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5 key steps in cannabis extraction

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Cannabis extract falls under the category of cannabis concentrates. Extracts are created using solvents to separate the cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant. There’s so much to discuss when it comes to cannabis extract. But this article will outline the five key steps in cannabis production and how they are carried out.


Cannabis extraction works to concentrate target components for specific products. A range of solvents can be used to extract cannabinoids including CO2, ethanol, propane, and petroleum ether. All of these solvents allow for separating cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. Each extraction method has its own benefit, but the goal of each is to offer a highly potent end product.

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The crude oil(made up of cannabinoids, THC/CBD, waxes, fats, lipids, and terpenes) is then winterized to remove the unwanted lipids, fatty acids, and waxes once the oil is mixed with a polar solvent (usually ethanol) and subjected to a sub-zero temperature range for 24 hours, it is then filtered through a centrifuge, Buchner Funnel or a filter press.

Solvent Recovery

Solvent recovery is the step in cannabis extraction where the majority of the solvent in the crude cannabis extract is removed, which is the most time-consuming step and can be a true bottleneck in production. Tools such as high-speed evaporators are well-suited to significantly decreasing the time taken to achieve solvent recovery. This process is vital, as it separates the bulk of the ethanol from the oil, which can then be reused in a closed-loop system.


Decarboxylation is the process in cannabis extraction which involves converting THCA and CBDA into THC and CBA via heating and drying and produces the desired effects when consumed. It is a chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group using heat or chemicals. Decarboxylation traditionally requires the use of a reactor, chiller, condenser, and vacuum pump and will take up to ten hours. The time-consuming nature comes from using thermal fluid to heat the extract which is a very inefficient process.

5 Key Steps In Cannabis Extraction
5 Key Steps In Cannabis Extraction


To further refine the cannabis extraction, the oil goes through distillation allowing for precise control over the end product’s cannabinoid profile.
There are two different ways—short path and wiped film: Both options use vapor pressure (vacuum depth) to reach the lowest possible boiling points for compounds to avoid degrading what we’re trying to capture—so either way, you’ll end up with a high-quality end product..

Works Cited: The 5 Steps of Cannabis Extraction