Why Measure Residual Solvents?
Because many of these solvents are harmful if ingested and are extremely flammable, they must be removed from the concentrate to have a safe product. In addition, additional contaminants may be present if less pure solvents are used.
We use a technique called headspace gas chromatography with a flame ionization detector (HS/GC/FID) to accurately quantify the residual solvents in your product. What does all of this mean?
Headspace is a method that heats up the sample, driving the solvents into the gas phase (the same way water turns to steam by boiling). The vapor above the sample is introduced to the gas chromatograph, which separates the various components. The advantage of this technique is that it acts as a filter to only see the very volatile components such as the solvents. Flame ionization is the detection method which allows us to quantify how much is present in the sample.
What are Residual Solvents?
Cannabis concentrates are very popular due to the high potency. A variety of solvents are used to extract the active ingredients from the plants, including butane, acetone, ethanol, propane, and carbon dioxide. Many of these solvents are flammable and/or toxic. The concentration process may leave behind traces of these potentially harmful and dangerous solvents.