Cannabis Processing Encyclopedia

Major Cannabis Processing Steps and Variation in Technologies for each Steps are explained below

Cannabis Processing Technology

Cannabis processing can be tedious and complicated. Below are the list of major cannabis processing steps and corresponding equipment required to complete each process. 

Cannabis Trimming

Trimming is to use a tool like scissor to cut off unwanted parts of the plant 

Cannabis Trimming Technology

Scissor

Scissors

Yes, that’s right. Scissors are the most handy tool that used by even the most crafty trimmers. In fact, using scissors to trim cannabis plants have become a speciality nowadays, and there are various trimming methods and principles out there people are marketing about.  

Electric Handheld Trimmer

Electric Handheld Trimmer

Electric handheld trimmer is an upgrade to scissors. With this tool, the operation can be much more precise. Unlike the commercial and industrial automatic trimmer machines, the electric handheld trimmer still requires some decent trimming skill in order to produce nice trimming quality. 

Trimmer Bowl

Bowl Trimmer

Bowl trimmer is a very convenient trimming tool. Its low cost and compact size with reasonable trimming capacity is what customers like about. However, it is become less favorable since the quality of trim is not going to be as good as hand trim while the processing capacity is not comparable to trimmer machines. 

Trimmer Machine

When it comes to commercial or industrial processing, trimmer machines are the ultimate solution. In order to accommodate the demand of different processing capacity and types, trimmer machines have evolved quite a lot in the past few years. Major categories are wet trimmers and dry trimmers. 

Cannabis Grinding/ Milling

Grinding/ Milling is the process that biomass being mechanically break down into desired particle size.

Cannabis Grinding/Milling Technology

Recreational Grinder

Recreational Grinder

Recreational grinder is meant for cannabis smokers to enjoy the crafting part of producing their own cannabis joints/blunts. Structural design is very key to this little piece since it is used manually and people would love to collect those hash after a while. 

commercial trimmer machine

Milling Machine (Commercial)

Commercial milling machine can be used at production level and requires low maintenance. Durability, consistency and particle sizes are variables that differentiate such type of products. 

Milling Machine (Industrial)

Industrial milling machines are design to process thousands of pounds cannabis plants each day continuously. Consistent particle size and easy to clean are the two important factors when picking such machines. 

Cannabis Extraction

Extraction is the process that components in a cannabis plant got dissolved or mechanically separated.

Cannabis Extraction Technology

TruXtrac Series

Supercritical/Subcritical Fluid Extraction

Also known as CO2 extraction. CO2 Extraction is a process that utilize supercritical fluid as extracting solvent to separate one component from the other. The biggest advantages are purity, safety and low operational cost. 

Ethanol Extractor

Ethanol Extraction

Ethanol extraction is a solvent-base extraction method. During extraction process, high grade ethanol is used as solvent to dissolve organic components from the plant. 

Hydrocarbon Extractor

Hydrocarbon Extraction

Just like ethanol extraction, Hydrocarbon extraction utilizes hydrocarbon to dissolve organic compounds from the plant. Due to the unique properties of hydrocarbon, it is very efficient in extracting cannabinoids and terpenoids without pulling much wax/lipids. However, the operational environment has to be highly secured and examined to avoid explosion. 

Tumbler

Tumbler Method

Tumbler method is also known as the dry ice extraction, which is normally used to collect trichomes that break off from the plant. Under the combination of low temperature and centrifugal force created by the tumbler, trichome will freeze and break off. Such method is very efficient in producing Kief. 

Rosin Press

Rosin Press

Rosin press is a very popular and trendy extraction method in the past few years. By utilizing heat and mechanical pressure, rosin can be squeezed out and collected. Such high potency and purify product can be directly consumed. 

cannabis agitator

Cold-Wash Extraction (Agitation)

Cold Wash extraction is very similar to the tumbler method in terms of extraction concept. Yet, cold water is more efficient and effective in comparison to the tumbler method.

Cannabis Winterization

Cannabis winterization is the process that polar solvent such as ethanol is added to the solution and freeze at temperature below zero degree to precipitate out waxes and lipids in the solution with filtration procudures. 

Cannabis winterization technology

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Ultra Low Temperature Freezer

Winterization requires supersaturated solution to be formed. In order to manipulate the solubility of the solvent, freezing is an important step. Since winterization process requires ultra-low temperature in order to achieve better separation effects, designated freezer is required. Uniformity in freezing, energy efficiency and capacity are key factors when picking such freezers. 

Buchner Funnel

Büchner Funnel (Vacuum Filtration)

Büchner Funnel utilizes vacuum pressure applied at the collection flask to pull solution/particle of desired size to pass through the filter at the top. This equipment is very efficient and safe to remove majority (~90%) of the wax and lipids in the plant. 

Filter Paper

Micro-fiber Filtration Paper

Filter paper is commonly used during the winterization process. Majority of the filter paper for winterization are made out of cellulose. Some have sorbent such as carbon, alumina, and silica implemented. 

Cannabis Solvent Recovery

Solvent recovery process is to recycle the solvent that used in the extraction and winterization process. 

Cannabis Solvent Recovery Technology

rotary evaporator

Rotary Evaporator

Rotary evaporator has wide range of application when it comes to evaporation. Depends on the size of evaporation flask and heat bath chosen , processing capability can vary. For cannabis refinement process, rotary evaporator is often used at commercial level to remove the ethanol used in winterization and extraction process. It can also be used in later crystallization process when extra solvent such as methanol and pentane are used. 

Falling Film Evaporator

Falling film evaporator is often used for larger volume processing, comparing to rotary evaporator. Most of falling film nowadays are design to recycle the ethanol used in ethanol extraction process. Having the mixture solution flow downwards through the heated surface column, low boiling point products such as ethanol can be separated from the rest of the components. 

Cannabis Decarboxylation

Decarboxylation process is a when cannabinoid acid such as THCA and CBDA becomes neutral cannabinoids THC and CBD, respectively, with losing a carboxyl group due to heat. 

Cannabis Decarboxylation technology

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Precision Oven

Decarboxylation is a simple process, however, it shall be perfromed carefully in order to acheive the best result, Precision oven can operate at very accurate temperature with controllable small step value that users can control. The uniformity and accuracy combine with energy efficiency are the very key when picking the right precision oven. 

cannabis Distillation

Distillation is a purification process that further separates components with different thermodynamic properties, typically boiling point. 

Cannabis Distillation Methods and Technologies

Short Path Kit

Short Path Distillation

Short path distillation is also known as Molecular Distillation process. It is a very innovation and advanced separation technology that mainly used for liquid-liquid separation at industrial level. Wiped film distillation is one of the latest application that utilized short path distillation. 

Fractional Distillation

Fractional Distillation

Fractional distillation is a process that can be used to separate various components with different boiling point without new solvent. Like normal distillation process, fractional distillation is physical process. Spinning band distillation is a commercial level fractional distillation technology, while distillation tower is used in industrial level. 

Glass Wiped Film

Wiped Film Distillation

Wiped Film Distillation is a highly efficient distillation mechanism. The wiper within distillation still creates turbulence that greatly improves the separation efficiency between the lower boiling point and high boiling point substances, while creating a downward force to the high boiling point component so it can flow smoothly without clogging the still. 

Multi-Stage Wiped Film

Advanced Wiped Film Distillation

Advanced Wiped Film distillation equipment are generally made out of metal such as high quality stainless steel. The advanced system can process material at higher capacity and rate. Even though there is not much difference in the final product quality comparing to the glass equipment, the stainless version can generate a higher return of investment. 

Spinning band

Spinning Band Distillation

Spinning band distillation device an advanced fractional distillation apparatus, which utilize the fractional distillation concept and further improved it with spinning band mechanism. The spinning band creates turbulence and improves contact surface area to further increase the separation efficiency. 

Distillation Tower

Distillation Tower

Distillation tower is the ultimate and most powerful industrial distillation solution right now in the market. With great reflux and structural design, the distillation tower can handles tons of daily processing requirements. However, the building such facility is both costly and require expertise.

Cannabis Isolation

Isolation is the process where single organic compound is separated from the mixture solution to achieve the highest isolation level and purity. 

Cannabis Isolation technology

Liquid Chromatography

Liquid Chromatography

The most widely used liquid chromatography method used in the cannabis industry is high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with a diode-array detector (DAD). Such method can define eight major cannabinoid compounds of cannabis chemotypes and perform qualitative and quantitative analysis on major cannabinoids such as delta-9 THC, THCA, CBN, CBD, CBDA, and CBGA along with all phenolic compounds. 

Gas Chromatography

Gas Chromatography

The most widely used gas chromatography is coupled with a flame ionization detector  (GC/FID) and Mass Spectroscopy(GC-MS). Both are used to analyze the concentration and stability of cannabinoid compounds. GC-MS method, when coupling with headspace solid-phase microextraction (HS-SPME), is capable to accurately map out the complete volatile organic compound (VOC) emission rates of 48 different cannabis plants. 

Cannabis Crystallization

Crystallization is when cannabinoids precipitate out from the solution and form solid within the solution. 

Cannabis Crystallization Technology

Crystallization Reactor

Crystallization Reactor 

Crystallization Reactor is a great piece of equipment to have in order to finish crystallization process of the desired cannabinoids. A well built crystallization reactor need to be explosive proof and be able to control the rate of heat loss.