While the extraction and distillation of cannabis are nothing new, the legal cannabis industry is still in its early stages. As the manufacturers of CBD and THC products work to fine-tune their processes, a common theme emerges—the need for adequate temperature control. Because THC and CBD extraction requires the use of flammable materials, inadequate equipment creates an environment that can increase the risk of an explosion, which has already occurred at some factories. The use of an explosion-proof chiller that meets industry recommendations increases safety and streamlines the process as a whole.
Applications in the Extraction Process
This first step is the extraction process, in which the solid cannabis is introduced to a solvent. This removes active compounds from the solid and dissolves them into the solvent. The liquid is then filtered, producing a new solution that consists of the solvent and the extracted plant materials. There are three common methods for CBD and THC extraction, and each one involves precise temperature control to maximize the yield and concentration of the final product. In addition, all three extraction methods require equipment that meets at least Class 1, Division 2, and Groups C and D standards for safety under the National Electrical Code.
- Butane or Propane Extraction: Chillers maintain the low temperatures necessary to keep hydrocarbon in a liquid state.
- Ethanol Extraction: Low-temperature chillers keep the ethanol cool.
Applications in the Distillation Process
Distillation refers to the process of separating the remaining elements to ensure that the resulting THC or CBD product is as pure as possible. As in extraction, temperature control is a critical component of the procedure. There are many different methods of distillation, including:
- Wiped-film distillation
- Short-path distillation
- Fractional distillation
- Vacuum distillation
In each process, the role of the chiller is to quickly and efficiently expose liquids or vapors containing the extracted THC or CBD to very cold temperatures, isolating the components of the purified product. The more accurately these processes are completed, the purer the THC or CBD in its final form will be.
Experts recommend consulting with a professional temperature control equipment provider prior to putting a THC or CBD extraction and distillation system in place. At GCI Refrigeration Technologies, we offer decades of experience in providing quality, customized units, from standard equipment to tailor-made industrial chillers. Our low-temperature chillers can reach -80°F, and we’ve been building explosion-proof chillers that meet industry standards since 1965. Call us at 225-926-6950 to request more information about our low-temperature and explosion-proof chillers today.