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In previous articles, we talked about the science behind extraction and how technology is progressing quickly in this industry. There are a variety of options available, and we are now able to select the best methods of extraction for specific end-products. With a focus on targeted outputs and technologies, is there still an art to cannabis extraction?
The answer at Valens is undoubtedly, yes.
In the past, we have seen a dividing line between art and science, but things are quickly changing. In our society today, technology is advancing so rapidly that it is now only limited by our imagination. We find similarities in cultivation, where creativity becomes the limiting factor in scientific advancement.
In this article, we will look at the art in extraction, where artistic skill and vision propel our technology. We will look at how consumer demand is molding our industry. With state-of-the-art tools at our fingertips, the future of cannabis lies in creative solutions.
“After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in esthetics, plasticity, and form. The greatest scientists are artists as well.” – Albert Einstein, 1923
ART PROPELLING SCIENCE
As a business to business operation, our collaborative end-goals lie in producing premium quality extracted products for consumers. We believe in surpassing the regulations, and moving into the uncharted territory of industry excellence. However, to strive for more than has previously been achieved, we must move into the realm of scientific creativity.
Some would argue that scientific creativity is reached through logic and genius, while others by chance alone. Regardless, whether we consciously explore these new frontiers, or stumble upon them in our daily processes, there is always a force that propels us forward.
One principle of scientific creativity called ‘zeitgeist’, attributes this movement to the spirit of the times. It argues that invention is an inevitable product of knowledge accumulating in a society. It is a response to a need, based on the collection of available resources and focus on a specific area.
In the cannabis industry, the energy behind creative innovation is almost palpable. The spirit of these times is excitement, where research and exploration are opening doors that have been closed for centuries. This industry is just getting started.
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AN INDUSTRY THAT’S READY
Today, we have the attention, and we have the resources. There has never been a time in history where more focus has been on cannabis and its legal place in our society. And now we have the resources to understand it.
With legalization, technological advancement, and consumer motivation, we are now equipped to answer the age-old questions surrounding cannabis. However, for this force to be effective, we need to be looking ahead to what’s next. For the cannabis industry, this means finding creative solutions for what consumers want.
BEYOND THE QUEST FOR POTENT EXTRACTS
With an increase in technology, comes an increase in the complexity of what consumers are looking for. Cannabis extraction used to be much simpler. Early extraction saw oil trapped in plant material, and simply asked the question, how do we retrieve it?
It was found that oil could be pressed or heated out of plant material, or even simply dissolved into a solution over time. This became the basis for early extraction.
Once these methods were established, the quest began to retrieve more of the oil, and make deliverables more concentrated. In alcohol-based solvents and equipment for evaporation and purification, we found the key to extraction efficiency.
In the 1940s, the first experiments isolating single cannabinoids were performed. THC was identified as the main psychoactive compound, primarily responsible for the ‘high’ that users were after. Isolated THC concentrates were in demand, and extraction practices expanded to deliver. Through this technology, we can now deliver much higher percentages of THC than those found in flower. Most concentrates range from 40-90% THC, to the upper 90% range in select isolates. Today, obtaining potent extracts is no problem. But is that what consumers actually want?
Consumer demands are inevitably evolving and creativity is required to address their needs. The art is in the products we create.
WHAT TODAY’S CONSUMERS WANT
In 2019, consumer trends show a decreased demand for potent cannabis, and an increase in purposeful consumption. We are seeing users who are more educated in the extraction process and want to know exactly where their cannabis is coming from. By being adaptable, we provide real-time solutions for what consumers are searching for.
STRAINS THAT SUPPLEMENT
Consumers today are expecting consistency and safety. They want a product that will supplement their health and wellness, reduce pain or anxiety, and support better sleep. Users want cannabis products that will enhance their lifestyle, and are willing to do the research to find a company that will deliver.
“People really want to curate a personal experience…(they are) really pushing to learn more about the plant” – Jo Vos, Managing Director at Leafly Canada
Today’s users also want to be in control of their cannabis experience. They want products with high bioavailability, and quick onset, with measurable effects and durations. With the legalization of cannabis edibles and concentrates sales in late 2019, we will soon be in a position to deliver.
Through creative extraction solutions, Valens has partnered with Tarukino in bringing SōRSE™ emulsion technology to Canada. This will allow for seamless cannabis infusion into edibles and beverages, with no characteristic cannabis smell or taste, and predictable results.
The future of cannabis is moving beyond smoking to consumption. In the near future, ‘drinks after work’ could mean cannabis-infused cocktails. Entire culinary experiences will be built around cannabis, and there will be many novel entry points for users to experience its effects.
The art in extraction is anticipating where these new entry points will be, and being ready to meet and shape consumer demands. We are writing the future of legal cannabis, and it’s only through creative solutions that we write something meaningful.
THE ART OF CULTIVATION
Extraction is not the only area in the cannabis industry where we’re seeing a rapid expansion through innovative design and artistry. The cultivation of cannabis also requires creativity, from the development of unique strains to growing techniques for premium quality flower.
Our success at Valens is rooted in the dedication of our partners. In fact, it is the cultivation of premium cannabis that allows us to be creative in extraction. The oil we capture is a direct reflection of the care taken in growing, and it is evident in the volume and quality of oil that we are able to retrieve.
Though cannabis has been cultivated for centuries, there is still much innovation in its future. With implications that span from growing cannabis plants from tissue cultures, to creating higher-yielding crops, the future of cultivation is actively being written.
WHO’S LEADING THE CHARGE?
In the cannabis industry, our society gets to determine where we go next. The focus is there, the resources are at hand, and we are ready to progress. So who gets to be in the driver seat?
The reality is, progress can only be made through collaboration. There are government officials, with regulations to ensure we don’t move too quickly and overlook hidden dangers. There are scientists, pushing the boundaries beyond our current understanding, ensuring that we are always moving forward.
And then, there are industry artists. Able to navigate regulations and harness scientific discovery to find creative solutions that serve the public between these two extremes.
THE ARTISTS AT VALENS
Taking a tour through our extraction facility, it would be easy to assume that we’re solely a team of technicians. We follow government-regulated procedures, systematically operating machinery to produce oil extracts. The dry flower goes in, the oil comes out, and repeat.
While partially correct, this assumption would be missing an integral part of who we are as a business. What makes Valens unique is our teams‘ diverse skills and backgrounds, all coming together to make extracted magic. From the uniform, consistent drying of the flower, to the meticulous machine cleans after every run, it takes an army.
Our extraction technicians combine fluid dynamics with properties from physics and organic chemistry, pulling out certain compounds without damaging others. There’s artistry in every step, mixing skill with creativity to consistently improve our process. We are looking forward, driven by consumer demand and innovation.
At Valens, there’s art in extraction.
“…future practitioners risk being pigeonholed as highly-skilled experts who – though brilliant technologists – are without the requisite skills necessary for leadership in our global, fast-paced information, and innovation economy” – Domenico Grasso, PhD
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*All references for the Art in Extraction were retrieved on July 1st, 2019
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