Solventless concentrates are what results when flower is refined to separate plant matter from the essential oils, terpenes, and cannabinoids.
Solventless concentrates are highly potent concentrates extracted from flower using no chemicals. Typically, concentrates are highly potent. For example, the THC percentage of cured flowers, on average, ranges from 15% to 30%, whereas concentrates lie anywhere between 60% to 90%. The most common extraction method utilizes hydrocarbons (such as butane or propane) as a solvent to separate oil from the plant matter for products such as shatter, wax, diamonds, and vape cartridges.
Solventless extraction is an alternative method using zero chemicals and resulting in a cleaner, high-quality hash. Made in smaller batches, solventless concentrates are usually higher in cost; however, these products contain the full terpene and cannabinoid profile unique to the cultivar. Solventless products usually come in two forms: Ice Water Concentrate and Rosin.
Ice Water Concentrate
Ice Water Concentrate extraction when agitated the trichome heads separate from the flower with ice and water. Trichome heads are the ‘crystals’ you see on both growing and finished flowers; these contain the entirety of the cannabinoid and terpene makeup of the plant. By extracting only the trichomes, you are actually capturing the true essence of the unique cultivar. The cultivator cures and dries the material, resulting in a sandy texture.
Ice Water Concentrates range in quality. The quality of a concentrate ranges from one to six stars (six being the most refined), based on the various levels of filtration. One to two-star rated concentrates contain more plant matter than five- and six-star-rated concentrates. Upon vaporization, these higher-rated concentrates leave behind no residue, thus making them ‘full melt’. Achieving full melt is delicate and difficult, requiring elite starting material and painstaking effort in the extraction process.
The Solventless Process
The extraction process begins with fresh plants placed in sub-zero temperatures to preserve the terpenes and prevent material from accumulating in the resin. This allows the finished product to retain the natural aromas that enhance the smoking experience. After freezing, the plants go into a work bag. Then, they go in a food-grade mixing machine filled with cold, ice water. The mixture of ice, water, and trichome heads pass through layers of ‘bubble bags.’ These contain various levels of filtration, separating the trichome heads into uniform sizes.
After pouring through the bubble bags, the concentrated resin gets removed from each bag and placed on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. It will act as a desiccant and draw the moisture out of the collected concentrate. Next, the sheets go into a freeze dryer to ensure moisture-free, resulting in a fine, vaporizable sand-like texture.
Rosin comes in two forms, homogenized and unhomogenized. Homogenized rosin forms when all the trichomes of Ice Water Concentrate blend and become rosin as a mixture. In contrast, unhomogenized rosin is not blended and keeps the filtration levels unique. Also, rosin utilizes mechanical methods to create concentrates and is very popular in the cannabis market.
Rosin requires a combination of heat and pressure to liquefy the oils. This process simultaneously separates the plant material, resulting in an extract that preserves the plant’s natural terpene and cannabinoid profiles. Placing cannabis flower on a piece of parchment paper between two heated plates on a rosin press will concentrate. The press controls the various heat levels, pressure, and time to fine-tune each extraction based on the starting material’s needs. Each strain type and bud structure can vary on the heat and pressure required to capture the highest yield possible.
How Point7 Can Help
Point7 supports our clients by presenting the different forms of cannabis consumption and determining which methods best aid their business needs. New products are emerging and evolving constantly. Some states place limitations on the types of products a cannabis business can produce or sell. Overall, it is essential to understand the local market and the patient/consumer demand for each product type.