by Brittney Graham
Cannabis edibles can be found on the shelf of almost every dispensary that you choose to walk into. However, when it comes to purchasing these goods it can become confusing quickly once one starts to read the labels. Words like Solvent-free and solvent-less seem to rain supreme on that confusion list, at least it did for me. If you are like I was then have no fear, you have found the right place to break down these terms.
Solvent-free edibles are made by a concentrate and is sometimes referred to as a “distillate”. This name comes as a reference to the process of refining and distilling the cannabis product to separate the molecules from the contaminates. Extracting the cannabinoids such as THC, CBD, and terpenes are the end goal of the entire process. This is so the cannabinoids extracted can be reinfused into the concentrate being used for the actual edible.
In short, the process is performed the following way: First, the plant material is extracted with a hydrocarbon such as C02 or butane. Second, the product is heated up and vaporized. Finally, the vapor consolidates through a cooling system and separates into beakers. The entire process is repeated multiple times so refine the final distillate. The argument made against solvent-free edibles is the worry that butane or C02 has been added in the first place and needs to be removed. Very popular and reputable companies such as Smokiez edibles and Korova use this process.
On the other hand, Solvent-less edibles are made through a much more basic and simpler process. Solvent-less itself means the absence of using chemical solvents for extraction. This means absolutely no hydrocarbons! Usually, rosin is made via heat pressing the cannabis plant chosen for extraction and from that point the rosin is infused with whatever cooking oil is being used to make the actual edible. When heated and pressed, the essential oils are pushed through the trichome head cell walls into an oil, a shatter, or a sap-like consistency depending on the temps of the press.
The real challenge in the Oklahoma medical marijuana community is finding solvent-less edibles to try out for ourselves. I was able to track down a company, Arcadia Brands, who actually knows and does this process well. I was fortunate enough to sit down with Chet Tucker to discuss why they decided to go this route for extraction.
Chet Tucker is the Executive Director of Arcadia Brands and the energy I felt as I sat across from him in a small coffee shop discussing his edible brand was nothing short of trustworthy. He is passionate about what he is doing for the patients of Oklahoma and that wasn’t something that could have been easily missed even by the people not listening to our conversation. He shared with me that his father passed away a while ago from an accident caused by seizures that were a symptom of his epilepsy. At the time, medical marijuana wasn’t legal and unavailable to Oklahoma residents. Taking this tragedy, Chet knew he would work in cannabis one day and the opportunity arose for him to do just that with long time friend and owner of Arcadia Brands, Robert Cuthbertson. Now, Chet is helping the patients of Oklahoma with medical Cannabis products that he would have handed to his own father if he had the opportunity.
Not only are their edibles solvent–less at Arcadia Brands, but there is also the transparency of exactly what plant and strain you are eating in your edible. Yes, I know you can see if you are eating a hybrid, sativa, or indica with most brands on the shelves, but what actual strain have you been eating? It may be surprising, but the reason you do not see much of it is that normally solvent-free is a mixture of different plants even if they are in the same class, i.e indica.
At the end of the day, both solvent-free and solvent-less edibles can be a great way to medicate! It is up to the patient and how they feel, once consuming, when it comes to what medicine they choose to take. I caution everyone to pay attention to the labels and to do research on what you are eating so that you can become more aware of what does and does not work for your body.