The Extraction Issue
Extracts are quietly taking over the cannabis industry. While flower remains the top-selling product category at retail, products made from extracts — including edibles, vapes, concentrates and topicals — now account for almost 60% of legal cannabis sales in the United States. It’s a sector of the market that is only getting bigger, particularly as the scientific understanding of cannabis and extraction grows.
From the various methods of extraction and refinement to the latest innovations in products, Marijuana Venture takes an in-depth look at the market trends, best practices, equipment manufacturers, leading minds and scientific process of extraction.
In early 2020, The Mint Dispensary introduced its signature concentrates to the greater Arizona market under the World’s THC Factory brand. WTF products are currently available in 12 dispensaries in the Grand Canyon State, with plans to continue expanding its retail presence.
Claim to Fame: David Quarles is WTF’s extraction artist and rosin specialist, creating a variety of products for the connoisseur market. Although the company utilizes the latest extraction technology, Mint Dispensary president Eivan Shahara says the company’s most significant assets are its extraction artists.
“It takes incredible skill and knowledge to create the ideal concentrate that will resonate with and appeal to the masses,” he says.
Methodology: WTF uses hydrocarbon extraction because of its ease and versatility, but also produces a number of solventless concentrates — despite the fact that it’s slower than traditional extraction.
“The process itself is very labor-intensive and requires skillful planning from the time the plant is placed in the ground to when and how it is harvested,” Shahara says. “To the untrained eye, the process seems effortless and simple, but as our extraction artist would say, the devil is in the details.”
Shahara says flower is harvested about one to two weeks earlier than usual in the cycle, and from there, it is frozen to preserve all the terpene and cannabinoid profiles. After a few days in the freezer, “we are ready to ‘wash’ by placing two to four pounds of the fresh, frozen material in cold water with ice, gently washing the flower. The water, or rinse, is put through several special micron filters, which allow us to extract different materials from the flower,” he says. “This process ensures a true solventless cannabis concentrate.”
Philosophy: “Perfecting your method is the first step in a successful extraction operation. The second step, and equally as important, are the extraction artists you choose to have working in the lab.”