what-is-hydrocarbon-extraction

If you’ve ever heard of butane hash oil (BHO) or propane hash oil (PHO), you may already be familiar with hydrocarbon extraction. Propane and butane are both examples of hydrocarbons that can act as solvents to pull cannabinoids such as CBD and THC out of raw plant material. Making cannabis concentrates through hydrocarbon extraction is one of the most popular ways to do so because the process is relatively low cost, efficient, and yields high-quality cannabis concentrates.

 

What Are Hydrocarbons?

Hydrocarbons are organic compounds like butane, propane, hexane. They consist of carbon and hydrogen, and are said to be formed by the compression of animal and plant remains over long periods of time. These organic compounds are often used as a fuel source, and they’re also able to dissolve or disperse other substances. This makes them extremely useful for acting as organic solvents– they’ve been used to create natural food flavorings for years, and now they’re used to make cannabis concentrates.

 

Propane vs. Butane Extraction

Butane is probably the most commonly-used solvent when it comes to making cannabis concentrates. It has a low boiling point of just over 31°F, which is nice because it allows cannabis extractors to purge the solvent without burning the terpenes in cannabis. Propane has an even lower boiling point, a little bit less than -43°F, which makes it even better for stripping some of the terpenes that butane can’t.

Propane extractions can be purged at even lower temperatures, which allow cannabis concentrate makers to produce products with high terpene content and lots of flavor. In some cases, people will even make a mixture of butane and propane, because these two hydrocarbons both extract slightly different ratios of cannabinoids from the plant material. People also mix propane with butane sometimes because it’s a lot more difficult to find extraction equipment that can run with only propane.

 

Hydrocarbon Extraction Methods

Making cannabis concentrates with hydrocarbons is extremely efficient and yields products with industry-leading quality. For best results, it’s important to start with the plant material that’s been carefully cared for to protect its quality. From there, hydrocarbon-rich solutions are washed over the plant material to extract cannabinoids and terpenes. This creates an extraction that’s rich in cannabinoids and terpenes, but may also contain less desirable materials. To help refine the solution, it’s passed through fine filters that help to further separate the concentrated cannabinoid solution from the plant material.

Once the solution has achieved an acceptably high level of cannabinoid concentration, it’s passed through to a collection pot. Here, the hydrocarbon solvent (butane, propane, or a mix) is removed from the solution. This passive removal of hydrocarbons won’t completely purify the solution, so the concentrate will go to a final purging stage next. Depending on the type of concentrate, final purging may entail vacuum ovens or whipping the product.

 

Hydrocarbon Extraction Equipment

Hydrocarbon extraction has become the industry standard for quality, but it also requires specialized equipment. It takes state of the art equipment plus a level of expertise to produce solvents that taste great, has high THC concentration, and is completely purged of the solvents. It’s worth going above and beyond because customers can tell the difference.

Hydrocarbon Extraction at Chronic Creations

Here at Chronic Creations, we take great pride in our reputation as the best cannabis concentrate producers in Colorado. Contact us today to start working on cannabis extracts your customers will love.