FEB 28, 2023 10:30 AM PST

How Are Cannabinoids Removed From The Plant?

WRITTEN BY: Helaine Krysik

The process of removing cannabinoids from the cannabis plant is referred to as extraction – a process most cannabis consumers are familiar with. What consumers might not be familiar with, however, is that there is more than one method of extraction. Here are some of the most common ones:

Solvent Extraction involves using ethanol, butane, or CO2 to extract the cannabinoids from the plant. The cannabis is placed in the solvent until the cannabinoids dissolve, creating a solution that is then filtered to strain out any remaining plant material. The strained solvent is then evaporated, which leaves behind the extract that contains the cannabinoids.  

Supercritical CO2 Extraction uses carbon dioxide to extract the cannabinoids, like that of the Solvent Extraction process. However, in Supercritical CO2, the CO2 is pressured and heated until it becomes a liquid and gas combination. The cannabis is then soaked in this supercritical CO2, dissolving the cannabinoids. After the resulting solution is collected, the CO2 evaporates, leaving behind the extract containing the cannabinoids.  

Steam Distillation uses steam to extract the cannabinoids from the plant, passing through the plant material, which causes the oils and cannabinoids to evaporate. The water vapor that is then left behind is collected and condensed, which separates the cannabinoids from the water for collection.

Rosin Press involves using heat and pressure to extract the cannabinoids from the plant, by placing the plant material between two heated plates, which are then pressurized. This process causes the cannabinoids to liquify and seep out of the plant, as an extract which is then collected.

While all these differing methods are highly effective ways of extracting cannabinoids, results can vary. The experience of the extractor, the equipment, and the plant can all affect the quality, purity, and the yield of the cannabinoids extracted.

Sources: Science Direct, Nature, Bloom Medicinals, Weedmaps

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Helaine is a cannabis industry writer and marketing consultant. She has been active in the Illinois cannabis industry since 2020, and writes for a variety of national publications.
You May Also Like
Loading Comments...