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How Cannabis Shatter is Extracted and Solidifies

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Written by C. Imani Williams

From Ground to the Freezer

When growers and cultivators dig in to harvest a new crop, buds are cut and prepared in air-tight bags where they go into a freezer. This is done in part to accommodate cannabis industry trends and helps to preserve freshness, prevent terpenes from dissipating, and for the retention of cannabinoid potency. A strain that’s hot today may have little appeal in coming months. No one in the cannabis business looks to cut down on profits because an Indica or Hybrid isn’t running off the shelves. Freezing cannabis is a money saving tactic. With newcomers to the cannabis life
joining the ranks daily, what’s not hot today, may be top notch, tomorrow.

Look Out for The Big Dogs

To produce cannabis extracts, such as shatter, in large quantities equipment must be not only strong but durable.  At present, two cannabis companies with some of the most powerful and efficient extraction equipment are XtractLAB (EXTRAKT-180) and Precision Extraction (X10, also known as “The Judge”).  These machines weigh in as the big-dogs of extraction equipment.

Exacting the Extract Process: From Oily to Hard

Many cannabis users prefer extracts and with good reason. To start, dabs and waxes are more potent than flowers. Another plus for extracts is that they able to be consumed more discreetly than smoking. Cannabis oils can be manipulated into wax by removing butane and implementing temperatures as high as 120° Celsius under vacuum. This process changes the form. Consistency varies, some extracts will have a gunky peanut butter consistency. More durable extracts will turn to wax or simply, crumble into pieces.

Shatter Science

The extraction process has several steps. Frozen cannabis is placed in stainless-steel tubing.  Propane goes into the solvent chamber and magic happens. A chiller that recirculates condenses vapor to liquid. The liquid moves to the material bin where it interacts with cannabinoids, terpenes, and other molecules.The third bin or chamber cools things down to between -90 and -40° Celsius. The temperature drop helps solidify lipids and retain the psychoactive molecules and the more powerful terpenoid scent.

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C. Imani Williams

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