Processing and Extraction Methods of Medicinal Cannabis

Processing and extraction methods of medicinal cannabis

In recent years, the medicinal use of cannabis has gained significant attention worldwide, with a growing body of research supporting its potential therapeutic benefits. Cannabis, a versatile plant with a long history of human consumption, contains a complex array of bioactive compounds, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, each of which may contribute to its medicinal properties. Precise processing and extraction methods are essential to harness this natural resource's full potential.

In this article, we will highlight the different types of medicinal cannabis, exploring the techniques and technologies employed to extract, purify, and create various cannabis-based medicines. From the beginning of drying and curing cannabis plants to extraction and distillation, we will look at the journey to transform this plant into a reliable source of therapeutic relief. But first, let's learn about the value of processing and extracting in the world of medical cannabis.

Importance of Processing and Extraction Methods

The effectiveness of medicinal cannabis depends significantly on how it is processed and the extraction methods employed. That’s why for pure form, trusting only expert medical cannabis cultivator in Australia is the key because they follow the right techniques and guideline during the processing method.

Well, some of the most common factors where the methods have an impact are-

  • Concentration of Active Compounds: Processing and extraction methods allow for the concentration of the active compounds in cannabis, primarily cannabinoids like THC and CBD. This concentration is necessary to achieve therapeutic effects while minimizing the consumption of plant material.
  • Standardization: Medical cannabis products must be consistent in terms of potency and composition to ensure predictable and reproducible outcomes for patients. Proper extraction methods enable the production of standardized products with known cannabinoid profiles.
  • Safety: Using controlled extraction processes helps remove impurities, contaminants, and potentially harmful substances from the final product. This is vital to ensure the safety of patients, particularly those with compromised immune systems or underlying health issues.
  • Customization: Different medical conditions may require specific ratios of cannabinoids or the exclusion of certain compounds. Extraction methods allow producers to customize products to meet the needs of patients with various medical conditions.
  • Dosing Accuracy: Accurate dosing is critical in medical cannabis therapy. Processing and extraction methods lead to products with precise cannabinoid concentrations, allowing for reliable dosing and symptom management.
  • Longer Shelf Life: Proper processing methods can extend the shelf life of cannabis-based medicines, preventing the degradation of cannabinoids and the growth of harmful microorganisms, which is particularly important for medical products with a longer lifespan.

Chemical Composition of Cannabis:

The cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa) contains diverse chemical constituents, contributing to its complexity and wide range of effects. Understanding its constituents is crucial for effective processing and extraction. Here is an overview of the primary constituents found in the cannabis plant:


These are the most well-known and studied group of compounds in cannabis. They interact with the endocannabinoid system in the human body and have a wide range of effects. Some of the critical cannabinoids found in cannabis include:

  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): The primary psychoactive compound responsible for the "high" associated with cannabis.
  • Cannabidiol (CBD): A non-psychoactive cannabinoid with various potential therapeutic properties.
  • Cannabinol (CBN): Cannabichromene (CBC), and others: These are minor cannabinoids with unique properties that are still being explored.


Terpenes are aromatic compounds responsible for the distinctive scents and flavours of different cannabis strains. They influence the plant's aroma and may also have therapeutic properties. Some common terpenes include myrcene, limonene, pinene, and linalool.

Therapeutic Potential of Cannabinoids and Terpenes-

  • Pain Relief: THC is known for its analgesic properties and is used to manage various types of pain, including neuropathic pain and pain associated with conditions like cancer and multiple sclerosis.
  • Anti-Seizure: CBD is used to treat epilepsy and has shown significant promise in reducing the danger of seizures in certain forms of epilepsy.
  • Pain and Inflammation: CBC may reduce pain and inflammation, making it a candidate for conditions like osteoarthritis.
  • Antibacterial: CBG may have antibiotic properties, potentially effective against drug-resistant bacteria.
  • Sedative: Among Terpenes, Myrcene can have a calming and soothing effect, potentially aiding in relaxation and sleep, and Beta-caryophyllene can also offer pain relief, particularly in the context of chronic pain.

Extraction Methods for Medicinal Cannabis:

1. Solvent Extraction

Solvent extraction is a separation and purification process that involves using a chemical solvent to extract specific compounds or substances from a solid or liquid material. he choice of solvent depends on the target compounds and their solubility. Common solvents include ethanol, butane, carbon dioxide (CO2), hexane, and more. The solvent dissolves the target compounds, creating a solution that contains the desired substances. Then, the solvent is removed from the extract, leaving behind a concentrated form of the target compounds. Safety precautions and rigorous testing are critical to ensure the quality and safety of the final product.

2. Solventless Extraction

Solventless extraction methods offer an attractive alternative for those seeking a solvent-free approach. Here are some common solventless extraction methods:

  • Rosin Pressing: This technique involves using heat and pressure to squeeze resin from the cannabis plant material. Rosin is famous for its purity and safety because it doesn't include the use of solvents.
  • Ice Water Hash: In ice water hash extraction, the cannabis plant material is agitated in a mixture of cold water and ice. The cold temperature causes the trichomes to become brittle and separate from the plant material.

3. Hydrodynamic Extraction

Hydrodynamic extraction is gaining attention for its high yield and feasibility. Hydrodynamic extraction can efficiently extract cannabinoids, terpenes, and other bioactive compounds from plant material. The process typically starts when the prepared plant material is mixed with a solvent, such as water or ethanol, and subjected to hydrodynamic cavitation. This is often achieved using specialized equipment that creates controlled pressure fluctuations and turbulence in the solvent. After extraction, the mixture is typically separated to recover the solvent and the extracted compounds.

Drying Techniques for Medicinal Cannabis

Drying plays a pivotal role in preserving the quality of cannabis. We'll discuss why it's essential and how it affects the final product.

Hang-Drying Method: Hang-drying is a time-honoured technique used predominantly in cannabis cultivation. It allows the plant to dry naturally in the air, helping retain terpenes and flavonoids while reducing the risk of mould.

Oven-Drying Method: Oven drying accelerates the drying process using controlled temperatures. However, the precise control of heat and duration is crucial to prevent terpene loss and degradation of cannabinoids.

Freeze-Drying Method: Freeze-drying involves freezing the cannabis and reducing the surrounding pressure to sublimate the frozen water in the plant material. This method preserves the plant's integrity, offering excellent flavour retention and overall quality.

Curing Cannabis: Enhancing Flavour and Quality

Curing is the final step in cannabis processing, and it is the post-harvest process that involves drying the harvested plant material over several weeks to enhance its flavour, aroma, and overall quality.

Benefits of Curing Cannabis:

  • Improved Flavour and Aroma
  • Enhanced Potency
  • Reduced Harshness
  • Preservation of Quality

Advanced Processing and Extracting Methods by Zion Botanics

When the topic concerns trusted contract medicinal cannabis growers in Australia, Zion Botanics comes in the first list. Their controlled method of extracting and processing medical cannabis with a focus on precision and sustainability makes them stand out in the crowd. Here's a highlight of their essential methods and features:

  • Zion Botanics utilizes an indoor cultivation method with multiple separate growing rooms, allowing for year-round harvests that are not influenced by unpredictable weather or soil conditions.
  • They employ state-of-the-art IoT technology to monitor critical environmental conditions.
  • Unlike methods using soil or growing mediums, they eliminate the need for such mediums, reducing the risk of soil-borne diseases and pests.
  • Their Advanced environmental control systems and LED lighting optimize growing conditions, preventing mould growth and pests.
  • Zion Botanics focuses on maintaining precise cannabinoid and terpenoid profiles in each batch for reliable therapeutic effects.
  • Finally, their method is environmentally conscious, using 90% less water and 98% less land.

In conclusion, it can be said that as the field of medicinal cannabis continues to evolve, exciting research opportunities are on the horizon. Though technology has made an overall advancement in the whole cultivation and processing method of medical cannabis, only the expert medical cannabis grower knows the correct method, environment and strict guidelines. As the therapeutic effects of cannabis depend on the quality of the method, we suggest you only trust the specialist craft medicinal cannabis grower to get high-quality medical cannabis with maximum effects