Utilizing a blend of butane and propane, i.e. “blended solvents”, can provide your butane extraction process with the capability to skillfully manipulate the quality and consistency of your output product, including the creation of BHO.
Best Solvent Blend for Butane Extraction
Many top extraction producers opt for a 70% butane/30% propane blend for shatter and budder-based extracts. This allows the solvent to extract a fuller terpene profile and generally contributes to a lighter color and lower viscosity than using a 100% butane extraction. In some instances, labs opt to use 100% propane for specialty products like high-terpene extractions or sugar consistency extract products.
Considerations for Butane and Propane Blend
Temperature & Pressure
There are many considerations to keep in mind when extracting with a propane or mixed-solvent blend. Notably, the difference in required pressure and coinciding temperatures. Butane’s boiling point is -1 °C which makes controlling the amount of vapor pressure relatively easy in a butane-only extraction, as that temperature is achievable with a small amount of cooling power. However, propane’s boiling point is -43 °C, which requires much higher vapor pressure and cooling when running at temperatures higher than -43 °C.
The volatility of propane allows for the operator to distill the solvent with little to no energy needed. This translates to a much faster recovery time than butane. Note that blending solvents does not accelerate recovery time. Rather, recovery is subject to the solvent with the slowest recovery time, i.e., butane.
Using propane provides many benefits for the processor and the end consumer. Because of its low boiling point, propane is easy to purge from the extract in a vacuum oven during post processing because it takes very little time and heat to remove. Additionally, propane tends to extract lighter compounds from the cannabis plant material, such as terpenes. The increase in terpenes extracted will be significant based on the quality of your original biomass and the hydrocarbon mix (i.e., higher propane mixes result in higher terpene output). This will also effect the consistency of the end product, and produce concentrates that are more syrupy due to the low viscosity of terpenes.
Best Butane for BHO – Find the Right Balance
As with most things, there is a point at which too much of a good thing can sometimes be bad. Pure terpenes themselves tend to be very caustic and volatile. Hence, there is a point at which an extremely high percentage of terpenes can irritate the end user’s throat and simply be too copious for enjoyable consumption. Therefore, with a keen eye on the end product in mind, utilizing an appropriate balance of blended solvent is fundamental in any extraction process.
Finding and maintaining such a delicate blend of solvents, pressures and temperature control to achieve a unique, consistent and enjoyable concentrate is as much art as it is science.
Hence, trial and error and, preferably, education in advance extraction methods is key to producing the world’s finest cannabis concentrates.
Butane Extraction Equipment & Training Matters
As always, utilize only hydrocarbon extraction equipment that is suitable and certified for the desired solvent application, for the safety of the operator and the benefit of the end consumer of your extracts. Precision’s hydrocarbon extraction equipment is an efficient method to commercially extract oil from hemp and cannabis plants, including CBD, THC and terpene compounds, for medical and other applications.
Professional training in basic and advanced cannabis oil extraction methods and techniques is also available from Precision, should your team need some assistance getting started in developing the best solvent blend for your BHO.