Extracts have come to play such a large part in our society in a seemingly endless variety and range of consumer, pharmaceutical, and industrial applications. Much higher concentrations of the substances and materials that make up a plant can be isolated using extractions. While these methods of extraction have been available for hundreds of years or even thousands (for certain rosins), they have really begun to accelerate in popularity and use. With concentrates increasing in prevalence throughout the community it comes as no surprise that there are now many methods of producing them.
There are two main categories of extraction, they are solvent extraction and solventless extraction. Each method for the production of concentrates has its own advantages and disadvantages. Solvent extraction can produce the largest yield, however, if the secondary steps are not performed correctly there is a significant drop in quality and safety. Solventless extraction, like those performed with rosin presses, most commonly relies on heat and pressure to force concentrates out of the plant materials. This is in opposition to solvent extraction which actually most commonly relies on the solvent and high pressure to push the concentrates out.
Let's examine the most popular method of extraction for small-scale solvent extractions. This method is the extraction tube (larger solvent extractions are performed with a machine similar to a liquor still with extraction chambers typically made of stainless steel and more solvent washing steps). It is most commonly a glass tube of varied sizes which determines the amount of plant material needed for the extraction process. First, the user must decide how much plant material they want to use and buy many various sizes to choose from so finding one to fit your desired payload should not be difficult.
The second step in the solvent extraction process is to select the solvent necessary for the method of production. The most common and accessible solvent used in the extraction of concentrates is butane. You should purchase the cleanest butane possible something that has been refined 7x or more. The most popular brands are Vector, Puretane, and Newport.
From there you fill your extraction tube with your plant materials, place a micron screen over the open end in a manner so that it is being held on. Many people prefer a 50 -25 micron screen. Screens with larger mesh may possibly be used, but it can let organic matter pass through the screen.
With the screen facing down over the top of a glass or silicone tray you begin pouring butane into the glass tube through a small hole at the top. This will begin to filter down through the plant matter and create a liquefied form of concentrates. The concentrated liquid will pass through the screen and fall into the glass or silicone pan.
From here after you have finished with the extraction tube by getting all of the liquefied concentrates out into the pan you must go through a process called purging. Purging will clean the concentrate and allow for any excess butane to be evaporated to varied degrees eventually making the wax safely vaporizable. There are many variations to this process so it is best to find the one suited to your abilities, and available equipment.
The newest and perhaps the most accessible method for extraction is solventless rosin extraction. As previously mentioned in prior articles solventless extraction requires two things, heat and pressure, making this popular for many people. Solventless extraction is basically just turning the chemical compounds found in the plant material into a liquid and then using pressure to expel it. This solventless extraction process is often performed with a Rosin Press. There are other methods of solventless extraction, supercritical CO2 Extraction (although some may consider CO2 to be the solvent in this method), however, this blog will just discuss rosin extraction.
Rosin presses have some huge benefits over solvent extraction like a cleaner, healthier, and safer process and product. However, there are also serious disadvantages such as generally smaller yields. Additionally, the yield varies greatly based on the quality of the plant materials used. This is because higher quality plant materials will hold higher amounts of resins containing more active chemical compounds than a less resinous specimen which will hold less oil and produce far less yield.
There are a few common types of solventless extraction machines, all of which serve the same general purpose, however some more effectively than others. The most popular company for affordable forms of these solventless extraction machines is a company called Tarik + Rosin. The two most popular models from Tarik are the Tarik+Rosin T-Rex DIY and the Tarik+Rosin T-Rex 2 Fully Automatic Rosin Press. They both operate fairly similarly, but the difference is that the T-Rex 2 is a fully automatic small bolt driven pneumatic press, meaning you don’t have to apply pressure. But it can definitely help your yield if you apply additional pressure.
First, you select the temperature required which is somewhere between 250-300 degrees Fahrenheit then place your plant materials inside of the jaws of the press, between a piece of parchment paper (never wax paper as the wax from the wax paper will melt thereby contaminating the extraction). Then simply apply heat and pressure until concentrates have finished coming from the plant materials.
Some larger models such as the My Press by Mustache Dabs will be much more efficient at this due to the added pressure which is up to 6 tons, far greater than a hand powered or small pneumatic presses. This means that efficiency is increased and yields can come closer to being maximized.
Altogether, the advantages of solventless extraction are mainly those of preference. With solvent extraction machines and purging methods advancing every day, concentrates made with solvents are becoming less unhealthy and many processors have gotten butane parts per million (PPM) down to minuscule levels. Solvent extractions have the ability to reach very levels of active chemical compounds and with additional washes from certain other solvents, crystalized products may be produced. The main advantage to solventless extraction is flavor, this makes solventless extraction preferential for those interested in terpenes.
It is ultimately the choice of the user as to whether solventless extraction is a viable form of extraction for their needs. More organic consumers do tend to prefer the solventless method over others, while those interested in producing mass amounts of concentrates prefer solvent extraction.
This article should serve as a good guide to help you understand extraction using extraction tubes and rosin presses. If you would like any more help purchasing a rosin press or extraction tube, you can live chat with us online at waterbedsnstuff.com or come into any one of our 13 Waterbeds ‘n’ Stuff retail locations.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
**The beliefs and opinions expressed in this blog are not those of Waterbeds ‘n’ Stuff.