Whether the lab is designed to ensure consistency in potency and safety, or to simply check cannabinoid levels in grow operations, processors should be aware of the best extraction methods and equipment sources appropriate for their needs.
The desired product and the requirements of the extraction method(s) will dictate the equipment and supplies needed. Of course, these considerations will depend on the scale and budget of the operation as well.
With these considerations in mind, we take a moment to detail a few examples of cannabis labs -- focusing on the equipment and consumables needed to properly outfit these operations.
The initial step in cannabis extraction entails raw material preparation. The scale and the source of the material (hemp, indica, sativa, cannabis product) will dictate the type and throughput of the grinding or milling equipment. Here are a few examples:
Other examples may be more appropriate for the scale, speed, and the required output for the subsequent extraction process.
A grow operation may need a quick method for on-site extraction and analysis of cannabinoid content. A commercial producer of CBD distillate may require an industrial-scale extractor. A research lab may use several different types of cannabis extract and require suitable equipment for each.
Again, the product, the scale, and the budget will dictate the equipment. Here are a few examples:
Distillation – full-spectrum cannabinoids
Vacuum distillation - cannabinoids and terpenes
Fractional distillation - cannabinoids and terpenes - high-purity
Wiped/thin film distillation - cannabinoids and terpenes - high-purity – heat-labile
A benefit with these devices is extraction can be run in continuous-mode, thereby increasing throughput.
Winterization – cannabis isolates – high-purity
Decarboxylation – cannabis isolates – high-purity
Super critical carbon dioxide extraction – low residual solvent – full-spectrum or high-purity cannabis isolates
Just as there are many extraction methods for the wide variety of cannabis products, there is also a multitude of platforms for potency and safety analysis. Small-scale analytical methods may make use of High-pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) as an initial step in purification and quantification. Larger-scale operations may use high-throughput UHPLC, CPC, LC-MS or another preparative technique.
Visit the LabX Cannabis Laboratory Application page for a wide range of equipment and consumables listings.
Visit the LabX Cannabis Laboratory Resources site for more information on the cannabis extraction and testing sides of the business – along with general cannabis industry insights.