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Extrakt Lab | How to Extract Oils from Trim
Even though many medical purveyors in oils-only states use both flower and trim as a source for the extract oils, some extractors use trim exclusively as the source material for their extractions.
Extract Oils
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How to Extract Oils from Trim

Extract Oils

How to Extract Oils from Trim

What is Trim and How Do I Extract Oils from It?

Even though many medical purveyors in oils-only states use both flower and trim as a source for the extract oils, some extractors use trim exclusively as the source material for their extractions.

Trim is derived from the trichrome rich outer leafs that encompass the flower.  The overall cannabinoid content of these leaves can range from 10-15% and high grade trim usually includes small flowers that can not be sold elsewhere.   Quality trim can be obtained from a variety of producers at a wide range of quality.   In our experience, there is no difference in quality between outdoor and indoor trim.   However,  some less scrupulous purveyors sell their fan leaf and stems containing 1-5% cannabinoids at a reduced cost per pound.   This trim is not really trim but is all the waste material and can contain high concentrations of pesticides and or herbicides.  Care should be taken when purchasing trim since the cost to produce a gram from poor quality trim is greater than the cost to produce from high quality trim.

There are basically four grades of trim that constitute visual inspection accept/reject criteria.

Grade 1 Trim for Extract Oil

Origin: Small leafs that are attached to the flower and buds that are too small to sell

Resin Content: 15%

Nug content: 10%

Cannabinoid content: High

Trichromes: High density

Sticks: None

Fan Leaf: None

Typical value: High

Typical extract oil output:  High

Debris: Free from foreign debris

Mold and mildew:   Visually free from mold and mildew

 

Grade 2 Trim for Extract Oil

Origin: Small leafs that are attached to the flower

Resin content: 10-12%

Nug content: 1-3%

Cannabinoid content: High

Trichromes: Medium density

Sticks: None

Fan Leaf: None

Typical value: High – medium

Typical extract oil output:  High-medium

Debris: Free from foreign debris

Mold and mildew:   Visually free from mold and mildew

 

Grade 3 Trim for Extract Oil

Origin: Small leafs that are attached to the flower that have greatly reduced trichrome content.

Resin Content: 5-10%

Nug content: 1-3%

Cannabinoid content: low

Trichromes: Low density

Sticks: None

Fan Leaf: None

Typical value: High – medium

Typical extract oil output:  High-medium

Debris: Free from foreign debris

Mold and mildew:   Visually free from mold and mildew

 

Grade 4 Trim for Extract Oil

Origin: Fan leafs and branches

Highly Resinous: 1-5%

Nug content: 1%

Trichromes: Low to no density

Sticks: Yes

Fan Leaf:  Yes

Typical value: little to no value

Typical extract oil output:  Low

Debris: Typically will have refuse

Mold and mildew:   Visually free from mold and mildew

Caveat Emptor when it comes to purchasing trim for extract oils.

There are many unscrupulous sellers of trim on the market because there are many uneducated buyers on the market.  A popular way to downgrade the extract oil content from Grade 1,2 trim to Grade 3 is to tumble the trim with dry ice to knock the trichromes off of the plant.  Notice that the resin content can be high but the cannabinoid content is low.  This is why measuring output by weight only is fraught with potential mis-judgments on the quality of the extract.    The degraded material looks like really good trim, but is in reality poor quality trim.

Grade 4 material is nearly worthless as the cost to extract the material can be greater than the cost of the material itself.  In general, materials less than 5%

Sampling Trim for Extract Oil

Sampling is an important part of the grading exercise.  For example, when a truckload of trim is purchased,  Grade 1,2 is presented to the seller who typically makes the decision on whether the trim is “good” or “poor” trim by rubbing the material on his fingers to gage the resin content.  The method of determining good vs poor in this case is not objective and is very prone to mis-grading.  However, the point is not necessarily the method here.

The question is, “Is the sample representative of the truckload?”

The answer to that question, is where the science of statistics enters.   First you must ask, Is the sample a random sample?  Second, you must know, how many times must I sample the truckload in order to be certain within a degree of error that the sample is representative of the truckload.  Third, you must have an objective analytical tool with an established accept/reject crietera on which to accept or reject the samples.  If you are just rubbing the material between your fingers to determine grade, you have already lost and you will loose money.  The method involves squeezing and rolling the material in between your fingers.  Then the plant material is let go and some resin remains on your fingers.

Measuring for Potency, Identity, and Pesticides

Historically, extractors believe that the only time that a extract needs to be measured is when the product is shipped or maybe not even at all.   A more refined approach includes measuring pesticides, potency, concentration, identity before the trim is purchased.  This is accomplished with modern day techniques using HPLC UV and MS and GC/MS.  The finger method is a good first approximation, but it can lead to erroneous results, even with an experienced buyer.  For example, some cultivars have a much higher resin content than others.  And it is known that cannabinoid content varies with variety.  Thus, you could be purchasing a high wax content material that would “finger” good but have very low cannabinoid content.