Owning and operating a cannabis lab has its advantages as the industry continues to boom without signs of slowing.
The basics of a lab require scientific knowledge and an understanding of cannabis and the varying methods to create products that consumers enjoy. The market offers smokables, consumables, and topicals, all of which undergo respected processes. Let’s look at some common equipment found in a cannabis lab and their general purposes.
Extraction processes require varying chemicals and methods, depending on the lab’s goals. These processes use solvents to extract cannabinoids and terpenes from cannabis or hemp. A popular solvent is ethanol, but there are other extraction methods, including:
- Carbon dioxide extraction
- Cosolvent extraction (CO2)
- Hydrocarbon extraction (butane, hexane)
- Water hash extraction (mechanical separation)
- Cold-pressed oil extraction
Decarboxylation is an essential process for all cannabinoid products. Before you can distillate any compounds, “decarbing” must first take place to achieve a premium-quality product. The process applies heat through the molecules of a crude oil and converts inactive ingredients to active ingredients by releasing a carboxyl group. For products to contain the desired potency and fulfill consumers’ desires, a decarboxylation reactor is essential.
After you properly decarb the cannabinoids, you can begin the final distillation phase. This process results in desirable outcomes by separating the purified forms of THC, CBD, and CBG from the crude oil. The end products can vary from gel caps to tinctures and other consumables. The distillation process requires some of the most common equipment found in cannabis labs, such as a boiling flask constructed from borosilicate glass, which is heat resistant to withstand the distillation process.
If you’re interested in starting a lab, you must follow your local and state guidelines. Failing to abide by the legalities can result in legal consequences and potentially harm consumers. Each piece of equipment must adhere to industry regulations and those of the lab itself.