We are all widely familiar with cannabis-infused treats: lollipops, mints, drinks, and of course the never-ending plethora of chocolates. But what is the best extraction method to yield the most perfect confections?
There are many effective ways to extract cannabis oil from raw plant material. But of the various extraction methods, two are the most popular in the industry: Butane extraction (BHO) and CO2 extraction. In the BHO method, the solvent is put under pressure and introduced to the raw plant material in order to extract the cannabinoids and chlorophyll. The residual solvents are then collected and disposed of, and the product is then treated with heat and vacuum pressure to create the final product. In CO2 extractions, the raw plant material is pulverized with “supercritical” CO2 under pressure, stripping the cannabinoids from the raw plant material and leaving us with an amber colored, untreated, waxy substance. This amber substance then goes through a process called “winterization”, which transforms the amber wax into a more concentrated, dark, tar-like substance that is considered the most concentrated form of cannabis oil.
Of the two extraction methods, CO2 extraction is generally preferred for obtaining oil for edibles. CO2 extraction renders a purer product, eliminating the concern of the chemical content in the solvent that oftentimes remains present in Butane extraction. Butane extraction also has the potential to leave a highly undesirable flavor. Although Butane extraction is unfavorable for use in edibles, it is a highly popular extraction method for smoke-friendly products, such as waxes and live-resin that are used for dabbing.
After the oil/ wax has been extracted, it is hyper-important that each and every extraction is sent to a testing facility to test for a wide range of variables, such as potency, residual solvent content, microbial, as well as other factors upon request by either the state or the company itself. For most edibles companies, three separate rounds of testing are done to ensure that the variables remain the same throughout the process. The entire testing process is invaluable in ensuring that the efficacy of the edibles is as accurate as the company states on their packaging. If at any time during the process there is a conflict in test results, the company would be required to test again, potentially to a different lab for a second opinion.