Benefits of five different cannabis extraction methods

Whether you’re interested for personal or business purposes, understanding the benefits of different cannabis extraction methods is important. As regulations loosen, understanding improves and technology develops, the potential of five different extraction solutions becomes increasingly important to consumers and manufacturers, especially as the gaps between different techniques widen, shift and narrow.

1. CO2 extraction

While it remains a popular option for extraction, most experts have moved away from CO2 based systems for the foreseeable future. There are a host of problems to be resolved before this method makes sense for producers or customers, including the high energy costs, concerns about carcinogens, bacterial growth and other contaminants, and low productivity. These add up to make CO2 extracted products consistently more expensive. In addition, most CO2 oil still needs to go through a distillation process to remove fats and lipids, which involves putting it into a solvent like ethanol.

2. Solvant extraction

Compared to CO2 extraction, ethanol extraction is a significant improvement by most metrics. Conservative estimates would put you at nearly 24x the daily production for the same investment in materials and equipment, compared to CO2 extraction solutions, while offering fewer secondary problems to resolve than you face with CO2.

Of course, all ethanol extraction solutions are not created equally. Producers investing in superior quality solvents will naturally produce superior products, but it can be difficult to know whether a particular manufacturer has opted for high grade materials –
such as the organic grape alcohols utilize – which leave you with the most cannabinoids and terpenes and allow for the entourage effect.

3. Closed loop solvent systems

Producing arguably one of the highest quality products when matched to the right solvent, closed loop systems are remarkably energy efficient and inexpensive to maintain. However, customers concerned about environmental impact and using purely organic products want to pay close attention which sort of solvent is being used in their manufacturer’s closed loop systems, because some of the most cost efficient and high-quality closed loop systems depend upon fossil fuel products such as propane and butane.

Pairing high quality organic alcohols with the remarkable efficiency of closed loop systems, on the other hand, may be one of the most environmentally-friendly extraction solutions available.

4. Heated press

This method of extraction can’t be directly compared with the others, due to significant differences in the final product. When extracting with heated press, you end up with a higher proportion of fats and waxes in the final oil – not necessarily a bad thing, depending on the application, -many prefer the taste and look of this method.  The time and cost to product this is fairly high.

5. Sonication

An exciting extraction method with a high up-front cost, sonication allows highly efficient and quick extraction through green methods, but has yet to be thoroughly explored in cannabis extraction. There’s good potential in the method for larger manufacturers willing to make the investment, but the end product for consumer’s isn’t yet well-researched and understood.

As you can see, most extraction methods bring their own benefits to the table. Which best suits your endeavors will largely depend upon the final product and goal, how much you’re willing to invest, and what sort of production speed you require.