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- Jim Carey, Ph.D.

July/August 2020, Issue 14: Extraction Magazine

During the last several years, extraction of the soluble components of Cannabis sativa has greatly matured. What was done on a very small scale several years ago is now being performed on the order of 1x106 lbs per month scale today. [1] The three main solvents used for extraction are ethanol, hydrocarbon, and supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2).

With ethanol extraction, dried and ground plant material is exposed to ethanol at a controlled temperature. The main disadvantage of this process is that the expensive alcohol is lost in the plant material at the end of the run; even if methods are endeavored to recapture the ethanol, there will still be loss. Ethanol is “Generally Regarded as Safe” (GRAS), which is a key advantage.

Hydrocarbon solvents have high extraction efficiencies and are inexpensive. The dried and ground plant material is exposed to the hydrocarbon, again at controlled temperatures, although some of these solvents, such as ethanol, can be used at room temperature. The key disadvantage of this approach is the flammability of the solvents, which in some cases are potentially explosive. Human exposure must also be safely managed. Solvents in this class have defined health risks with exposure...

To continue reading this article, view/download now. It can be found on page 28.

Extraction Magazine July/August Table of Contents

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