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CO2 is cooled to between 5 and 10oC and
maintained at a pressure of between 800 to 1500 PSI. At this temperature and pressure combination, CO2 is a thick fluid. Subcritical CO2 produces significantly less than supercritical extraction, but the end product is often richer in active cannabinoids and contains almost no waxes. Extracts made with this process have a sticky, oil-like texture.
- Solvent extractions
Various alcohol based extraction methods can be used to separate the cannabinoids and other active ingredients from the associated plant material. With all solvent-based extractions, the main risk to the end user is an incomplete evaporation of the solvent. To ensure full evaporation, extracts are often ‘purged’ through one of a variety of methods such as vacuum purging or winterization.
ISO extraction (QWISO)
Isopropyl alcohol is frequently used as a
solvent in the preparation of cannabis extracts. The most common technique for extracts intended for inhalation is known as a quick wash isopropyl extraction (QWISO). This process involves a short wash of medical grade isopropyl alcohol, followed by the evaporation of the solvent. The isopropyl alcohol must only be in contact with the cannabis for a short time to reduce the amount of non-psychoactive plant material that is present in the end product.
Long soaks are sometimes used to intentionally extract the non-psychoactive contents of cannabis, mainly for their anti- oxidant effects.
QWISO extracts are generally vaporized (or smoked) and inhaled, although oral applications are also common. For ingestion to be effective, the extract must be combined with some form of fat or potable alcohol for the body to metabolize the active constituents.
Full cannabis oil extract (FCOE)
Full cannabis oil extracts (FCOEs) are made
using purified ethyl alcohol as the solvent which is typically evaporated after the original plant material is removed. These types of extractions involve either a slow soak over a period of weeks to months or a rapid soak combined with a heat-based extraction of the alcohol and contain little undesirable plant material. Some non- psychoactive compounds are extracted (mainly chlorophyll), generally giving these extracts a green tint.
In most cases, some or all the alcohol is intentionally left in the extract. These high- alcohol extracts are known as tinctures, and can be effective both as an oromucosal (mouth absorption) application as well as via ingestion. The remaining alcohols allow the body to process the active constituents without the aid of a fat.
Butane Honey Oil
Butane Honey Oil (BHO) extraction refers
to methods using butane as a solvent.
The speed of the processing as well as the
chemical structure of butane results in a final product almost free of impurities. Butane produces one of the purest extractions (often being composed of more than 90% THC), albeit typically at a lower yield than those produced with alcohol.
The BHO extracts provided by the VCBC are created using high purity N-butane and then are vacuumed purged for at least 12 hours. Each batch is then lab-tested for purity and potency.
Varieties and Properties
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V 1.0 Jan 10 2015
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