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What is Hydrocarbon Extraction and What Cannabis Products Come from It?

hydrocarbon extraction in cannabis

What is Hydrocarbon Extraction and What Cannabis Products Come from It?

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Cannabis extraction, or also known as cannabis concentrates, is the process of creating a more potent form of cannabis. The smell, taste, and marijuana effects are magnified when appropriately done due to its more significant concentration. It is even applied in the medical world and has been proven effective in patients who are suffering from different illnesses. One such example of cannabis extraction is hydrocarbon extraction.

This method has been practiced in food extraction, such as for flavors and colorings, for over 50 years. Its pure and potent extract varies, but THC-rich excerpts can cover up to 90% of the plant’s cannabinoids.

This method of cannabinoids extraction from cannabis plant material is the most prevalent because hydrocarbon extracts substances such as tetrahydrocannabinol or THC and terpenes. It uses propane or butane hydrocarbons as the solvent to concentrate extraction.
It is a type of cannabis extraction that dissolves desirable compounds in the plants when solvent such as butane comes in contact with a cannabis plant material. Butane being an ideal solvent for cannabis extraction with a low boiling point of 30.2℉ (-1℃), it is suitable in avoiding exposure to temperature-sensitive terpenes and other delicate components against heat.

Blending both propane and butane is also a standard method. With even lower boiling point than butane, propane has -43.6℉ (-42℃) that can strip additional desirable compounds like terpenes from the plant and allow a more effective way to eradicate excess solvent.
When properly utilized, the clean result of the extract contains high levels of cannabinoids and terpenes. By flawlessly executing the hydrocarbon extraction, it will allow little to no hydrocarbon residue.

It also permits the creation of several products. The technique most preferably used is the separation of cannabinoid extract (HCE) from high-terpene extract (THE). With this, it can be sold separately or intermixed at a ratio the consumer desires.
The flaw of butane being flammable poses a risk of smoking its surroundings, which made the regulatory compliance of hydrocarbon extraction challenging to comply. In Canada and some parts of the U.S prohibits or bans the use of hydrocarbons as extraction. Another disadvantage is the lack of industrialized options; it requires a hands-on procedure that can make the extraction outcome challenging to achieve.

Cannabis Products that come from Hydrocarbon Extraction

Hydrocarbon extracts come in several forms of cannabis extracts—which is also known as Butane Hash Oil (BHO)—such as shatter, oil, glass, hash, and wax. These products are commonly used by dabbing or the process of heating and inhaling this type of cannabis. Nevertheless, it can also be used for other kinds of products such as edibles, capsules, vape cartridges, and topicals.

● Shatter

This cannabis concentrate is an extract that appears to be luminous, ranging from bright to darker yellow. It is fragile but has a stretchy characteristic that accounts for its name, shatters.

● Oil

Cannabis oil can be used to identify any cannabis extraction, both from marijuana and hemp. The removal of oil from cannabis credits its vitamins, omega fatty acids, flavonoids, minerals, terpenes, cannabinoids, and preservation.

● Glass

Glass is the use of clean material by heating a piece of glass to make it hotter. By using glass, the user avoids cannabis smoke contamination brought about by metal, plastic, or wood. The glass will also give you the style while smoking cannabis flowers and concentrates.

● Hash

This cannabis concentrate is made from the ripe, sticky gland heads of cannabis plants, or trichomes. It originated from the Arabic term “hashish,” meaning “grass,” and has two types; the dry sift hash and ice water (bubble) hash.

● Wax

It is the softly dense concentrate made from extracted oils of the cannabis plant. It can be a budder, or a soft and sticky consistency or honeycomb or crumble, or slightly firm but brittle texture. It can contain as much as 90% THC, which is deemed powerful and not suitable for people with low tolerance and beginners.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydrocarbon Extraction

Although there are various ways of cannabis extraction, hydrocarbon extraction can pose advantageous and disadvantageous results;


● Preserving the unique realness of strain that other methods discard. Hydrocarbon extraction ultimately maintains the original mixture of cannabinoids and terpenes.

● The levels of butane and propane are adjusted to create the desired profile, which offers versatility by producing different extracts.

● The trait of hydrocarbon extraction can also produce trim runs products by allowing you to use even the less necessary parts of the plant. It still contains rich-in-cannabinoids resin.

● Hydrocarbon extractions can be dangerous when not performed correctly. Since butane and propane are highly flammable compounds, you must adhere to the strict equipment and environment requirements.

● Improper execution of hydrocarbon extraction can likewise lead you to produce hazardous products. If an amateur uses low-quality solvent with unknown substances in it, they might fail to remove solvents altogether and sell it with remaining water that is considered far from what is safe.


The point of a highly tricky production is to offer a highly desirable product as well. Hydrocarbon extraction is an example of it. Its endearing outcomes also require an elaborate preparation of butane and propane combined with adhering to the required environment to produce it. Indeed, it is a problematic feat to achieve, but the product it provides also bids the highest quality concentration of a cannabis plant.

This type of cannabis extraction also requires utmost caution when performed as it involves dangerous compounds. It should be done by experienced and professional individuals to be executed accurately and avoid unpleasant damage to people and their surroundings. There is a reason why it is prohibited in some parts of the world, other than it is harmful to the producers, it is also a risk for the consumers if an amateur-produced product is to reach their hands because it might not meet the safe solvent content which is necessarily harmful to the body when ingested or smoked.

Users must buy their hydrocarbon extract products from a trusted store to assure a safe product effectiveness both for medical and recreational purposes.


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Comments (10)

  • Turtleyurtle1954

    Dont know much about the process of cannabis so always nice reading these.

    August 5, 2020 at 1:28 am
  • Lorena

    Enjoyed the article. It had alot of good useful information. Thanks for sharing.

    July 29, 2020 at 10:25 am
  • Chase

    Awesome! It’s always interesting to see all the ways producers are creating concentrates through new methods of extraction.

    July 23, 2020 at 2:57 pm
  • RafikGhaly

    Lots of useful info, but for sure I’d rather buy then make my own aside from edibles

    July 20, 2020 at 12:19 pm
  • heyhey

    Alot of new terms to be informed with a well rederenced article

    July 16, 2020 at 3:10 pm
  • Shaun Vincent

    Messed around with this when I was younger. Think I’d rather buy it from here and leave the dangerous stuff to the pros

    July 15, 2020 at 2:44 pm
  • kmiller33148

    Great info in this article!

    July 15, 2020 at 2:31 pm
    • kimkeeran

      I love how Cannabis can be turned into so many different things

      August 2, 2020 at 11:41 pm
  • Kris

    I have tried growing my own, making my own butter and thus my own edibles. I watched a friend make homemade oil; it seemed very risky to me. Shatter, glass and wax are easy to get and cheap for the effort that goes into making it. These concentrates can be very strong; tried some shatter and damn near lost the power of speech!!

    July 15, 2020 at 10:44 am
  • TerpX

    I’ve had good c02 oil but I still prefer BHO

    July 15, 2020 at 10:43 am

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