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// March 21, 2024 //

understanding solventless extraction: a comprehensive guide







The way that you extract concentrates from cannabis makes a huge difference in your experience when the extraction is complete. If you want the best quality, potency, or purity, then you need to use the right tools and processes for your extraction process. For so long, many of us turned to solvent-based techniques. However, in more recent years, we’ve discovered the benefits of using a solventless extraction process instead.

Why go with solventless extraction? It’s simply more natural and therefore more appealing in terms of the quality and flavor of your cannabis. Plus, if you’re health conscious, it’s a far better option, too. In this guide, we will dive deeper into just what solventless extraction is and the benefits you can appreciate from the process.

placenta a cannabis bud into tube

what is solventless extraction anyway?

Old methods used solvents like butane, ethanol, propane, and other harsh chemicals to extract the plant materials of cannabis. Those methods worked just fine, but they were not amazing. Some of those residual solvents have been associated with negative health benefits. And the fact of the matter is that they also can change the flavor of the plant in the process.

There was a time when we just didn’t know any better. These solvents are what got the job done and most of us just appreciated being able to use the cannabis once it was extracted. So we just did what we had to do, right? We’ve learned a lot since then.

Solventless extracts accomplish the same thing as solvent-based extracts, but they use a different approach, leaving those nasty solvents out of the process. Instead, these extraction methods rely on heat or mechanical tools to help get the compounds out of the plant and separate the materials.

The different methods use various tools, but here are a few examples:





All of these are more natural than solvents and will still separate trichomes from the biomass of the plant just fine. Once you extract the trichomes, you can start pulling out the extracts and concentrates for other purposes.

If we’re being honest, solventless extracts use the same concepts as ancient times before those harsh solvents were even a thing. These processes have been traced back to ancient civilizations from areas in Central Asia and Persia. Of course, we’ve come a long way since then so we pair ancient practices with modern technology to get the work done.

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how does it work?

No matter what mechanical process you use for extraction, the key is to preserve the terpenes and the cannabinoids in the process. If you harm these plant materials, you risk ruining your extraction or affecting the outcome at the least. The good news is that solventless extraction helps preserve these cannabis parts.

preserve crucial materials

Without the use of solvents, you can better preserve both flavor and aroma from the cannabis plant. With solvents, the exposure is very harsh on the plant and it often negatively impacts these elements. The result is an alteration to aroma or flavor. While the person enjoying the aftermath of extraction may not recognize it, the quality is impacted.

When you do it without the solvents, the concentrate extracted keeps your full spectrum of terpenes and cannabinoids for a better experience when you partake.

mechanical cannabis separation

Mechanical separation has become the go-to method for extraction without solvents. With this type of method, you’re going to rely on natural tools like ice or water, but there are certain methods to choose from. We will cover those methods in a bit, but the idea is that you will use a natural tool to agitate the plant and separate the pieces. It is methodical and mechanical and it has great results.

You will see that the different methods have their unique advantages, but you should expect an improvement in both yield and quality using them.

heat-based extraction

If you don’t want to go the mechanical route, you might have better luck with heat extraction. There are different methods for heat extraction without solvents, but rosin pressing is the most common. With rosin pressing, you simply use heat to encourage the separation of the plant materials and help you get rosin concentrate. Cannabis connoisseurs love the purity and potency of rosin extraction.

breaking down solventless extraction techniques

If you want to learn the inner details of each technique, you can do some additional research for step-by-step instructions. However, we’ve got the breakdown of the basics of the most common techniques so you can understand more about the possibilities.

dry sifting

With dry sifting, you will work to agitate dried cannabis flowers through sieves or screens for extraction. Cannabis flowers have to go through the drying process first, which is not hard to accomplish. You will need a specialized mesh screen to sieve through the dry parts and make the extractions, separating the trichome from the rest of the plant matter.

By the time you make it through the specialized screens and mesh, you will have a fine powder to work with, called kief. Some people use kief as their product and just use it as is. Others press it more to make a hash.

cannabis kief

ice water hash

Using ice water extraction is a common choice because you just need ice water to make it work. You may have heard of bubble hash before. This is the same thing. The ice water is used to agitate the plant and separate the trichome from the rest of the plant. Once you agitate and separate, you will use fine screens to filter out certain pieces and get the hash you want.

People who use ice water hash love that they typically get more out of the plant and don’t have so many contaminants to work around.

bubble hash

rosin pressing

Finally, let’s look at rosin pressing. This is a heat extraction method. You can use different tools for heat or a specialty tool made for the process if you prefer. You apply heat and pressure to your cannabis flowers and the heat pulls out resin or oils from the plant. It’s an oily substance, but the consistency varies depending on the heat process you use.

why use solventless extraction over regular extraction?

You can totally use a solvent-based extraction method if you don’t want to adjust or learn these, but you’re missing out when you do. The truth is that eliminating a chemical solvent will lead to a better product and help to preserve the natural elements of cannabis. If you want the real deal, you’re more likely to get it from avoiding solvents.

When cannabis consumers look for cannabis concentrates, they want purity. They also want potency. People know their stuff and they know what to look for, so doing the work without solvents helps to make that happen. Instead, you use the natural parts of cannabis paired with natural methods and you get some great concentrate from doing so. Think of it as if you want more natural food choices. You look at the label and avoid things like high fructose syrups and red dye, right?

When you’ve never had anything different, you don’t realize that high-quality cannabis is really impacted by the use of solvents. Those flavors you notice from solvent-based practices are dramatically different from those that don’t use solvents. When a producer extracts concentrate without solvents, those natural flavors are preserved better and can be enjoyed more. You eliminate solvents and in doing so preserve the full spectrum of the cannabis plant parts. Imagine how rich and complex the flavors might be in comparison.

When you think about the solvents that are used for extraction purposes, none of them are very appetizing. Do you really want to consume propane or butane when you’re enjoying your cannabis? Probably not. Those contaminants are terrible and they could impact your health or the safety of your intake, too.

Truthfully speaking, many dispensaries and producers don’t even want to market products with solvents. If they lab test a product and it has solvents, it may be rejected. It’s no surprise why, either. The quality of the materials depends on using the best possible process. And that means avoiding solvents.

getting the best results with solventless extraction

In the end, your results are going to depend on the quality of your processes and the tools you use to complete extraction. Using the best quality materials and plants will make all the difference in the world. If you want good results, you need high-quality products, proper equipment, and to fine-tune your process.


The point of solventless extraction is to get a more natural result from the concentration of cannabis. With solventless extracts, the flavors, potency, and purity are all so much better than the alternative and it matters when a product is placed on the market.

Want to experience the best of cannabis produced with solventless methods? Check out our full array of quality choices and experience the difference for yourself!

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