Extracting cannabinoids using cryogenics
Several companies specialising in liquefied gases are developing systems operating with liquid nitrogen for cannabidiol (CBD) producers.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is increasingly being used for therapeutic use around the world. The research organisation Grand View Research estimates a 21.2% growth in the market by 2028.(1)
New technologies are therefore being studied to optimise the treatment of cannabis (called hemp when its THC - tetrahydrocannabinol - content is less than 0.2%. THC is the psychoactive substance of the plant).
The traditional methods of drying these plants lead to a loss of trichomes: this is the part of the cannabis plant that contains all the molecules used in herbal medicine, medicine, or recreationally. During traditional drying, which can take several weeks, the plant may mold and lose its properties.
The rapid action of liquid nitrogen avoids this problem.
The company Cryomass is currently conducting tests on a patented cryogenic system that could have a recovery rate of cannabinoids – compounds contained in the cannabis plant, including CBD and THC – of between 96 and 97%.
Air Products, a corporate member of the IIR, has published a case study on the subject.
The following advantages are highlighted:
- Time saving, the plant is frozen in a few minutes
- Less waste (no mould)
- Formation of smaller ice crystals, which limits the damage to the cell structure of the plant.
Air Products offers a tunnel freezer for processing hemp. This type of tool is frequently used in the food or pharmaceutical industry.