Marijuana Business Magazine October 2018

EXPERIMENTINGWITH NEWMETHODS M ost extraction labs experiment with techniques beyond the “big three” options of hydrocarbon, ethanol and CO2. At MedPharm Holdings’ lab in Denver, technicians are experimenting with a method using ethyl acetate that would increase throughput without an extrac- tion unit. CEO Albert Gutierrez wouldn’t divulge much detail, but he said the process wouldn’t require any expensive equipment. According to Gutierrez, this new technique would allow extractors to take flower right off the plant and extract it immediately – without waiting for it to be trimmed and cured, shaving days off his total extraction time. “You don’t have to dry it or do any of the decar- boxylation or winterization,” he said. “You can do some distillation and have a really high-quality prod- uct within 30-45 minutes. It’s really exciting.” JeffWilhoit, the director of extracts at Puffin Farm in Seattle, has been experimenting with liquid nitrogen. Wilhoit said the process is similar to making bubble hash, and it allows users to press the resulting extract into a rosin with high terpene content. “That one’s a lot of fun,” he said. “You can take a whole plant live and extract it using liquid nitrogen. You can take plants right out of the field.” The flower doesn’t have to be trimmed or cured first. Most of the new or alternative methods are difficult to employ at a commercial scale, said Jim Makoso, co-owner of Lucid Labs in Seattle. But using rosin presses, dry sieves or molecular sifting are tried- and-true methods. “When it comes to people who want the cleanest product that hasn’t touched a solvent, any number of those types of processes are normally what you’ll see incorporated into the process,” Makoso said. – Bart Schaneman Category Cost of Production & Equipment Product Quality Safety Efficiency Pros/Cons Hydrocarbon extraction machines have lower starting costs, while CO2 equipment is the most expensive. Hydrocarbon provides full- spectrum extract, while ethanol creates high- potency extract. CO2 extraction captures flavonoids and carotenoids. In the wrong hands, hydrocarbon can turn a facility into a fireball. CO2 can suffocate users, but it is not as explosive. Ethanol extraction is the most efficient at capturing simple cannabinoids, while hydrocarbon is most efficient at capturing the essence of the whole plant. Winner Hydrocarbon Too close to call CO2 Ethanol EXTRACTION SMACKDOWN RESULTS October 2018 • Marijuana Business Magazine • 63