The popularity of cannabinoids, such as CBD, has been on the rise in recent years. As more and more people turn to these natural compounds for their potential health benefits, it’s important to understand the process of extracting these cannabinoids from the cannabis or hemp plant. One of the most important aspects of this process is the choice of solvent.
In this article, we will explore why water is the preferred solvent for cannabinoid extraction.
Different Types Of Cannabinoid Extraction
Before diving into why water is the preferred solvent for cannabinoid extraction, it’s important to understand the different types of extraction methods used. There are three main methods used to extract cannabinoids from the cannabis and hemp plant:
- Solvent-Based Extraction – This is a method that uses a chemical solvent, such as ethanol or CO2, to extract the cannabinoids from the plant. This method is widely used in the industry, and it’s considered to be one of the most common ways to extract cannabinoids. In the case of ethanol, the plant material is soaked in the solvent, which dissolves the cannabinoids and other compounds. The solution is then filtered, and the solvent is removed through evaporation, leaving behind a concentrated extract.
- Steam Distillation – Steam distillation uses steam to extract cannabinoids from the cannabis or hemp plant. This method is considered to be a safer and more environmentally friendly alternative to solvent-based extraction.
- Mechanical Separation – This involves using mechanical means, such as grinding or sieving, to separate the cannabinoids from the plant material.
Why Water Is The Preferred Solvent for Cannabinoid Extraction
There are several reasons why water is the preferred solvent for cannabinoid extraction:
- Safety – Water is non-toxic and non-flammable, making it a safe option for extracting cannabinoids. Other solvents, such as ethanol and CO2, require high pressure which can be dangerous.
- Purity – Water-based extraction results in a hyphenate product, that does not have any residual harmful solvents, such as butane or ethanol.
- Environmentally Friendly – Unlike some solvents, water is a renewable and sustainable resource. Other solvents, such as ethanol and butane, can be costly and harmful to the environment. Additionally, water-based extraction generates less waste, making it an environmentally friendly option.
- Cost-Effective – In most parts of the world, water is relatively inexpensive, making it a cost-effective option for extracting cannabinoids. Other solvents, such as ethanol and butane, can be expensive.
- Efficiency – Water-based extraction is a gentle process that preserves the integrity of the cannabis and hemp plant. This results in a higher yield of cannabinoids compared to other extraction methods.
- Allows for the extraction of all cannabinoids – Traditional extraction methods must utilize heat, while water-as-solvent technology does not. When heat is introduced to the hemp and cannabis plant, it causes a conversion of acidic cannabinoids to their neutral counterparts. For example, CBDA converts to CBD. By eliminating the need for heat, water-extraction technology is able to extract all cannabinoids, including the acidic ones, at a mass scale.
In conclusion, water is the preferred solvent for cannabinoid extraction due to its safety, purity, environmental friendliness, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency. Water-as-solvent technology is paving the way for a cleaner and safer way of extracting cannabinoids.