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The cannabis extraction business is booming. Just how much? It’s said that by 2022, roughly 50% of cannabis product sales will come from cannabis concentrates. This rise in popularity could be due to a number of factors including the fact that they can be consumed discreetly, the growing variety of flavors (both natural and artificial), and their high potency for those who enjoy the intoxication.
To give you a little rundown, extraction methods are generally classified into three main categories: hydrocarbon, alcohol, and carbon dioxide (CO2). Hydrocarbon extraction typically utilizes solvents such as hexane, propane, and butane. The alcohol methods typically involve ethanol or isopropanol, whereas CO2 extraction uses pressurized CO2 at specific temperatures, such that a supercritical fluid is produced, which pulls compounds from plant material. No matter the method, cannabis extraction and manufacturing companies have probably gotten the biggest black eye in the legal cannabis market in regards to regulation.
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All businesses manufacturing cannabis-derived products must present to their state the proper licensing before anyone extracts anything, which for some has made extracting cannabis a rather complex proposition compared to other canna-businesses outside this market niche. In California, licensing falls under two categories:
Type-6 License: Manufacturing cannabis products utilizing “non-volatile” solvents or mechanical methods to produce extracts.
Type-7 License: Manufacturing cannabis products by utilizing “volatile” solvents such as butane to produce extracts.
Both licenses have their advantages; however, stricter regulations have been placed on Type-7 manufacturers. Due to the nature of the extraction process, they aren’t permitted at all in some places —think of the BHO (butane hash oil) explosions caused by amateur labs in California. Such has happened across the country and could very well explain why volatile licenses aren’t available in every city and why utilizing flammable gases in the manufacturing process is illegal in some jurisdictions.
Cannabis extraction products constitute the fastest-growing segment of the marketplace and have the kind of demand that has caused investors and entrepreneurs alike to get in the game. While the consumption of cannabis is growing enormously, so has the regulation for businesses extracting from the plant.