Be Prepared: Use the Right Tools to Infuse Cannabis Extracts into Products
Preparing CBD extracted from hemp, and other cannabis-related products, typically involves infusing an extract featuring active compounds into a carrier liquid. In the case of popular CBD tinctures, the carrier is often an edible oil, such as olive oil. Like any food-grade oil, olive oil is considerably more viscous than water. Unlike some edible oils, olive oil begins to solidify at temperatures slightly lower than the freezing point of water, underscoring the viscosity of this lipid. For this reason, it’s important to use appropriate homogenization equipment when infusing cannabis extracts into a carrier oil such as olive oil.
The Right Tools for the Job
A simple overhead stirrer, or a hotplate stirrer, may not be optimal for achieving a uniform blend when adding cannabinoids and their associated non-uniform terpenes into a carrier. In theory, the potency of a blend depends on the ratio of cannabinoids, including entourage terpenes, versus inactive carrier oils. But for every dose to contain this precise ratio, it is crucial to achieve total homogeneity of the batch. And that typically requires the use of a high shear, rotor-stator homogenizer.
A benchtop, laboratory homogenizer is a sophisticated piece of machinery specifically designed to achieve uniform particle size reduction and uniform homogenization of constituents. That means that every drop derived from a given batch will contain exactly the same quantities of ingredients — in the same ratios — as the last. A benchtop or hand held homogenizer can far more rapidly achieve uniform and consistent blending than a typical magnetic stirrer or even an overhead stirrer. A high shear homogenizer with interchangeable shaft/generator assemblies is a powerful, flexible tool that’s capable of overcoming the challenges associated with working with viscous substances, such as olive oil.
The Stakes Are High
Research by independent investigators has revealed, in the recent past, that a shocking array of alleged cannabis-infused products on offer to the public were mislabeled. They contained inaccurate amounts of cannabinoids. Some products were shown to contain zero CBD, despite claims to the contrary. This egregious mislabeling, while presumably not intentionally fraudulent, is highly suspect, at best. At worst, it is damaging to the reputation of anyone working to establish themselves — or to continue doing business — in this industry. These inaccuracies most likely occurred due to improper stirring during production.
If consumers cannot trust purveyors, they will quickly lose confidence and will probably show their dismay by voting with their wallets. An entire nascent industry, with vast potential to generate income, could suffer serious damage before it ever finds its legs. All of this could be prevented if manufacturers, whether large or small, would commit to using the proper equipment when blending cannabis products.
Go for the Gold
Rotor-stator homogenizers are the gold standard for achieving consistent, repeatable, reliable blends that contain uniform distributions of active ingredients, in the amounts and ratios claimed, whether the sample comes from the center of the batch, or from the far reaches of the container. Uniformity and consistency are key to the success of the industry. And high shear homogenizers are the tools needed to achieve them.