Organic Marijuana Products and Administration Forms

Extraction techniques and products

To experience the therapeutic or the intoxicating effects of Marijuana, the herbal material can be consumed directly, or the compounds of interest can be separated from the plant. Traditionally, the dried flowers and/or larger leaves of female Marijuana plants are usually smoked or ingested without modification. Nowadays, Marijuana is available to consumers in various forms, ranging from the manicured dried flowers (also known as buds or flos) to more refined products such as hash, kief or extracts. The extraction process reduces the consumption of excess herbal material by increasing the concentration of the biologically active components. 

Dry processing  

Dry processing methods typically refers to rubbing Marijuana plant matter over a fine mesh screen, thereby capturing the trichomes that fall through. This yields a concentrate of trichomes called kief or dry sift. A modification of this process uses liquid nitrogen or dry ice, to freeze the trichomes to make them more brittle (dry-ice kief). In contrast, finger hashish is prepared by rubbing the plant between the fingers, thereby creating a sticky ball of resin. Variations of this method use other materials to collect the sticky resin known as hashish or hash. Dry-processed oils called rosin are obtained by putting buds under high pressure in order to squeeze out the resin. Rosin can also be produced by putting extracts that are obtained from other processing techniques under high pressure, thereby separating the oils from the waxes.

Water-based processing  
Ice cold conditions make the trichomes more brittle, thereby making it easier to separate them from plant matter. Ice water hash or bubble hash is made by using ice cold water to break off the trichomes. Cannabinoids and terpenes are virtually insoluble in water, so the trichomes will not dissolve during this procedure.

Solvent-based extraction

 Solvent-based concentrates are made by macerating Marijuana plant material in non-polar organic solvents that allow for the lipophilic cannabinoids to dissolve. Commonly used solvents include acetone, ethanol, hexane, isopropanol and naphtha. After the plant material Marijuana is soaked in, or rinsed with, the solvent, the latter is removed by boiling, by applying a vacuum and by other methods. If the concentrates are not further processed, this method creates a viscous dark-colored oil, which may still contain significant amounts of residual solvents. Because of their high volatility, terpenes are generally not well captured using solvent-based methods. Super-critical CO2 or butane, where a fluid state of the gas is held at its critical temperature and pressure, can also be used as a solvent for cannabinoids and terpenes. For super-critical extraction, however, specialized equipment set-ups are needed.

Other products 

Additional products may be derived from the extraction techniques above by further processing the extracts. These products include for example shatter, budder and wax.

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