Cannabis Connoisseur

Cannabis Connoisseur | Concentrates

Cannabis Connoisseur | Concentrates

Cannabis concentrates are created by removing resin containing trichomes from the cannabis plant in order to release and recover desired compounds such as cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and carotenoids. This is the same process used by the botanical, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries to extract essential oils and desired medicinal compounds from all types of plants.

Extracts are a type of concentrate created using solvents that remove the desired oils from the plant material. Extraction results in a potent and efficient product. There are many types of extraction used to separate plant compounds. While almost any form of concentrate can be made using different types of extraction, certain methods are favored based on the desired consistency and chemical make-up of the final product.

Extraction is a commonly misunderstood process and can be confusing when methods of extraction are used interchangeably with the products they create. There are 4 types of extraction: CO2, Hydrocarbon, Ethanol and Solventless.

CO2 EXTRACTION

Uses CO2, time and pressure to remove cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids from raw cannabis. Raw cannabis flower is loaded into a stainless steel chamber and CO2 is introduced over specific times and temperatures in order to create an oil that has a similar chemistry to the original plant. This is a common form of botanical and pharmaceutical industry extraction. CO2 is best used to create an oily product. Proponents contend that CO2 extraction is the cleanest process because there is no danger of a potentially dangerous residual hydrocarbon solvent. Additionally, proponents claim that only CO2 is capable of capturing flavonoids and carotenoids in addition to cannabinoids and terpenes.

Hydrocarbon Extraction

This process pushes an organic solvent, such as butane, hexane or propane through the plant material to pull off essential oils including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. The solvent is then heated to evaporate the solvent such that the essential oils remain in a similar profile to that of the original plant. When a sticky sap or stable shatter consistency is desired, organic solvent extraction, usually BHO, is the desired method. Confusingly, Butane Hash Oil (BHO) is a term used to refer to many types of concentrates (oil, wax, shatter) that are made using this process. Proponents contend that hydrocarbon extractions are the gentlest way to handle the desired compounds. Incomplete removal of residual solvent in unregulated states as well as the inherent dangers of manufacturing using these volatile solvents under pressure have stigmatized this method of extraction. Massachusetts stringently tests for residual solvents to ensure the resultant product is free of such contaminants.

Ethanol Extraction

Cannabis is soaked in ethanol to pull trichomes off of the plant and into the liquid. Because ethanol is a polar solvent, it will pull water soluble components such as chlorophyll from the plant as well. Following extraction, the plant material is removed, the liquid is filtered and alcohol is purged from the extract. Ethanol is a safe and efficient solvent, especially when handling large quantities of cannabis. It is ideal for making tinctures but is not capable of producing sticky or solid products like wax or shatter. Critics argue that the polarity of ethanol results in a less pure end product.

Solventless Extraction

Concentrates made using solventless oil extraction are not technically extracts but are sometimes called mechanical extractions. The process typically consists of agitation, pressure and sometimes cold temperatures to obtain products such as hash, dry sift, bubble hash and rosin. While this process sometimes employs water, the water is used only as a medium to separate plant matter from trichomes based on density. The water is not used as a solvent and therefore the process is properly deemed solventless.

Another important set of terms used to describe concentrates are full spectrum, broad spectrum and isolate. While there are no standards to regulate the use of these terms, manufacturers use them generally to indicate the following characteristics.

Full-Spectrum: Contains the full spectrum of oils that were present in the originally extracted cannabis plant. In a perfect world, this would include cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and carotenoids in the same ratios as the source plant. The resultant interactions with the body are referred to as the Entourage Effect, which suggests that the cocktail of these compounds results in a more therapeutic and enjoyable experience than the use of the compounds separately.

Broad Spectrum: Contains a nearly full spectrum of the original plant and is often used in the context of CBD oil which has had enough THC removed to chemically fall beneath the 0.03% THC limit required to meet the definition of hemp.

Isolate: Isolate refers to a single compound, usually THC or CBD, that has been stripped of all other compounds in the plant.

Concentrates come in a variety of forms depending on consistency and chemical profile. Oils are the most common and user friendly extracts available. Oils are most often used in vaporization devices which are discreet and combustion-free alternatives to smoking.

Pure Vape Promise: All Seed vape manufacturers must adhere to strict state testing standards and Seed’s own commitment to sourcing vape products that contain only pure cannabis oil and terpenes with no additives.

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