Extraction methods have developed over the past few years. There was a time when CO2-based extraction technology was seen as the best, now it's just one of the many ways that emerging companies are finding new ways to create clean extracts.
But where did the process start? How did we get here and where do we go in the future?
Extraction methods have been around for a long time. Thousands of years ago, in places like India and China, the plant would be extracted into a brick of "hashish". This was a more powerful and stronger substance than simply smoking the dry herbs.
How this worked:
Large amounts of plants were sifted in order to extract "kief". The kief is a yellowy powder. In fact, chances are your grinder even has a "kief-catch" that will fill up over long periods of time. Large quantities were sifted through, and the resulting yellow powder was collected and put into a press where it would be compressed into a brick-type form of compressed hash.
It wasn't until the 18th century when the hash was brought over to Europe that extraction methods came into full effect. With science and technology making elixirs and medicines, the properties of CBD made an amazing addition to ailing certain treatments.
By boiling the contents in a solvent, the medicinal purposes were extracted to create tonics and health creams, lotions, and oils.
In the 2010s, extraction methods are an important part of everyday life. From medicines to hand lotions, oils, and tinctures to extracting tobacco from plants and filling it into flavored oil for vaping. With the latter being the catalyst for this advancement, and the popularity of dabs, different methods of extraction had been developed to adequately produce high-quality products.
While dabs had started to grow, the timing was hand-in-hand with the invention of nicotine vaporizers. If tobacco from a plant can be extracted and mixed with oils for vaping, then why not CBD?
With vaporizer technology providing a totally new and more effective way, different ideas were thought about to ensure the quality and effect of oil in order to improve the integrity of the market. Thus various extraction methods were invented.
Isopropyl Alcohol Extraction
This method is commonly attached to Rick Simpson Oil (RSO). Dry buds are soaked in the solution while being moved around. This method removes the sticky trichomes that grow on the buds to separate from the leaves.
The remaining product is then filtered and placed into a vacuum. It will pull all gasses out of the mixture while keeping the vacuum hot in order to evaporate the entire solution from the wax.
CO2 Supercritical Extraction
This is one of the most environmentally friendly forms of extraction. It utilizes the power of CO2 in order to pull the trichomes apart from the leaves. There are zero toxins left behind.
In fact, the herbs and barley that are extracted to make beer use this method.
The process starts with heating the CO2. Once it reaches the optimal temperature it is pushed through a line into the chamber where the buds are stored. The CO2 blows through the leaves which separates the trichomes.
The process also utilizes renewable functions which allow the CO2 to recondense and be used for another time.
Butane extraction is one of the most widely used extraction methods within the industry. It utilizes a chamber where the buds are stored and is then sprayed with butane in order to pull the trichomes from the leaves.
The plant material is then put aside and the remaining extract is collected in another container. Once that is finished, the remaining mixture is placed inside a vacuum chamber to pull all of the remaining solvent bubbles.
The process leaves 100% clean concentrate that can be mixed with another solvent and placed into a vaporizer cartridge.