As the cannabis market grows and matures, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the quality and purity of the products they purchase. As with many other products, there’s an increased push towards more natural and organic options, spurred by concerns over personal health and the environment. Cold water extraction provides cannabis processors the opportunity to create natural and organic products without the use of solvents and with minimal risk of contamination.
Cold water cannabis extraction is nothing new, but ENTEXS has brought the process firmly into the 21st century. The ENTEXS CWE Series of cold water extraction systems offer a hands-free approach through modern advancements in automation. Their closed-loop design provides a tightly controlled environment, ideal for ensuring product purity.
Cold water extraction is among the oldest methods of cannabis extraction. It relies on cold temperatures to separate the cannabis plant’s trichomes from the rest of the plant material. It’s a simple extraction method, but it’s highly effective, and with the aid of modern technology, it can be highly efficient.
Trichomes are tiny projections found in high concentrations around cannabis flowers. They give cannabis flowers their almost frosty appearance. Trichomes contain high concentrations of cannabinoids, like THC and CBD, making them highly valuable to cannabis processors. Cold water extraction is a fantastic way to separate those trichomes from the rest of the plant material.
For cold water extraction to work best, the cannabis biomass should be frozen before it has a chance to dry out and become brittle. The frozen cannabis is placed in an agitator with ice-cold water and typically ice itself. The cold temperatures and agitation separate the trichomes from the rest of the plant material without breaking it apart. Trichomes are denser than the rest of the cannabis plant and the water and will sink to the bottom of the container, effectively keeping them from mixing with the rest of the plant material. When the remaining cannabis biomass is removed and the water is drained, only the trichomes remain.
The remaining trichomes retain their high concentration of cannabinoids. These extracted trichomes are a type of hash typically referred to as “water hash,” a highly sought-after product with increasing demand.
Cold water extraction produces a different product than more common solvent-based extraction methods. Instead of creating resins, shatters, and other common concentrates, cold water extraction produces hash. Hash is quite probably the oldest type of cannabis extract, with roots stretching back to ancient times. Hash retains most of the properties of the original cannabis plant but in a much more concentrated form. It’s also generally considered a more natural extract because it’s not too far removed from the cannabis plant.
Cold water extraction uses water as a solvent. It doesn’t rely on high pressures or dangerous chemicals. This has a number of clear benefits. First, there’s minimal risk of impurities or contamination. There’s also no need to worry about reclaiming solvent from the extracted product.
The equipment itself is also less complex. There’s no need to manage combustible chemicals or have safety measures in place for the high pressures within the system. Less personal protective equipment (PPE) is needed for staff and far less safety training.
Any solvent, regardless of how safe or natural, will cause some breakdown of cannabinoids and terpenes. Cold water extraction, however, minimizes breakdown by taking harsh solvents and high temperatures out of the equation. The freezing temperatures even aid in the preservation of cannabinoids and terpenes as well.
The preservation of cannabinoids and terpenes has a couple of massively beneficial effects. By keeping the terpenes intact, the process also preserves the original aroma and flavor of the cannabis. Studies also link terpenes to some of the therapeutic properties of the cannabis plant, making them an invaluable part of the overall cannabis equation. At the same time, the preservation of cannabinoids creates a much more pure and potent product. By retaining minor cannabinoids, the process also preserves the entourage effect, which may increase the overall effects of cannabis, both for medicinal and recreational purposes.
Cold water extraction is easily the best method for making hash. Not only is it better than other methods at preserving the compounds found in cannabis, but it also produces higher yields than other methods, like dry sifting.
The ENTEXS CWE Series of cold water extraction systems are among the first to truly modernize the ancient process of cold water cannabis extraction. At the heart of the ENTEXS CWE is the insulated/jacketed extraction vessel, utilizing a bottom mount mixer to enable easy biomass loading, automated biomass removal when the extraction is completed, and a clear view of the process from above. The mixer and baffles work together to provide well-mixed turbulent flow for optimal extraction. The CWE was designed for streamlined high-throughput production, with a constant recirculation of the product stream through filter stacks as well as parallel filters for product-enabling product collection during extraction. Like all ENTEXS systems, the CWE series is designed, engineered, fabricated, and manufactured in the United States by skilled craftspeople according to the absolute highest standards. The CWE Series is built for cGMP compliance and is ready to produce fully organic products.
ENTEXS CWE systems occupy a small footprint, with the CWE-50 taking up just under 17 square feet. Despite their small size, these systems are capable of truly impressive outputs. The CWE-50 can manage up to 35 pounds of fresh frozen cannabis biomass per batch, while the CWE-200 can process up to 135 pounds of fresh frozen per batch.
All ENTEXS CWE systems feature a closed-loop design that provides a hands-free operating experience. By employing the latest in automation technology, ENTEXS systems allow cannabis processors to control every aspect of their extraction operation without the need for human intervention and the potential for contamination and error that comes along with it. The CWE systems take it a step further with real-time monitoring and control of the extraction process over the cloud.
The ENTEXS CWE Series also sets itself apart by offering extractors the option for ice-free extraction. Traditionally, cold water extraction relies on ice, but with the optional chiller module, CWE systems can cut ice out of the equation, relying instead on a recycled stream of super-chilled water and jacketed vessel to produce optimal results.
With the growing demand for more natural cannabis extracts, the ENTEXS CWE Series sits poised to revolutionize the solventless extraction space with the most efficient hash-making process on the market.