Using chemical solvents to extract and concentrate marijuana has become a question of health risk, simultaneous with the rise of more varied cannabis extraction methods. Society is becoming more aware and wary of choosing products with heavy processing, and the attitude of many consumers toward the cannabis industry is no exception. Shrewd cannabis businesses have thus begun adopting methods guaranteed to be more pure and safe, forgoing the use of chemical solvents.
Comparing Solvent and Solventless Methods
Solvents have been, and continue to be, widely used in cannabis extraction to pull out the desired compounds and leave the excess plant materials behind. As these substances are chemicals, modern consumers of marijuana and those in charge of making policies within the industry have become concerned about the safety of this method. Though using these solvents is considered quite efficient, there are increasing doubts about whether these methods are safe to use in products used daily. From residual chemical traces to the real dangers of manufacturing with dangerous and flammable materials, consumers are looking to solventless forms of production. This is done by forgoing the potentially toxic properties of butane, propane, ethanol, and carbon dioxide.
Alternative methods of avoiding chemicals altogether can be carried out in various ways. However, all of them use purely physical means of separating and extracting concentrated cannabis products for the public. Using varying degrees and forms of heat, cold, water, and pressure, the strong and beneficial compounds of the marijuana plant can be pulled out safely without risking exposure to harmful toxins. However, consumers need to be aware that not all forms of concentrates can be reproduced without the use of a solvent. Informed consumers must review their options and do their research before settling on the right product for their situation, priorities, and needs.
Hash is the oldest form of solventless cannabis concentrate, existing before solvents were even a common practice. This classic form of solvent-free marijuana consumption is produced by compressing kief, another solventless concentrate made from the rich trichome appendages of the cannabis flower. This compression can be carried out in various forms, from using water and ice to rubbing fresh flower buds and separating the valued trichomes by scraping them off and forming a cluster. As is the case with cannabis products, the color, appearance, and quality of hash is rooted in the originating strain, the form of harvesting, and the conditions in which the original plant was grown. However, all forms of hash are renowned for their ability to offer consumers a fragrant and aromatic experience to enjoy the benefits of cannabinoids and terpenes.
Kief, and by extension hash, can also be produced through a dry-sift method. Essentially, this entails using various mesh screens to filter dried and fresh marijuana flowers, separating the powdered kief from excess plant matter. This can be achieved either by shaking or agitating the buds through mechanical means over mesh screens. Kief itself can be a great addition to joints or edibles and can also be formed into hash, which can then be dabbed and vaporized. Another version of dry sift features grinders with multiple chambers, separating the valued trichome outgrowths and placing them in a designated chamber. Those using this form of sifting can add together trichomes from various plants, creating a more complex product.
Hash can also be produced using ice water. More specifically, this method of extraction makes use of water and ice, agitation, filtration tools or bags, and mesh screens of different sizes to isolate the beloved trichomes. Water can be a fantastic, solventless alternative, as the cannabinoids of the trichomes are not soluble in water. Using fresh frozen marijuana plants is even better, making for ease of trichome removal. As an added bonus, some shred manufacturers have found that freeze-drying hash preserves their product effectively. This avoids loss of potency since there is no excess exposure to water or air, with damaging forces for strength, taste, and smell.
Rosin has become a popular option for those looking to go solventless. Typically, rosin, like that used in PAX pods in Los Angeles, is made by applying pressure and heat to marijuana flowers or kief. The result is an amber-colored resinous sap-like material known for its strength, purity, and ability to impart distinct flavor profiles. Simple and rudimentary processes using a hair straightener and parchment paper can work just as well as an industrial press to put the finishing touches on rosin. The resulting product often has a rigid consistency like shatter, though many other softer textures are possible. The color of the final product can also vary, from darker shades to a golden hue. One softer variety of rosin is rosin budder, a whipped version of the original concentrate. This is achieved by using agitation and heat, creating an opaque product that looks like butter or frosting. The consistency can vary slightly, from more sauce-like concentrates to crumbly matter.
Since the legalization of marijuana and products like PAX Era pods in Los Angeles is a recent and ongoing event, so is the development of technology and innovation. The cannabis industry has the potential to branch out and make itself into an even more wide-reaching and varied corner of the market than it already is. As such, consumers eager to have more new solventless options for cannabis consumption only need to be patient, as further developments are sure to burst onto the scene in the coming years.