CBD Products at Each Stage of Extraction
There are a number of product opportunities available for producers in the hemp extraction industry. Whether focusing on business to business, or business to customer, there are several products that can be effectively marketed throughout the extraction process from top to bottom. In this article, we will take a look at five commonly sold products that are derived from the hemp extraction process, at which points they are made, and how they can be sold for a profit in the industry.
A Quick Look at CBD Products
While products created from refined extracts for customers are typically what’s thought of when it comes to CBD products, there are many opportunities for processors the create sellable products throughout the extraction process:
- Terpenes: Cannabinoids are not the only compounds that are valued in the extraction industry. Terpenes can be reliably collected at the beginning of the extraction process and sold to other businesses who use them to formulate products. This product is essential for desirable aroma and flavor and plays a significant role in The Entourage Effect
- Crude Oil: This product is collected directly after the extraction process. Crude oil is typically sold to other businesses as a wholesale product before it is refined into products that can be formulated into retail products for customers. Crude oil has a full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, fats, waxes, chlorophylls and other plant compounds.
- Distillate: This extract is the staple form of CBD oil used to create popular CBD products like vaporizers, tinctures, and edibles for customers. Distillate is often a clear, golden, viscous liquid that contains a full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes - though it can be formulated to remove certain cannabinoids if desired to create a “broad spectrum” product.
- Isolate: Taking individual cannabinoids and separating them into individual extracts is called isolate. This can be sold to businesses, or to customers because it is incredibly easy to use. It is most often sold as a fine powder that is 99% pure which can be added to beverages, smokable products or formulated into products like tinctures from other businesses.
- New Cannabinoids: This type of product is a hotly debated topic, but has its place in the market. Though delta 9 THC is not federally legal, other psychoactive cannabinoids like delta 8 THC, delta 10 THC, and THC O can be derived from hemp extracts that tend to pass in terms of legality. The laws around these products are always changing, but they are a provenly profitable market opportunity in the present.
Terpenes are an essential part of many CBD products. These plant compounds give the hemp plant and the products created from it the smells and flavors associated with them. These are what makes products like tinctures, vaporizers, and edibles enjoyable to use by consumers. Depending on your extraction process, terpenes can be collected and sold early on so that they can be introduced into final CBD products. Using the extraktLAB method, high quality terpenes can be collected prior to extraction and sold to other businesses looking to formulate with those terps.
The decarboxylation step is necessary for any extraction process in order to make the desired cannabinoids active so that the benefits from them can be experienced by the user. This process uses heat to convert the acidic form of the cannabinoid present in the plant (CBD-A for example) into the active form of the cannabinoid (CBD). Without this step, ingesting the hemp extract would do nothing in terms of beneficial effects.
How Decarboxylation Works
This process is often done in a vacuum oven. By adding the ground biomass to an oven under vacuum pressure, the necessary temperature to cause decarboxylation. This is important in order to avoid the degradation of the cannabinoids and terpenes as the process is underway. There is another benefit to this process when performed correctly. Though terpenes are fragile, vacuum oven decarboxylation does allow for the evaporation of terpenes from the hemp biomass. As this occurs, there are methods and equipment that can be used to collect those terpenes as a product that can be used to formulate extracts.
As the terpenes are evaporated, a cold trap condenser can be utilized to capture those terpenes. This is done by chilling the condenser so that the vaporized terps are collected in a receiving flask. After this is done, the terpenes collected are unadulterated, pure and profitable. These can be sold to other businesses in the industry intending to introduce terpenes to a final product formulation, or re-introduced to your own product down the line.
Wholesale Crude oil
The basic principle of the extraction process is just that - extraction. This part of the process takes biomass and puts it into an extraction column where a solvent like butane, ethanol or supercritical CO2 is introduced. This takes the cannabinoids, remaining terpenes, chlorophylls, fats, waxes and other plant materials and strips them from the biomass before being collected as a crude oil. While this is not typically what CBD products that hit the store shelves are derived from, it does have its place in the market.
Unrefined crude oil, as mentioned above, has a wide array of plant materials inside of it. While some of these materials are typically removed from the oil, there are certain benefits to the presence of the many plant compounds in crude oil. The common term in the industry for this wide range of plant compounds is often referred to as “full spectrum.” This term is used because a full spectrum oil will, as the name suggests, have a spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids in the oil. This can be beneficial as producers and customers look to find “The Entourage Effect.”
What is The Entourage Effect?
The Entourage Effect is a relatively new study that suggests the range of plant compounds found in a full spectrum oil creates a synergistic effect. This means that the cannabinoids and terpenes work in conjunction with each other to enhance the benefits of each as opposed to the individual cannabinoids on their own. While further research must be done, there is plenty of personal testimony to lend to the fact that users of these products intentionally seek out full spectrum CBD products with The Entourage Effect in mind.
As a business to business partnership, wholesale crude can be a great opportunity for operations who are solely focused on the refinement process. This allows for a system focused on the extraction process in business-to-business sales to companies strictly focused on creating high quality end CBD products like distillates and isolates (more on that shortly). When you are focused on wholesale crude oil sales, you can avoid the costs of high end solvent removal, and distillation equipment and truly refine your extraction process to stand out to those companies dedicated to creating extract products intended for the end user.
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Perhaps the most widely sought after product in the extraction industry, distillates is the first stop before creating the products that customers want in the hemp industry. Distillates can be formulated into high end customer products, or sold wholesale to other companies who are creating those products opening a wide market opportunity for your operation. If product formulation is your intention, there are a number of CBD products that can be made from this liquid gold:
Edibles are perhaps the widest ranging CBD products on the market. Because they are the easiest to use, everyone from avid, daily CBD users to those totally new to CBD can comfortably use these products. The full spectrum of CBD distillate allows for a great range of cannabinoid and terpene profiles that can make for a very beneficial product with a great flavor as well.
Distillates are great options for full spectrum CBD products in which edibles are commonly formulated. This is because distillates typically contain a full spectrum of terpenes and cannabinoids that can be added easily to products like gummies, baked goods, candies, etc. The honey-like consistency of distillate allows for an easy incorporation during the product formulation process making it ideal for edible products.
Tinctures are one of the most accessible and prevalent CBD products on the market. Distillate can be used to make high quality tinctures. These products are used sublingually, or under the tongue, making it important to avoid harsh flavors. With a light terpene profile and a full spectrum formulation, distillate made tinctures are perfect for customers looking for the ideal CBD experience.
Distillate made vaporizers are incredibly popular because of their light flavor with a full spectrum feel. Because these products are inhaled, the benefits are nearly immediate. This is why a full spectrum distillate shines in the vaporizer product field as users get to enjoy the full entourage effect with almost instant effects.
The distillation process follows the steps of filtration and solvent removal. These two processes effectively remove the plant waxes, fats, chlorophylls and remaining solvents from the extract. Once these processes are completed, the final distillation process works to remove the final traces of solvent and plant materials to make a distillate that is over 95% pure. All of this is done while maintaining the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes that makes distillate so desirable.
After the distillation process, there is one more final step that can be done to make a final CBD product - isolation. This is the method to make the absolute purest possible CBD products as high as 99+%. Another added benefit of making isolate is the ability to offer a range of products to different customers.
Why Customers Use Isolate CBD Products
While distillate can offer a full spectrum profile that may be great for a lot of CBD users, there are many other customers who want, or need, to steer clear of full spectrum products altogether. This may be because they want to avoid any potential psychoactive effects from the trace amounts of THC left in the extract, or because their job may require drug testing and fear a false-positive test result from a full spectrum product (yes, that does happen).
Isolate is also incredibly adaptable for both processors and customers alike. Because isolate is typically created into a fine powder, it can be formulated into tinctures, edibles or vaporizers and can be added to a variety of food products after the customer has purchased it. Because it is so versatile, isolate is quickly becoming one of the most sought out CBD products on the market.
How Isolate is Made
Isolate is made by taking CBD oil and stirring it in a reactionary vessel. Then, the oil is stirred and the temperature is gradually decreased while the stirring is decreased too. This allows for something called nucleation to begin which will crystallize the oil.
After this step, the stirring rate is increased in order to separate the new crystals from the solution. Once they have been separated, the crystals are washed with a chemical solvent like pentane to remove any trace impurities left leaving a 99% pure CBD isolate.
These products have become increasingly popular particularly in states and countries that don’t allow for psychoactive cannabinoids in a final product for legal purposes. Because isolate is a pure product, it also allows for product formulations that consist primarily on the benefits of a single cannabinoid.
This particular product section may be controversial, but is absolutely worth mentioning. As profitable as the CBD industry is, there is a rising demand for new cannabinoid products derived from hemp. Likely the most common of these is delta 8 THC. Although delta 9 THC is still federally illegal, processors are beginning to find the value in deriving other psychoactive cannabinoids that are technically legal according to the 2018 Farm Bill.
According to that legislation, any hemp derived product that contains less than 0.3% of delta 9 THC is technically legal. The understanding of that language for many processors is that any other cannabinoid, even if they are psychoactive, is legal when derived from hemp. This has caused an explosion in delta 8 products on the market. However, this section of the market is not without uncertainty.
The Legality of New Cannabinoid Products
As of this time, there are roughly 19 states that have passed legislation banning the use and sale of delta 8 THC products. This is not to say that there isn’t opportunity in this market, but it does raise some concern as to the longevity of the sale of newly derived cannabinoid products. For the time being, however, delta 8, delta 10, and other hemp derived cannabinoids other than CBD are a huge chance to cash in.
Once a particular cannabinoid like CBD or CBG is extracted, a processor has the capability to create other cannabinoid products through a conversion process. This is accomplished by dissolving the CBD or other cannabinoid in a solvent, adding an acid to the mixture while heating and stirring. This performs the chemical conversion from one cannabinoid into delta 8 THC. After the conversion has taken place, it is necessary to wash with an aqueous sodium bicarbonate solution. Then, testing methods like high-performance liquid chromatography can be used to ensure safety and purity before being formulated into vaporizers, edibles and tinctures.
As the legalization of traditional psychoactive cannabinoids may become more widespread, the need for other hemp derived psychoactive cannabinoids may become less prevalent. For the time being, however, products like delta 8 are widely used and popular making them a worthwhile product market to examine at the very least.
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The wonderful thing about the hemp extraction industry is that there are a number of product opportunities you can key into. Whether you are focusing on B to B sales like wholesale crude or white label distillate, or you are interested in making high quality products that reach customers on the store shelves, you are able to find a profitable product throughout the extraction process.
At extraktLAB, we pride ourselves in helping others find success in this industry. It doesn’t matter if you want to provide bulk products to other companies, or create the next best hemp extract brand on the market - we’re here to help. Feel free to contact us with your questions, or set up a consultation to see where our equipment can take your operation today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes new cannabinoids a good product?
The short answer is that customers want a psychoactive cannabinoid, but don’t want to break the law. Cannabinoids like delta 8 THC offer a mildly psychoactive product that users can take without breaking federal regulations and risking prosecution.
Is isolate THC Free?
The term THC Free is not regularly used anymore by reputable companies because there are chances that there are trace quantities of THC in an isolate. A better term that is used now is THC ND or THC Non-detect because the quantity of THC is unlikely to be detectable by testing.
Which distillate product sells best on the market?
The truth is that distillate products depend on user preference. While vaporizer products may be perfect for one user, another may prefer the ease of use of gummies. Then, wholesale distillate will be best for B to B sales. It’s best to have a wide range of products to capitalize on the market.
Does solvent type matter when selling crude oil to other businesses?
For the most part, the extraction method will not make a difference in the crude you generate. The primary difference is with supercritical CO2 extraction where crude oil should be winterized. A business may desire a winterized crude oil, or may perform winterization themselves.
Can terpenes be collected without decarboxylation?
Yes, terpenes can be collected during the extraction process. However, they can be lost or degraded due to the temperatures used to perform the extraction. Decarboxylation uses a lower temperature which makes it the best time to collect terpenes without degradation.’
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