Cannabis extracts are the future of cannabis products and come in many different forms. Once Canadian laws allow, we will work to provide cannabis extract products and accessories. Read on for more information on the different types and methods of extraction.
Cannabis extracts take cannabis purity and concentration one step further than dried flowers and oils. Extracts are the future of cannabis consumption, and technology advancement is paving the way for new and innovative methods of cannabinoid extraction.
Cannabis extracts reign supreme with potency when compared to other forms of cannabis. Extracts can contain between 50 – 90 per cent THC concentration, while dried cannabis buds can have 10 – 25 per cent. There are various methods of extraction, using different solvents and additives. Some of the methods are easy for the average user to do at home, while other require expert skill and industrial grade equipment.
The various cannabis extracts come in various form, texture, colour and smell. Each extract is designed for a specific consumption method. It’s important to do your research and discover how your cannabis extract of choice can be used.
The cannabis extracts intended for vapourizers are currently not available for sale in Canada but as cannabis laws liberalize, these products may be available in the future. Extracts, like oil, wax, shatter and distillates can be vaped successfully but not oils that are combined with an organic solvent like olive, coconut or sunflower oil.
Vapourizing is one of the cleanest ways to inhale a cannabis concentrate. Vaping creates a mist that is non-toxic, taking pressure off the respiratory system and providing a very private, non-intrusive way to consume cannabis. Extracts or oils should not be vaped, as this is dangerous and not the intended use.
There are a number of different ways to isolate the valuable cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Extraction methods that involve solvents are very popular and provide a quality product, but require professional equipment and knowledge to get right.
Solventless methods are simple and natural but do not offer the same THC and cannabinoid percentages. Some methods are superior and provide better taste, enhanced terpene retention and a pure product.
Dry-sieve extraction typically involves taking dried cannabis plants and beating or shaking them against a mesh screen so that the trichome crystals fall off and can be collected. Known as “kief”, this powder can be consumed as is, mixed with dried flower or pressed into hashish.
Water extraction, also known as water hash or bubble hash is made by adding cannabis plants to a set of sieve-like bags submerged in freezing cold water and stirred. The cold and stirring causes the trichomes to fall off the plant and pass through a progressively tighter series of collection screens.
Rosin is a cannabis concentrate that has a buttery or shatter-like consistency and is produced without using additives or solvents to extract the trichomes from the plant material. Instead, heat and pressure are used to extract the trichome rich resin that contains the beneficial ingredients of the cannabis plant.
Referred to as an ISO Wash, this extraction method involves taking dried cannabis flower and soaking it briefly in isopropyl alcohol. Once soaking, the mixture of ISO and flower is shaken gently and then strained into a separate dish.
The isopropyl alcohol works to strip the trichomes from the plant material into the solvent. The concentrated liquid then has any remaining solvent evaporated in a vacuum oven at under 181-degree Fahrenheit until a potent THC rich oil remains. ISO wash extract is typically filled with cannabinoids but also contains some chlorophyll, waxes and plant alkaloids.
The longer the soak, the more plant material will also be extracted, an undesirable side effect of this extraction method.
To perform a BHO extraction, a vessel or column is filled with cannabis, and a filter attached at one end. Cans of butane are sprayed through the cannabis to extract the cannabinoids, and the cannabinoid-rich butane is collected in another vessel. The solvent and cannabinoid mix is then left to evaporate or is purged in a vacuum oven.
BHO extraction can be very dangerous if not done correctly as the butane gas being used is extremely flammable. Advancements have created professional BHO extraction machines that are closed-loop systems that keep the solvent sealed as it passes through the cannabis material, and under pressure so that it’s liquid form is maintained.
Another famous extraction method, supercritical CO2 extraction is the safest (non-toxic) and reusable, environmentally friendly solvent extraction method.
To begin extracting, supercritical CO2 is heated, which raises the pressure of the liquid CO2 that is then passed through the cannabis buds to extract the valuable cannabinoids. Then the liquid CO2, now full of extracted cannabinoids, passes through a separator that breaks it down into constituent parts. Trichomes and terpenes are collected, while the supercritical CO2 gas is moved into a condenser to liquefy again before being recycled back to a storage tank.
Then the collected extract is left out at room temperature so the remaining CO2 can evaporate into the atmosphere. CO2 extraction does require a finely tuned piece of equipment but is very popular in the industry thanks to being both safe and highly efficient at creating the highest quality cannabis extracts.
To use a cannabis pen or vapourizer, take one shallow inhale in 15-minute intervals to find the right dose then increase as needed. Remember that cannabis oil is more potent than dried flowers.
Notice how you feel after each dose or vape of cannabis extract. It will help you determine the effects of your cannabis extracts and refine your doses.
Cannabis extracts are very potent and should be used with caution. Always work up gradually from a low dose, recording your experience as you go along.