Overview of High-Quality Cannabis Processing

Overview of High-Quality Cannabis Processing

September 22nd, 2018 // 5:17 pm @

‘Cannabis extraction’ is a blanket term that is often used in place of cannabis processing. A high-quality cannabis process will go beyond mere extraction and will overlap a great deal with front end cultivation and back-end product development. With these facts in mind, there are four major factors that are involved in cannabis processing: cultivation, analytics, extraction and biochemistry.


Cultivation is the start cannabis production as well as any type of horticultural process. Whether your goal is to transform flavors, bioactive compounds or pigments, the natural process should only be harnessing what is given by the raw materials, which in our case is the flower from cannabis. Cultivation will offer strong molecular feedback for the cultivation process. Requirements for the cultivation process may simply be mass yield. But different methods can be used, such as mass yield per square foot, or per light. Yield also can be expressed upon not just mass, but also on the content of cannabinoid of the plants you grow. This could lead to a metric such as CBC or THC yield for each square foot. These could be a better representative of a successful growth of cannabis. Over time, it is likely that cultivators will focus more upon the identification of cultivars that offer more unique cannabinoid ratios and various other types of bioactive compounds on a consistent basis.

Research into terpenes’ synergistic effects with cannabinoid may suggest that content of terpenes may be another vital goal of cultivation. It also is very important that cannabis cultivation offers safe and clean materials. This means there should be cannabis flower that does not have heavy metals, microbial growth or pesticides.


Regarding analytics, this is an important feedback loop for the production of cannabis at each step. Analytics might feature liquid chromatography or gas chromatography for content of terpenes. It is important for analytical methods to be accurate, specific and precise. They should be able to identify compounds and concentrations in a product of cannabis. Analytics is critical for cannabis processing because of efforts that are needed to ensure the reliability and quality of the results, as well as continual optimization of techniques to provide more useful and sensitive results. But experts stress that analytics can only be truly harnessed when it is used in conjunction with the other three major factors.


Extraction can be thought of best as converting target cannabis molecules to a form that is usable. Which molecules is up to the goals of the cannabis product you are producing. The spectrum ranges from a cannabis extract that contains just a pure and isolated cannabinoid, such as CBD, to a cannabis extract that contains in excess of 100 cannabinoids and terpenes in a ratio that is easily predicted. There are almost endless approaches to take as far as process optimization and equipment.


Biochemistry could be in two major areas. Plant biochemistry looks backward to cultivation. It allows the cannabis scientist to grasp the many pathways that lead to the specific ratios of bioactive molecules in the cannabis. Human biochemistry is about how the bioactive cannabis molecules work with the endocannabinoid system in humans, as well as the various administration routes that can affect the pharmacokinetic delivery of the cannabinoid molecules.

With the four tools above, it is possible to process, reliable, safe and high quality cannabis extracts.

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