Hemp extraction is the process of removing CBD, CBG, and other cannabinoids from hemp. When extraction results in an oil that includes other cannabinoids (ex: CBDA & CBDV), the end product is full spectrum oil. THC may be present in this oil. But, if the amount is 0.3 percent THC or less, the oil moves into the hemp category. It is legal throughout the United States.
There are a few different methods to use in hemp extraction. Each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Depending on the desired end product, your preferred method of extraction will vary.
Solvent-based extraction requires a large investment in machinery. You’ll also need a fair amount of technical know-how. The particular solvent impacts the machine needed. They can need a highly pressurized process to work. They may also operate at temperatures dangerous to humans.
In concept, the process is not dramatically different from harvesting cranberries. Farmers decide when a crop is ready to harvest. They then flood the plant matter with a medium (in the case of cranberries, it is water). Next, farmers agitate the plant matter to remove the desired materials. The difference here is that cranberries get processed while still in the field, or bog. Hemp extraction doesn’t take place until after harvesting. This also includes the extra step of drying the plants.
When transformed into a liquid, carbon dioxide becomes one popular solvent for extraction. It is both the most efficient and the most expensive form of CBD or CBG extraction. You’re able to adjust the concentration of cannabinoids in the finished product. This method also allows for the production of the most concentrated CBD or CBG oil. You won’t find any chlorophyll in the finished oil with this process. There’s also a complete lack of toxic residues in the product, because there are none in the process.
The machinery makes this process one of the most expensive. This is due to the intensity of pressure necessary for success. Because the machines used need a very durable build, the cost to construct a CO2 extractor is high.
Hydrocarbons – butane, propane, petroleum or naphtha – are all solvents you can use for extraction. They’re very capable of extracting CBD or CBG at lower pressures and temperatures. These solvents do an excellent job of removing cannabinoids from the hemp biomass. The process is both inexpensive and efficient. You end up with a consistent concentration of CBD or CBG in the finished oil. Hydrocarbon extraction does not allow chlorophyll into the finished product.
The main downside of the potential for toxic residue in the finished oil. Many of the hydrocarbon solvents used are also carcinogens. It’s important to maintain careful control during this process. This ensures the solvents are completely removed during the evaporation process.
Natural solvent extraction
You can also use natural solvents, like olive oil and ethanol for extraction. This completely removes the potential for toxic residue from your CBD or CBG oil. This process is both efficient and inexpensive.
While both safe and effective, this process isn’t perfect. Use of natural solvents can take some of your desired compounds out along with the chlorophyll. This can lead to a lower concentration of CBD of CBG in your finished product.
While less common, you can extract cannabinoids from hemp without relying on solvents. This process is very labor intensive, and best suited to small-batch, artisanal products. The two main kinds of non-solvent extraction are mechanical extraction and steam distillation. Unfortunately, these processes can lead to inconsistent concentrations of CBD or CBG.
Non-solvent extraction is very inexpensive. It does not need a lot of technical knowledge. Some of the more common parts to the process include:
- Freezing the plant material.
- Grinding up the plant material.
- Heating and pressurizing the plant material.
After extraction, the resulting full spectrum oil can undergo further refinement. From there, you can create a variety of products, both edible and smokable, based on consumer need.
To learn more about hemp extraction, contact Arbor Vita8 today. Our seed-to-sale services and team expertise are here to support you at any stage of the hemp growing process. We look forward to working with you in this lucrative industry.