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Understanding Ultrasonic Cannabis Extraction

The market for cannabis extracts has expanded exponentially as the cannabis industry has experienced huge growth lately largely due to fast-moving legislative changes. Likewise, ultrasonic cannabis extraction is growing rapidly in popularity as the preferred extraction method for many processors and converters.

Ultrasonic processing is ideally suited for producing beneficial cannabinoid extracts due to its unique ability to focus energy directly where required to release desired compounds.

Technically speaking, the ultrasonic extraction process works as follows:

A vibrating ultrasonic probe immersed in a liquid will transmit alternating high and low pressure waves. The pressure fluctuations cause the liquid molecular cohesive forces to break down, pulling apart the liquid and creating millions of microbubbles (cavities), which expand during the low pressure phases, and implode violently during the high pressure phases. As the bubbles collapse, millions of microscopic shock waves, micro jet streams, eddies and extremes in pressures and temperatures are generated at the implosion sites and propagated to the surrounding medium. Although this phenomenon, known as cavitation, lasts but a few microseconds, and the amount of energy released by each individual bubble is minimal, the cumulative amount of energy generated by the imploding cavities is extremely high.

Because focused ultrasound extraction provides as much as 100 times the radiated energy of ultrasonic baths and delivers higher reproducibility, it is ideally suited for the extraction of beneficial cannabinoid. More surface area is exposed by reducing particle size of the material being processed, and disrupting the cell walls releases the desired compounds. When extracted properly, the concentrate is reminiscent of the cannabis strain it was extracted from – the taste, smell and effects are simply amplified due to a larger concentration by weight. 

A variety of liquids can be used for ultrasonic extraction but the most common ones are often oil (coconut oil in particular) and Everclear.

The volume of material that can be processed effectively with an ultrasonic processor is dependent on the power rating of the ultrasonic generator (power supply) and the diameter of the probe used with that power supply: the higher the rating of the power supply and the larger the diameter of the probe, the larger the volume that can be processed. A high volume flow cell and/or a high capacity recirculating chiller can add even more efficiency and speed to the process.

For more information on ultrasonic cannabis extraction, and Vibra-Cell ultrasonic extraction products, call to speak with one of our Extraction Specialists at 1-800-745-1105 or e-mail us at info@sonics.com.



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