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The different solvents for cannabis extraction

There are several solvents that are commonly used in cannabis extraction, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Some of the most popular solvents include:

  • Dimethyl Ether (Dexso D.M.E.): Embraced by the food and cosmetic industries, Dimethyl Ether stands as a potent and versatile extraction solvent. As a potent bipolar solvent, it excels at extracting a broader spectrum of compounds, resulting in the highest yields per extraction. This makes it particularly advantageous for those focused on the production of medical extracts where efficiency and breadth of extraction are paramount. In addition to its superior extraction capabilities, DME is less explosive than butane, which enhances the safety profile of your extraction operations. All these attributes underscore DME's suitability for small-scale extraction, making it a game-changing option for those seeking to produce high-quality extracts.

  • Ethanol: Ethanol is a common solvent used in cannabis extraction because it is relatively safe and easy to work with. It is also a food-grade solvent, which makes it suitable for use in edibles and tinctures. However, ethanol may not be as efficient at extracting certain compounds from the plant material compared to other solvents.

  • Butane: Butane is a popular solvent for cannabis extraction because it is relatively inexpensive and readily available. It is also highly flammable, so it requires careful handling and specialized equipment. Butane extraction can also leave trace amounts of the solvent in the final product, which is not ideal for some applications.

  • CO2: Carbon dioxide can be compressed and heated to a state where it is both a liquid and a gas, which is called supercritical fluid. This state allows CO2 to act as a solvent and extract compounds from the plant material. CO2 extraction is considered one of the "cleanest" methods of cannabis extraction. It is safe and efficient, and it doesn't leave any residue in the final product. However, it is also one of the more expensive methods, and it requires specialized equipment and knowledge to perform.

  • Other Hydrocarbon solvents: Hydrocarbons such as propane and hexane are also used to extract cannabis compounds. These solvents are relatively inexpensive, readily available, and highly efficient. But like butane, they may leave traces of solvent in the final product and require specialized equipment and knowledge to handle.

It's important to note that extraction methods and solvents can vary depending on the desired end product, and each method may have its own specific regulations and laws to abide by.

Butane vs Dimethyl Ether (DME): A Comparison of Common Solvents for Small-Scale Extractions

In the world of small-scale cannabis extractions, two solvents typically rise to the forefront: Butane and Dimethyl Ether (DME). These two substances, each possessing their unique properties and characteristics, have become staples in extraction processes. This article aims to provide a comparative analysis of Butane and DME, helping you understand their distinctive features and how they impact extraction outcomes.


Butane: The Accessible, Polar Solvent

Butane, a commonly used solvent, is popular because of its easy accessibility. Available as lighter fuel, Butane is readily obtainable, making it a go-to choice for many small-scale extraction operations. However, this accessibility has its drawbacks. Commercial lighter fuel often contains impurities, which can negatively affect the quality of the extracts.

Butane is a polar solvent, which means it has a lower extraction strength compared to its bipolar counterparts. Despite this, its ease of use and availability make it a prevalent choice in the extraction world. Yet, one must remember that butane is inherently toxic to the human body, introducing potential health risks when handled improperly or consumed in residual amounts within the extract.

Moreover, butane's highly explosive nature necessitates extreme caution during the extraction process. A minor lapse in safety measures could lead to dangerous situations, underscoring the need for a well-ventilated environment and rigorous safety protocols when using butane.

DME: The Strong, Bipolar Alternative

On the other hand, Dimethyl Ether (Dexso D.M.E.) is a strong bipolar solvent that presents a compelling alternative for small-scale extractions. Unlike butane, DME has food contact notification, as it is routinely used as an extraction solvent in the food and cosmetics industry. This points to its inherent safety, as it is non-toxic to the human body.

DME's bipolar nature makes it a potent extractor, capable of yielding more significant results than butane. In fact, DME has been shown to produce not only larger yields but also superior quality compared to ethanol-based extractions. This powerful extraction capability, coupled with its safety profile, makes DME a highly desirable solvent.

Despite being flammable, DME is less explosive than butane, making it somewhat safer to handle. This reduced risk, however, does not negate the need for safety precautions during the extraction process.

For those interested in utilizing DME for extraction, Dexso D.M.E. provides a highly pure form of the solvent specifically designed for small-scale extraction. This level of purity helps ensure the production of high-quality, potent extracts.

The vacuum purging of cannabis extracts


Vacuum purging is absolutely essential for best quality extracts.  It is a method used to remove the solvent (especially potentially harmful residues of toxic butane) from cannabis extracts after the extraction process. The process involves using a vacuum chamber, oven or a rotary evaporator to create a vacuum environment, and then heating the extract to a low temperature to boil off the solvent. The solvent is then removed from the extract through the use of the vacuum, which allows it to boil at a lower temperature. The equipment for purging usually is quite expensive, due to the need of a vacuum pump. Luckily this problem was solved by Dexso with the introduction of their Waterjet Vacuum Pump. The Dexso Waterjet Vacuum Pump works with every water tap and creates a strong vacuum without any moving parts, for a suggested retail price 69 Euros only. 

The vacuum purging process has several advantages over traditional purging methods, such as:

  • Faster purging time: Vacuum purging can be much faster than traditional purging methods, as the low pressure allows the solvent to boil off at a lower temperature.

  • Increased purity: Vacuum purging can help to increase the purity of the extract by removing more of the solvent and other impurities.

  • Preservation of terpenes: Vacuum purging at low temperatures can help to preserve the terpenes, which are the essential oils that give cannabis its distinctive aroma and flavor.

  • Safety: Vacuum purging is considered safer than traditional purging methods, as it eliminates the need for open flames or high temperatures which can be dangerous.

The post processing of cannabis extracts

Post-processing is a series of steps that are taken after the cannabis extract has been produced to improve its quality and consistency. Some examples of post-processing techniques include:

  • Winterization: Winterization is a process of removing unwanted compounds, like waxes, lipids and chlorophyll, by dissolving the extract in ethanol and freezing it. The unwanted compounds will precipitate out of solution, and the extract can be filtered and the ethanol recycled.

  • Short Path Distillation: Short path distillation is a process that is used to separate and purify individual compounds from a mixture, such as separating the different cannabinoids like THC and CBD. This process uses a short path distillation equipment that is able to separate the compounds based on their boiling points.

  • Chromatography: Chromatography is a process that is used to separate and purify individual compounds from a mixture. It is done by passing a mixture through a column filled with a stationary phase, which separates the components based on their chemical properties.

  • Filtration: Filtration is a process of removing impurities and undesirable compounds from the extract. This can be done using methods like activated carbon filters, silica gel, or centrifugation.

  • Infusion: Infusion is the process of introducing a certain compound or chemical into the extract, which can improve its overall quality, taste, and effect.

Post-processing techniques can vary depending on the desired final product and the specific circumstances of the extraction. Additionally, the use of post-processing may have its own specific regulations and laws depending on the location and application. 

CZU University Research Reveals the Superiority of DME in Cannabis Extraction: A Closer Look


For the ardent seekers of exactitude and the connoisseurs of cannabis extraction, a groundbreaking study emerged from the hallowed halls of the Czech University of Life Sciences (CZU) in Prague. Published in September 2022, in the esteemed journal "Frontiers of Microbiology," this research compares three extraction methods: Ethanol, Butane, and Dimethyl Ether (DME). The findings? DME extraction emerged as the clear winner, yielding superior results in both quantity and antimicrobial activity.


DME Outshines in CZU Research

In the intricate world of extraction, the quest for the most efficient, high-yielding, and effective method is relentless. The CZU study delved into this realm, comparing the performance of Ethanol, Butane, and DME as extraction solvents. Each was put to the test, and the results were compelling.


DME extraction proved to be the best extraction method, outpacing the others in terms of yield and antimicrobial activity. This finding cements DME's status as a superlative choice for cannabis extraction, redefining the standards of efficiency and quality in the industry.

On the other hand, the research highlighted Ethanol as the least effective extraction method among the three. Despite its widespread use in the industry, ethanol did not fare well in the study, suggesting that alternative methods such as DME could offer more promising outcomes.

For those interested in delving deeper into this landmark research, the full paper can be accessed here. This study is a potent testament to the ongoing innovation and scientific exploration in the field of cannabis extraction. It underlines the importance of continual research in improving extraction methods and reinforces DME's potential as a leading solvent for cannabis extraction.

The Quintessential Role of Hydrogen Bonds in Extraction: An Insight into Full-Spectrum Cannabis Extraction


In the world of extraction science, hydrogen bonds are unsung heroes, playing an integral role in the extraction process and in shaping the quality of the resulting product. These bonds, although relatively weak, serve as a cornerstone in many biological and chemical processes, including the extraction of beneficial compounds from plant materials.

Understanding Hydrogen Bonds in Extraction

Hydrogen bonds occur between a hydrogen atom and a highly electronegative element, such as oxygen or nitrogen. During polar solvent extractions, these bonds take center stage, particularly when solvents like water and ethanol are used to extract polar compounds, such as chlorophyll, other pigments, and flavonoids from plant materials. The principle at play here is known as "like dissolves like": polar solvents form hydrogen bonds with polar compounds, facilitating their dissolution.

Moreover, hydrogen bonds are crucial in the separation process during extraction. The polar compounds dissolved by the polar solvent do not form hydrogen bonds with the non-polar compounds, like waxes and oils. This lack of bonding enables the separation of different compounds, enhancing the purity of the extract.

It's essential to note that hydrogen bonds are not only crucial in polar solvent extractions. They also have a significant role in other extraction types, such as supercritical CO2 extraction, where CO2 serves as a polar solvent. The strength of these hydrogen bonds directly impacts the efficiency of both the extraction and the separation processes.

DME: A Game Changer in Full-Spectrum Cannabis Extraction

For medicinal cannabis extracts, a broad spectrum of compounds is necessary. This spectrum includes all cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds that contribute directly or indirectly to the entourage effect – the synergistic interaction of these compounds to enhance the therapeutic benefits of cannabis.

Here's where Dimethyl Ether (DME) shines. Unlike butane, DME possesses an oxygen atom, enabling it to form hydrogen bonds. Simultaneously, it can interact with and extract the hydrocarbon groups of its molecule, much like butane. This unique property allows DME to extract the full spectrum of compounds, akin to ethanol, but with much higher purity and efficiency.

Dexso DME, a highly pure form of DME, leverages these properties to the fullest. It offers a superior solution for extracting true full-spectrum extracts with the highest yields and exceptional medicinal activity. In fact, research from the Czech University of Life Sciences (CZU), published in the Frontiers of Microbiology in 2022, highlights DME's prowess as an extraction solvent.

Craft the Perfect Cannabis Extract: Tips to Prevent Chlorophyll Extraction

In the realm of cannabis extraction, one common challenge faced by many is the undesired extraction of chlorophyll. This green pigment, essential for photosynthesis in plants, can unfortunately impart a less than desirable taste and color to your cannabis extracts. However, worry not. Here, we delve into various methods that can help you avoid this issue and craft a high-quality, pure cannabis extract.


  • Fresh is Best: Aging might be great for wine, but not so much for your cannabis plant materials. Over time, the cell walls of the plant may deteriorate, increasing the risk of chlorophyll extraction, especially if moisture is present. The simple solution? Always opt for fresh, well-preserved plant materials for your extraction.

  • The Drier, the Better: Chlorophyll is tethered to water molecules through functional groups. If there's no water, there's no carrier for chlorophyll, making it less likely to be extracted. This is why non-polar solvents like butane extract no chlorophyll. For optimal results, use plant materials that are as dry as possible.

  • Gentle Handling: Chlorophyll resides within the cells of the plant. Only when the cell walls are damaged does it become extractable. The secret here is to handle your materials gently. Lightly crushed, not overly old, and as dry as possible plant materials make the best candidates for chlorophyll-free extraction.

  • Choosing the Right Solvent: For the extraction of materials that do not fit the criteria listed above, choosing the polarity of your solvent can significantly influence chlorophyll extraction. Since chlorophyll is polar, it dissolves more readily in polar solvents like water. Opting for non-polar solvents, such as butane, or selective solvents like supercritical CO2 can help you avoid unwanted chlorophyll extraction.

  • The Art of Deep Frozen Extraction: Chlorophyll is water-soluble, meaning it dissolves in water. If you can immobilize the water in your plant materials by freezing them thoroughly, you'll have the perfect setting for a clean extraction. This process, known as deep frozen extraction, allows you to use DME (Dimethyl Ether) for extraction, even when moisture is present, yielding beautiful chlorophyll-free results.

  • Decarboxylation: Your Secret Weapon: This might sound complex, but the principle is simple. Decarboxylation is the process of heating your cannabis plant materials before extraction. This heat treatment breaks down chlorophyll, making it less likely to hitch a ride during the extraction process.


Bear in mind, some methods of extraction may still leave traces of chlorophyll, leading to a slight green hue in the final product. Also, remember that different extraction methods may be subject to specific regulations and laws. With these tips, however, you're well on your way to creating a purer, more potent cannabis extract.

Cannabis Extraction

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