What is IPA Extraction?
Isopropyl Alcohol is a petroleum-based product that is a complete pure solvent and has no additional additives. IPA is very common as it is used in many lotions and cosmetics. IPA is regarded as safe and has multiple medical uses. IPA is one of the most favorable alternatives for oil extraction. Compared to other solvents like Ethanol and Hexane, IPA is significantly less toxic through contact and less flammable, while also free from restrictive government regulations.
Why Use IPA?
IPA in a non-polar organic solvent that is often preferred over butane, ethanol, and heptane extractions due to its effectiveness and cost. The low surface tension and high vapor pressure allows the IPA solvent to evaporate and distill quickly from the desired mixture while also leaving no traces of oils on the surface.
Different Extraction Methods for IPA
There are multiple extractions methods when using 99.9% Isopropyl Alcohol.
Cold Extraction: Also known as a Quick Wash, is the method of soaking ground hemp in subfreezing IPA in order to extract the desired compounds like cannabinoids.
Whole Flower Extraction: Using IPA to extract cannabinoids directly from the flower through multiple short contact experiments.
Scalability of IPA
IPA has a scalable extraction method. Being able to be accomplished for small-scale DIY extraction and just as easily used for large-scale manufacturing. The accessibility of IPA allows anyone to purchase this solvent and use it for extraction. The affordability of IPA keeps the extraction cost low and price competitive for large-scale operations and at-home operations compared to other solvents. IPA extraction provides a consistent profile of extracting the desired plant components and it allows for reliable high-quality results and a safe homogeneous final product that meets the supplier’s standards and the global market demands.
How to Use IPA Successfully for Extraction
IPA does have its dangers when not used properly. Using the wrong type of IPA such as a less percentage of isopropyl-based alcohol is very dangerous. For the extraction process, you must only use 99% Isopropyl based. The lower purity of alcohol-based Isopropyl will pull more water-soluble materials and with that comes unwanted impurities that are unsafe for consumption.
Straight IPA does contain alcohol and is unfit for human consumption and must be filtered out of the final product. Ensure that all IPA has been evaporated before consumption of cannabis concentrate.
Using IPA as a solvent for Cannabis extraction has its benefits and drawbacks just like any other solvent such as Ethanol. The danger of “dirty” non-pure final products that have not properly removed all of the IPA solvents can lead to unwanted health concerns. The major benefits of IPA are the availability of the solvent and affordability as well, which allows for small-scale consumers and large-scale manufacturers to extract and produce CBD products.