As the cannabis industry has mushroomed over the past few years, the share of the market attributed to cannabis extracts has burgeoned even faster. So far, two types of cannabis extracts, butane extracts and supercritical CO2 extracts, have accounted for the production of a vast majority of concentrates available on the market.
Yet a third solvent, ethanol, has been gaining on butane and supercritical CO2 as a solvent of choice for producers manufacturing high-quality cannabis extracts. Here’s why some believe that ethanol is the overall best solvent for cannabis extraction.
What Is Ethanol?
Have you ever drunk grain alcohol? If so, you were drinking ethanol. Ethanol is “a colorless volatile flammable liquid C2H5OH that is the intoxicating agent in liquors and is also used as a solvent and in fuel—called also ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol,” according to Merriam-Webster.
It “can be fermented from many sources of starch, including corn, wheat, grain sorghum, barley, and potatoes, and from sugar crops such as sugar cane and sweet sorghum. Because there has been an abundant supply of corn, most of the ethanol made in the United States is from corn,” the University of Illinois Extension explains.
The Process of Extracting Cannabis Using Ethanol
Ethanol extraction is done with the use of alcohol as a solvent. Unlike other solvents such as butane, the advantage of ethanol is that it poses almost no risk of toxicity to the user.
Alcohol is often used as a solvent, and unlike CO2 extraction, ethanol extraction can be done without the use of expensive machinery. You can do it in your own home, but machines for ethanol extraction would provide you with a higher-quality product.
In this process, cannabis is soaked in ethanol and left to sit for a certain amount of time (usually for an hour). Since it’s a bipolar solvent, meaning it can mix with elements which do and do not blend well with water, it’s believed to be a better solvent than CO2.
After that amount of time passes, the plant material is removed from the container. The next step is to use evaporation to remove the alcohol and filter the remaining liquid.
One of the downsides, since ethanol pulls all sorts of materials from the plant, is that at-home production will usually leave you with a bitter-tasting product which is a darker green color.
Since ethanol is extremely flammable, this method should be performed with extreme caution. The temperature needs to be carefully controlled during the entire process, but especially during evaporation. Advanced machines will be able to control this easily, but people who try this method at home should be careful.
Why Ethanol Extraction?
The extraction of cannabis using ethanol is highly effective because it gets rid of all the residual solvents that could be in the final product. The ethanol extraction method offers producers to extract all terpenes and cannabinoids in the best way possible to come up with fine products.
Ethanol extraction is a cheap method of extracting cannabis and makes the best option for manufacturers to cut the cost. When it’s compared with other methods of extraction, ethanol extraction is one of the methods that come with a reduced start-up cost in terms of the equipment and labor needed. It also allows the use of state-of-the-heart equipment for extraction, which can be effectively automated and regulated by the use of a digital interface under very minimal intervention. The ethanol extraction method makes use of closed-loop systems, which ensures no solvent leaks hence preventing fire hazards.
Better CBD Oil Purity
The end product of the ethanol extraction process is high-quality CBD oil with up to 99% purity. The use of ethanol extraction is a highly adaptable method that squeezes cannabinoid extract from the cannabis plant. On various extractions, ethanol works well as a universal solvent since it’s capable of dissolving chlorophyll and some other plant matter as well as terpenes and cannabinoids. The whole cannabis oil extract comes alongside a chemical profile of the original plant matter without necessarily using harsh tasting plant matter.
Perfect Boiling Properties
Ethanol extraction can also efficiently boil terpenes and other matters, leaving potent and odorless cannabis oil. This oil type is the best for a tincture or edible infusion to get rid of cannabis taste, which is not pleasant to some users. Ethanol extraction is a suitable method due to its effectiveness and efficiency in the creation of pure and safe cannabis products. Within a controlled setting, ethanol is a powerful and affordable solvent, which creates extracts of high potent. These cannabinoid extracts then end up in cartridges, tinctures, edibles, topicals, which are common products in the list of the best CBD brands.
In a fast-growing cannabis industry, extraction companies play a very crucial role in the production of Top CBD Products. While there are several methods of extraction, each comes with ups and downs. Discussed in this article is how ethanol extraction works and why most manufacturers prefer using this method. Ethanol extraction stands above the pack because it can produce cannabis oils at a high purity level. This means high-quality products end up at the stores for consumers to benefit.