Residual solvents are byproducts of the processes used to extract cannabinoids and terpenes in the creation of concentrated extracts. The extraction process often utilizes alcohol, butane, or propane. Even solventless extraction methods with CO2 or water can result in toxic impurities lingering in the final product. With the rise in popularity of high potency cannabis extracts, it is of utmost importance to have all extracted products tested for residual solvents.
Classes of Solvents
Solvents are broken down into three classes based on health risk:
Class I solvents are to be avoided in cannabis extraction – these include known and suspected carcinogens and environmental hazards.
Class II solvents are not to be used outside of stringent good manufacturing practices – these include animal carcinogens or possible causative agents of other irreversible toxicity, as well as solvents suspected of other significant but reversible toxicities.
Class III solvents have low toxic potential and the only class recommended for use in cannabis extract production – none are known to pose a risk to human health at the levels expected in a cannabis extract.
What residual solvents do you test for?
We test for: Acetone, Butane, Propane, Pentane, Hexane, Heptane, Ethanol, and Isopropanol. These are the main solvents used in cannabis extraction.
What should be tested?
Any concentrated cannabis extract should be tested for residual solvents. This includes shatter, wax, budder, and oil, as well as any product made with extracts.