As you exhale those tasty terpenes from your last dab or vape pen, do you ever wonder: How did some genius turn a green plant into a beautiful golden oil? Boy, I know I did. The following is an attempt to explain this cannabis complexity in the most basic terms possible.
The extract process refers to pulling the THCA, CBD and terpenes from the plant matter. This process typically uses a mix of butane and propane to break the trichomes (tiny little sacs that form on the leaves and buds that contain the THCA and the terpenes) from the plant. This is done by basically freezing the plant and snapping off the trichomes. Butane and below freezing air facilitate this process. The cannabis is frozen and poured into large sacks that fit into extraction chambers.
These large chambers are carefully bolted into an extraction machine that will allow the gas to travel through the cannabis, removing the trichomes, fats and lipids.
After the gas has traveled through the cannabis long enough to extract the majority of the THCA and the terpenes, crude oil is expelled.
This crude oil needs to be winterized, which is done by combining the crude oil with liquid ethanol, and then frozen or run through a roto-Vape, a device that winterizes at a faster rate.
The freezing process separates the fats and lipids from the THCA and terpenes. After winterization is complete the final process begins, called purging. The oil is placed into vacuum ovens that heat at very even rates throughout and purge the extraction gas from the final oil. This process takes several days and will result in a dab-able product, containing less than 500 parts per million of residual solvent, or in many cases, zero parts.
When completed, processors end up with a large Pyrex pan filled with several hundred grams of concentrate. From here, the product can go in two directions…
If it is high quality and desirable to be dabbed, it heads for packaging, where a jar is placed on a scale and a weighing technician carefully weighs out one gram, seals it up, and packages for sale on your local rack.
If it is not high quality, the oil will be further purified using distillation.
This process involves running the oil over a heated glass cylinder. At different temperatures, certain compounds are able to be removed, including THCA. However, when exposed to the heat of glass walls, the THCA is converted to THC, and all the terpenes (that which gives cannabis its natural taste and benefits) dissipate. The oil is run through this process several times until the desirable level of clarity is achieved.
This final product can be used in the production of edibles as well as vape pens.
While shopping at Greeley Gallery, be sure to checkout our full selection of dabs and vape pens, or checkout our menu online.