In the last part of this series, we took the tincture of alcohol and cannabinoids to crude, with just the extracted cannabinoids following desolventization. That guide left off by presenting two options for further processing: THC remediation or distillation. This entry in the series will explore THC remediation prior to distillation. It’s the most direct option to make the crude usable within legal limitations of THC content, and it maintains the most of the cannabinoid profile from the source plant.
There will be references to some of the terms and processes explored in the next part of the series. Don’t worry too much about them. The following guide will go into much greater detail on what they are.
An obvious question that comes up when considering the THC remediation route is why it’s necessary in the first place. If the hemp biomass that the crude came from only had below 0.3% THC, why would remediation even be needed? Extracts are concentrated. The overall percentage of CBD increases significantly through the extraction process, and so does the percentage of THC. Remember that the 0.3% is calculated by weight. If you remove the stems, leaves, buds, water, and all the other plant material to leave just the cannabinoids, the overall weight has gone down dramatically. However, the amount of cannabinoids hasn’t, meaning both THC and CBD make up a much larger percentage of the weight that’s left.
While it’s possible to get rid of most of the THC through isolation, even that process isn’t perfect at removing THC. At the same time, isolation will eliminate all the other cannabinoids, making the crystal-form finished product much different from the crude you have now. On the other hand, THC remediation will remove just the THC, leaving the CBD, minor cannabinoids, and everything else you preserved from the plant.
There are multiple ways to remediate THC from crude. Dilution isn’t an efficient option. Dilution will decrease the concentration of THC, sure, but it will also decrease the concentration of CBD and all other cannabinoids, ultimately defeating the purpose of extraction.
The old standard option for remediation was chromatography. It works, but by the nature of the process, chromatography will always lead to high CBD losses, in addition to the THC.
Then, there’s remediation via harmonic distillation. Don’t confuse this with making distillate, that’s something different. Essentially, the process uses heat, pressure, and vacuum to try to pull just the THC from the crude. Again, this isn’t the most efficient process, and it’ll cost you upwards of 15% of your CBD and tends to have a black tarry output.
The above options have the downside of high CBD loss, which affects your potential revenue, but also requires high operational costs from labor and consumables. Additionally, they’re typically not scalable solutions.
Finally, there’s the ENTEXS RMD-T Series for the most efficient process of THC remediation. This process targets THC and utilizes volatilization to remove the THC as well as conversion to another cannabinoid. These systems can reduce THC levels below legal limitations or even down to undetectable levels, with CBD losses below 5%, the lowest loss rates on the market. The RMD-T systems utilize a certified-organic catalyst with no waste stream and are built to GMP requirements. The ENTEXS RMD-T Series offers feed flexibility with inputs such as distillate or mother liquor, however, utilizing crude input showcases the lowest CBD loss rates.
Following ENTEXS extraction, you have full-spectrum crude. If broad-spectrum oil is desired, the crude oil is transferred into the processing tank for remediating to non-detect THC <800ppm. If a T-Free distillate is desired, the oil is ran back through to distillation. We will cover distillation in the next installment of the series, in addition to other options of further refinement and the ways those refinements can lead to unique CBD products.