THC Extraction 101: Learn All About This Cannabis Process
Cannabis concentrates should have all trace solvents removed (with incredible scientific accuracy to boot) and extract the THC within it. The reason for this is because as far as users are concerned (particularly patients who use it medicinally rather than recreationally), they’re quite harmful to people. Cannabis Laboratories provide residual solvent testing to manufacturers and dispensaries who are concerned with safety and compliance of their concentrated marijuana.
Cannabis concentrates are created using different THC extraction methods, all with varying effectiveness degrees, if you will. The overall safety, the potency, and the cannabis concentrate yields are all determined by the extracting expert’s method of extraction. THC extraction is important because it makes the drug safer for use and keeps it from being too much to handle after you cook it.
Methods Available for Solvent and THC Extraction
Dry Sieve: This is the most unobtrusive and natural form available. A true connoisseur of weed considers dry-sieved marijuana the holy grail of concentrates. It has low yield and involves a meticulous process that removes trichomes containing cannabinoid from the plant matter in order to let the THC from within flow. There are many sieve grades to choose from, such as “kief” or a mixture of plant material, glandular trichome heads, and stalks.
You also have the “fulfillment dry sieve” that usually contains the trichome heads alone and the “farmer sieve”, wherein you get plant contaminant included. As for achieving dry sieve products searched for by weed experts the world over, it usually involves a series of silkscreens instead of a single silkscreen in order to make enough agitation to separate plant material from high-THC trichomes for something smokable or edible.
Water: As far as cannabis extraction is concerned, you can depend on the water with silkscreens to sieve the juicy bits of cannabis out. It’s a wet sieve technique rather than a dry one, in other words. It carries mechanically separated trichomes through multiple micron-level screens. In this context, a micron is a measurement unit that calculates the trichome size and thus is presented as holes within the screens that extract that important bit of THC-rich trichome out without leaving any solvents in.
Hash that’s taken from this method is usually called “water hash”, “ice wax”, “solventless”, “bubble hash” and “icolator”. It extracts the THC-laden hash through agitation, motion, and ice. You can do it by hand or by using your washing machine to gently but surely break trichomes off the weed plant material. Extracting byproducts through this method includes a thorough drying down and breakdown of everything before consumption.
Carbon Dioxide: Water hash extraction suffers from going bad if not properly stored or dried. With that in mind, you should use the CO2 or carbon dioxide extraction method because it results in nonexistent toxicity and low environmental impact. It’s also expensive, so be prepared with the money when it comes to this system. The carbon dioxide serves as a solvent when cooled or heated then pushed through the marijuana at supercritical (high) or subcritical (low) pressures.
Most cannabis THC extractions presently being done are in the subcritical phase; around 95% of them, to be sure. The extract has more volatile oil retention, fewer resins, and waxes, and has lighter coloring when it undergoes subcritical CO2 extraction as opposed to the supercritical CO2 extraction, which has the opposite effect. You should have proper pressures done by the proper equipment though for quality hash.