Scientific Instruments for THC Extraction & Distillation

Scientific Instruments for THC Extraction & Distillation

Before the discovery of the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors in the central nervous system and peripheral tissues, the physiological effects of cannabis were largely attributed to nonspecific interactions between the drug and cell membranes in the body. Research has since shed light on the unique pharmacology and interactivity of the various cannabinoids produced by the drug, including the two most studied compounds cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Researchers first used a selection of scientific instruments to isolate CBD in 1940, but its chemical structure was not characterized until the ‘60s. THC was not even discovered until 1964. It has since been diagnosed as the main psychoactive component of cannabis, acting as a partial agonist of both cannabinoid receptors to promote a sedative or hallucinatory state.

Extraction and isolation of these compounds is still conducted for the purposes of research and observation, but cannabis decriminalization has resulted in an unforeseen side effect. Scientific instruments designed for chemical extraction are now widely used for retail purposes, with hobbyists and retailers alike using various methods to extract and distill CBD and THC oils.

Although the consensus surrounding cannabis has changed dramatically in recent years, the effects of distinct cannabinoids still require significant consideration and study. Various scientific instruments are currently used to isolate and characterize THC from specific cannabis strains, particularly those that have been genealogically engineered to increase THC yield.

THC Extraction & Distillation: Which Scientific Instruments are Used?

Extraction of THC is commonly conducted using either carbon dioxide or ethanol-based extraction methods, which utilize scientific instruments as varied as heating elements, glassware, chillers, and vacuum pumps. The process of heating cannabis in a solvent is preferable from a cost and yield perspective, generally offering improved THC purity with a fraction of the energy consumed. However, odors and potentially hazardous vapors will be generated in the production environment.

Small laboratory spaces often require a benchtop solution to guarantee safe ambient air in a working environment. Odors and vapors generated from THC distillation and extraction may be a mere nuisance, but they can also pose a risk to worker health. Fumes and off-gases from solvent-based extraction can aggravate the respiratory systems of operators. These health hazards are largely a result of the solvents used rather than cannabinoid distillates. The solution is to implement vapor control scientific instruments such as a fume hood to guarantee total protection from inhalation of process chemicals and vapors.

Scientific Instruments from Glas-Col

Glas-Col is one of the leading suppliers of scientific instruments for cannabis extraction/distillation and odor control. Feel free to contact a member of the team if you would like to learn more about our laboratory products for cannabis extraction.