thousands utilizing Flash (FC) or Moving Bed Chromatography (MBC) to a few milions needed for Centrifugal Partition Chromatography (CPC). As well the operation costs from a few dimes to over a dollar a gram and equipment cost at about $10,000/volume liter. Compared to a few cents a liter utilizing the low temperature remediation from PURE5TM and equipment cost at around $1000/volume liter for equipment size from 5L to 500L. That makes the process around 1000 times cheaper and equipment around 10 times cheaper.
Most current remediation systems have high CBD loss rates (10% to 25% of the CBD is lost during remediation), either are not scalable, or have very high CapEx/OpEx, or suffer from a combination of these.
“At PURE5, our goal is to always be on the leading edge of low cost remediation and high quality extraction technologies. We have been selling our IP protected high terpene cannabis extraction and utilizing our know-how on THC remediation since 2015 and have further introduced a number of disruptive technologies in the world of cannabis like the strain specific low temperature extraction and THC isomerization”, says the CEO of PURE5TM, Dr. George Stantchev.
What PURE5TM extraction and remediation achieves no other extraction and remediation system has been able to be as – cost-effective, very low loss-rate (<5%), organic, and scalable remediation. While it was not easy to achieve, the system that has been developed over the past ten years, is ready to disrupt the industry and redefine your understanding of what is possible in isomerization of the cannabinoids. To further support product quality and safety standards, our extraction process utilizes a GRAS solvent and the system is designed and built to comply with cGMP standards. Our THC remediation systems are fully organic with minimal loss of cannabinoids.
PURE5TM provides first-in-class technology for turnkey extraction and THC remediation with custom in-house manufacturing to evolve constantly and develop machinery for the hemp and cannabis markets’ needs. Its patent-pending technology is a hands-free, continuous-feed, closed-loop system with no winterization necessary that increases productivity, yields and quality of each extraction at high capacity, industrial scale. In addition to complete systems, PURE5TM offers an extraction system catalog that includes high terpene extraction, pre and post-processing systems and supports system customers with services such as installation, site review, field verification, permitting, operation and more.
George Stantchev, PhD