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Hydrocarbon extraction

Alana Rossi
August 19, 2023

Hydrocarbon extraction utilizes selective hydrocarbon solvents like butane, propane, hexane and others to derive highly concentrated cannabis extracts and concentrates from plant material. Hydrocarbons effectively act as solvents that can selectively dissolve and separate the most desirable components like trichomes and terpenes from raw cannabis flower and trim. But working safely with these compounds requires extensive precaution and hazard mitigation efforts due to their intrinsic chemical volatility and flammability. For example, butane and propane remain the two most prolific and popular solvents used worldwide by extract artists to create artisanal batches of solvent-based cannabis concentrates through processes loosely referred to as blasting. However, attempting risky, unlicensed open blasting carries potentially catastrophic health and safety risks without proper ventilation and protocol. When handled irresponsibly, residual hydrocarbon gases released into the air have proven highly flammable and potentially explosive. Thankfully, with proper closed-loop equipment and training, skilled extractors can now responsibly perform live hydrocarbon extractions to obtain exceptionally pure, extraordinarily potent end products with minimal residual solvents, thereby reducing risks substantially if safety is made an unconditional priority.

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