Concentrate processing 101...From Flower to Oil
Much of the flower being grown, cared for, and harvested by cannabis growers across the nation, is now being processed into concentrate form. With the increase in popularity of dabbing, and a demand for the finest extracts...how does flower get transformed into oil or concentrate forms? Let’s review the extraction process to turn cannabis flower into oil, and how growers can help improve the transformation for bigger returns.
To start with the basics, the cannabis flower contains cannabinoids and terpenes that provide its’ psychoactive or beneficial health effects. These cannabinoids are found in the trichomes of the plant, or more well known as the ‘crystals’ on the bud. These trichomes, are then extracted or removed from the flower, to create concentrates like wax, shatter, distillate and more…
So, the more trichomes, or ‘sticky icky’ resin crystals found on your cannabis flower...the higher your concentrates’ potency or production will be. Which is why the production of your marijuana or hemp flower, is important to enhance or increase trichome count or quality, overall.
Beginning with the strain, the more complex terpene profile produces higher quality concentrates. And more flavorful, considering the terpenes are the aromatic carriers in cannabis plants. If you’re growing cannabis flower directly for concentrate, you’ll also want to avoid foliar spraying, as it can turn up as contaminants during testing.
This also includes avoiding any harsh chemicals or pesticides, and completing a full flush in the last two weeks prior to harvest. Like growing any quality or top-shelf flower, you’ll also want to start with a nutrient rich or complete soil to ensure the health of your plant over time. Room Temperature and the addition of Co2, can also help assist in increasing trichome production for cannabis concentrates.
Whether trimming wet or dry, the key to maximizing concentrate production, is keeping as many trichomes intact or left on the leaves or bud of your plants. Unlike manicuring nugs for boutique sale, you’ll just be removing any leaves that don’t have trichomes or crystals present.
This can be a cumbersome and time-consuming process, especially in high plant count operations. Which is why the Trim-Daddy has helped many speed up their trimming times, and cut down on involved labor costs. Without investing into expensive trimming machines that can degrade the precious trichomes of the plant for processing.
Drying or Freezing
Your processor’s preference, or timeline for transportation, will determine whether you’ll dry and cure or immediately freeze your flower. Ultimately, you’re again looking to protect your trichomes from breaking down or decreasing which both methods, do.
If your flower is going to process in 1-2 weeks from harvesting, you can remove the fan leaves and immediately freeze. To do so, you’ll loosely package the flower in freezer storage vacuum sealed bags.
If you’re not sure when your flower is going to process, the drying and curing phase is recommended. To dry and cure cannabis flower properly for concentrate extraction, you’ll hang your plants in proper temperatures and humidity, then cure slowly in jars. At first, you’ll ‘Burp’ the jars or open the lids, to let your flower breathe and for moisture to escape.
Once your flower has made it to processing, the real magic begins. Different extraction processes, and techniques make the different consistencies of concentrates you see on the shelves today. The most popular methods are -
- Alcohol or ethanol
When these solvents are applied to the flower through the extraction process, it separates the terpenes and trichomes away from the plant material for clarifying, and then concentrate production.
The next steps, or technique variations will determine your final concentrate type. For instance, some processors let the concentrate cool, creating a glass like, or crisp ‘shatter’. When making ‘wax’, the concentrate is agitated by heat. For creamier consistencies like ‘batters’, after heat, the concentrate is whipped for texture. ‘Crumble’ type concentrates, are whipped at a lower temperature to achieve their honeycomb or brittle final consistency.
Bigger & better
If you’re growing for concentrates...it’s likely that you’re growing bigger and better. Go bigger and better with your equipment too, by adding Trim-Daddy to your team. Decrease your labor costs, and speed up your harvests by prepping your flower for oil with machine like efficiency, and hand-trimmed results. Our 3rd generation model is about to launch and is better than ever before...but smaller and easier to handle. Contact our sales department today to find out how Trim-Daddy can help your operation.
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