Water-as-solvent extraction technology is paving the way for a cleaner tomorrow in the hemp industry

Determined to discover a more sustainable way to extract cannabinoids from the hemp plant, global solution providers have created water-as-solvent extraction technology that produces pharmaceutical grade cannabinoids, including the rare offerings of acidic cannabinoids, at a mass scale. Water-as-solvent technology has many advantages when compared to traditional extraction methods both for consumers, as well as the environment and is leading the industry into a cleaner and necessary future. Let’s dive into what exactly water-as-solvent technology is and some of the many benefits using water as the solvent has when extracting cannabinoids.

What is water-as-solvent technology?

Rather than using traditional solvents, such as butane or ethanol, the proprietary process uses water to leach cannabinoids from the hemp plant without the use of heat, harsh chemicals, or hydrocarbons. The process successfully rejects contaminants such as heavy metals, microbial, pesticides, and mycotoxins. It also effectively limits or removes the amount of THC yielding a more consistent and compliant product.

Advantages of using water as the solvent

Traditional extraction methods that utilize harmful solvents can have a negative impact on consumers, manufacturers, and the environment. Water-as-solvent technology helps alleviate many of the problems traditional extraction methods can pose. Here are some of the most notable advantages water-as-solvent technology has:

Produces a safer and cleaner cannabinoid extract

When extracting cannabinoids with traditional extraction methods that utilize harmful solvents, such as butane and ethanol, remediation is necessary to rid the final product of volatile solvents that can be harmful to the consumer. However, the remediation techniques used tends to not discriminate against all pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. Rather, the process concentrates these compounds in the final extract, leaving trace amounts for consumers to ingest. Ingesting these solvents long-term can lead to brain, kidney, and liver damage. By utilizing water as the solvent, the extract is free of volatile solvents, and can successfully reject pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides, delivering a safer and cleaner cannabinoid extract consumers can benefit from, without risk to their future health.

Allows for the extraction of acidic cannabinoids

Traditional extraction methods utilize heat throughout the extraction process for successful extraction which poses a problem when extracting acidic cannabinoids. Prior to extraction the plant is often dehydrated, heating the cannabinoids and in turn causing conversions to happen. Additionally, when attempting to rid the final cannabinoid extract of volatile solvents, vacuum distillation is often used exposing the plant to even more heat. When acidic cannabinoids are decarboxylated, or exposed to heat, they convert to their neutral form. For example, when CBDA is heated, it converts to CBD. With traditional extraction methods most, if not all, acidic cannabinoids are converted before the final concentrate is made. When utilizing water as the solvent, no heat it used in the process allowing for the extraction of high purity acidic cannabinoids at a mass scale.

Better for the environment

When butane is used for the extraction of cannabinoids, pressurized solvents are passed through the plant material to extract the cannabinoids from the plant. Residual fumes then evaporate from the concentrate under a vacuum and are typically released into the atmosphere, posing health risk to the surrounding communities and for those who work within the extraction facilities. Though there are attempts to recycle the butane, they are not 100% effective, and hydrocarbons are released into the atmosphere. When butane fumes are inhaled, it can lead to many health risk including respiratory illnesses. Water is a true inorganic solvent that causes no harm to the surrounding environment and to the individuals who work within the extraction facilities.  

Cost Effective

There is a need in the industry for a simple and inexpensive extraction process, and water-as-solvent technology delivers just that. The process eliminates the need for expensive organic solvents and costly equipment that uses high temperature or pressure. Water-as-solvent technology provides cannabinoid product manufacturers a cost-effective option for cleaner cannabinoid extracts.

Extracts can be easily infused into cannabinoid-based applications

Cannabinoid extracts from traditional extraction methods, typically have a robust plant flavor that can be off putting to some consumers and are difficult to infuse into cannabinoid-based product applications. They are also most commonly in a solid form making it difficult to accurately dose the extract. The majority of cannabinoid extracts from water-as-solvent technology are odorless and tasteless, easily able to infuse into any cannabinoid-based product.

With a team that has over 100 years of combined chemistry experience, Essentia Scientific is paving the way for a more sustainable way to extract cannabinoids from the hemp plant. Their patented water-as-solvent technology produces a safer, more consistent, and affordable output of high purity pharmaceutical grade cannabinoid extracts.