There are solventless extracts of cannabis and ones made with solvents of some kind

The concept of a “chemical” is largely foreign to most people, as they mistakenly assume it is synonymous with a synthetic substance that is more likely than not toxic to human consumption.

But in reality, a “chemical” is simply a substance with a defined composition, like water or air.

Sometimes these substances are produced artificially, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Additionally, some don’t realize that even products that are classically labeled as “chemicals” —i.e. cleaning agents—are sometimes derived from natural sources. My new favorite body cleansing wipe is full of essential oils like chamomile, eucalyptus, clove, rosemary, pine, and orange. When medical cannabis was legalized in my state, the legislature here made it illegal to use any chemical solvents other than ethanol and carbon dioxide to extract THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids and terpenes from the marijuana plant. The logic was that since those are technically “natural” solvents, they were inherently safer than hydrocarbons like butane and propane which are much more efficient than both ethanol and CO2 at cannabinoid extraction. The issue is that you still cannot consume an end product with residual ethanol anymore than you can with butane, it’s simply just as dangerous to the user. This process is known as “purging” the chemical solvent, and it’s worth noting that it’s done at 40 degrees fahrenheit with butane and has to be as high as 190 degrees for ethanol. That makes it inherently harder to produce a cannabis product that is both completely free of ethanol while also retaining terpenes that are easily destroyed at higher temperatures.


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