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Hemp Extraction by Ultrasonic Equipment

Hemp and Hemp Oil

The plant Cannabis sativa is distinguished into two main species, hemp and marijuana. Both contain CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). CBD is well known for its beneficial medical effects, acting anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety, whilst THC is mostly known for its psychoactive abilities, which cause the so-called ‘high’. Hemp contains a significantly higher percentage of CBD, while THC is found only in trace amounts. This makes hemp the predestined source to produce high-quality CBD extracts, which are therefore also known as hemp extracts. CBD does not cause “high” effects, but its use can have relaxing effects and reduce anxiety and depression.
Hemp extracts are rich in cannabinoids such as CBD and CBG as well as terpenes – substances, which are known for their positive effects on health and well-being. Hemp extracts contain mainly non-psycho-active substances. THC, which is known for its psycho-active effects, is found in hemp in minimal concentrations of less than 0.3%. THC in such low dosis is negligible and produces no noticeable effects in the human body.

Hemp Extraction

CBD is one of many phytochemicals in the hemp plant. These phyto-compounds are encapsulated in the vegetal cells of the plant. In order to produce hemp extract such as CBD oils, tinctures, capsules, lotions, creams or other supplements, the CBD must be extracted and isolated. To release the valuable cannabinoids such as CBD, CBG and terpenes from hemp, an extraction process is required. Hemp extracts can be produced via various methods such as ethanol extraction, hydrocarbon extraction, or supercritical CO2 extraction. A very efficient, rapid, safe and easy-to-operate technique of hemp extraction is the ultrasonic extraction.

  • Higher yield
  • Superior quality
  • No thermal degradation
  • Rapid extraction
  • Simple and Safe Operation
  • Green Extraction

Hemp Oil Extraction Process

Hemp oil or cannabis oil is a term often used for the isolated CBD oil from the hemp or cannabis plant, respectively.
There are two types of CBD oil production, which result in two different products. One is by isolating exclusively the CBD to produce a CBD isolate. The other type of CBD production results in full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD. Full-spectrum CBD is produced from the hemp leaves, stems, or flowers and gives a pure oil containing the full spectrum of all cannabinoids and terpenes in the hemp plant. Full-spectrum CBD oils have the benefit of the so-called entourage effect. The entourage effect describes the interplay of the manifold other cannabinoids besides CBD. The extraction of full-spectrum CBD oil is often the preferred process, because the full spectrum extract contains not only the benefits of CBD but also of all the other cannabinoids found in the plant.
Ultrasonic hemp extractors can be used to manufacture both types of CBD oils, CBD isolates and full-spectrum CBD oils.

Hemp Oil Extraction Methods and Equipment

How is CBD oil manufactured? In order to extract CBD oil from the cannabis or hemp plant, the cannabinoids such as CBD and CBG must be released from the cell matrix of the hemp material. There are several types of extraction equipments available. The most popular hemp extractors are ultrasonic CBD extractors, supercritical CO2 extraction, hydrocarbon extraction, and conventional solvent extraction (e.g. ethanol, methanol). Ultrasonic hemp extraction has the strong advantage that the sonication technology can be used with various solvents including water, ethanol, water/ethanol mix, glycerine, vegetable oils etc. This gives the manufacturer a wide range of possibilities to optimize the extraction. By selecting a specific solvent, the hemp extract can be produced to meet specific targets such as yield, purity, or final product.
After the extraction process, the phyto-compounds of the hemp plant (e.g. CBD, CBG, other cannabinoids and terpenes) must be isolated by a distillation. For the distillation, the crude extract can be optionally winterized before it is run through a short path distillation or evaporator.

Ultrasonic extraction of hemp oils and CBD extracts

Ultrasonic Hemp Oil Extractors

Hielscher Ultrasonics supplies professional hemp extraction equipment for any production scale. Ultrasonic hemp extractors can release the complete range of cannabinoids and other valuable phyto-compounds such as terpenes from the hemp plant.

Guide for Ultrasonic Hemp Extraction

Hielscher Ultrasonics offers the ideal setup for your hemp extract production. For smaller and mid-size production scale, Hielscher batch extractors are a safe-bet for easy and rapid extraction of superior CBD oils.

Ultrasonic Batch Extractors for Hemp Oil

With the UP400St (400 watts), you get a powerful ultrasonic extractor, which easily processes up to approx. 2gal per batch. The setup and operation of the UP400St is quick and simple and allows for a fast processing of manifold smaller lots in row. The sonication duration for a 2 gallon beaker of hemp slurry takes 2-5 min. Since the change between the batches is so simple and quickly done, the UP400St is capable to process up to 20 gallons per hour.
The picture on the right shows the ultrasonic hemp extractor UP400St for the extraction of cannabinoids such as CBD from industrial hemp in an 8L (1.8gal) beaker. The mechanical stirrer on the left side promotes the macro-movements of the slurry for a uniform ultrasonic treatment of the hemp.
If your looking for an ultrasonic extractor capable to process larger barrels of hemp, the UP2000hdT (2000 watts, see pic. left) is the right hemp extraction equipment for you. Easy and safe to use as the UP400St, the UP2000hdT comes with 2000 watts ultrasonic power and can handle batch extractions of up to 26 gal barrels (120liters) per run.

Ultrasonic Inline Extractors for Hemp Oil

For highly professional CBD extraction from large lots of hemp on fully commercial scale, the installation of an ultrasonic inline extractor gives you really large production capacities. The UIP4000hdT is a 4000 watts powerful ultrasonic hemp extractor, equipped with flow cell which feeds the hemp directly into the ultrasonic cavitation field, where the cannabinoids are released from the plant cells. Depending on the hemp slurry and solvent concentration, the UIP4000hdT can easily process up to 2gal/min. The processing capacity can be easily increased by installing several units of the UIP4000hdT in parallel.
The UIP16000 comes with 16,000 watts ultrasonic power and processes up to 22gal/min.
All Hielscher ultrasonic extractors are designed and manufactured in Germany and fullfil highest quality standards. The are built for 24/7 operation under full load, robust, user-friendly and safe to operate. Digital touch-screens, automatic data protocolling, and browser remote control are just a few of the key features, which make Hielscher ultrasonic extractors the preferred ultrasonicators for hemp oil extraction.

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Ultrasonic extraction of hemp oil and CBD extracts with ultrasonicator UP400St

Literature/References

Why is Ultrasonic Extraction the Best Method?

Efficiency

  • Higher yields
  • Rapid extraction process – within minutes
  • High quality extracts – mild, non-thermal extraction
  • Green solvents (water, ethanol, glycerin, veget. oils etc.)

Simplicity

  • Plug-and-play – Set-up and operate within minutes
  • High throughput – For large scale extract production
  • Batch-wise or continuous inline operation
  • Simple installation and start-up
  • Portable / Movable – Portable units or built on wheels
  • Linear scale up – add another ultrasonic system in parallel to increase capacity
  • Remote monitoring and control – via PC, smart phone or tablet
  • No process supervision required – Set-up and run
  • High-Performance – designed for continuous 24/7 production
  • Robustness and low maintenance
  • High quality – designed and built in Germany
  • Quick load and discharge between lots
  • Easy to clean

Safety

  • Simple and safe to run
  • Solvent-less or solvent-based extraction (water, ethanol, vegetable oils, glycerin, etc.)
  • No high pressures and temperatures
  • ATEX-certified explosion-proof systems available
  • Easy to control (also via remote control)

Hemp Extract vs Hemp Oil vs Hemp Seed Oil

CBD oil is a concentrated extract from cannabis/hemp flowers or leaves that is dissolved in an inert carrier oil, mostly an edible oil such as MCT, coconut, sunflower, hemp seed, or olive oil. When the CBD oil is extracted from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa, it is therefore often called hemp extract or hemp oil. In comparison to the marijuana plant (which is high in THC and low in CBD), the industrial hemp plant contains large amounts of CBD and is therefore predestined for the production of CBD extracts. The term hemp oil is sometimes dually used for hemp-derived CBD extracts and hemp seed oil. However those both products – hemp CBD oil and hemp seed oil – are very different in their composition, effects and use.
Hemp seed oil is the vegetable oil, which is obtained by the cold pressing of hemp seeds. Hemp seeds do not contain CBD, but is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Hemp seed oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids for vegetarians and vegans and is used for cooking and cosmetics. Hemp seed oil should be listed as cannabis sativa seed oil, whilst CBD-containing oils are listed as cannabidiol, full-spectrum hemp, hemp oil, phytocannabinoid-rich (PCR) hemp extracts.

Hemp Extraction by Ultrasonic Equipment Hemp and Hemp Oil The plant Cannabis sativa is distinguished into two main species, hemp and marijuana. Both contain CBD (cannabidiol) and THC

A Guide to Cannabis Extraction Equipment and Machines

Before any CBD oil, THC tincture, weed butter or cannabis concentrate can be bought, first, it must be extracted. This is the job of cannabis extraction equipment, the machines that remove the coveted cannabis compounds from the plant’s matrix (a process explored in more detail here).

And just like any other piece of kit, an inevitable question arises when considering extraction machines: which one’s the best value for money?

Some are industrial, some are the size of a kettle. Some use CO2 as a solvent, others utilize alcohol. All have their pros and cons which can be listed in a nice, handy guide to cannabis extraction equipment and machines. A guide just like this:

CO 2 Cannabis Extraction

CO2 might not be the cheapest solvent going, but its benefits can be worth the price tag. In these machines, high heat and pressures turn the gas supercritical, enabling it to extract higher yields than many other solvent methods.


The BOSS CO2 Extraction System

Automation at all stages has already improved the extraction process, especially with regard to repeatability and accuracy. Quadron Cannatech focuses on developing automated extraction systems specifically for the cannabis industry. Its BOSS CO2 Extraction System incorporates automated controls that eliminate the use of manual valves and has been designed to make load and unload times as short as possible to increase production capacity. The company claims that by streamlining the process its setup can process 20 pounds of cannabis material in 4 hours and run continuously without supervision, enabling a total of 6 runs per day.

The BOSS CO2 extraction system. Credit: Quadron Cannatech

The price: approximately $250,000

Pros Cons
Small footprint Not suitable for small-scale production
Relatively low energy costs Relatively expensive
Automated batch loading CO2 must be stored carefully
Easy to use for this kind of system Operates at high pressures
Does not require harmful solvents Relatively complex

CannabisSFE

In all extraction methods, throughput will always be a key element for improvement. For example, the CannabisSFE, a supercritical CO2 extraction system from Supercritical Fluid Technologies, is able to perform both at subcritical (for terpenes) and supercritical levels (for cannabinoids) with simple setting adjustments. Flexibility and scalability in throughput are always desirable attributes, particularly in the fast-paced cannabis industry where companies grow fast and requirements can change overnight.

The CannabisSFE Supercritical CO2 Extraction Unit. Credit: Supercritical Fluid Technologies.

The price: $49,500

Pros Cons
Small footprint Not suitable for large scale production
Suitable for average scale production No automated loading between runs
Scalable capacity CO2 must be stored carefully
Add-ons available to enhance functionality Operates at high pressures
Does not require harmful solvents Relatively complex

Hi-Flo FX2 20L 5K

The Hi-Flo™ High Performance Series is known for its processing powers, and one of the latest in the series, the FX2 20L 5K, is no exception. Capable of processing as much as 107lbs of biomass a day, the extractor offers up to 5,000 psi and a rapid change-over for maximum extraction times.

The Hi-Flo FX2 20L 5K. Credit: Eden Labs LLC.

The price: $175,000

Pros Cons
Closed-loop design with up to 95% CO2 recapture rate Requires a well-ventilated, tightly controlled lab environment
Fast terpene capture with advanced oil integrity cup design Not suitable for small scale operators
Easy step-by-step protocol for upkeep Relatively expensive
No internal moving parts so fewer points of failure Requires scientific expertise to optimize
Energy efficient Lower capacity than some competitors

Apeks Supercritical CO2 System

The most industrial extraction products deserve intimidating names, and the Force is certainly no exception. Able to process a colossal 200 pounds of dried botanical material every day, Apeks Supercritical’s system is optimized to tackle the biggest workloads in the industry. This one’s for the pros.

The Force TM . Credit: Apeks Supercritical

The price: start at $445,000

Pros Cons
Can perform supercritical and subcritical extractions Hefty price tag
Equipped with CO2 storage tank Not suitable for small operations
Fully automated Extensive scientific expertise required to run and optimize system
Works for large scale operations High energy consumption

Super C Extractor

Compared to the industrial behemoths, OCO Labs’ SuperC extractor looks like a toy. But don’t be fooled by its size; for the right buyer, this little extractor has is it all-in-one. Capable of processing 1oz at 4500 psi by itself, the SuperC’s capabilities can also be expanded with purchased additions such as OCO Labs’ rack specs.

The SuperC. Credit: OCO Labs.

The price: $4000

Alcohol Cannabis Extraction

Like CO2, alcohol is one of the most commonly used solvents for cannabis extraction. Cheap to source, the ethanol soaks up the prized compounds, which can then be separated via evaporation. But this cheap solution doesn’t come without its challenges. Ethanol is highly flammable, and any temperature change can drastically alter the final product. Luckily, these machines come with instruction manuals.


Across International Rotovap

Built more like a home chemistry set than an industrial extractor, Across International’s Rotovap might be the perfect choice for a savvy buyer. Plus, thanks to its smaller volume, the Rotovap offers much more control over the evaporation of liquid phase materials. Any downsides, of course, stem from the extractor’s stripped back design. For example, any cooling system will have to be purchased separately.

The Ai SolventVap 5.3G/20L Rotary Evaporator. Credit: Across International.

The price: $19,470

Pros
Cons
Much more affordable than other products Minimal temperature control
One-year warranty Accessories, such as chillers and pumps must be bought separately
Suitable for small scale operations Very limited loading capacity
Simple and easy to use Lacks flexibility
Small volumes allow fine controls Alcohol extracts must be treated to remove unwanted co-extracts like chlorophyll

Genius ASAHI Rotary Evaporator

Like Across International’s Rotovap, the Genius ASAHI Rotoray Evaporator’s choice of solvent, alcohol, helps to keep it affordable. Two cold chambers can help to keep chlorophyll trapped in the plant matter, making the final product lighter in color and more flavorful.

Genius ASAHI Evaporator. Credit: Genius Extraction Technologies, Inc.

The price: varies depending on size.

Pros Cons
Removes solvents at low temperatures to preserve terpenes and cannabinoids Accessories, such as chillers and pumps must be bought separately
Much more affordable than other products Limited loading capacity in smaller models
Easy cleaning and maintenance Lacks flexibility
A variety of sizes are available Extraction process is completely manual

Source Turbo

The extractor for the on-the-go cannabis connoisseur, the Source Turbo can be operated remotely via a mobile app. No day is too jam-packed for this extract. As an extra feature, the Turbo also comes equipped with altitude-specific tuning, so it can operate at its best performance whether up in the mountains or down on the beach.

Source Turbo. Credit: Extract Craft.

The price: $599

Pros Cons
Suitable for home-use Very low production capacity
Easy to use Alcohol extracts can require extensive clean up
Does not require harmful solvents Not suitable for commercial extraction

Part of the evolution of any form of equipment comes from the introduction of new methods. ESCET, for example, have developed a method that enables cannabis extraction with low-proof alcohol, such as bourbon or vodka, plus vegetable oil and water. The company claims that this method is “non-flammable, has no moving parts, and operates at normal pressure.” As the process is currently patent pending, data to prove the efficacy of this method are promising but unavailable.

The price: unknown.

Pros Cons
Does not require harmful solvents Not commercially available
Very easy to use No public data available to prove efficacy
No dangerous chemicals or equipment required Alcohol extracts can require extensive clean up

Butane Cannabis Extraction

Butane, or propane in some instances, can be seen as similar solvents to CO2 in many ways. The butane is pressurized and heated, which transforms it from liquid to a vapor, making it easier to remove. This process creates a shatter, a clear material of THC, CBD and other cannabis compounds like terpenes. Although effective, the process can be undesirable for medicinal products, due to the risk of contamination.


The PX40 Extraction System

Throughput and scalability have been the focus of manufacturers of hydrocarbon solvent-based extraction equipment too. Precision Extraction Solutions, for example, continuously update their flagship PX40 Extraction System, which is ominously known as the Executioner. Run using either butane or propane, or a mix of both, this system can process up to 360lbs of material in a 10-hour shift of runs. The $189,000 price tag comes with the assurance that any extractor will be able to process vast amounts of cannabis using a machine that has been built above and beyond regulatory compliance. Plus, on-demand heating and chilling enables maximum control with ease of operation.

The PX40 Extraction System, also known as the Executioner. Credit: Precision Extraction Solutions.

The price: starts at $189,000

Pros
Cons
Easy to use for this kind of system Uses hydrocarbon solvents which must be removed
Compatible with propane and butane gas High cost
High capacity Not suitable for small-scale production
High throughput Hydrocarbon solvents must be handled with care
Great for terpene extraction Relatively complex

The Io extractor

Over on the butane side of the extractor world is the Io extractor, a fully automated system capable of extracting 18lbs of plant material per hour. Priding itself on its novel data logging suite, Luna Technologies’ product constantly reviews the temperatures and pressures of each run, logging and refining its process with each cycle.

The Io extractor. Credit: Luna Technologies.

The price: approximately $225,000

Pros Cons
Computer controls can help refine extraction recipes for maximum yield and efficiency Low processing capacity (18lbs)
Automation-ready The dangers associated with butane oil
Simple to use Butane must be removed post-processing

Ablaze Mini Closed Loop Extractor

And here it is, what might be the cheapest butane extractor on the market: Ablaze’s Mini Closed Loop Extractor. With a 45g capacity and a 100psi limit, this processing product might only be capable of the most humdrum extractions, but for those interested in a saving, this is one of the best deals out there.

ABLAZE Mini Closed Loop Extractor. Credit: Ablaze.

The price: $510

Pros Cons
Low price point Not as simple as at-home alcohol extractors
Suitable for home-use Very low production capacity
Easy to use Vaccum pump and recovery tank also required

Ice Water Extraction

More ‘back-to-basics’ than other extraction methods, ice water extraction isn’t a step too far from giving the cannabis plant a cold bath. Because THC is denser than water, the compound can separate from the leaf material when washed. After this, the cannabinoid-rich water only needs to be filtered through a series of micron bags before it’s ready to be used.


Eberbach Model E5703

Working to create a safe and easy method for cannabis extraction, collaborators at Mountain High Suckers and Eberbach have developed a commercial platform that enables ice-water extraction, which eliminates any concern of residual chemicals in extracts. Plus, putting cannabis material in ice water and then filtering it is an extremely safe process. Currently available on their website, the Model E5703 can process over 1lb of plant material per hour and has been designed to comply with existing FDA standards. They are yet to release detailed information on the results of their experimentation, but the technique holds promise for small scale extraction and could potentially be scaled up to process more material.

The Eberbach Model E5703. Credit: Eberbach.

The price: approximately $10,000

Pros Cons
Does not require harmful solvents Methodology still in development
Very easy to use Scalability unknown
No dangerous chemicals or equipment required No public data available to prove efficacy
Cheap to run Ice water extraction is non-specific
Suitable for small scale operations Water-based extraction can be slow

Funding cannabis extraction equipment

Getting real equipment takes some investment in a business and can be a huge barrier to start-ups with some setups costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. To help overcome these hurdles, companies such as Trust Capital have been set up to offer financing for cannabis equipment. If a manufacturer wants to make a professional extract, professional equipment must be used. Another approach is to borrow or lease the extraction equipment your business requires, enabling you to get off the ground without making any large capital investments and potentially explore various production methods whilst you are developing your ideas. For example, Apeks, a manufacturer of CO2 extraction systems, offer their equipment on lease for anything from a week right up to two years. They even throw in free servicing and in-depth training on the system.

As this industry grows, so will the equipment options for extraction. These advances will probably go across the kinds of extraction processes, and the connection between extraction and analytical testing could also see improvement. Even with the best equipment, though, only skilled operators can produce the intended results. So, training operators as needed should always be performed in any company to guarantee results.

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A Guide to Cannabis Extraction Equipment and Machines Before any CBD oil, THC tincture, weed butter or cannabis concentrate can be bought, first, it must be extracted. This is the job of cannabis ]]>