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The importance of obtaining a pure cannabis extract continues to grow. Production companies are making sure their final extracts are free of undesirable components such as waxes, lipids, and fats. Many are achieving this through a process known as winterization. After extraction, winterization is a final step that can be taken to reach a further purification of extract.
Winterization, also known as dewaxing, is a vital step to creating a high-purity extract in the cannabis industry. Winterization is the removal of the unwanted substances including, waxes, lipids, and fats of the plants in the crude extract. It is important to winterize to remove fats because the fats dilute the final concentration of cannabinoids in the final extract which lowers the purity and then affects the overall value. These fats can cause the final extract to be cloudy and less attractive, also resulting in a lower value. Removing the fats and waxes will result in a pure sample, stable viscosity, and a longer shelf life.
Depending on the method of extraction, it could vary the amount of fats that can be removed during the winterization process. A cold ethanol extraction is the best extraction method for minimizing fats in the extract. The CO2 extraction method is usually the method that contains the most amount of fats in the final crude extract. The methods to complete winterization include four steps: dissolve, cool, filter, and boil.
Solvent at warmer temperatures, completely dissolves the sample. Cooling the solvent, the solubility is decreased, and the waxes are precipitated out.