Alcohol is a polar solvent that is often used for cannabis extraction. It is non-polar, which is what allows it to separate your resin from the plant matter. The more research done on ethanol, the better we understand its benefits and how it can be used in many different ways. In this blog post, we will cover 5 reasons why ethanol is ideal for cannabis extraction!
What is Ethanol Extraction?
Ethanol is a chemical solvent that is used in the process of extracting tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from cannabis. Ethanol is one of several solvents that is used in this process and is able to be derived from natural substances such as corn, sugarcane, and other plants.
Ethanol is one of the most popular solvents for extraction because it is cost-effective and can be made to be non-toxic when it is mixed with water. It also has a high boiling point, which means that it is much more stable than other solvents such as butane or propane so there is little room for error when it is being used. This makes ethanol one of the safest solvents to use for cannabis extraction.
Ethanol is also able to dissolve THC at a lower temperature than other types of chemicals, which is much more cost-effective and efficient. When ethyl alcohol is used in the process of extracting CBD from hemp however propylene glycol is usually preferred instead because it is less expensive but still is able to dissolve CBD at a lower temperature than other chemicals.
Ethanol is typically used in the process of cannabis extraction because it is able to be derived from natural substances and is cost-effective, non-toxic when mixed with water, and has a high boiling point which makes it much more stable than other solvents such as butane or propane.
How Does Ethanol Extraction Work?
It is the process of removing the various components of cannabis using alcohol, or ethanol. This is done by using a technique called isopropyl alcohol extraction.
The isopropyl alcohol is placed in boiling water with high-quality cannabis. It is left to simmer for 90 minutes before the solvent is removed. The extraction is then left to cool, and the alcohol evaporates. Finally, the resulting mixture is distilled with an efficient vacuum distillation system that removes any residual solvents from the terpenes, cannabinoids, and waxes that are present within the mixture.
5 Considerations of Ethanol Extraction
it is important to consider the following five considerations before initiating an ethanol extraction of cannabis:
Ethanol Extraction Has Been Used for Thousands of Years
Ethanol is the most commonly used method for the extraction of THC as a plant-based material. The reason is that ethanol is a good solvent for water-insoluble substances, which is what cannabinoids are. It is also relatively non-toxic and is safe to use in small doses. This substance has been used for thousands of years, dating back to 4000 B.C. when it was used in the production of beverages.
Ethanol is Ideal for Cannabis and Hemp Oil Extraction
Ethanol is a great solvent for organic substances in general and is, therefore, a good choice for many products. It is typically used when the target is water-insoluble. Alcohol is also non-toxic in small doses, though it can be poisonous if consumed or comes into contact with rubber or plastic.
The main reason that ethanol is ideal for use is that unlike other solvents such as acetone and butane, it is not flammable and will not catch on fire. This is important because the risk of injury is significantly reduced with this solvent than with others. There is no risk of vaporization either and there is less of a smell than some other types of extraction methods.
The results obtained with this method are also very clean and it is the most efficient way to extract cannabinoids from cannabis plants. There is no need for any type of filtration process either, which is an added benefit when compared with other solvent extraction methods.
Ethanol is both Polar and Non-polar
Ethanol is both polar and non-polar is not soluble in water. The is molecularly polar, which means that it is attracted to areas of the plant that are rich in lipids. This is why ethanol is ideal for cannabis extraction. is also great for alcohol isomerization, which is the process of converting alpha acids into iso-alpha acids.
“Like Dissolves Like” (Solubility) Makes Ethanol Highly Efficient
Understanding solubility (the ability to, and the quantity of, a particular substance that will dissolve in another specific substance) and the mechanisms that underlie it, is perhaps the most crucial piece of information dictating the success or failure of designing an extraction SOP.
What does “Like Dissolves Like” mean?
This is the idea that molecules that are similar in structure will dissolve into one another more readily than they would into other substances. For example, polar water is able to better dissolve polar substances like sugars and salts versus non-polar isopropyl alcohol. is because isopropyl alcohol is non-polar, whereas sugar and salt are polar.
This is an important consideration when it comes to how effective ethanol will be at extracting the cannabinoids you desire from your cannabis plant material. is it because many terpenes found in these plants are also very similar in structure to the cannabinoid molecules themselves? is why isopropyl alcohol is able to dissolve them easily.
Ethanol is Safe and Easy to Use
You might be wondering, is ethanol dangerous? I can assure you that it is completely safe to use. It is non-toxic and is not dangerous to your health in small doses. It is also a very cheap way to extract cannabinoids from the cannabis plant material.
You don’t have to worry about ethanol catching on fire because it is non-flammable! It is also a very safe substance to handle, as long as you follow basic safety precautions when using this solvent. Ethanol is also a great solvent for other types of organic materials, such as wax and oils.
Why Ethanol Extraction is More Costly for Business When Scaling
Ethanol is more costly to the business when scaling because there is not enough production of ethanol feedstock. The alcohol is made from corn, but only a small percentage of the corn is good for producing alcohol. There is not enough corn in the U.S. to produce enough alcohol for ethanol. This is why it is important to research alternative sources of ethanol feedstock before getting into business with ethanol production.
CO2 vs. Ethanol Extraction Equipment Energy Costs
CO2 is more affordable because it is cheaper to use than ethanol extraction equipment. CO2 is also more environmentally friendly, which is better for the planet. Another cost-related benefit is that CO2 is not as flammable as ethanol, so there is less risk of fire hazards or explosions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Hemp Biomass Need to Be Cured Before Extraction?
No, hemp is never cured before it is extracted.
Can Ethanol Become Contaminated During Ethanol Extraction?
No, ethanol is a non-polar solvent and is therefore not considered a solution that is prone to becoming contaminated.
An ethanol extract is simple to clean up as ethanol is non-polar and so it doesn’t cling or bind to other polar molecules. It’s also volatile so it doesn’t leave much residue behind from evaporation either. Ethanol is also heavier than water so it sinks to the bottom of a jar, making straining a breeze. And finally, because ethanol is non-polar, there is little to no chance of it emulsifying with plant matter.
Does Isopropyl Alcohol Work for Cannabis Extraction?
No, isopropyl is not ideal for use in an ethanol extract because its polarity is much closer to that of water than it is to ethanol. This means there is a high risk of the cannabinoids binding themselves to isopropyl rather than ethanol.
Is THC Isomerized After Cannabis Is Extracted with Alcohol?
No, once the cannabinoids have been isolated from a solvent such as alcohol, they are no longer in their acid form and therefore do not take on properties of terpenes regardless of whether those terpenes come from an isolate or a live plant.
When it comes to cannabis extractions, ethanol is an ideal choice as a solvent because it’s safe and easy to use.
Whether you’re looking for the best way to extract THC or CBD from your plant material, know that there are other choices out there.
But if you want something fast and reliable with a low risk of unwanted side effects, we recommend trying ethanol extraction methods first before exploring anything else.