CONCENTRATESHigh potency cannabis extracts
SWOP is committed to providing safe and clean tested concentrates to our patients. Since 2009, when the medical cannabis program in New Mexico was taking shape, we decided to not use harsh chemical solvents like n-butane or propane for inhalable concentrates. Solvent extractions, though dangerous, are quite easy and cheap to perform. A few hundred dollars can get you started but safer closed-loop systems are a bigger investment. Chemicals commonly mixed with commercial butane and propane to help them flow through machines can be difficult to purge out of the final product. A skilled solvent extractor can pull 99% of the solvent out with a proper purge, but any residual heavy chemicals will be left behind and concentrated. Some of these chemicals can be extremely dangerous and even neuro-toxic.
We chose tried and true methods of making healthy concentrates, like using water and ice to separate the components we want away from the harsh plant material without leaving chemical residues.
Recently we’ve had the opportunity to create much healthier extracts working with partners like Bhang and X-Ray Pharms using their Super Critical CO2 extractors. CO2 extractors are commonly used in the perfume, essential oil, tobacco/e-juice and mining industries to safely and precisely extract desired components from base material. These machines are extremely expensive and complicated, with small models starting in the twenty-to-thirty thousand dollar range and industrial-sized models costing up to half-a-million dollars.
CO2 extractors pressurize C02 gas to extreme levels where the gas starts to behave as a liquid and can be used as a solvent. Raw cannabis is exposed to this highly pressurized “super-critical” liquid and it strips the desired chemicals like cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant material. These concentrates are also chemical solvent-free. Because CO2 is an inert gas that is always present at normal atmospheric pressures, all CO2 left over from the extraction just returns to the atmosphere when the extraction is finished. CO2 extraction is also much more selective than chemical solvents, so a skilled extractor operator can manipulate parameters on the machine to select specific chemicals from the plant material. This can result in full-spectrum concentrates with an array of cannabinoid and terpene contents, as well as quite a few different consistencies. SWOP tests all of our medicine and complete results are available in-store and on our website
Because of the variability of C02 extraction, you will find multiple types of CO2 concentrates at SWOP. And because the CO2 process is a cool (<90 degree F) process, all CO2 concentrates are raw products. This means the majority of the cannabinoid content in our concentrates is in the natural acidic form. THC-A, CBD-A, CBG-A, and CBC-A are all acidic cannabinoids, and are not psychoactive unless exposed to a lot of oxygen, heat, or radiation. These acid cannabinoids are still bio-available and very useful for patients looking to treat inflammatory conditions, so patients interested in raw cannabinoids can ingest our concentrates orally. Patients looking for psychoactive medicine just need to apply heat (through a hash oil pen, lighter, dab rig, etc.) for a potent neutral cannabinoid experience.
Refined CO2 oil
Refined Co2 oil is created by separating plant waxes and paraffin’s from the concentrate, resulting in a translucent and gold to amber viscous liquid. Because of the harsh separation process, some of the terpene and cannabinoid content is stripped from the material as well. The viscous consistency makes it perfect for use in discreet and easy to use vape cartridges, though it is readily accepted by all hash oil pens and dabbing rigs as well. Refined oil can also be ingested to gain the benefits of the raw acid cannabinoids, or heated and used in the psychoactive neutral form. Refined oil typically contains 500 to 600 mg of acid cannabinoids per gram.
Unrefined CO2 oil/wax
Unrefined CO2 oil is simply the raw product out of the CO2 extractor without any secondary processing. This gives the product a very high cannabinoid and terpene content, but keeps some of the plant waxes and paraffin’s giving the concentrate a sugary/waxy consistency that some people find a lot easier to work with than the more viscous refined oils. Patients looking for potent strain effects should choose unrefined oil over refined oil as the higher terpene content leads to a more potent effect. Unrefined oils are also a great option for people looking to use acid cannabinoids as a dietary supplement. Each gram of unrefined oil usually contains between 600 and 700mg of acid cannabinoids, and it is very easy to mix with a base oil like MCT or olive oil and then mix into juices or foods.
RSO (Rick Simpson Oil)
Rick Simpson Oil, named after the famous Canadian activist and cancer survivor, is a heated and fully decarboxylated solvent extraction that results in an extremely high neutral cannabinoid content. The process is relatively easy and very cheap. RSO has gained popularity from the hundreds of anecdotal reports of people using it to “cure” cancer, or at least help fight it. The basic idea behind the method was to give patients a way to make a potent and effective form of hash oil that could be made with just a few things from the local hardware store. We use pure Ethanol as the solvent for our RSO, and because of that we do not recommend inhaling RSO. Most patients use RSO orally, in capsules, in suppositories or topically. It is one of the cheapest ways to get a lot of psychoactive neutral cannabinoids. For more info on RSO check out Rick Simpsons website.
Why are my concentrates sizzling when I try to dab?
CO2, unlike common solvents like butane/propane, is not hydrophobic. This means that any moisture in the product being extracted can be pulled through in the extraction process by CO2. Extraction machine operators do whatever they can to limit the amount of water that comes through, but a lot of times a small amount still remains. This will cause the water to violently unbind from the other molecules in the concentrate when exposed to heat above the boiling point of water (212 degrees F). This means a lot of CO2 concentrates will produce a small sizzle at normal dabbing temperatures (350-500 degree F), with the sizzle becoming more violent the higher the temperature of the nail. Be prepared for this and use a dome set up or a dished nail to minimize splatter. Don’t worry though, it’s just water and is completely harmless. We recommend that you dab CO2 extracted wax at a lower temperature than you typically would with butane extracts to avoid popping, but most importantly to retain the full spectrum of terpenes that are present.