Growers Network interviewed Nathan Kiesel of Nano Pharm and learned some of his methodologies behind making THCA crystals and other advanced extracts, all while keeping the products safe for the end consumer.
Extraction Methods and Products
What kinds of products and extracts do you make?
We use wet, fresh trim to make sauce and crystals, while cured and trimmed material we’ll run to produce wax and shatter. We also make sugar wax and high terpene sauce. Sauce is a relatively new thing. It’s has a honey-like consistency, a wide range of terpenes, and a 70-85% THC content. One dab will put you in your chair.
What sells best for you?
Sugar wax sells best. It appeals to the eye; it’s golden and sparkles like a million little diamonds. It has good flavor, but the terpenes aren’t overwhelming. The THC content is between 75-83%.
How do you make THCA crystals and sauce?
I use the MK4c Terpenator. We use a Haskel recovery pump to help recycle and save on gas.
To make THCA crystals, we start with a closed-loop extraction at subzero temperatures. We filter the material heavily before it reaches the collection pot. From there it’s slow evaporation. I’ll do a run, put it aside in a jar, do another run, and feed the new, wet material into the jar with the old material and wait. THCA crystals will form inside over a few days.
The sauce is all about the starting material. When I get material with the perfect amount of cure and enough terpenes to keep it viscous, we get everything cold, run the material, stop it halfway through, and recover the oil. We go through a basic purge, and I can tell visually if it’s going to work. If we think we can get sauce out of it, we leave it running low and slow for a few days to purge. If not we increase the heat and turn it into wax or shatter.
What do you use to keep everything at subzero temperatures for the extraction process?
We use straight dry ice and isopropyl alcohol for the very cold temperatures. When we don’t need it as cold, we use a PolyScience chiller, which gets down to -20 degrees Celsius.
What are some extraction techniques unique to Nano Pharm?
We have been working on two techniques: HCFSE (high cannabinoid full spectrum extraction) to get high THC content and HTFSE (high terpene full spectrum extraction) to get about 60% THC content while the rest is terpenes and other components.
What extracts will become more prevalent and what will go away?
Cannabinoid crystals are the market of the future. The actual wax compound, not just BHO or sugar or shatter, will be the first to go because it degrades quickly and is often made by starting with a substandard product that is whipped to become yellow or gold. Consumers are catching on to this fact.
Safety in Extracts
What concerns should consumers have when purchasing extracts?
Consumers should be concerned about extracts made with contaminated gas. There’s something called “mystery oil” that is used to help lubricate butane cans or tanks while they’re being filled. It contaminates the oil and should not be smoked. Canned butane also has odorant chemicals called mercaptans that are added as a safety measure so that people can smell a gas leak. Those chemicals are poisonous, and anyone using canned butane is putting that into their extracts.
At Nano Pharm, we clean our gas and distill it several times to get 99.999% pure butane. Our gas has no mercaptans. And we also use multiple laboratory grade filters inside the extraction column.
Is there anything else you think people should know about extracts?
Dabbing temperatures need more attention. Different products require different temperatures.
What’s a good range of temperatures for dabbing?
I stay between 450 and 650 degrees Fahrenheit. For extracts high in terpenes and active THC, I’ll use a lower temperature. For a THCA dab, I’ll go to about 600 degrees Fahrenheit.
What safety measures do you take when extracting?
We never run our machines medicated. We make sure we’re 100% coherent when doing extractions. As for PPE, I wear an anti-static wristband and a fume mask to keep ourselves explosion free and breathing normally. We run a ventilation fan and have a gas meter. If the gas meter goes off, we’ll kick the fan up to high.
What sets Nano Pharm apart?
We are patients ourselves and our priority is making our patients feel better.
Our products are tested and safe. If I wouldn’t use it myself, we would never sell it. We also keep our products affordable. Our most expensive shatters and waxes are about $40 retail.
This article has been paraphrased with permission from Growers Network.
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