Cannabis extraction is about getting the trichomes and/or the sticky resin that coats them off of the plant (bud) and into solution. There is a wide array of substances that can perform that seduction: ethanol, propane, ethylene glycol, isopropyl alcohol, dry ice. Dry ice can actually give you the trichomes without putting them in solution. You can either mash the resultant product into hash or put it in solution as an end-process. For the rest, the solution is the initial and end-goal (followed by removal of the product from the solution), and the agent of that solution (the solvent) is sometimes a gas: propane or CO2, specifically. Of the two, CO2 lends itself to the cleanest extraction, through the process of supercritical extraction. Through the proper combination of temperature and pressure, CO2 can be converted from its natural state as a gas into a liquid-gas in-between state, which then absorbs the cannabinoids from the plant. Once they are in solution, the CO2 is allowed to return to its gaseous state, leaving behind THC and CBD as well as terpenes. Presto-change-o – product. The price tag for this magic is a lot higher than other methods of extraction, but the results can not be equaled and are worth the cost if produced on a large scale.
Propane can get the job done, though. There are a number of commercial extraction systems designed for use with propane. The methodology is actually similar to that of CO2 extraction. The propane is kept in a liquid state through pressurization, the cannabinoids are drawn into solution, and extraction (harvesting the product) occurs when the propane is allowed to vaporize (return to its gaseous state) after the product is in solution.
Propane actually has one advantage over CO2; it yields a higher terpene content, giving the end-product more flavor and aroma. That end-product can either be hash oil or shatter. To achieve the brittle, glassy state of shatter, the terpene content must be kept low in the extraction or reduced after extraction by subsequent heating of the hash oil. Either way, extraction with gas can be a clean, efficient, profitable enterprise. Contact the folks at Eureka Oxygen to discuss your extraction gas options.
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