Extraction means the washing out of the active ingredients from the cannabis flower. There are several ways to achieve this goal.
Here the flowers are placed in solvents to dissolve the active ingredients in the resin and the plant.
Here the flower material is flushed with CO2. The CO2 takes the active ingredients from the plant and the resins. The CO2 is pressed through a tube filled with flowers. High pressures are necessary for this extraction.
Buthane extraction works very similar to CO2 extraction. The only difference is that this method does not use CO2, but rather butane gas.
Our Green Drops oils are produced by means of wet extraction. This has the advantage that the entire plant substance spectrum is preserved. Our oils contain not only the active ingredient cannabidiol (CBD), but also other cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes.
In the industry, winterizing means the removal of fats and waxes from the extract. These account for approx. 30% of the total volume.
In order to remove these, the extract must be enriched with solvent. It is then cooled down to -60°C so that the waxes and fats separate from the dissolved state. Then they can be filtered. After filtration, the oil is golden and no longer dark brown.
The supernatant from the filtration (fats and waxes) is used for the cosmetics industry, as these still contain a proportion of CBD. It can be used to produce creams and ointments.
Since solvents have to be used for winterizing, which is by no means desired in the final product, this is distilled off with a rotary evaporator. The brown bottle contains hemp oil mixed with solvent. The brown bottle prevents the cannabinoids from being destroyed by UV radiation.
On the top left of the picture is the distillation column (yellow). It is cooled down to about -10°C, so that the solvent vapour, which is produced in the brown flask by the heated water bath, can condense.
This model has an automatic feed as well as suction and automatic solvent extraction. This allows an evaporation rate of approx. 600L solvent within 24 hours. The employee only has to change the containers from time to time.
Removal of THC
THC can be removed in several ways. The best known and most commonly used methods are flash chromatography and sort-path distillation. The picture on the left shows a flash chromatography system. This is the largest available on the market and is well received by CBD producers.
This process enables the oil to be separated into its individual components very quickly. The operation is very simple, but there are costs for consumables.
With Short-Path Distillation it is not quite so simple. It is a difficult process because the individual cannabinoids have different evaporation points. In order not to lose the terpenes, the evaporation temperature must not exceed 40°C. To reach the boiling points of the individual components, a negative pressure is created. The process is not that simple and should be supervised by a specialist.
If flash chromatography was used, the carrier, a solvent/water mixture, must be removed. In most cases a rotary evaporator is used again for this purpose.
If a Short-Path distillation was used, this process step is omitted.
Drying and decarboxylation
At the end of the production process, the hemp oil freed from THC is dried. This should be done in an explosion-proof vacuum drying cabinet. This has special safety aspects integrated, so that residual gases and solvent vapours do not lead to an explosion in production.
Decarboxylation refers to the conversion of CBD-A into CBD. The CBD originating from the plant is not yet present. It is a CBD-A, which actually means that the CBD is still bound with an acid. This bond can be dissolved by heat. After this heat treatment the full spectrum extract is ready.
Dilution with edible oil
The extract is not an oil, it is a crystalline powder. This is diluted again with an oil. Any food oil can be used, such as hemp oil, olive oil, sunflower oil or an MCT oil.
We at Green Drops use a tasteless MCT oil made from pure coconut oil so that the "intense" taste of the cannabis plant can fully develop.
CBD oil is produced from the hemp blossom and must not be confused with the hemp edible oil produced from the hemp seeds.