Following years of prohibition, hemp and cannabis legislation is slowly beginning to relax across the globe. In just a few short years, comprehensive legislative changes in the US and Canada have transformed a previously illegal market into a legitimate, multi-billion dollar industry.
Products developed from cannabinoid extractions have become valuable commodities, especially cannabidiol (CBD) oils which are marketed and sold as therapeutic and medicinal.
The hemp and cannabis industry has seen extremely rapid change, with growers and retailers alike continually searching for a competitive edge in a market that is already over-saturated. One of the primary dichotomies in the sale of CBD products is that of raw versus decarb CBD oil.
Decarboxylation is an intrinsic process in cannabis consumption. Within laboratory settings, this term describes specific methods used to extract desired natural compounds from the plant. This article looks at the process of decarbing cannabis in more detail, while providing useful information on choosing the correct system for decarboxylation.
What is Decarboxylation?
In the cannabis extraction process, decarboxylation, often abbreviated to decarb, refers to the transformation of the THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid) or CBDA (Cannabidiolic Acid) into THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) or CBA (cannabidiol). This is achieved via heating and drying, respectively. In scientific terms, decarboxylation refers to a type of chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group with heat and/or chemicals.
Conventional Decarboxylation Instruments
Conventional decarboxylation and solvent recovery systems are complicated, modular setups made up of numerous interconnected instruments. Decarboxylation alone requires the use of a cumbersome reactor with a chiller, another chiller for the condenser, and a vacuum pump. This allows users to decarb cannabis over longer periods (8-10 hours).
Other decarb equipment (e.g. vacuum ovens) may take considerably longer (14-24 hours) and possess limited capacity. These setups are expensive, and as well as having sizeable workplace footprints they often require consistent operator intervention in order to achieve the best value results.
Reactor/chiller decarb systems take a long time to decarb because they employ thermal fluid to heat the extract to optimal decarb temperature (250 °F or 121 °C), and this process takes a long time due to heat loss and inefficient heat transfer.
Leading-Edge Decarb Evaporators
Ecodyst® has used its wide-ranging expertise in organic chemistry to develop a unique evaporation system for decarboxylation and solvent recovery. Through the use of ground-breaking direct-cooling technology and continuous feeds to maintain vacuum conditions during extraction processes, the EcoChyll® range outperforms conventional decarb systems on practically every front.
Image Credit: Ecodyst
The EcoChyll® line is available at a lower up-front price point, offering consistently higher returns on investment in almost all respects. These systems are able to decarb comparable volumes of cannabis oils in just under 2 hours, thanks to an efficient heating mantle design that reaches optimal decarb temperatures in a matter of minutes before maintaining heat throughout the process.
The aforementioned heating mantle coupled with Ecodyst’s actual volume evaporators and efficient EcoChyll® intelligent self-cooling technology can be activated via a single action, initiating continuous decarboxylation of high volumes of sample materials at scales never before possible.
The ability to achieve effective solvent recovery with in situ decarb, while significantly reducing extraction process time is a feature most extraction processors would benefit from. Ecodyst can supply evaporation systems appropriate for all levels of cannabis decarboxylation - from the 200 L capacity EcoChyll® X9 to the medium-scale 12 L EcoChyll® X3.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Ecodyst.
For more information on this source, please visit Ecodyst.