Marijuana Business Magazine May-June 2020

Marijuana Business Magazine | May-June 2020 106 Nick Tanem, founder of cannabis extraction company Essential Extracts, based in California’s Bay Area, tries to pair certain cultivars with specific extraction processes. “We’re looking to represent that cul- tivar in its pristine condition,” he said. For example, the popular strain Blue Dream produces up to 24%more cannabinoids when it’s processed via the butane hydrocarbon method, according to Tanem, whereas it produces less than 5% cannabinoids when it’s run through a solvent-free process, or mechanical separation. Other strains such as GG#4 yield “extremely well” in both butane and solventless extraction. Another tip from Tanem: Plant material can be “washed,” or run through a water extraction process, up to four times to create oil for other products such as edibles or topicals. According to Tanem, GMO is a hot strain in the industry right now, with many people utilizing its high THC and terpene content to create potent products with a strong flavor. When using a solventless process to create live rosin, he prefers the product to be handled as little as pos- sible and then fresh frozen. The flower should be live when it’s “bucked,” or cut into quarter-size pieces to create more surface area, and then frozen. For hydrocarbon extraction, it’s less important to break apart the flower, as the solvent will penetrate the plant material and strip out the cannabinoids. Tanem also looks for dense trichome coverage to maximize oil production. Those trichomes should have a bulbous head containing a good amount of oil. A Soft Touch Over-processing material can lead to cannabinoid loss. “Each time you heat it up and cool it down, you’re destroying CBD,” Torf said. “The more times you process it, you’re losing control of the reaction.” Torf isn’t a fan of extremely cold solvents. He prefers a warmer temperature to help speed up the process of extracting the sought-after molecule. He also recommends using the freshest, cleanest solvent possible because it will have more volume to absorb cannabinoids and leave less behind in the plant material. Scientia Labs often extracts hemp biomass for CBD, and Torf watches to see how much CBD is lost in the process. For example, if his biomass material starts at 14% CBD and 2%-3% is lost, that ends up being a lot of material that could have been used. If a company focuses on a high yield, where it allows for more solvent and more time, the quality of the final product won’t deteriorate even when the yields are high. “There is a way to strike that balance, but you need a little patience,” Torf said. And it’s important to keep the tem- perature from getting too hot when extracting for a full-spectrum hemp extract. If it gets too hot, the terpenes will evaporate, Torf said. Similar to Tanem’s advice, Torf recommends grinding raw cannabis before extraction. The smaller the particle size, the less time it should need to extract, and more material can be placed into the machine, which increases throughput. ‘Fire In, Fire Out’ Knowing the type of product raw flower is destined for will have a large impact on the extraction process Essential Extracts pairs certain cultivars with specific extraction processes to achieve the best results. Photo courtesy of Essential Extracts Nick Tanem, founder of cannabis extraction company Essential Extracts, recommends ‘washing’ plant material several times to create more cannabis products. Photo courtesy of Essential Extracts BestPracticesInExtraction | Bart Schaneman