Various Extraction techniques are used to separate the bio active components of cannabis plants and remove them from the plant matrix. The cannabis extraction techniques are often used to isolate specific desirable compounds.
The cannabis (marijuana, hemp) plant has been used for medicinal purposes for millennia. In addition to terpenes and flavonoids, over 100 types of therapeutically active compounds known as cannabinoids have been identified in these plants. The two most important and well-known cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
Due to significant synergy between different cannabinoids and terpenes it is considerably more beneficial to utilize natural cannabis-based preparations, rather than any single purified or synthetic cannabinoid and hence a non-selective extraction method is adviced and to be adopted.
In recent years, concentrated extracts of cannabis plants (shatter, crumble, budder, wax, oil) have become very popular because they allow many convenient routes of administration. Concentrates are viscous and frequently very sticky substances that can be produced by extraction with solvents such as petroleum hydrocarbons (e.g., propane, butane, hexane, petroleum ether, naphtha) subcritical or supercritical CO2, and alcohols (e.g., ethanol, isopropanol). Extraction is followed by solvent evaporation, which yields the “pure” and very potent concentrate.
As more governments and its states legalize the medicinal usage of cannabis, there must be a safe and efficient methodology to extract and isolate the phytocannabinoids.
Several common forms of cannabis extraction rely on a solvent. In brief, the cannabis plant material is soaked in solvent or a solvent system, the plant material is then removed, the liquid filtered, and the solvent is removed with some form of evaporation.