Extraction Explained: How to Make Cannabis Extracts – Live Resin, Shatter, Craft Concentrates & More

Hey guys, Nick with Precision here and today I’m gonna teach you a brief overview on how to make every extract under the sun. So what I want to start off talking about is live resin and why live resin is so relevant in the market and why you guys hear this this term being thrown around rather commonly. So live resin, the entire process really, takes into account harvesting the plant while it’s still technically “alive”. So you’re harvesting the plant, you’re not drying the plant, and what you’re actually doing is taking those flowers and putting them into a vacuum type food saver device and freezing them right away. So you can imagine like harvesting fresh blueberries or strawberries obviously you want to pick at the peak of ripeness, so that you have the maximum amount of terpenes, the maximum amount of smell, flavor and all the positive attributes of that plant. And you’re actually freezing that in time by putting it into a freezer once you put it into the vacuum bag.

Now it’s very common for some people to deep freeze that could be all the way down to -40C or -80C. I would say most commonly it’s somewhere between -10C and -40C, so once we have this material harvested and we have it frozen in vacuum bags – ultimately what we’re going to do is we’re going to extract it and we’re going to extract it with hydrocarbons. The reason that we use hydrocarbons is because it’s a very gentle process. The process of using hydrocarbons will actually take those cannabinoids and those terpenes out without disturbing a lot of the other plant-based matrices that are in there, and our result ultimately is a extract that is very, very close to the native plant. So when you smell the extract of the plant that we’ve extracted via a live resin process what will happen is you’ll actually smell the original orientation of that plant, it you’ll have those original flavors and they’ll be extremely robust, extremely profound in the way that you’re actually smelling and almost tasting it when you consume the product.

Now the best analogy is if we keep that freshness preserved we eliminate the oxidation, the degradation, and all the things that can kind of take that “fresh fruit” so to speak or that “fresh cannabis” and turn it into rotten cannabis so to speak or rotten fruit. And that’s oxidation, that’s degradation from the environment that could be disruption or degradation from high temperature solvents. So with live resin were always focused on preserving that natural state of the plant. We’re focused on freezing that biomass right away, and we’re focused on ultimately extracting it at very cold temperatures to retain our terpenes, to extract the cannabinoids in a very gentle fashion, and ultimately to have a highly, highly desired end product that’s artisanal and a vast majority of consumers enjoy in terms of theirs their satisfaction of consumption as well as their ability to just actually taste and smell the product once it’s been on the shelf for a while.

So that’s just an overview on live resin and the next thing I’d really like to talk about and give you guys an overview on is shatter. So you may have seen shatter in the retail dispensaries and things like that and ultimately with shatter we’re trying to get that end product from a sort of a plant-based entrapment of those cannabinoids and those terpenes to a glass-like finish. So it’s very common at room temperature for shatter you hit it and it’ll shatter almost like a piece of glass. To get that consistency there’s certain aspects of extraction, certain things that you want to deal with. Shatter first and foremost is always made with hydrocarbon, and the preparation of the biomass is almost always under every circumstance dried very, very, very, very well almost to a five percent or lower humidity.

We want to avoid a lot of that water that would be pulled out with the solvent, and we ultimately want to extract that product at a cold temperature in order to avoid a lot of the lipids and fat profiles that you might create by extracting with a warmer temperature solvent. Hydrocarbon is obviously ideal for this because not only can we extract with hydrocarbon cold but it’s hydrophobic so that the water is going to be separated very easily from the hydrocarbon, but in addition to that it’s going to extract that cannabinoid profile and it’ll extract those terpenes with leaving behind, because of the cold temperature, a lot of those fats, waxes, and other adulterants that we don’t want in our end product.

So when making shatter are ultimately extracting the dry biomass with the cold solvent we’re going to take that to a finishing process which is called vacuum oven purging. So once we have our shatter and we want to vacuum oven purge it, what we do is we we spread this out on vacuum oven trays and we go into a very low vacuum, very deep vacuum with a mild temperature increase from atmospheric. So a temperature increase depending on methodologies it ranges vary widely depending an operator but it could be anywhere from 75 Fahrenheit to will say 105 degrees Fahrenheit would be a common operational range, and we’re always trying to get to a very deep vacuum we’re talking about 28-29 inches of mercury – very, very deep in terms of being able to purge out those residual solvents. So not only do we have a solvent free product but purging out the residual solvents and the terpenes is also going to take away some of that some of that added viscosity and really get that product to the point where it’s like a glass-like consistency. And we commonly call those as they’re coming out of the oven “slabs”, sometimes they look like Swiss cheese, sometimes they’ll they’ll be you know a perfect slab of glass, sometimes they’ll flip over.

And it can vary between a complete glass-like type consistency and it can also vary to you know sort of like Jolly Rancher or warm Jolly Rancher type consistency – but the good part about this process is to make shatter using hydrocarbon you can generally still make a very good end product on biomass that’s been properly dried properly preserved even though it does have maybe a little bit of degradation it does have a little bit of oxidation of the cannabinoids and loss of the terpenes it’s okay because you can still make a very very credible saleable product that’s widely consumed in the form of shatter.

And optimizing that process as a way that you can create a lot of revenue for your extraction company. So the next thing that I’d like to talk about is diamonds. Terp sauce. There’s all sorts of crazy names, “the sauce” – that they coined for this type of extract and really what we’re after on this type of extract is terpene preservation. So it starts off very much like a live resin process in the fact that we’re harvesting these these buds or these flowers in a live state, we’re freezing them, and we’re ultimately preserving those terpenes. Because terpenes are very volatile compounds in general. Too much heat they evaporate and they get degraded by heat, they get degraded by processes, they get degraded by solvent – so we want to use a very light solvent, like a light hydrocarbon, and in this case mostly moving towards a propane dominant blend.

Propane has a much lower boiling point which means it’s much more volatile in terms of removing it from the end product – easier to remove from the end product is another way to word that. So ultimately extracting this live resin like prepared biomass with a propane dominant or a lighter hydrocarbon dominant blend at low temperatures and ultimately what we end up with is we end up with this extract that really becomes a sort of miscella of the cannabinoids but also a very amount high amount of terpene content.

And as I stated before the terpenes are quite volatile and any sort of heat, any sort of degradation, even just being an atmosphere for too long can degrade those terpenes. So imagine this kind of cannabinoid and terpenes sludge coming out of the machine because we’ve preserved them up to that point. Immediately usually what’s done with sauce and live resin is you’re taking the terpenes and generally spinning them off in a classified centrifuge. The reason we use the classified centrifuge is because there’s still a little bit of solvent in there, so we just want to be cautious, but what that ultimately does is it spins off the terpenes and it separates a terpene layer from the cannabinoid layer. You separate those two now there’s a variety of different production processes that go back into this. In some cases if you’re if you’re doing crystallization you can leave a little bit of solvent in there and you can ultimately recrystallize the THC-a through a supersaturation method. You can ultimately take the cannabinoids off from that terpene fraction and decarboxylate the cannabinoids and then add the terpenes back in – and that’s how you make live resin pens.

So for example you know once that decarboxylated cannabinoid profile is there you take your original terpenes blend them back in and it’s going to give you the viscosity in order for the pen or the vape cartridge to be able to uptake and atomized that extract. And make, again this is an extract that is absolutely in line with the original orientation of the plant, the original smells, flavors terpenes, and the uniqueness. It’s very cool because you have such variety within these plants and to capture the native essence of that plant and to reconstitute it and to several consumable forms is a massive value add for an extraction business. And if you look at some of the best extraction companies in the world that do this, this is exactly what they do and this is exactly how they do it. So on the flip side of what we’ve spoken about here which has mainly been artisanal type extracts and hydrocarbon extracts. Let’s talk about crude oil, let’s talk about distillate, let’s talk about the high-value type extracts.

So crude oil is exactly what it sounds if you think about crude oil coming out of the ground in like petrochemicals or something like that. It’s an oil that has a lot of adulterants in it. It needs a lot of refinement. It needs to go through further processes in order to be consumable or in a consumable form. So what we’re looking for with crude oil on an extraction is really any type of biomass but preferred dried biomass low-grade biomass that can be purchased cheap and ultimately refined into something of high value. So if we’ve got for example you know a thousand pounds of biomass sitting it’s been sitting for six months, we’re not going to be able to make really a credible shatter product out of that, we’re not going to be able to make a credible live resin, definitely not going to be able to make any sort of high terpene extract or anything out of that.

But what we can do is we can maximize the extraction of the cannabinoids out of that biomass with a generally warmer solvent – of course there’s ways that you can do it with a cold solvent. And this can be done with hydrocarbon or ethanol. This is where ethanol becomes really applicable it becomes really easy it becomes really user friendly and cost-conscious. And this is where you can still use hydrocarbon but not as efficient of a method as ethanol for bulk crude oil. So what we actually do is we take our biomass we load it in and we’ll saturate it with ethanol for a given amount of time.

Ultimately we take that miscella stream is what we call it which is the cannabinoids and all the other stuff that comes out of the plant along with the solvent and we evaporate that solvent off. Once that solvents evaporated off ultimately we have our crude oil. Now this crude oil has got all sorts of chlorophyll and whatever came along with the plant and any sort of adulterants in there. Generally it’ll have a lot of fats, waxes, and lipids in there that generally come out of the plant in extraction. So there’s a variety of refinement processes. One of the most common processes to refine is to get to distillate and that’s what I’d like to chat about next.

So let’s talk about guys how that distillate actually gets made. Now distillate is a process that’s made through distillation so quite commonly or to break it down in really simple terms if you’re putting a pot of water on the stove and ultimately that water is boiling and turning into vapor – that’s a process of distillation. That water is being distilled into the atmosphere in the form of vapors. So that’s exactly what we’re trying to do with the cannabinoids in the crude oil. We’re actually trying to take those cannabinoids, we’re trying to vaporize them, and ultimately we’re going to recollect them in a more concentrated form. But before we can distill there’s several other things we need to do.

We need to make sure that there’s no adulterants in that distillate or in that crude oil that are going to inhibit making the distillate. So those things can be waxes, they can be chlorophylls, they can be fats, lipids, all sorts of weird stuff that can come over in a very rough crude extraction. The way that we refine that is we commonly use winterization processes, we also commonly use fine filtration, there’s guys that use what are called adsorbent – which could be diatomaceous earth or activated carbons in order to clean up some of these undesirables from this crude oil in order to make it into distillate. But ultimately once it’s passed through a distillation process it’s normally used a what’s called a fractional distillation, or a wiped film distillation process when you’re at scale.

We’re taking those cannabinoids and we’re evaporating them and we’re re-concentrating them. So what happens is we take this very, very poor quality biomass, turn it into a really rough crude oil, but ultimately extract the we’ll call it “the goodies” – but the cannabinoids out of that crude oil and concentrate them in a very refined format. That can be remixed in and reconstituted into several different products. This process is awesome because it can literally take any grade of biomass and turn it into a shelf-stable, replicatable, scalable, repeatable product that has a consistency across the board for end-users expectations. For example, you get Pepsi every time it tastes like Pepsi every time you don’t want it to taste like Coke one time or taste like you know RC Cola the next time. You want consistency and a repeatable fashion for which to make your product. So last product that I want to talk about is isolates and isolates are made from actually in almost all cases distillate. So we’re taking this crude oil remember as we spoke about with distillate, refining it into a distilled product.

So we have this distilled product and the potency of that can be anywhere from say a little very low-end 75 percent on the very high-end 95 percent – but it’s not 100% pure. And what we’re gonna do with that distillate is we’re actually going to go through a secondary refinement process called crystallization, isolation of these individual cannabinoids. So each one of these cannabinoids has a molecular structure and based upon what that molecular structure looks like we can come up with ideal ways to actually crystallize and crash out of solution these individual molecules. This is a very common process in chemistry.

It’s used very widely and it’s ultimately how CBD isolate is made, it’s ultimately how THCA diamonds are made, it’s a process of crystallization. So how we do that is we use a selective solvent the selective solvent most often used is hydrocarbon. Very often it’s either butane or pentane in order to make these isolates. And what happens is you actually take your distillate and you mix it into either the pentane or the butane if it’s THCA depending on what you’re trying to do and you have your distillate or your fine cannabinoids back in matrices at that point it’s back in that now that miscella of hydrocarbon and cannabinoids.

And what happens is over time and over a temperature ramp spike curve and over a slow period of time these cannabinoids will start to actually crystallize. And they’ll form one little crystal and it will grow upon itself. As we reduce the saturation of the solvent they actually fall out of solution. So what will happen is you’ll almost see like rock candy or crystal-like formation growing. Once those crystals are fully formed they can be harvested and once you optimize this process you actually have nearly 100% purity on any given compound. Now there can be adulterants you know that gets stuck on the crystals that need to be washed off but in ideal state this is something that you can refine up to say a good benchmark is 99 to 99.5 percent if you’re a really good chemist you can get it up close to 99.7 to 99.9.

This is where that last little bits very, very hard to get, but there is ways to do that. So if we look at you know the the world of cannabinoids in conclusion. There’s several different ways to make extracts. There’s a lot of different ways to make very, very viable market products. There’s a lot of ways to drive revenue in your extraction business with these products. Understanding this knowledge base and understanding how you’re going to occupy each one of these market niches, what access to biomass you have, what diversity and methodology do you have in order to create these products and ultimately drive diversity and revenue in your in your business. And then really taking that to the next step and taking the next level of understanding of how to create these products. That’s something that we do here all day long at Precision. We absolutely understand all these processes very intimately. We have a very robust team of install / integrators that optimize these processes, so again not just selling you the pieces of equipment but actually coming out training you on these processes, sitting there with the pieces of equipment with you in order to get these processes integrated until your business is up and running and on legs. So in conclusion, a tremendous opportunity ,I hope you enjoyed the video, and thanks for joining us .We really look forward to seeing you again.

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