The cannabis industry has made many strides since California made history by legalizing medical marijuana back in 1996. State-legal cannabis is now an industry that is worth billions of dollars, with marijuana businesses selling everything from cannabis flower and edibles to potent extracts. Advances in technology have been especially beneficial for the sector, boosting cannabis extract sales and making them the most popular product among cannabis consumers.
The cannabis extraction sector also happens to be one of the most innovative spaces, with manufacturers constantly coming up with new and evolved equipment and techniques to process raw cannabis. The following are a few of the tools and techniques hemp and marijuana companies are currently working on.
Combining extraction solvents. Extracting cannabinoids from the plant material requires solvents, and companies are constantly researching solvents that can get the job done effectively while maintaining the integrity of the extracted cannabinoids and terpenes. A Seattle-based extraction equipment manufacturer called Eden Labs is working on combining CO2 and hydrocarbons. Although the process isn’t as fast as using a butane or propane mix, the process is less dangerous because of the addition of CO2 and results in a reasonable terpenes profile.
Eden Labs Founder Fritz Chess says the combination brings the “best of both worlds.” His company is also working on a smaller, more affordable extraction machine that can process around 50 pounds of biomass daily and costs only $50,000.
New winterization methods. Once the cannabinoid and terpenes are extracted from plant biomass, the solution has to be cleansed of impurities such as plant waxes. This process involves using a cold solvent, usually ethanol, to crystallize and separate the impurities from the solution. However, according to Jeremy Diehl, founder and chief technology officer at cannabis extraction company Green Mill Supercritical, ethanol results in cannabinoid loss and makes it harder to meet regulatory requirements. His company is developing a way to eliminate this step, thereby reducing the timeline from raw plant material from days to just hours.
Not only does this new extraction process save businesses plenty of time and money, but it also results in a pretty extensive terpene profile that’s quite similar to the raw plant’s terpene profile.
Learning from the pharmaceutical industry as well as regulatory agencies such as the FDA will be crucial as the sector evolves, says the founder of extraction equipment manufacturer Cascade Sciences Mary Babitz. Big pharma, for instance, has long used extraction tools that are well suited for cannabis. Rather than use a heated water bath to ensure extracts stay at a steady temperature and maintain their viscosity such as cannabis extractors, pharmaceutical companies use a thermal water bead.
Compared to a water bath, a thermal bead bath is much more sanitary; it also properly maintains the temperature and prevents evaporation. As the industry evolves and legitimizes, Babitz says it will be subject to more regulations and will most likely adopt best practices from Big pharma.
It should also be noted that a number of companies such as Pac Roots Cannabis Corp. (CSE: PACR) (OTCQB: PACRF) (FSE: 4XM) have successfully leveraged premium genetics to get an edge in the marijuana space since top-notch planting material can yield exceptional extracts, and we may see many others copying this approach in future.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Pac Roots Cannabis Corp. (CSE: PACR) (OTCQB: PACRF) (FSE: 4XM) are available in the company’s newsroom at http://cnw.fm/PACR
CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.
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