Ethanol (alcohol, also known as ethanol alcohol) extraction


Ethanol is a colorless, volatile and flammable liquid. It is used as an intoxicant in all spirits, beer and wine, and is also used to dilute motor fuels. Ethanol has been used for plant extraction for thousands of years and there is no reason to stop producing it now, which is one of the reasons why ethanol is still one of the most popular solvents for extracting valuable cannabinoids (such as CBD and THC) from hemp and marijuana today. Not only is ethanol fairly easy and safe to use, but it also has a relatively quick learning curve even for rookie extractors.
The great thing about ethanol is that it can offer incredible versatility. It's perfect for extracting the desired diversity of cannabis and cannabis end products. And, if handled properly, it leaves no residual solvent in the final product, which is why it is considered a "clean" solvent.
Ethanol has the ability to produce a wide range of cannabinoid derivatives, making it an ideal solvent for small-scale cannabis "connoisseur" processors (who may target a variety of full-spectrum cannabinoids and terpenes) as well as larger processors seeking to isolate specific cannabinoids.
When directly compared to the other two most commonly used solvents for direct cannabis extraction (CO 2 and hydrocarbons), the extraction process with ethanol is generally safer and easier.
Ethanol is less explosive and toxic, and is therefore largely considered safer to operate compared to ethanol extraction systems.
The risk of explosion is much lower with ethanol than with CO 2 extraction systems that must operate under high pressure.
Ethanol extraction equipment is much cheaper than CO2 extraction equipment website.
Ethanol extraction provides a higher throughput (how much biomass or plant material can be extracted in a given time or batch) than slower CO 2 extraction.
Ethanol is one of the easiest forms of cannabis extraction to learn, which makes it easier and faster to train operators. This simplicity is mainly due to the fact that the ethanol extraction process does not require a solvent change of phase, which is the case in the CO 2 and hydrocarbon methods. Phase change involves the manipulation of pressure in a sealed system and requires more in-depth training to ensure a successful result.
To understand why ethanol is such a versatile solvent, we need to put on our chemist's hat and then look at how ethanol extracts cannabis and cannabis compounds at the molecular level.
Ethanol's solubility, or its "dissolve like" quality, makes it efficient.
Understanding solubility (the ability of a particular substance to dissolve in another substance) and its underlying mechanism is probably the most critical information that defines the role of ethanol in the extraction of cannabinoids.
At the molecular level, there are usually two different classes of molecules, polar and non-polar.
Polar compounds will mix or dissolve with other polar compounds
Non-polar compounds will mix or dissolve with other non-polar compounds
This is what we mean when we say "dissolve like".
The most common non-polar molecules we encounter are lipids and fats, such as cooking oils and motor oils. The most common polar molecule we encounter is water.
Ethanol can be both polar and non-polar. This makes it extremely versatile and therefore ideal for extracting various cannabinoids and other compounds such as aromatic terpenes from cannabis and hemp. Ethanol's ability to extract a wide range of compounds is very useful for "full spectrum" derivatives.
Ethanol is uniquely positioned to solubilize most micro-polar and slightly polar molecules, which are many different molecules in cannabis and hemp!
How does ethanol extraction work?
The target compounds (the molecules we are trying to extract and separate from the rest) typically include cannabinoids such as THC and CBD as well as terpenes. All of these compounds are fat soluble. This is ideal because ethanol dissolves fats very well. Therefore, if you intend to make edible, full-spectrum end products of cannabinoid derivatives, the ability to extract these compounds with ethanol would be an advantage.
The polarity of ethanol can be slightly modulated/adjusted simply by changing its temperature. This makes it a very flexible extraction tool.
The colder the ethanol is, the higher its affinity for fat-soluble compounds, and therefore, the more efficient it is at extracting cannabinoids and terpenes. Also, if ethanol is used warm or at room temperature for extraction, it will not only "pull" the cannabinoids, but will also "absorb" a wider range of terpenes and other water-soluble compounds.
While ethanol has flexibility, it does have its limitations. If your goal is to specifically isolate certain cannabinoids (e.g., to isolate THC or CBD), ethanol may not be the ideal solvent for you, as it does not target individual compounds well. Before determining if ethanol is right for you, make sure you know what you want your end product to be.
Ethanol, while flexible, does have its limitations. If your goal is to produce a connoisseur level "live" product (emphasizing the terpene content of the original plant), ethanol may not be the ideal solvent for you because it does not separate from the terpenes and therefore extracts well. Make sure you know what you want your end product to be before you determine if ethanol is right for you.
Ethanol Extraction Process
The ethanol extraction process begins by immersing the biomass in cooled or room temperature ethanol to extract the terpenes and/or cannabinoids. The resulting solution is then evaporated using heat and vacuum to remove any residual solvent to obtain a crude extract. The crude concentrate can then be further distilled and refined to yield a purified CBD, THC or CBG fraction in preparation for separation from other cannabinoids by affinity chromatography.
The usual flow of the ethanol extraction process is shown below (for our purposes here, it is the low temperature ethanol extraction process flow).
Cooling: Pre-chill the ethanol solvent to as low as -40°C using a DC-40 direct chiller as described to reduce the need for post-extraction steps.
Extraction: The biomass is immersed in the cooled ethanol solvent and stirred through a CUP series closed-loop mechanical centrifugation to extract the cannabinoids.
Particle filtration: removal of suspended particles and sorbents
Solvent evaporation: removal of ethanol from crude oil using a falling film evaporator (FFE)
Decarboxylation: heating the original "acidic" versions of the cannabinoid molecules (e.g. THCA, CBDA and CBGA) to release the carboxyl molecular groups as CO 2 and convert them to more consumable versions (e.g. THC, CBD and CBG).
Rolled film distillation (RFD) is used to separate (distill) purified THC, CBD, CBG or other desired molecules from the crude oil.
Chromatography can be used for spectroscopic analysis or to separate fractions into isolated compounds.
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