Botanical Extraction

Zeolites as a Filtration Media for Botanical Extractors

Written by Anthony DiMeo

Some of the post-extraction processes that take place to produce the quality and consistency of the many cannabis concentrates available to consumers are often overlooked. There’s great care and detail that goes into how those golden, terpene-rich extracts look and taste. These days, many botanical extractors are turning to zeolite filtration to ensure a more optimal, aesthetically-pleasing, and tastier end product. Zeolite filtration, though still obscure to some, is gaining in popularity each day with its often-dazzling results.


What are zeolites?

Natural and synthetic zeolites are available for a variety of uses within numerous industries. This filter media features a large, extremely micro-porous and crystalline surface area – the natural form of which is volcanic in origin. Zeolites are ideal inorganic cation (pronounced cat-ion) exchangers that utilize their silicon, aluminum, and oxygen ratios to determine the magnitude of positively-charged ions that can replace undesirable impurities or ingredients in cannabis extracts like chlorophyll pigments, heavy metals, pesticides, or lipids when they come in contact with porous channels. [1]

Synthetically-made zeolites are more available in cannabis extraction post-processing due to their ability to be industrially-fabricated with ease. Hydrocarbon and carbon dioxide extractions benefit greatly from zeolite filtration for how much the process is able to improve the overall aesthetic look and product quality. These improvements are manifested in the dense crystallization and beautifully-enhanced colors of the extracts.


How do zeolites filter cannabis extracts?

Post-extraction process filtration of crude oil removes impurities like lipids, pesticides, and chlorophyll. The oil is then introduced through the zeolite filter, or more commonly a series of filters, that use their unique textures and highly-porous surface areas to trap remnants and impurities that are too substantial to pass through. This method is repeated until ensuring a smoother consistency that clogs less while enhancing the clarity and purity.


What are some types of zeolite filtration for botanical extraction?

Many companies offer their own proprietary products or processes of zeolite filtration – most of which are just variations on existing molecular sieves and filtration methods. These include the popular “A”, “X”, and “Y” filtration media variations that are designed to be intuitive and used interchangeably with one another. All three filters include varying levels of silicon and silica composition. Other coarse grain blends of zeolite include “CR2” media and its ability to improve the taste of extracts.

Zeolite extraction is just one method of filtration media used by botanical extractors. Though there are other popular filtration media available, the consideration to begin utilizing highly-effective zeolite filtration processes should be provoking to any extractor looking to improve quality, taste, and aesthetic appeal with the bonus of a relatively simple operation.



[1] Bogdanov B., Georgiev D., Angelova K., Yaneva K. Natural zeolites: clinoptilolite. Review, Natural & Mathematical science. 2009;4:6-11 [journal impact factor = 1.986; times cited = 58]

About the author

Anthony DiMeo