ANGEL LEBAILLY   |   January 31, 2020

Technologies for THC Remediation

With an increased demand for THC-free products, new innovations in THC Remediation are surfacing.
Angel is a freelance writer and editor evolving in the areas of blockchain and technology.

THC remediation has been on everyone’s mouth among the cannabis industry professionals lately and brands selling CBD products. In the world of cannabis, purification and extraction technologies come at the forefront. Yet such processes need technical abilities and investment from cannabis producers. But first, why do we need THC remediation?

Hemp plants naturally produce a small amount of THC—however, in order to sell legal CBD, manufacturers need to remove the THC component to a certain level. The objective is to offer CBD products that contain less than 0.3% of THC, which is the legal threshold. Yet some states have more stringent laws, which only allow CBD sales as long as products contain zero THC.

That’s where comes THC remediation. The reasons for THC remediation are to be compliant with the standards of states like Iowa – and also to meet the needs of people who want to use CBD but fear testing positive THC – for example, truck drivers, police officers, factory workers, and other roles where safety is an essential factor. To achieve THC reduction goals and reach close to 99.9% purity, there are various ways, called THC Remediation techniques.

THC Remediation Easily Explained

Following the extraction and distillation processes, we may obtain three types of products: CBD isolates, CBD distillates, and full-spectrum CBD. CBD isolates — sourced from hemp and cannabis — in its purest form doesn’t contain THC, while CBD distillate is sourced from marijuana plants with higher THC levels and full-spectrum CBD contains minimal THC amount.

So let’s explore the most common techniques for THC remediation today for producers to make their products fully compliant.

Chromatography for THC remediation

Chromatography has been known as the most popular THC remediation technique. It involves the separation of molecules or substances into their components and can be used with different methods.

How does chromatography work?

Chromatography always requires high-tech lab equipment with automated systems and is usually pretty expensive.

The science behind a good remediation process. Image source.

Methods of Chromatography

Reverse-phase chromatography, in particular, is regularly used for THC remediation of CBD distillate in America. It’s a widely used technique that can increase the end value of the product dramatically.

CounterCurrent Chromatography (CC) is another technique that brings alternative benefits. As a liquid-liquid form of chromatography, this technique reduces loss and doesn’t require the purchase equipment for the stationary phase. 

Alternatives to Chromatography

Over chromatography, more techniques are developed today, which are known as conversion methods. For instance, to convert THC to CBN (cannabinoid), producers can rely on three approaches: chemical conversion in solvent systems, UV light degradation, and heat oxidation. However, with conversion, both THC and CBD can degrade.

To prevent the molecules from degrading with such extraction techniques, producers should consider more forward-thinking, advanced technology.

Molecular Engineering

Sixth Wave technology is the latest innovation in THC remediation. The technique relies on nanotechnology and is focused on CBD THC isolates and distillates hemp techniques.

What problems does this technology solve?

Sixth Wave recognized that manufacturers need an alternative, more cost-effective method. Designed to improve the process, Affinity aims at solving different issues as seen with legacy chromatography. For instance, with chromatography, it’s hard to scale to large volumes of production. The equipment used in chromatographic technology is expensive, and requires highly-skilled scientific staff.

With Sixth Wave’s Affinity technology, there’s a higher yield with minimum footprints, and the entire process is entirely automated and runs in a closed-loop eliminating waste. Affinity enables producers to work on a larger scale (from crude materials to isolate) with fewer losses. The total cost of the operation is significantly lower than with most chromatography techniques.

The overall process makes it easier for THC remediation and with so many benefits makes it an excellent choice for producers, in comparison to chromatographic and extraction methods.

Demand for Zero THC Products

Although THC is gaining momentum and losing stigma, the need for THC-free products is only going to increase. While there are a few companies out there, like Front Range Biosciences, who are working on selective breeding and advanced propagation to create a strain of hemp which doesn’t produce THC at all, to truly create a THC-free hemp or cannabis product, manufacturers must rely on these advanced methods of THC remediation.

 

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