Why is the Winterization Process Important in Cannabis Oil Extraction?

Winterization Cannabis Hemp

Did you know that the secret to high-quality cannabis and hemp oil extraction lies in a process known as winterization? This essential step is what sets apart premium extracts from their lower-grade counterparts. 

The winterization process, in simple terms, is the removal of fats, lipids and other unwanted materials from crude oil extract. Winterization is necessary to create a higher purity of cannabinoids. Lipids dilute the cannabinoid fraction, therefore removing them results in a higher quality product. 

The transparency of the product is also affected by lipids in distillate. When lipids are not removed, the distillate will not be transparent - this is a sign of a lower-quality and lower-valued product. 

Another adverse effect that lipids have in distillate is the way that they burn on coils in vape pens. Lipids will make the vape pen taste burnt which is unsatisfactory to the consumer. Winterization is a key process that differentiates a product from being either low quality or high quality. 

What is the winterization process? 

During winterization, a non-polar oil extract is dissolved into ethanol or other polar solvent. The solution is placed in sub-zero temperatures (usually in the range of -20 to -80 degrees Celsius). When using ethanol, the ratio of ethanol to extract is often 10mL ethanol to 1g of oil. However this ratio often ranges between 5ml to 1g and 20ml to 1g.

During this process in the sub-zero temperatures, the lipids float to the top of the solution because of their lower solubility. The ideal time to leave the solution in cold temperatures is at least 24 hours.

There are multiple filters that the solution can go through such as paper filters and metal micro-filters. The lipids are filtered out of the solution through the filtration process and what is left is a high-purity distillate.

  1. Dissolving extracts: Initially, non-polar oil extract is dissolved in a polar solvent like ethanol. 
  2. Sub-zero conditioning: The solution is then exposed to sub-zero temperatures, typically ranging from -20 to -80 degrees Celsius. This encourages the lipids to separate due to their lower solubility. 
  3. Filtration: Following the cold treatment, which lasts at least 24 hours, the solution undergoes filtration using paper or metal micro-filters, effectively removing the lipids.
  4. Resulting in high-purity distillate: The end product is a high-purity distillate, free from unwanted lipids and fats. 

Cannabis Winterization eBook

Why is winterization important in the cannabis and hemp oil extraction process?

To truly compete in the cannabis and hemp oil industry, winterization is a vital process. As mentioned previously, a winterized solution has more value than a solution that is not winterized. 

Not only is value a factor, but customer satisfaction also plays a big role in this process. When an extract has fat and lipids left in it, it burns, vapes and tastes bad. Consumers will not buy this low-quality product again. 

The saying “look good, feel good” does not only apply to people, it also applies to distillate. Everyone likes a shiny new product, not a cloudy and murky one. This is especially true for distillate consumers as transparency is an easy indicator of the level of purity in an extract. To ensure that a product can compete in the cannabis industry, winterization must be included in the extraction process.

Winterization isn't just a process; it's a benchmark for quality in the cannabis and hemp oil industry. A winterized product not only holds more value but also ensures customer satisfaction and higher profit margins. 

Interested in learning more about how winterization can elevate your products and enhance your cannabis oil extraction process? Maratek's Turnkey Automatic Winterization System (TAWS)is engineered to streamling and perfect your process. Contact us today. We would love to answer any questions that you may have.

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