On store shelves across the United States, you’ll often see hemp products that are THC-free, since the consumption and selling of THC products are still illegal in some states. Removing THC from the hemp product is more complicated than you might think, as THC and CBD are incredibly similar in their composition.
THC remediation is most commonly used to achieve a final product that has less than the legal amount of THC, so the final product can be legally sold. If you’re producing a CBD product in a state where THC products are illegal, you must use THC remediation.
We’ve broken down the basics of THC remediation, as well as two THC remediation processes available to extraction labs.
What is THC Remediation?
THC remediation is the process of separating THC from a cannabis distillate in order to attain a final product that has less than the 0.3% legal limit for a hemp product.
A hemp plant prior to extraction naturally has around 0.3% THC – a legal level. However, by nature of creating a concentrate through extraction, we have now produced THC levels that are closer to 1-3% THC – now an illegal level. As a result, processors have to perform THC remediation before they can legally create and sell a CBD, THC-free product.
Removing THC Through Remediation
When it comes to removing THC from your hemp oil, there are two main options to achieve the desired result—chromatography or T-SEP, the groundbreaking new process developed by Precision®. Both of these options have their pros and cons, which we will outline.
CBD and THC have similar boiling points, so you need to use a remediation technique to separate the two cannabinoids.
Chromatography is arguably the most popular option of THC remediation. There are various types of chromatography, but the most-used type is called flash chromatography.
It is expensive, which is a deterrent for some. However, it does achieve a 99.9% removal of THC.
Chromatography is achieved by taking advantage of the different polarities of CBD and THC. CBD and THC are made of the same elements, but are in a different structure, so they are incredibly similar. One of the main differences is their polarity, which is the factor used in chromatography to separate the THC from the cannabis distillate. THC is less polar than CBD.
The simplest explanation of chromatography is that the starting distillate is placed into the chromatograph column where solvent, filter media and pressure are used to create the CBD and THC separation. The solvent and media used will determine whether THC or CBD will filter out of the column first. Because THC is less polar, it will move with the column and media, and CBD will move with the solvent and exit second. The inverse can be achieved with reverse phase chromatography whereby CBD is separated first by using a specific kind of filter media in the column. By monitoring using a chromatograph in either process, you will be able to determine the THC levels that are in the column and are separated from the rest of the distillate.
The T-SEP process, or THC separation process, is a new and groundbreaking option for THC remediation. It’s significantly more cost-effective than chromatography, is just as effective, and removes over 99% of THC.
In contrast with traditional chromatography, the T-SEP process uses only solvent to create a CBD and THC separation. This is referred to as a liquid-liquid separation. Much like how oil and water don’t mix, a specific blend of solvents is poured into the crude over a series of three ‘washes’ to create a THC-free concentrate.
THC Remediation Equipment
T-SEP is a more accessible startup option for those looking to create THC-free products. Its operational costs are lower, and there are zero process losses as well. In addition, it can process up to 7 liters of crude oil remediation per hour, making it an efficient option!
This new technology is a great option for anyone looking for cost-effective, efficient, and scalable THC remediation processes!