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What Is the Safest Cannabis Extraction Method?

Published January 31, 2024
What Is the Safest Cannabis Extraction Method? - Secret Nature

Is it true that some methods of extracting cannabis are safer than others? In this guide, compare and contrast the various methods of cannabis extraction to determine for yourself which approach is safest. By the end, you’ll have a full grasp of how to choose cannabis products that were extracted safely and do not contain any contaminants.

What cannabis extraction methods are there?

First, we’ll cover the top four methods of cannabis extraction currently in use:

Hydrocarbon

Produced using butane or a similar hydrocarbon compound, hydrocarbon cannabis extraction is one of the most popular methods. This approach to cannabis extraction, however, can be quite dangerous both for producers (whose labs can explode) and users (who might use contaminated products). Generally, it’s best to avoid cannabis products extracted using hydrocarbons unless you can personally vouch for the methods used.

Ethanol

It is very popular to use ethanol for cannabis extraction, and this approach is considered to be one of two methods that are ideal for a commercial scale. Any residual ethanol is removed during a purification process, and ethanol extraction does not involve heat, better preserving the terpenes and flavonoids that make cannabis so richly aromatic and delicious.

CO2

CO2 extraction is another approach to making cannabis concentrate, and the debate rages on regarding whether CO2 or ethanol is the better extraction method for commercial cannabis. On the one hand, CO2 extraction is extremely clean — even more so than ethanol. However, it involves heat, which damages terpenes and other sensitive compounds in the cannabis plant.

Rosin

It is nearly impossible to produce rosin in commercial quantities, but this type of cannabis extract is made by pressing flowers, not heating them or exposing them to any form of solvent. A simple press is used, out of which extrudes a highly purified and undamaged form of extract. Cannabis rosin may taste better than any other extract type, but it is very expensive to produce.

What is the safest way to extract cannabis?

For extractors, the safest extraction method is ethanol. It doesn’t require any pressure or heat, and ethanol is a reasonably stable compound. Ethanol is also a safe extraction method for consumers, with CO2 arguably being safer. When it comes to the best-possible user experience, though, rosin takes the cake. This type of extract tastes the best and also has zero chance of containing unhealthy extraction contaminants.

Does cannabis extraction method matter?

The method used to extract cannabis matters since it gives you a general idea of the quality of your extract. It is possible to make even the safest type of cannabis extract unsafe, but it’s also true that some types of cannabis extract are inherently safer than others. Learn about the different types of cannabis extract and their relative safety, but understand that there are exceptions to any rule.

How to tell if your cannabis was extracted safely

How can you tell if a cannabis product you’re considering was extracted using a safe method? Here are three ways to find out:

Product information

Some cannabis companies provide information about the extraction methods they use in prominent places online. This level of transparency is rare within the cannabis industry, though.

Lab reports

Lab reports for cannabis products will often note the type of extraction process used. If it isn’t explicitly listed, the extracting compound may be listed as a contaminant instead.

Customer service

Usually, you’ll need to contact a representative of a cannabis company to find out how their products are extracted. If this information is hard to get even after an email or phone call, you might have reason to suspect a cannabis company doesn’t want people knowing how they extract their products, a sure warning sign.

The bottom line: Competence, not technique

In the end, the way a cannabis product was extracted matters a lot more than the type of solvent used to extract it. Even hydrocarbon cannabis extraction can be performed in such a way that makes it safe both for the extractor and for the user.

Ethanol extraction is generally considered to be safe, but it’s certainly possible to extract cannabis using ethanol in a dangerous way that puts customers at risk. The same goes for CO2, which also carries the hidden cost of damaging terpenes.

So, there is no single “best cannabis extraction method.” There are better and worse cannabis extractors, however, and how they perform the intricate art of cannabis extraction makes a much larger difference in the safety and quality of their products than any other factor.

Safest cannabis extraction method FAQ

Deepen your knowledge of what makes a cannabis extraction method the best in the FAQ section below:

What is the healthiest method of cannabis extraction?

The healthiest method of cannabis extraction is heat-free rosin extraction, which does not involve any solvents whatsoever and results in an extremely clean product. Any cannabis extraction technique that does not lead to the buildup of contaminants in the resulting extract, however, can be considered “healthy” with those that do not damage the underlying compounds (such as ethanol) offering the best benefits.

What is the safest way to extract CBD?

For both users and extractors, ethanol is the safest way to extract CBD from cannabis flower. CO2 is also a very safe cannabis extraction method for users, but it involves heating volatile compounds, making it less safe for producers. Outstripping the safety of both of these approaches is CBD rosin, which is, unfortunately, usually too expensive to be commercially viable.

What is the purest cannabis extract?

Since it is made without any solvents whatsoever, rosin must be considered the purest form of cannabis extract. It’s important to remember, though, that cannabis extract is only as pure as the cannabis that goes into it. To be made into high-purity extract, cannabis flower must be grown organically, originating from the best genetics.

Is the ethanol extraction procedure better or worse than CO2?

Ethanol and CO2 cannabis extraction are too different from each other to say whether one is better or worse overall. Each approach has its pros and cons, with ethanol, for instance, preserving the underlying terpenes in cannabis but being harder to remove from the end extract.

CO2 extraction, on the other hand, is very safe and efficient, but it damages certain compounds in cannabis extract. It’s important to consider the full slate of benefits and detractors when determining whether ethanol or CO2 extraction is the best option.

What is the best method of extraction for terpenes?

If you want to make sure the terpenes in cannabis are preserved, the best extraction method is either rosin or ethanol. Rosin extraction simply uses pressure to extract cannabis  concentrate from flower, making terpene damage impossible.

Ethanol extraction, for its part, does not involve the application of any heat whatsoever. As a result, terpenes remain undamaged, making ethanol cannabis extract taste better and hit harder — thanks to the entourage effect.

Who makes the best cannabis extracts?

If you’re looking for the best cannabis extracts on the internet, search no further than Secret Nature. The high-purity, organic cannabis extract included in our vapes, gummies, and other beloved products tastes better and offers enhanced effects compared to the competition.

Lab reports for each batch of products clearly show that Secret Nature views cannabis potency and purity with the utmost seriousness. Trust Secret Nature for clean, pure cannabis extract that takes you to new levels of enjoyment.

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