The Art and Science of Cannabis Extraction: Techniques, Trends, and Innovations

The Art and Science of Cannabis Extraction: Techniques, Trends, and Innovations
Viviane Schute        

Cannabis enthusiast and student of the art of solventless extraction


Innovations in cannabis extraction are at the forefront of the current expansion of the cannabis industries worldwide. Extractors and product manufacturers are all searching for the purest form of chemicals in affordable yet safe ways.

This post delves into cannabis extraction and its latest trends. Keep reading to learn more about various extraction methods, their benefits, and the latest innovations in the field. 

What Are the Different Cannabis Extraction Methods?

Within the cannabis plant, there are more than 550 chemicals that scientists have identified, from which there are 113 or more cannabinoids (including the well-known Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) components).

An extraction process is chosen based on the nature of the extract desired, isolated compounds or whole plant extracts, and the desired purity level. The storage method is also selected based on the final form of the extraction. 

Experienced consumers opt for products that are produced through methods that resonate with their ideologies and lifestyles, which makes this variety in extraction methods necessary.  

Generally, consumers can choose based on the purity of the product, its non-toxicity, and the impact the process has on the environment. 

Many methods have been used and researched over the years, but some of the most popular and successful are: 


The CO2 extraction method is the most advanced for safety, non-toxicity, and environment-friendliness. 

Special equipment, which stores CO2 and the required biomass, is used. The machine increases the pressure and temperature, creating supercritical CO2, which extracts solvable substances when passed through biomass.

The Art and Science of Cannabis Extraction: Techniques, Trends, and Innovations

Then, the pressure and temperature decrease, and CO2 loses solubility, so collected substances are separated. 

This method is used in beverage-related industries such as beer, coffee, fruit extracts, etc. It preserves the separated chemicals and doesn’t lead to any waste in its operation, which is attractive to conscious consumers wanting products best for them and the environment.


Ethanol extraction is becoming increasingly popular due to its safety and efficiency. As the FDA considers ethanol safe, there are no objections to using it as a solvent.

To extract chemicals such as THC through ethanol, the plant is soaked in the liquid. Once the compound has been separated, the collected substance is refined to increase the purity of the final product. To ensure quality, the key is to refine the product best, removing chlorophyll and other undesired substances.

The final product is non-toxic; the only danger in this process is ethanol’s high flammability. If the process is conducted in a safe and professional environment, there is minimal risk associated with it. 

Alcohol-based solvents are safe to use, and many small manufacturers use them for different types of products. Although this menthol is safe, it isn’t the most advanced and so the average consumer opts for companies using this method. 


Hydrocarbon extraction is the leading method to create BHO. Butane Honey Oil, aka Butane Hash Oil, is one of the most popular cannabis extraction methods to gain maximum THC levels through a solvent. 

The process is as follows. In a container, cannabis is sprayed with butane, and the mixture is collected. Next, the butane must be evaporated by leaving the mixture to rest or through a vacuum oven. High flammability can pose a threat if closed-loop systems aren’t used. 

Many products, such as edibles, topical goods, vape juices, etc., use extract gathered through this method. The result normally has more than 80% of THC levels preserved, which is one the highest through any extraction method.


Solvent-free extraction is any process that separates compounds through the direct use of heat, pressure, ice, or water. These practices have different end products like Kief, Hash, and Rosin. 

Kief is produced by grinding cannabis buds and sieving the crystalline formations. It can be turned into a powder, mixed into other concentrate forms, or used independently.

The Art and Science of Cannabis Extraction: Techniques, Trends, and Innovations

Hash is a traditional solvent-free product that’s been around for years. It can be made by freezing cannabis buds and shaving them down or using ice water to separate trichomes from the buds. The collected material is then dried and pressed to create a block.

Rosin is a sap-like substance produced by applying heat and pressure to material from the cannabis plant. It’s considered a close process to the BHO method but without any risk of leftover toxins.

Solventless extraction is the go-to for manufacturers targeting customers wanting the authentic cannabis feel. They use these potent concentrates, which provide the natural smell and taste of cannabis, as well as the highest purity with no residual solvents.

What’s Next - The Innovative Cannabis Extraction 

Cannabis extraction is an interesting niche, as the use and sale of concentrates gradually becomes a significant market. Globally, the trends of innovating extraction methods are moving steadily to high-tech and low-waste methods. 

Research is underway for the latest methods utilizing ultrasonic technology, nanoemulsions, molecular distillation, and much more. While newer methods are being tested, older ones are being improved to increase safety and guarantee the best final products. 

It’s safe to say that improvements in this regard would lead to developments in the world of adult use and medicinal cannabis - a win-win situation for science and everyone else! 

So, companies are working forward in controlled, trusted, and protected practices for the best results.

Thoughts? Let us know by joining our secret Facebook group. Hang out with a community of like-minded solventless heads like yourself. Ask our head extractor questions, share your latest press and learn from hobbyists and experts in the industry.


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