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The 5 Most Common Cannabis Extraction Methods

Even if you’re a veteran weed smoker, you might not realize that a wide variety of cannabis extraction methods have been around for hundreds of years. However, as you’ll learn looking at this cannabis extraction guide, popular methods have changed a lot due to technological advancements.

These days, most extraction methods use solvents in order to separate the oils rich with cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant. It’s important to understand that extracting cannabis with solvents is quite dangerous, so it should only be done by licensed, legal operators.

However, there are a few solventless methods that individuals can try at home if they are so inclined.

Are you wondering about some of the most popular cannabis extraction methods? Let’s take a look at five.

1. Butane Honey Oil Extraction

This cannabis extraction method is used extensively in other industries including the perfume and food industries. This method of extraction has been highly studied and requires that butane be sprayed on cannabis in a container in order to begin the cannabis extraction process.

Another container is then used to collect both the butane and the cannabinoids. Then the mixture is left alone so that it can evaporate. Sometimes, a vacuum oven is used instead to remove all of the butane.

This is a dangerous cannabis extraction method because butane is a highly flammable substance. However, the use of closed-loop systems has made this a safer method over time.

When using the BHO method, the THC levels of the extraction remain around 80%.

2. Supercritical CO2 Oil Extraction

This is a more environmentally friendly, non-toxic cannabis extraction method. No toxins are left behind in the process. This method is used in other industries including the tea, beer, coffee, and fruit extracts industries.

In this process, supercritical CO2 is heated and then exposed to cannabis flower buds. Then the resulting liquid goes through a separator to work towards removing the CO2 gas from the terpenes and the trichomes.

The gas is then moved through a condenser. This lets the gas liquify meaning that it can be used over again in the same process later on.

Precise equipment is required for CO2 extraction. This is a particularly good cannabis extraction method for making oils and waxes.

3. Water Extraction

This is a solvent-less cannabis extraction method. The cannabis plant is placed in freezing water and stirred, which leads to the trichomes separating from the rest of the plant matter. Once they are no longer on the plant, a series of screens are used to filter the liquid.

At the end of this cannabis extraction method, the THC levels are about 50-70%.

4. Ethanol Extraction

It is increasingly common for cannabis producers to use ethanol extraction methods. THis is an efficient, effective, and safe process. Ethanol is considered “generally safe” by the FDA and is often used as a food preservative.

In this method, the THC is extracted by soaking cannabis in ethanol. The resulting product is then refined in order to enhance its purity. Proper refinement is necessary in order to get a pure and good-tasting end result.

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5. Isopropyl Oil Extraction

This extraction method utilizes isopropyl alcohol. Cannabis buds are soaked in this particular type of alcohol and agitated so that the trichomes separate from the plant. This mixture is then filtered into a dish.

Next, a vacuum oven is used to remove the solvent. THC-rich oil remains after the solvent evaporates.

Solvent Vs. Solventless Extraction

It’s worth understanding the difference between solvent extraction and solventless extraction. If you’re looking for cannabis extraction tips, the first one you’ll want to remember is to stay away from solvent-based extraction unless you are a legal and licensed operation.

Some of the most common solvent extraction methods include using CO2, PHO, and BHO. These often come as oils, shatters, and waxes. The cannabis oil that you find in vape pens also usually comes from an extraction process using solvents.

The end product of this type of extraction can end up having residual solvents in them.

On the other hand, chemicals aren’t used in solventless extraction. Instead, physical manipulation and temperature are used.

For example, making ice water hash utilizes agitation and freezing temperatures. The process of making rosin requires compression and heat.

Some consumers find that they prefer to use solventless extractions. This is because they don’t rely on using chemicals and don’t end up with chemicals in the finished product. At the same time, these simpler processes can be done at home.

Purchasing concentrates tends to be a lot more expensive than buying straight, old-fashioned flower buds. For frugal consumers, making your own solventless concentrate can be a good compromise if you’re hoping to enjoy concentrated marijuana without breaking the bank. Similarly, many people might be uncomfortable with the prospects of smoking or otherwise ingesting solvent chemicals.

Cannabis Extraction Methods

Cannabis concentrates are becoming an increasingly popular way to use marijuana. They come in a wide variety of forms, including dabs, hash oil, cannabis oil, rosin, BHO, and shatter.

If you’re thinking about making your own cannabis extract, make sure that you are steering clear of the more dangerous methods. There’s no reason to get yourself hurt or worse simply trying to concentrate cannabinoids, after all. If you’re interested in exploring safer options, you can learn more here about alternative methods for cannabis extraction.

Did you find this article about cannabis extraction methods useful? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more informative and interesting articles!

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Written by Marcus Richards

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