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The Modern Extractor
52 minutes | Oct 12, 2021
Bonus E04 - Live Interviews From The Extraction Expo Floor
In-person interviews recorded on the floor of The Extraction Expo in Los Angeles! In this episode we have some short interviews with the great guests listed below:Randy Reed - Co-Founder, Lehua BrandsKatie Urbano - Operations Manager, 3-ChiAlexandra Harris - Host, CannaSci podcast / LA NORMLDavid Anthony Schroeder - Author, 7 Ways To Manage Pain With CBDDr. Bau Thai - Founder, Rapid Nerve RescueSteve Bonde - CTO, Boulder Creek Technologies
43 minutes | Sep 27, 2021
Bonus E03 - Leading Extraction Publications And Conferences
Dr. Jason Lupoi, Editor In Chief of Extraction Magazine and Terpenes and Testing Magazine, joins us to discuss their cutting edge coverage of the extraction and psychedelics industries. We cover their dedication to ensuring scientific accuracy, as well as what we may find inside their industry leading content. We also get into the upcoming Extraction Expo and what attendees can expect to find in the presentation rooms and on the Expo floor.
62 minutes | Aug 17, 2021
S3 E06 - Inside The Industry, With Sidco_Cat
Industry insider, Catherine Sidman, AKA Sidco_Cat, joins us to discuss her role in the extraction and psychedelics industries. Whether she's hosting a podcast, moderating panels, advocating for plant medicine, or connecting the right people, Catherine is always up in the mix for latest the industry has to offer. She's been in it since the early days, and has played a big role in connecting the dots that allowed the industry to take the shape that it has today.
80 minutes | Aug 10, 2021
S3 E05 - The Evolution Of Hash, With Frenchy Cannoli
The master of hash, Frenchy Cannoli, joins us to discuss the evolution of hash making. We cover the history of hash, as well as Frenchy's history of traveling the world learning ancient production techniques from most of the major producing countries. We get into how Frenchy took the knowledge he collected and used it to develop the SOPs and equipment that he used to produce some of the best hash in the world.
73 minutes | Aug 3, 2021
S3 E04 - Cannabinoid Conversions: Delta 8 THC And Other Isomers
Dr. Jon Thompson, founder of extraktLAB, joins us to discuss cannabinoid conversions. We cover Delta 8 THC and other isomers that have been making waves in the industry. We dive into the industry and legal politics surrounding these cannabinoids, as well as the equipment and SOPs you'll need to perform a successful and safe conversion.
48 minutes | Jul 27, 2021
S3 E03 - The Rise Of Automation In Extraction Systems
Kyler Buck and Jack Naito, co-founders of Luna Technologies, join us to discuss their automated hydrocarbon extraction systems. We cover how automation helps operators consistently produce high quality, repeatable results. Jack and Kyler break down how their automation systems work, what the inputs are reading, what the outputs are controlling, and how much more efficient an automated system can be.
91 minutes | Jul 20, 2021
S3 E02 - Modern CO2 Extraction Techniques
Randy Reed, co-founder of Lehua Brands, joins us to discuss modern CO2 extraction techniques and SOPs. We explore just how CO2 offers extractors more control than any other extraction style. Randy breaks down his approach to fractional extraction, and the potential for extracting many of the same concentrates that require post processing with other extraction styles.
54 minutes | Jul 13, 2021
S3 E01 - Future 4200: Building A Community To Advance An Industry
Dustin Powers, co-founder of Future 4200, joins us to discuss how the premiere cannabis processing technology forum came to be. We get into all of the perks, politics, and pitfalls that come with being the face of an online community that changed the course of the cannabis extraction industry.
42 minutes | Jul 6, 2021
Bonus E02 - An Oral History Of Hydrocarbon Extraction
JD Ellis, AKA Graywolf, joins us to tell the tales of early hydrocarbon extraction, and the path that led him to designing a closed loop BHO extraction system. We cover extraction equipment, the closed loop design process, some crazy stories from the early days, and how JD applies extraction science in the kitchen. (Of course he does!) Graywolf is a pioneer of cannabis extraction, and his contributions have helped shape an industry. From all of us extractors out here, thank you JD!
79 minutes | Jun 8, 2021
S2 E06 - Hydrocarbon Extraction And Finishing Technique SOPs
WiLLBiLLy, inventor of the notorious blue sapphire THCa crystals and founder of WiLLBiLLy Productions, joins us to discuss specific SOPs for hydrocarbon extraction and the finishing techniques that it takes to create all the various craft concentrates this extraction style can produce. We cover how to produce quality hydrocarbon crude, and how to manipulate it into different finishes.
66 minutes | Jun 1, 2021
S2 E05 - CRC And Filtration Media In Hydrocarbon Extraction
Vaughn Hartung, founder of Media Bros. joins us to discuss the use of CRC and filtration media in hydrocarbon extraction systems. We break down what CRC is, why we'd use it, how we'd use it, and why CRC is such a polarizing topic. We also get into Media Bros. unconventional approach to running a business and what they're doing to make sure they're putting extractors first.
79 minutes | May 25, 2021
S2 E04 - Closed Loop Hydrocarbon Extraction Systems
Boris Kogon of Bizzybee joins us to discuss their revolutionary closed loop hydrocarbon cannabis extraction systems. We get into his approach to building modular extraction systems which utilize his 'thermodymagic' allowing for passive solvent recovery.
78 minutes | May 18, 2021
S2 E03 - Hydrocarbon Extraction Solvent Selection And Quality Standards
Lexis Shontz of Solvent Direct joins us to discuss the various solvents and solvent blends used in hydrocarbon and ethanol extraction of cannabis. We get into their methods for making sure the highest quality solvents in the industry are delivered in a safe, fast, and efficient manner.
83 minutes | May 11, 2021
S2 E02 - Hydrocarbon Extraction Facility Safety, Permitting & Construction
Alex Barsky of C1D1 Labs joins us to discuss how to get your facility up and running safely and efficiently. We cover how to meet and exceed facility and equipment safety requirements imposed by your local municipality, as well as how C1D1 Labs' modular or pre-fab extraction booths can speed up your permitting process.
17 minutes | May 4, 2021
S2 E01 - Hydrocarbon Cannabis Extraction Overview
Jason Showard walks listeners through an overview of the hydrocarbon extraction and post processing workflow, taking cannabis from cultivar to concentrate.
51 minutes | Mar 30, 2021
Bonus E01 - Organic Solvent Nanofiltration Of Cannabis Extracts
Zev Feinstein of Molecular Forces joins us to discuss organic solvent nanofiltration of cannabis extracts. We discuss how his X-Spiral, and the OSN process can allow extractors to avoid winterization after extracting at room temperature. We also cover how OSN technology can replace industry standard solvent recovery practices. This disruptive technology is poised to make some big waves in the extraction industry!
58 minutes | Feb 16, 2021
S1 E09 - Crystallization Of CBD Isolate
Luke Van Trieste of BR Instruments joins us to discuss CBD isolate crystallization. We get deep into the equipment, solvents, and SOPs used to crash out those crystals. We cover static and dynamic crystallization, as well as the continuous flow processes that are beginning to come online. In addition to the BR Instrument crystallization reactors, we discuss their patented spinning band distillation equipment.EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:Jason Showard - 00:00:10 Hello and welcome to Episode nine of The Modern Extractor. This podcast focuses on the processes, equipment and science found in a cannabis extraction laboratory. I'm your host Jason Showard, and I work professionally in the cannabis extraction field. Here in season one, we're focusing on ethanol extraction and post processing, with each episode digging into a particular stage in that process. The shows are released in an order that follows the workflow through a lab as material makes its way from cultivar to concentrate. Jason Showard - 00:00:39 Last week we had Jay Horton on the show. He's the founder of Genovations and the man that got me started distilling cannabis. We talked specific SOPs for wiped film and rolled film distillation. We went through how to push your machine to the absolute limit and get the maximum throughput out of a wiper. He hit us with a ton of distillation knowledge gained from his years of experience in the trenches cranking out liters, as well as his experience installing and training on Chemtech equipment. Jason Showard - 00:01:05 Moving on to this week's show, let's catch back up with a work in progress. So far, we've performed a cold ethanol extraction in a centrifuge. We've cold filtered the resulting miscella through a lenticular filter. We ran the filtered miscella through a falling film evaporator to separate the oil and the ethanol. We decarboxylated the crude oil to convert the cannabinoids. We terp stripped, then we distilled the oil, creating some beautiful golden distillate. As I said last week, distillate is the end of the line for THC. Jason Showard - 00:01:34 But today we'll take CBD distillate a step further in the purification process and crystallize it into 99.9% pure CBD isolate. Joining me on the show today is a man who has processed many a kilo of isolate. He's very well versed in the equipment, solvents and processes of CBD crystallization. He's usually found flying around the world installing and training on BR instrument crystallization reactors, as well as their patented spinning band distillation equipment. He certainly knows his way around a cannabis extraction laboratory. Jason Showard - 00:02:06 Luke Van Trieste, welcome to The Modern Extractor. Luke Van Trieste - 00:02:09 Hi, thanks for having me. Jason Showard - 00:02:10 Absolutely. Where are you calling in from today? Luke Van Trieste - 00:02:13 I live just outside Baltimore, Maryland. Jason Showard - 00:02:15 Right on. You were telling me earlier it's a snowy day out there. It's a rainy day here in Los Angeles. Luke Van Trieste - 00:02:21 Yeah, plenty of bad weather lately this winter. Jason Showard - 00:02:25 So talk to me a little bit about your path to joining BR instruments. Luke Van Trieste - 00:02:31 So this is actually my 10th year at BR Instrument. I basically started off in high school doing graphic design content and creating marketing materials. I worked there through most of high school and college, until I got my degree in chemistry. And then I transitioned into my role, into doing installations and trainings. So if you buy a piece of our equipment, there's a very good chance that I'll be the person that's actually there, you know, running you through the show. So, yeah, 10 years. It's exciting. Jason Showard - 00:03:08 So give us a bird's eye view of BR instrument as a company. How'd its start? Where is it now? Luke Van Trieste - 00:03:14 So we produce mostly spinning band distillation equipment, which is really useful for high purity applications or for difficult separations. So we see a lot of work in the petroleum, the pharmaceutical, environmental, analytical industries. And obviously, you know, cannabis and hemp has become a very big part of our company as well. So we really just, any kind of distillation is pretty much our wheelhouse. Jason Showard - 00:03:40 All right. So are you guys primarily working right now in the cannabis and hemp industry or are you spread out amongst all of that currently? Luke Van Trieste - 00:03:50 We're spread out amongst all of that currently. So we do a lot of international business as well, which probably represents about half of the total business for us. And at this point in time, at least, there's not a ton of cannabis and hemp, although it's starting to pick up around the world. But that may be another couple of years while other countries figure out, you know, imports and exports and stuff like that. Luke Van Trieste - 00:04:16 So I'd say cannabis is about, domestic cannabis, is about half of it. And the international, that basically encompasses all the other things I mentioned. It's probably about the other half of it right now. Jason Showard - 00:04:28 OK, I've been intrigued by your spinning band distillation for a while now. Last week on the show, we covered, actually the last couple of weeks on the show, we covered distillation of cannabinoids with a rolled film distillation unit. While this show is technically about CBD isolate and crystallization, I think while I've got you on the line here, it makes sense to go over spinning band a little bit. So tell me a little bit about spinning band. How does it work? Luke Van Trieste - 00:05:01 So if you're familiar with the colloquial, short path distillation. So by that I mean a small flask with a short little column, and basically a very simple distillation model. And not in reference to a wiped film or a rolled film distillation with appropriate pressure. So like Lab Society or Summit or one of many other companies produce those short paths. It functions more similarly to that than a wiped film. Jason Showard - 00:05:33 Yeah, I've on the show here previously. I've referred to those as a tabletop short path. While the rolled or the wiped film still technically a short path, I believe you're referring to the tabletop short path, correct? Luke Van Trieste - 00:05:45 Correct. So basically we are a batch process where you're going to at the beginning of the run, fill up your flask with your starting material and then you're going to heat it up. And then by using different boiling points of the different compounds in there, we're going to slowly separate them out. And basically how we do that is, the way to separate a vapor from a liquid is to have them interact more. Strangely enough. And that's going to enrich both of those phases in their majority component. Luke Van Trieste - 00:06:19 And so a spinning band. What we're doing is by highly agitating the column area, as vapors come off of the boiling flask that we've been heating, we're greatly agitating these vapors and making them slam into the liquid and along the wall of the column, and basically forcing tons of interactions with a very high refresh rate. Luke Van Trieste - 00:06:42 And that gives you the highest purity out of fractional distillation. And so a comparable method would be, for like a tabletop short path, if you put in a packing substrate. And that basically gives you a surface area for the vapor liquid interaction. So a spinning band, it's a dynamic interaction where that surface is always being changed, it's constantly being refreshed. And there's definitely some other advantages too. Such as a spinning band is going to have generally a higher throughput for the purity that you get. Because as the cycle of boiling and condensing happens, the helix of the spinning bands pumps the rejected liquid that has been condensed back into the boiling flask to start the cycle over again. Luke Van Trieste - 00:07:32 But vapors are basically able to travel relatively freely up the column because there's a large open space. It's just moving. So there's a couple of advantages. But purity is definitely the name of our game. Jason Showard - 00:07:48 Yeah, I've basically from talking to you guys at the trade shows and reading on the Internet, the amount of theoretical plates that can be created with these is pretty impressive, but something that you really don't run into with a wiped or a rolled film unit. That would definitely be the upside. Now, I've heard some people in the industry say that a downside to a system like this or to your traditional short path is going to be something like residence time. What do you say to that? 00:08:18 I say that cannabinoids aren't as fragile as people like to make them out to be. I think that, you know, frequently people take maybe a little bit too much care. I think a lot of it has to do with the type of product that you're trying to make. I'd say that the maximum temperature is almost more important than your residence time. And basically the thought process behind that is a general rule of thumb for chemistry, is that by every 10 degrees Celsius you raise the temperature, you cause a reaction to happen twice as fast. Luke Van Trieste - 00:08:55 So taking twice as long is effectively the same thing as doing something 10 degrees hotter, from a chemical reactions perspective. So I think, you know, if you're really concerned about residence time, I think maybe you should look at the maximum temperatures that you're incurring first instead. And as long as you're below 200, 190 Celsius, you're really not going to see a ton of stuff. Luke Van Trieste - 00:09:22 The funky things start to happen at about 210 to 220 degrees Celsius, in my experience. That's where you'll start to see more and more rapid degradation. Jason Showard - 00:09:32 OK, so with your style machine, also, the way that it functions, you're going to end up with the lighter stuff, which is typically more fragile, coming off first and getting out of there before the temperature rises anyway for the most part, right? Luke Van Trieste - 00:09:50 Yeah, absolutely. We do a decent amount of terpene processing, too, as well. Which involves using virtually no heat and just vacuum. And so instead of heating something, we can just reduce the pressure which will cause us to distil over. And with terpenes, they tend to be quite low yielding, but for that very reason, you want to be very careful with them and very gentle with them. And those can be removed first in kind of a separate process, but still on the spinning band. Jason Showard - 00:10:18 All right. Well, I'm glad we got a chance to kind of jump into that. I've wanted to talk to you guys about spinning band and had thought about reaching out regarding that. And then, you know, when it came up to reach out to you regarding crystallization, I figured it was a great opportunity to do that. So the reason that I reached out to you specifically about CBD crystallization is because of a blog post that you wrote back in early 2019 on the BR Instrument blog about creating CBD isolate. Jason Showard - 00:10:47 It was full of equipment, knowledge and SOPs and just basically a really nice, informative package. In addition to the post afterwards, people started commenting and you were jumping right in there and responding to everybody's questions in the comments. I think that's great and really aligns with my approach here at The Modern Extractor, which is to kind of curate and release the best information possible to the audience. So because of that, I was excited to talk to you and I'd like to move on to the actual science behind the final stage in the process we've been covering this season, which is crystallization. Jason Showard - 00:11:20 So let's talk a little bit about what we're trying to produce here. CBD isolate is purified, crystalized CBD. Let's break that down. So what is a crystal? Luke Van Trieste - 00:11:31 So a basic overview of what a crystal is, is that it's going to be a solid that has its molecules in an organized long-range structure. And so I think it's important to talk about things that are not a crystal, so a very common example is a glass. Glass is clear, it's pretty. You can cut it into a crystal, but that doesn't make it structurally on the molecular level, a crystal. Luke Van Trieste - 00:11:58 Another example is going to be like some kind of plastic or wax where, you know, these are very big molecules that kind of interact with each other in a much different way than a nice crystal lattice. I think it's also important to point out that a lot of natural substances are polycrystalline. And basically that's going to mean that you took a bunch of individual crystal structures, grew them together, and then they fused. So this is going to cover, you know, metals, some rocks or a ceramic, for example. Jason Showard - 00:12:30 OK, so with those things that you were just talking about, for example, the metals, the rocks, the ceramic, that is, they were crystalline in nature prior to having a bunch of these crystalline structures formed together and then fused due to heat or some other environmental conditions? Pressure? Luke Van Trieste - 00:12:50 Yes, you can almost think about the way they fused together as a joint. And so frequently that's where a weak spot in the crystal may form, is at the interface of two of these different sub crystals. And so you can call gold crystalline in some context, but you're not going to have a gold crystal, if that makes sense. It's going to be quite small, realistically. Jason Showard - 00:13:14 OK, so solubility is an important concept when it comes to crystallization. Talk to us a little bit about the relationship between solubility and crystallization. Luke Van Trieste - 00:13:28 So solubility is going to be in this case, how much CBD can we jam into a given solvent at a given temperature? And there's ways to change that. An important way is temperature. So as you increase the temperature of anything, it's going to become more soluble. And if you decrease the temperature, it's going to become less soluble. Luke Van Trieste - 00:13:54 So we want to, our goal is to basically create a solution that has a lot of CBD in it and that's going to be called "saturated." So a saturated solution is when we get to the point where if you add more CBD, it doesn't dissolve anymore, it just kind of sinks to the bottom of the container. Then you can also have a supersaturated solution. Luke Van Trieste - 00:14:15 So this is going to be a solution that has more CBD than it should technically be allowed to at that temperature. And how we create that is you elevate the temperature to dissolve a lot of CBD, but then through some controlled method, you reduce the temperature without crystalizing any of the CBD out of solution. Suddenly you have CBD that's just maybe a little bit thermodynamically unhappy to be there at this point, but it's not quite ready to crash out. Jason Showard - 00:14:44 OK, well, before we get further down the road into the SOPs of crystallization and specific stuff about equipment, let's talk about solvents for a moment here. While you're talking about solvents, there's a variety of them that can be used for crystallization. Are you making solvent decisions based on solubility or is that more of a boiling point or regulation or a safety decision? Luke Van Trieste - 00:15:09 So primarily the issue is solubility, because if it doesn't crash out at some point or you can't dissolve any of it, then that's just kind of a non-starter. So our solvent of choice really needs to have a couple characteristics regarding solubility. So the first one is that CBD needs to dissolve into our solvent well, at an elevated temperature like I mentioned. However, at decreased temperatures, when we start to cool our solution, CBD needs to become relatively insoluble. If it stays too soluble at a low temperature, then we're not going to get crystal formation. Luke Van Trieste - 00:15:49 The final solubility consideration is what is our waste product consisting of? So if we have THC that needs to be removed from these CBD crystals so you can sell them internationally, then you need to make sure that your solvent of choice also carries THC quite well at low temperatures, not just high temperatures. Otherwise you're just going to end up with kind of a goo coating your crystals as it will crash out, but not really crystallize either. Jason Showard - 00:16:20 Some CBD sauce. Luke Van Trieste - 00:16:22 Yeah. So that's how you
51 minutes | Feb 9, 2021
S1 E08 - Devolatilization & Cannabinoid Distillation
Look no further for DISTILLATION SOPs!Jay Horton joins us to discuss getting maximum throughput and high quality distillates out of you wiped film distillation unit. We cover specific SOPs for terpenoid removal (terp strip) and cannabinoid distillation for both THC and CBD. We discuss getting maximum throughput on a single stage machine, as well as various ways to configure your multi stage distillation unit to maximize your results. Jay's 'split the stream' technique will get you the highest quality and largest quantity yields out of your multi-stage wiper.EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:Jason Showard - 00:00:11 Hello and welcome to Episode eight of The Modern Extractor. This podcast focuses on the processes, equipment and science found in a cannabis extraction laboratory. I'm your host Jason Showard, and I work professionally in the cannabis extraction field. Here in season one, we're focusing on ethanol extraction and post processing. With each episode digging deep into a particular stage in that process. The shows are released in an order that follows the workflow through lab, as material makes its way from Cultivar to concentrate. Jason Showard - 00:00:37 Last week we had John Hart, founder and CEO of Chemtech Services, on the show to talk about wiped film and rolled film distillation. He broke down what's going on inside of a wiped film distillation unit and helped make some sense of it. He hit us with a ton of distillation knowledge gained through his years of experience building high tech equipment for the chemical industry. Moving on to this week's show, let's catch back up with our work in progress. So far, we've performed a cold ethanol extraction in the centrifuge. Jason Showard - 00:01:03 We've cold filtered the resulting miscella through a lenticular filter. We ran the filtered miscella through a falling film evaporator to separate the oil and the ethanol. And we decarboxylated the crude oil, converting the THC A or CBD A into THC or CBD. This week we're going to get into specific SOPs for removal of the terpenoids, also known as terp stripping, followed by distillation of THC and CBD. It's a big day today guys. We're finally going to make some sellable product. Jason Showard - 00:01:30 Joining me on the show today is the man that got me started distilling cannabinoids. He's usually flying around the world installing and training on Chemtech's distillation equipment, or doing some type of cannabis lab consulting. He's the founder of Genovations and quite a veteran in the cannabis lab space. Jay Horton, welcome to The Modern Extractor. Jay Horton - 00:01:47 Hello, Jason. Jason Showard - 00:01:48 Where are you calling in from today? Jay Horton - 00:01:49 I'm currently in Los Angeles. Jason Showard - 00:01:51 All right. Yeah, I'm also here in Los Angeles, still hunkering down. So I met you years ago when you installed the first wiped film unit I ever worked with, at the company I was working for. It was a Chemtech Mini 5. By the time we were done, strapping upgrades to it, it was almost KD6. Since then, you started your own company, Genovations. Tell us a little bit about how you got into the field and what the path was like to starting your own business. Jay Horton - 00:02:20 OK, so in around 2006, I moved to Oregon and got into the medical program and I was doing cultivation. In around 2013, I started working with the company that was looking into CO2 extraction very early on. We went up to Washington to visit Fritz and checked out his systems, and it was some of the first ones he was making. And we did our research on waters as well, and we decided on getting a water system. So that's kind of where I transitioned from, cultivation into extraction. Jay Horton - 00:02:58 From there, I moved to the Bay Area and started working with the company in Oakland doing CO2 extraction again, but on a different system. And that was my introduction to wiped film distillation as well. I started running a Chemtech that I had specked out after I did a bunch of research on different wiped film manufacturers. Jason Showard - 00:03:20 So at what point did you decide, "Hey, I need a wiped film distillation unit?" Jay Horton - 00:03:26 Well, I had done the research and at the time I had actually just using glass from Amazon, already distilled oil on a tabletop scale. And I didn't do much of that before I decided to start doing research to figure out how to not do much more of that. Jason Showard - 00:03:47 Yeah, I feel you there. Jay Horton - 00:03:49 Nothing against tabletops. And my setup was really crude because it was Amazon glass, and really tiny tubing and everything. There's cool stuff you can do on those tabletops in terms of isomerization and things. But nonetheless, I didn't want to do that because we were kind of more of a scale focused operation. So wiped film naturally was the route. I went up to Washington again to research equipment at Helderpad, I saw a demo and I told the company I was working for that was a system they should buy. Jay Horton - 00:04:22 So I ran a Chemtech for a number of years. I was real hands on. Did all my own maintenance. And at one point Chemtech called me and they asked me if I could help a client who is nearby in the Bay Area. And so I went down there and I helped them out. They'd been working on days trying to figure out this problem. And I went down there and figured it out very quickly. And so then I called Chemtech and I asked them, "Hey, would you guys need any help in the field?" 00:04:52 And they said, "Sure, fly out here." So I flew out there. I got factory authorized and certified to work on their equipment. And so they contract me for their installs and the clients then end up contracting me for preventative maintenance and additional training and things of that sort. Jason Showard - 00:05:12 All right. Right on. When was it that you decided, you know, hey, I want to get out of the lab and I want to start a business around doing this side of the world, doing installs and teaching people? Jay Horton - 00:05:25 Yeah, it all started with that call from Chemtech when they asked me to go check out this client. And at that moment, I had the idea that maybe I could make a career out of just going from place to place, helping people with their systems. At that time, I didn't even think installs would be a thing. And I was really scared at the moment to leave my regular job and branch out, start traveling around. And I did that. Jay Horton - 00:05:52 I took the leap of faith. And I'm really glad I did because I discovered that I like to teach people, and I really enjoy working with all the different people that I do all the time. It's kind of like the icing on the cake. Jason Showard - 00:06:07 So if that's how it all began and got you started, what are you doing these days? Jay Horton - 00:06:13 So I'm still doing installs for people. Still doing preventative maintenance for people. I'm doing training for people. I'm keeping busy moving used systems around because there's a lot of activity in that sector of the market right now, you know, used systems being sold. And I'm getting contracted to either do the disassembly or the reassembly or both. Jason Showard - 00:06:35 OK, what companies do you currently work for? For your installation work? So primarily, Chemtech uses me as an independent contractor to do their installs. Then from there, the clients typically contract me themselves to do training or preventative maintenance programs with them. I've also helped Interchim with installations of their chromatography columns. Occasionally Interchim will contract us because of our experience with cannabinoids. Jason Showard - 00:07:06 OK, well, you've been on the front lines of the whole cannabis reform thing for a while now. In your travels, you've seen first-hand how things have changed. What are some of the biggest differences that you see in these days compared to the early days? Jay Horton - 00:07:22 I would say better practices in general compared to the early days, part of that's due to regulations, and part of it's also just because people are getting real investment now. So people are building GMP facilities and things of that nature, getting food certifications. Jay Horton - 00:07:40 And people are getting organic certifications from third parties, not, unfortunately, FDA, but other ones or USDA, I should say. So that's, I'd say, the primary difference that I see. You know, back in the day when I first started doing the installs, I would install these systems in some places that just weren't really what you think of when you think of, like processing facility for medicine or food grade products. You know? Jason Showard - 00:08:14 Certainly I've seen a few of them. Jay Horton - 00:08:17 I'm sure you have. Jason Showard - 00:08:20 So last week we talked to John Hart from Chemtech and we learned about how their rolled film distillation systems work. But this week I'd like to get a little more specific about the SOPs for cannabinoid distillation. Considering you're the person that started me down this path, I figure there's nobody better to talk to you than you about it. So let's get into how to turn the decarbed crude that we have so far in our process, into the distillate that we're looking for. Jason Showard - 00:08:50 Right now, let's start with THC. And for the sake of simplicity, let's just say that we've got a one stage machine in front of us. One stage Chemtech rolled film machine. What are your go to SOPs when you walk up to a new batch of starting material? Jay Horton - 00:09:05 OK, so typically in a perfect world, that batch is also going to come with a COA. And that COA is going to tell you what your terpene content is and what your cannabinoid content is. Jay Horton - 00:09:19 If you don't have a COA, you're kind of flying blind. In general, I'd say a lot of ethanol extract has around 10% terpenes left in it after solvent recovery. It's kind of an average number. But, you know, butane or CO2 could have more. But we're talking about ethanol extract today and on average, that's 10%. But ideally, you actually have a COA to tell you exactly what percentage of terpenes by volume are left in your extract. So you actually know what to look for, and your ratio once you start distilling. Jay Horton - 00:09:52 So that said, for a terpene strip. I typically will have my feed tank around 100 Celsius, my residue temperature around 130C. My evap temperature around 170C. My condenser around 35C. And the reason why I say around is because especially if you don't have a COA, and you're just flying blind based on consistency in your facility, then you will be relying a little bit on intuition and visual cues. Right. So you might bump up the evap a little bit. Jay Horton - 00:10:31 Or if this material's residue wants to freeze, you might bump up your residues section. Vacuum wise, I'd like to stay in between about 500 to 1,500 micron. I'll go higher, I'll go up to 5,000 if I put some material in there. And it's just really volatile because there's a ton of terps left in it and I don't feel like running slow. Then I'll just bump up my evap and I'll push that upper limit. But usually I'm terp tripping 500 to 1,500 micron. And wiper speed, 400. Jason Showard - 00:11:07 All right. Now when you say you're running fast, what kind of, what do you mean by fast? Jay Horton - 00:11:15 So essentially what I do is, I have these vacuum ranges I like to stay within. And if I start feeding material and my vapor pressure hasn't bumped me up to my upper limit, then I'll continue to increase my feed and my evap so I could run faster. Jason Showard - 00:11:32 Gotcha, gotcha. All right, your SOPs for 170 there are fairly on the, I'd say on the high range for most of the people that I talk to about terp strip. If you're going to go an evap temp of 170, at some point, you've got to be feeding pretty fast into that in order to not overdo it, right? Jay Horton - 00:11:59 You're absolutely correct. It's all relative, it's about residence time. The faster that you can feed material through the call and the faster it pushes other oil through, so the less residence time it has on the heated surface. So although you may have a bath that tells you 170, that might not necessarily be the temperature that the oil gets to, depending on its residence time. Now, that said, the reason why I like to run hotter than most people will on a terpene strip is because from my observations. Jay Horton - 00:12:31 Over the years, I've noticed that if you do an aggressive terpene strip, you can remove majority of terpenes and you might get a tiny bit of canna. This allows you to go into your cannabinoid pass and get 90% cannabinoids in a single pass. Jay Horton - 00:12:51 Whereas people who don't go aggressive enough with their terp strip, typically have to do two cannabinoid passes in order to get the potency that the market kind of calls for now. Jason Showard - 00:13:03 Yeah, absolutely. That's one of the things that when we were first getting started, you told me basically reach in there until you're pulling just a little bit of distillate over. And that way you're guaranteed that you've got the majority, or that you've got all of your terpenes out. Because you're already reaching in to that cannabinoid fraction. And then in addition to getting higher purity, your vacuum levels are so much better on your next pass when you're going through your distillate run. Jay Horton - 00:13:34 Absolutely. And not only that, what a lot of people don't realize is that even in a short path distillation system, even on an aggressive terpene strip up to the point that you've pulled a little bit of cannabinoids, you probably still haven't removed, I can actually say almost guaranteed you haven't removed a 100% of the terpenes. Because then when you go to do your canna cut, and you have a hot condenser, which we'll get into later, any terpenes that are left in there will show up in your cold trap. Jay Horton - 00:14:02 And on average I see 1% on the canna cut show up in the cold trap. So that just goes to show you that there's heavy terpenes in there that to reflux even in a short path. Which is one reason, side note, I prefer to terp strip on a short path with a lower vapor port specifically, and not on like a rolled film with an external condenser upper vapor port. Because those terpenes are that much more difficult to remove in a single pass. Jay Horton - 00:14:32 And then you're putting more terpenes into your first canna cut, which should be your only canna cut ideally. And you're making it more difficult to achieve a potency on your first canna cut. Jason Showard - 00:14:44 OK, let's talk a little bit about one of the things that people bring up to me when I start talking about reaching into that canna cut, just a little bit on your terp strip, is they don't want the loss. Now I came up with a little bit of a way to get that back. I'm curious to hear what yours is. What do you do when you've got some distillate in your terpene fraction that you have separated out? Jay Horton - 00:15:12 OK, I'm really glad you asked that, because usually when I talk about an aggressive terp strip, people talk about that loss. Well, essentially, let's say that you do an aggressive terp strip to the point that you send those terpenes off for analysis. It comes back 20% canna in there, which is kind of high for an aggressive terp strip. That's still only 2% of the entire volume. And I'm not saying that you want to ignore 2% because you still don't lose it. Jay Horton - 00:15:40 You simply shelf it, put it into living inventory. You can let time do the work for you if you want, or you could put it in a centrifuge to speed things up. And essentially the oil will drop out to the bottom. You could literally decant the terps just by simply pouring them off the top. You'll scoop out what's left in there, which is usually kind of sludgy because it's a combo of the canna with some of the heaviest terps. Jay Horton - 00:16:04 And you could re-terp strip that and re-distil that. Now, at a rate like we discussed, let's just say high end, 20%. It's going to take a lot of those jars of terpene before you even have one jar of canna. And here's another very valid point. And you've talked about this before in the sense of biomass, where you kind of have to think about your efficiency. Right. In terms of grinding, in terms of everything. Jay Horton - 00:16:34 Some people may be more efficient if they're able to do a single terp strip and a single canna pass and ignore that 2% until a rainy day. Then they can pull it back out and they can squeeze it for whatever they are, whatever they need to get out of it. Whatever they can get out of it. Jason Showard - 00:16:53 Yeah, what I ended up doing was, I when we first talked about getting aggressive with the terp strip, I think I took that a little bit farther than you had intended for me to take that after
64 minutes | Feb 2, 2021
S1 E07 - Wiped Film Evaporators For Cannabis Oil Distillation
Learn how a wiped film evaporator works from the man that makes 'em best. John Hart, founder of Chemtech Services, joins us to discuss how his rolled film distillation machines are the best in the biz for the distillation of cannabis oil. John and Jason discuss the latest equipment offerings and innovations Chemtech is bringing to market, as well as the advantages to using multi-stage distillation units.EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:Jason Showard - 00:00:10 Hello and welcome to Episode Seven of The Modern Extractor. This podcast focuses on the processes, equipment and science found inside a cannabis extraction laboratory. I'm your host Jason Showard, and I work professionally in the cannabis extraction field. Here in season one, we're focusing on ethanol extraction and post processing. With each episode digging deep into a particular stage in that process. The shows are released in an order that follows the workflow through a lab, as material makes its way from cultivar to concentrate. Jason Showard - 00:00:39 Last week we had Greg Arias of Concentrated Science and Aftermath Labs on the show. He helped us demystify decarboxylation on a molecular level. We talked a bit about the differences between decarbing THC versus CBD. And I talked through my decarb SOPs. Moving on to this week's show, let's catch back up with our material on its way through the lab. So far we've performed a cold ethanol extraction in a centrifuge. We cold filtered the resulting miscella through an insecure filter. Jason Showard - 00:01:06 We ran that miscella through a falling film evaporator to separate the oil and the ethanol. And we decarboxylated the crude oil we separated, converting the acidic forms of the cannabinoids into THC or CBD. This week we make our way to the most complicated machine in the lab, the wiped film evaporator. Technically, we'll be talking about a rolled film evaporator today, which is the best style of wiped film for use in the cannabis sector. Joining us today to discuss rolled film distillation is John Hart, founder of Chemtech Services. Jason Showard - 00:01:35 John and his team currently have a ton of equipment out there in the field. You'll find their machines installed at the premier cannabis processing laboratories throughout the country and all over the world. They're always working on developing new equipment for our industry and interesting R&D projects. But I'll let John tell you all about that. Without any further ado, John Hart, welcome to The Modern Extractor. John Hart - 00:01:54 Oh, thank you very much, Jason. Happy to be participating. Jason Showard - 00:01:57 Absolutely glad to have you on today. Where are you calling in from? John Hart - 00:02:01 Calling in from our headquarters in Lockport, Illinois. Lockport's a suburb of Chicago. Jason Showard - 00:02:09 Right on. All right. What's the weather like out there right now? John Hart - 00:02:12 We have an amazingly sunny day here. Unfortunately, it's really cold. It's about 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Jason Showard - 00:02:20 All right. I'm in Los Angeles now. It's got a little rain recently, but we could use it. All right. Anyway, what was your path like to starting Chemtech? John Hart - 00:02:32 OK, so I'd spent most of my career working for a couple of major chemical companies, and I did a lot of things. I mean, I did mergers and acquisitions. I was an engineer on the technical side. So I was also building or let's say managing the construction of chemical plants in addition to chemical plants around the world. And I, you know, in the early part of my career, I spent about 60% of my time outside of the United States. John Hart - 00:03:00 And the nature of my job was such that I actually earned some pretty significant dollars for the companies I was working for. So at some point in my career, I decided, gee, maybe I should just strike out on my own and see if I can earn a little more money myself than I was getting paid a salary. Jason Showard - 00:03:21 At what point did you decide it was time to, you know, just go ahead and jump for it? John Hart - 00:03:26 You know, I think I was about 50 years old. Maybe 51 or 52. But that's about the point in time I did that. And Chemtech has been around for 15 years, so that gives you a little bit of a time perspective. Jason Showard - 00:03:45 So were you already in distillation when you were traveling around doing your other jobs? John Hart - 00:03:51 You know, the chemical industry is such that the technologies I was working with did utilize distillation methods. And I mean, actually, my first major job at Ashland Chemical, Ashland was a subsidiary of Ashland Oil. So you can imagine distillation is a big part of processing oil. Jason Showard - 00:04:13 Yeah, certainly is. So if that's how it all began, give us a little bit of a bird's eye view of what Chemtech is today. John Hart - 00:04:22 OK, so I typically regard Chemtech as being two divisions. One division is the design and fabrication of our core technology, which is distillation systems. But we also do other technology, especially pilot plants for chemical companies, as may be required. The other division is our toll processing of chemicals division. And we have a lot of really major clients. I mean, I would say pretty much Fortune 200 companies. We distill some really sophisticated stuff. Jason Showard - 00:05:00 OK, so what industries do you typically serve? John Hart - 00:05:04 You know, historically we were very petroleum, petrochemical, specialty chemical oriented. In more recent years, obviously, the hemp and cannabis folks discovered that our high vacuum distillation equipment could be really useful for separating the cannabinoids from the other riff-raff molecules in the extracted oils. Jason Showard - 00:05:30 I can certainly attest to that. I've used your machines and I absolutely love them. I'll get into what you offer in a moment here, but you've kind of brought up a great segway into the cannabis field. Tell me about the moment that you realized that your equipment was being used to distill cannabis oil. What was your initial reaction to that? John Hart - 00:05:50 You know, it kind of started when a client out in California actually asked us if we could separate the CBD from a hemp oil that they were importing from Europe. And, you know, our reaction was, "Well, it's just another essential oil to us." And so we asked them to send us the sample. They sent us the sample. We processed it and sent the results back to them, the distillate residue fractions. And they were pretty happy because we had definitely separated and concentrated up the CBD. John Hart - 00:06:30 So I think probably within about six months of that exercise, they bought a two-stage KD10 system from us, which they continue to operate out in the California area. Roughly about that same time, though, another California organization had called us and was asking for quotations on some of our smaller laboratory units. And we came to find out that they were distilling THC, and they ended up buying a lot of our lab scale units because they had multiple locations. Also about that time, we hooked up with an outfit called Helderpad, and Helderpad had a processing license in the state of Washington and they ultimately became our agent. John Hart - 00:07:21 They were operating one of our units. They liked it and became our agent. They've done a really good job selling our equipment and they continue to distill out in their facilities in Seattle. Jason Showard - 00:07:33 That's great. So a lot of the players in this space are making equipment specifically targeted at the cannabis market. Well, others kind of fall into the "fell into it" category because you already had something you made that was a good fit. From what you've explained to us so far, it seems like you are already in the game and then your equipment was just the right option for what the folks in the cannabis industry needed. With that said, what are you doing to keep the people that are targeting the cannabis field off your heels? Are you doing anything specific to stay relevant and hold your position? John Hart - 00:08:10 Yeah, I mean, we actively have about six different R&D projects that actually are associated with more novel methods of processing cannabinoid molecules. But in the meantime, we've obviously embellished our existing offering to accommodate the industry. I mean, for example, we introduced some decarboxylation units into the industry a few years ago. We've also introduced specialty ethanol distillation units. Our two-stage distillation systems that will allow the user to get his ethanol content in the final oil down below a tenth of a percent. John Hart - 00:09:00 And those obviously are peer reviewed. So they can pass the scrutiny of the regulators in the West Coast states. But like I said, we're continuing to work on things. I think one of the bigger novelties we brought to the industry also was the introduction of the turbo molecular pump into, not only cannabis processing, but short path distillation processing. Historically, the turbo molecular pump had been regarded as a little bit too fragile for distillation operations. But our primary supplier of vacuum equipment, Leybold Vacuum, came to us and said, "Hey, we have a new design. We'd like you guys to test it because we think it's robust enough to use in distillation." John Hart - 00:09:49 So we actually engaged in a testing program that took longer than a year, and worked very closely with Leybold to develop the proper setup for the use of that turbo molecular pump in distillation. And I mean, just to give you an example, some of our early work was done with distilling epoxy resins, which are notoriously hard on the vacuum pumps. John Hart - 00:10:22 But it turned out the pump ended up being pretty robust. And we introduced that into the industry. And absolutely, we're the first company to introduce the turbo molecular pump. And I think in general, the folks in the cannabis and hemp sectors like the turbo molecular pump. Like anything, any piece of vacuum equipment, it's got its pros and cons. But we're big fans of the turbo pump. Jason Showard - 00:10:48 Yeah, I can certainly personally attest to the fact that you guys killed it on, you know, R&Ding that turbo. I had a counterpart I used to work with that we would be constantly doing battle about how hard to run things because I wanted to go easy on that turbo, and then I would leave for a couple of days and come back. And I know that it got tortured. So we actually went so far as to take the system apart and look in there, and you could see distillate built up on the blades of the turbo, which was killing me. But the thing just kept working. So well done on your R&D. John Hart - 00:11:23 Yeah, no, it ended up being robust enough. I mean, we've also tried to get more focused on low temperature chillers and cold trap technologies to try and preclude the contaminants condensing into the turbo pump. Jason Showard - 00:11:42 Yeah, that would be ideal. John Hart - 00:11:44 Yeah. No, it is a constant battle. I mean the nature of the terpenoids in particular, they're good carrier molecules for some of the heavier or higher molecular weight molecules in oil extract. And these terpenoids are really tough to condense in the cold trap. You have to get to extremely low temperatures to achieve that. Maybe even as low as -100 degrees Celsius. But I mean, we went into it with knowledge that the folks who are using liquid nitrogen cold traps were tremendously successful in keeping their vacuum systems clean. John Hart - 00:12:26 So we know if you get down to about -120 C, you're going to be running clean vacuuming equipment. Jason Showard - 00:12:35 All right. That's good info. We'll jump into that in a little bit here when we get to the technical section. But you piqued my interest on a couple of things that you mentioned. Specifically your ethanol recovery and your decarb units that you've released for the ethanol recovery. Is that a system to recover all of the ethanol used in extraction, or is that specifically to get the residual ethanol out of your crude oil? John Hart - 00:13:00 No, that's to recover the ethanol that's being used for ethanol extraction. Jason Showard - 00:13:07 Okay, so all of it. John Hart - 00:13:08 Yeah, all of it. All of it. And unlike many of our competitors, we are using a really, a fairly powerful vacuum pump on the system. You know, having said that, we typically like to see our clients run that system, maybe around 200 millimeters of mercury. Whereas that vacuum pump will easily take them down to one millimeters of mercury. John Hart - 00:13:31 But at 200 millimeters, it operates pretty well. And when we designed the initial system, our target was 50 liters per our processing rate. And when we tested in our own facility, we saw that the system had so many features that were overkill that we were able to run the system at 200 liters per hour. So it's a robust system. Jason Showard - 00:13:58 Wow, that is fantastic. If somebody wants to look that up on your website, what do you call that one? John Hart - 00:14:02 It's a falling film/rolled film system, but it's probably indicated on the website under ethanol distillation. But it's a nifty little unit. I mean, "a little unit", it's being a two-stage unit, it's shall I say, bigger than most of the falling film and rising film units that you see out there. But like I said, the intent was to get that ethanol content to a low enough level that we could process the oil in our short path units. Jason Showard - 00:14:33 So now from that stage, you mentioned decarb units. Do your units, is it a modular setup where you can put your decarb unit after this ethanol recovery unit? John Hart - 00:14:44 Yeah, the decarb unit itself is a pretty independent unit with its own control enclosure. The only thing that I would caution anybody about, that's dealing with both ethanol, and let's say the de-ethylated oil, is ethanol, handling ethanol has to be done in a class one, division two electrical environment. Which, you know, is essentially an explosion proof environment. So the decarb unit itself is not really made in an explosion proof fashion. We can, but, you know, again, it's better to put your decarb unit and your short path unit outside of your classified zone. John Hart - 00:15:30 And, you know, again, it's just a function of the equipment you use. For example, the turbo molecular pump, they don't make a class one, division two version of the turbo molecular pump. Jason Showard - 00:15:42 Gotcha. Yeah. And it costs more money to build those C1D2 zones anyway. So if you can keep that as small as possible, you're going to end up building your lab in a more efficient manner. John Hart - 00:15:51 Yeah, exactly. And if you've got open space, and you've got one space in that open space designated C1D2, then I think the, if I remember National Electric Code, if you get 15 feet beyond the classified zone, then you're outside the classified zone. So, you know, again, distance always helps when it comes to potential of flammable or explosive vapors. Jason Showard - 00:16:17 All right. Interesting. What's the best selling item that you sell into the cannabis market specifically out of your offerings? John Hart - 00:16:25 OK, so we sell a pretty broad spectrum of units. But if I had to pick any one unit, that seems to be a favorite, that would be the KD10 unit. Either in the single-stage or two-stage version. But the single-stage is a real workhorse. It's very easy to use. It's you know, everything is pretty much fully integrated into the skid, and we find our customers really like that unit. Jason Showard - 00:16:55 All right. Yeah, I can agree with that one. I've seen them in use and had a chance to play with them. My original unit that I got from you guys was a Mini 5, that by the time we got done strapping extras on to it, it was almost KD6. And then I've had a chance to play with a friendly labs, KD10 for a little while. And that thing's a fantastic unit. It's beautiful. I love it. John Hart - 00:17:20 Yeah. I mean, even our, the company that does most of our installs out in California, they look at the KD10 and they've told me it's a pleasure to install those units because they're so functional. Jason Showard - 00:17:35 Getting a little bit more into the technical side of things here. I like to listen to podcasts kind of when my hands are full or I'm driving or riding a bike or just doing something where I can't watch video or look at pictures. And I think it's pretty common amongst most podcast listeners. So I try to cater to that audience....
37 minutes | Jan 26, 2021
S1 E06 - Decarboxylation Of Cannabinoids
Learn the ins and outs of decarboxylation from Greg Arias, co-founder of Concentrated Science. Greg and Jason discuss what is actually happening on a molecular level when decarbing your material, as well as specific SOPs for a streamlined and efficient decarb process.EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:Jason Showard - 00:00:10 Hello and welcome to episode six of The Modern Extractor. This podcast focuses on the processes, equipment, and science found inside a cannabis extraction laboratory. I'm your host Jason Showard, and I work professionally in the cannabis extraction field. Here in season one, we're focusing on ethanol extraction and post-processing, with each episode digging deep into a particular stage in that process. The shows are released in an order that follows the workflow through a lab, as material makes its way from Cultivar to concentrate. Jason Showard - 00:00:39 Last week on the show, we had Ray Van Lenten, founder and CEO of TruSteel on to help us break down falling film evaporation. Ray hooked us up with some amazing tips and tricks to get the most out of a falling film. He also broke down his decarb SOPs for use on their DR 10 decarboxylation unit. That's the same unit that I use and I absolutely love it. Moving on to this week's show, let's catch back up with our material on its way through the lab. Jason Showard - 00:01:06 We've performed a cold ethanol extraction in a centrifuge and cold filtered it through a lenticular filter. Last week we took the resulting miscella and ran it through a Falling film evaporator to separate the oil we're after from the ethanol that we used to extract it. We were left with ethanol that's going to be sent back and used for future extractions and crude oil, which we're going to decarboxylate today. We heard Ray's decarb tech last week. But mine's a bit different. Let's get into it. Jason Showard - 00:01:33 Now, I'd agree with Ray that a nitrogen sparge to push the air out of your decarb unit is ideal, but I've gotten pretty good results without doing it. Since, unlike Ray, I remove the solvent under vacuum. First off, fire up your cold trap chiller to protect your vacuum system. The condenser will catch any solvents removed from the crude. I like to bring my crude oil in and hold it at eighty degrees Celsius under vacuum of about -30 inches of mercury. Jason Showard - 00:01:57 While it boils the remaining solvent off. It's important not to overfill the unit while doing this, or you can get some bumping of product into your condenser. This is a mess and it sucks to deal with, so don't overdo it. If you end up too full, you can lower your vacuum level a little bit. I bought the fourth ever DR 10 from TruSteel, so mine doesn't have an internal thermocouple to read the process temperature. I usually wait about fifteen minutes at 80C, then kick it up to 90 for about another ten minutes just to ensure all the solvent's gone. Jason Showard - 00:02:25 Once I'm sure all the residual solvents are gone, I set my heater to 110C and start a timer for 40 minutes. Keep in mind that my process temp is 90 when I set that timer. Since I don't have an internal thermocouple, I don't have the ability to check the process temperature. So we just had to send out some lab tests along the way to make sure our decarb was going correctly. The oil makes it to 110 in, I would guess about ten minutes after I set it there, then spends another 30 at 110. Jason Showard - 00:02:54 Then I immediately set the temperature on the heater back down to 70. Again, I'm using an older DR 10, so I don't have the ability to cool my process down like the fancy new ones do. Once my heater reads an incoming temperature of 70, I'll drain the decarbed crude out of the system and send it on to the next stage in the process. Well, a lot of people talk about decarboxylation and everybody's got some decarb SOPs that they use. Jason Showard - 00:03:18 Many don't understand the mysterious molecular magic that's actually going on inside your decarb vessel. And we're going to fix that. Joining us today to help break down decarboxylation, we have Greg Arias. Chemical engineer with Concentrated Science and Aftermath Laboratories. Greg is one of the smartest people I know and literally my first call as soon as I need to call in some science reinforcements. So without any further ado, Greg Arias, welcome to The Modern Extractor. Greg Arias - 00:03:44 How's it going Jason? Jason Showard - 00:03:46 Hey, pretty good man. Where are you calling in from today? Greg Arias - 00:03:49 Calling in from my closet in Venice, California. That's the best place I could find to record around here. Jason Showard - 00:03:57 I appreciate the little bit of extra care taken to make sure you sound good. Thank you. Greg Arias - 00:04:03 No problem, man. Jason Showard - 00:04:05 So Venice. You're a semi-recent transplant to the L.A. area in general. Tell us a little bit about your journey to working in the cannabis field here in Cali. Greg Arias - 00:04:18 Yeah, of course. So back in 2013, I started my journey out west from New Mexico, my home state. Went to Arizona State University for my master's in chemical engineering, studied specifically fuel cell technology there. I was out in Arizona for about six years. I had always kind of wanted to come out to California anyway. That was my main goal. But I got a little side-tracked for about six years in my way, in Phoenix, I started distilling after I graduated. So I was making vodka, gin, rum, whiskey, you name it. All of the general spirits at Ohso Distillery. So - Jason Showard - 00:05:16 That was fantastic, by the way. I was the beneficiary of some of those. They're great. Greg Arias - 00:05:21 Appreciate that. Yeah. No, I had a lot of fun with that. That was a very, very cool little side quest, if you will, on the way out here. So, yeah, I was responsible for our recipe development, flavor creation, and things of that nature out there. So I was making all of the delicious spirits and flavors that people would be drinking on a daily basis out there. So during that time at the distillery, I had a friend turn me on to the cannabis industry. Greg Arias - 00:05:57 She mentioned that one of her close friends was in a lab and looking for an assistant extractor because they were just taking off. Just like the industry seems to be doing right now. So I got in over there in 2017. Started doing some part-time work while I was still at the distillery. So I was in a supercritical carbon dioxide lab making extracts there. That was a short-lived little taste of the industry. That company was expansion of a larger Colorado company. They kind of phased themselves out after about two, three years there. Greg Arias - 00:06:52 And, after that, I didn't really think about it much more until you called me up in January of 2019. Jason Showard - 00:07:04 Glad I did too. Greg Arias - 00:07:06 Yeah. Seriously, man. It was, you told me that there was some big opportunity out here in California to really get a taste of the industry, really start to build a career around it. And I had always thought when I was younger, I think it would be pretty cool to go into the cannabis research and development. Like actual lab scale proceedings of cannabis. But I never thought it would come to fruition as much as it did because of all the legislation out there. Jason Showard - 00:07:38 Yeah, I remember when it was, I think it was Concentration 2019. We decided to meet up and have the conversation, and meet the team, and figure it all out. I'm very happy you made your way out. Greg Arias - 00:07:52 Yes. And that was a fun weekend there at the Pala casino. I won't get into the details, but - Jason Showard - 00:08:00 I think I'm still paying that off. Greg Arias - 00:08:02 Yeah. Aren't we all? Why do they always have these conventions at casinos? I mean, is it. Well, we can make one guess as to why, but - Jason Showard - 00:08:13 They know their audience well. Greg Arias - 00:08:15 Yeah, of course. They know the risk tolerance of this audience. Right. Jason Showard - 00:08:20 You got it. Greg Arias - 00:08:23 So then after that. Moved out here. Started doing some terpene creation for a mutual friend of ours through Aftermath Labs, and we created our line of Sierra Turps and - Jason Showard - 00:08:44 We'll shout out to Devon here. Greg Arias - 00:08:46 Yep. Thanks a lot Devon. We appreciate it. Jason Showard - 00:08:49 Yeah definitely. Greg Arias - 00:08:51 Yeah, and then everything was going pretty good there as soon as I moved down. Then I think we all remember this very, in various capacities. But the vape crisis hit us. So that being the main outlet for the terpenes, that took a pretty big hit on the entire industry. So we kind of took a step back from there and - Jason Showard - 00:09:20 Yeah, it came to a screeching halt and it was pretty brutal. Greg Arias - 00:09:22 Oh, yeah. Now that was a tough time. And then wouldn't you know it right after that happened, then COVID hit. And then another couple of hits happened to the industry. So then that that led me to having to adapt, realizing that this was kind of the new normal now. Took a side career, so to speak, as I call it. As a sanitizer manufacturer. So I was a - Jason Showard - 00:09:52 Yeah, I was right there with you, man. We jumped into that one together. Greg Arias - 00:09:56 I remember. Yeah. Well, I don't think we'll ever forget that. That was a whole career in four months. A lifelong career in four months. It was unreal times. Jason Showard - 00:10:06 That I was a wild story. Maybe we'll do a bonus episode on that ridiculoucity. Greg Arias - 00:10:10 Yeah. That's a good idea. Spinoff. Jason Showard - 00:10:14 Yeah. Greg Arias - 00:10:15 And if anybody needs to know how to make good sanitizer, I've got a, I know a guy now. It's me so. Yeah. Then since then, after that kind of side quest if you will, into sanitizer, that's opened up a pretty large career of consulting for me. So now that I had had some cannabis knowledge under my belt, and now some sanitizer knowledge under my belt, I've been able to just kind of dance around doing some consulting for some labs up in Adelanto, California. And sanitizer consulting still down here in Los Angeles. Because that's just like the cannabis industry, I don't think the sanitizer industry is going anywhere anytime soon. Jason Showard - 00:11:09 This is true. Just to clarify, for those of you who don't know Adelanto, it's one of the largest cannabis hubs here in Southern California. There's a ton of stuff going on down there. And I can attest to Greg doesn't want to toot his own horn here, but the lab that he's working at out there is fantastic. It is a facility, unlike anything I've ever seen before. It's awesome. Greg Arias - 00:11:33 Looks like a P Diddy music video. Jason Showard - 00:11:36 It really does. Greg Arias - 00:11:38 It's well put together. It's very well thought out. And it is modern. It is very well-oiled machinery up there. And to just be a part of that is fabulous. Again, just to be at the forefront of, you know, modern technology in cannabis extraction is a very great gift, I think. Jason Showard - 00:12:01 Yeah, yeah. And now you've kind of established a foothold here in town. You're tending to bounce around, a little less to just like whoever wants to hire you and more to whoever's got the hardest science and formulations that they're working on. I've definitely watched your schedule filled up over the past couple of years. And, you know, congratulations on that. What's the most interesting thing that you're working on currently or recently that you can talk about? Greg Arias - 00:12:26 So not to get into too much detail. NDAs and proprietary information and whatnot. But cannabinoid conversions is the big one. Other than that, formulating is my main strong suit. Like you said, it's just trying to figure out what are the best recipes for making, for solving difficult questions that we have in the field. And this, of course, started when I was making terpene recipes here. But I'm most excited about my joint venture with you, Jason. Greg Arias - 00:13:04 We're opening up a lab supply storefront, along with our general consulting services. So I'll be providing the lab-scale based consulting. So all of your analytical equipment, small scale research-oriented and development procedures. And then you, of course, will be doing the scale-up. Jason Showard - 00:13:31 You got it, man. I couldn't have said it better myself. Definitely really excited about that one, too. It's been a long time coming. Greg Arias - 00:13:38 Yeah, man. Jason Showard - 00:13:39 I'll make sure to keep all you guys out there posted on the progress from that project as it comes along. Greg, circling back a little bit to what you mentioned prior to our side project. In regard to your solving difficult questions on the formulation work, I don't think I've ever seen you in a happier place than when you've got a hard problem on the desk in front of you. As far as formulation goes. It's definitely your sweet spot. Why do you think that is? Greg Arias - 00:14:05 It's all a big puzzle out here. We're in one giant puzzle. There is methods to find it. There is language to find it. And that language is math and science, chemistry, physics. Jason Showard - 00:14:20 Yeah. That's why I call you first man. Greg Arias - 00:14:22 Yeah. Jason Showard - 00:14:23 In regard to the conversions, something that I've heard you speak about a lot, which I find a really interesting analogy for it, is that you call it molecular Legos. Like you can basically take things apart, put them back together and really build from a molecular standpoint. I've always been more process-oriented. And like when I get you talking about the molecular Lego aspect, it's always fascinating to me. Greg Arias - 00:14:47 Yeah, I kind of came up with well I'm not, I'm obviously not the first one because Legos are a thing before I was born. But I recall in undergrad, when I was studying organic chemistry under Dr. Yanser at New Mexico Tech. I'd first gotten my foray into developing novel anticancer drugs, and they would show me the skeletal structures of chemicals and, you know, kind of walk me through the process. This is the reagent that we add. This is the products that we get out and they look very similar. Greg Arias - 00:15:27 And I'm like, "Oh, so you're just like putting pieces onto a smaller thing. Or taking off pieces. It's just like Legos. It's, and I love Legos growing up." So it's all like Legos that you can't see. You have to put it in a special machine to see, but it's Legos nonetheless. And that's just, it's just always has been fascinating, organic synthesis, organic decomposition it's just, it's wildly interesting to me. Jason Showard - 00:15:51 It's a little bit tougher than building Legos, though, considering you've got to build Legos with a blindfold. And then finally, after you're done, take it off and see how you did. Greg Arias - 00:15:59 Yeah, hope the best. Hope for the best yeah. It's kind of the magic of it, though right? Before photography became such a ubiquitous thing, you know, you would take a film photo and hope for the best. And that's kind of what it is. And that's, you're taking a little snapshot down here. And hopefully, it's what you want. And that's kind of like a pleasant surprise if you do get it. Jason Showard - 00:16:22 Yeah, it's certainly some job security because there's a lot of people that are far less patient than you. Greg Arias - 00:16:28 Oh man. It's just, you got to love what you do I guess. Jason Showard - 00:16:33 That's true. So just the whole concept of not being able to see exactly what you're doing is a good segway into our main topic on the show today, which is decarboxylation. Up into this point of the process, you've really been able to get some pretty visual feedback about how you're doing. Decarb is one of the first stages where that's not necessarily the case. Well, it's definitely not the case. And in order to get feedback on that, you've got to really send it in for some lab...
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