Cannabis contains over one hundred cannabinoids. There are two main methods of producing extracts and two groups of cannabis extracts: solventless extracts and solvent based extracts.
By solventless extracts we mean those that are produced without any foreign substances except for water. Solvent based extracts are those that are extracted using alcohol, butane, propane and CO2.
Solventless Cannabis Extracts
They are produced with water, heat and pressure. Hash, kief and rosin are the main types of solventless extracts.
Hash is one of the oldest cannabis extracts. The most common method is to use ice water to seperate the trichomes from the plant. When seperated they stick together and after they are dry, they are pressed to make hash.
Kief is the tiny sticky white crystals covering the cannabis flowers – known as trichomes. Extraction of kief is simple; a three chamber grinder seperates the kief from the plant.
Rosin is produced with heat and pressure. This makes the juice come out of the bud. The extract is juicy and contains all the terpenes.
Solvent Based Cannabis Extracts
Two main methods are ethanol and CO2 extraction.
CO2 extraction is done with a “closed loop extractor”. This machine uses pressurized CO2. The solid CO2 from one chamber is run through a second chamber containing the plant material and chemicals are extracted from the plant. As the mixture goes through another chamber with lower pressure, the CO2 evaporates, leaving a pure extract of high quality.
Ethanol extraction produces a full spectrum extract of high volume. This method removes unwanted plant material from the extract.
Once extracted, the material goes through another step called chromatography. This method removes unwanted plant material by interacting strongly with the CBD and causing it to move slowly.
CBD products go through a process called decarboxylation. This process removes the acid from the material and converts CBDA to CBD, making it more readily bioavailable and ready to interact with the endocannabinoid system.