Best Solvents For Extraction

Best Solvents For Extraction

What is Extraction?

Extraction refers to the process of removing THC/CBD compounds from the hemp plant and converting the desired compounds into oil, while also removing all impurities. There are many extraction methods including a solvent extraction which is stripping the compound CBD from hemp plants using such solvents like Ethanol, Butane, and heptane. 

Ethanol for Extraction

Ethanol is a plant-based solvent that is one of the most commonly used solvents for extraction due to its high effectiveness, simplicity, and scalability. Since, Ethanol is plant-based, it contributes to producing the most potent CBD because Ethanol can maintain the highest chemical ratios from the final hemp plant/product. There are two different techniques with Ethanol solvent extraction: cold and warm extraction. 

Cold Ethanol extraction creates CBD extracts with minimal impurities while producing the highest quantity of CBD extract. Some other pros of cold ethanol extraction are the speediness of the process, the lowest energy consumption process, and is one of the safest extraction methods while still yielding high-purity CBD extract. Drawbacks of this extraction method are the high cost of extraction. This process produces the final CBD extract faster and the purest form of CBD, but it’s extremely high extraction cost steer manufacturers to use the traditional Ethanol extraction, that being warm Ethanol.

N-Butane for Extraction

n-Butane is another very commonly used solvent for extraction due to its excellent ability of capturing cannabinoids and terpenes which makes for a high quantity of CBD extract and high quality as well. Butane is arguably the most efficient solvent for extraction and n-Butane is relatively cheap as well as easily available. However, the main concerns are the extremely high risk of an explosion due to its high flammability and the lack of automated options, meaning the extraction process is very hands on which drastically differs than Ethanol extractions. The extreme flammability of n-Butane doesn’t allow a manufacturer to scale up and another form of extraction is best advised for larger scale operations. 

Even though n-Butane yields high quantity amounts of pure CBD extract it is extremely flammable and doesn’t have the ability to scale up in size of production.

Heptane Versus Hexane

Heptane is the replacement solvent for Hexane which for many years was the preferred solvent for various forms of extraction like cottonseed. Heptane and Hexane are similar, but Heptane doesn’t have the environmental and health concerns that comes with Hexane. Both solvents have expensive operating cost as there are more expensive than Butane and safety precautions are necessary because both solvents in gas form are extremely flammable. Heptane does allow for scaling up of operations unlike n-Butane. 

Heptane and Hexane have been used in many different forms of extraction throughout the industry. These solvents for extraction are both well-known in the industry but they are just as flammable as n-Butane. However, Heptane is void of the negative health concerns that come with Hexane extraction.

How to Shop for Solvents?

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