New Cosolvent Extraction Promises Better Cannabis Products
Turning cannabis plant material into resin, and other usable products starts with extraction. The idea is to separate cannabis plant material from the valuable compounds it contains. There are multiple ways to do this, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. But now, a new extraction process has emerged, and it promises to create better end products.
The process was recently announced via a press release from its creator, a company known as Extractioneering. They refer to the process as a cosolvent process because it combines traditional solvent extraction with carbonation to produce a better resin.
How Solvent Extraction Works
Understanding the cosolvent principle begins by understanding how solvent extraction works. Cedar StoneIndustry, a Houston company that manufactures and installs marijuana extraction equipment, explains that solvent extraction utilizes a synthetic or natural material to dissolve plant biomass. With most of the plant material gone, a processor is left with a pure CBD oil.
Cedar Ston eIndustry says that the four most common extraction methods utilized today are:
- chemical solvent extraction
- Natural solvent extraction
- supercritical CO2 extraction
- steam distillation.
Of the four, chemical solvent extraction is the most utilized. It offers the best balance between cost-effectiveness and product quality. Knowing that, Extractioneering’s new process is designed to make chemical solvent extraction better.
Extraction with Less Degradation
Chemical solvent extraction relies on ethanol, butane, or another solvent to dissolve plant material. It works well enough. Chemical solvent extraction produces fairly good yields and reliable consistency. One of its downsides is that solvents degrade cannabis resins during the process.
The new cosolvent process also utilizes ethanol or butane. However, there is an added element: carbon dioxide is injected into the solvent-biomass mixture during extraction. This both carbonates the solution and prevents resin degradation.
Extractioneering says that carbonating during solvent extraction accomplishes multiple things:
- It makes the resulting resin immediately bio available
- It cures the resin, thus resulting in longer preservation
- It improves the quality of a resin with age (similar to wine)
- It improves flavor and aroma by making both more intense.
If cosolvent extraction proves to be everything its inventor promises, it could revolutionize both recreational and medical marijuana. And because it can be successfully achieved even in very small batches, it would allow growers to process their own plant material in the same why smaller vineyards produce their own wines.
A Designer Market
Crossbreeding and genetic engineering are already beginning to open doors to a designer cannabis market. Growers all over the country are coming up with their own strains purposely cultivated to produce certain flavors, aromas, and side effects. Combining what they can currently do with cosolvent extraction could easily take things to the next level.
What remains to be seen now is the cost-effectiveness of this new process. Companies already invest large sums of money purchasing extraction equipment and perfecting their processes. This new process has to be worth investing in if it is going to take off. Will it? Time will tell.
One way or the other, the cannabis industry will keep looking for ways to improve what it does. There is money to be made, and is not money that growers, processors, and marketers are willing to give up. It could be that cosolvent extraction is the next big thing that takes legal cannabis into the next stage of its journey. Yet it could also turn out to be nothing exceptional.
Meanwhile, expect processors to keep using the same tried-and-true extraction methods on which they have always relied. Not everyone will adopt cosolvent extraction even if it does live up to all the hype.