Full spectrum extracts: Everything you need to know
In recent years, the cannabis industry has grown tremendously. Mirroring this growth is the cannabis extract. The evolution of cannabis extract keeps on getting better with the advancement of technology.
For hash oil aficionados, they look for the essence derived from a live plant and from the resin to get the value of extracts.
On the flip side, extractors seek to make a resin product that has a unique profile of the live cannabis plant.
As cannabis extracts keep on gaining popularity, one type of cannabis concentrates are renowned for its unrivalled flavour is becoming even more popular:
The Full Spectrum Extract
What exactly is the full spectrum extract?
To better understand this extract, let’s look at it as if it was a stew. Any stew is made of a number of ingredients. The main ones like celery and potatoes are large enough to be seen. However, there are other, less nuanced ingredients like salt and pepper. All these work together to create a palatable stew with rich flavours for the stew enthusiast.
But what if we omitted the lesser ingredients like salt and pepper?
The remaining stew will still look like a stew because you can easily see the main ingredients, but will lack the flavour that the stew enthusiast was looking for. In the real sense, the lesser-known ingredients are responsible for giving the stew its flavour.
Extracts work in about the same way.
They have small bioactive molecules that make all the difference. How they are mixed together makes the difference between extracts with rich flavours that can blind you into believing that they had been extracted from a living cannabis plant or a bland rendition of a strain.
Why cannabis extracts need a spectrum of components?
When it comes to giving cannabis extracts their character and flavours, spectrum matters a lot.
The spectrum consists of over 500 therapeutic bioactive elements with the most popular ones being cannabinoids and terpenes.
In the cannabis spectrum, there’s a plethora of other important but lesser-known compounds like flavonoids and sterols. Phenolic amides are also part of the spectrum.
Most standard extractions tend to filter out the lesser-known elements. The result is a product that lacks depth and complexity. This explains why some products, including shatters and waxes, have a shallow flavour profile.
While these extracts have a high level of THC and other cannabinoids, they have low concentrations of bioactive elements, giving them a flat flavour.
To get a full spectrum cannabis extract, you’ll need to first translate the profile of bioactive elements in a cannabis flower into the extract. You’ll also need to be careful enough not to compromise on the profile of the bioactive elements.
This includes transforming the same ratios of cannabinoid to flavonoids and terpenes, as well as other lesser-known elements. Be sure to also remove fats and lipids as these are unnecessary.
Full spectrum extracts do not have lipids and fats; unlike some cannabis concentrates varieties like Bubble Hash, Rosin and dry Sift.
Full spectrum extracts tend to keep the natural ratio of cannabis elements while they remove what’s not needed.
Where to get full spectrum extracts?
For those looking to get full spectrum extracts, they’ll have to look harder as only a handful of companies have the required technology to produce such a refined product.
It’s worth noting that creating a full spectrum extract isn’t an easy affair. The process itself requires some scientific backing and refined methodology which are still proprietary at best.
It’s also worth mentioning that some companies falsely brand their products such as sugar waxes and live resins as full spectrum. All of these fail to deliver the profile of the cannabis flower they have been derived from.
To get a full spectrum product, you’ll need to have the refinement and precision needed. The extract itself needs a specific light hydrocarbon solution that is fed at specified temperatures. The process also involves winterization and separation.
All these processes have to be conducted in an environment that’ maintains atmospheric homeostasis.
One of the pioneers of creating connoisseur-quality full extracts is Extractioneering, a New England, US-based company.
The company introduced two full spectrum products into the market in January 2016.
These are the High Terpene Full spectrum Extract (HT-FSE) and the High Cannabinoid Full Spectrum Extract (HC-FSE). Both products are derived from the same base formula.
HT-FSE extracts are clear but viscous liquids that contain terpenes profiles of more than 20%. They can stay stable indefinitely. HC-FSE has a sugar-like consistency as it’s rich in THC.
The two extracts have the full suite of biomolecules that are found in the flower and this is what makes Extractioneering to stand out.
How to find full spectrum extracts from other products?
With so many companies claiming to have full spectrum extracts, how do you differentiate a fake one form a genuine one? The answer is a lab test.
Get an accredited analytical lab to confirm that the ratios of compounds in flower form match with that of the extracts form. However, before embarking on a lab test, always note that not all labs have the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer, the machine required to test for the entire list of bioactive elements in an extract.
If you’re lucky to get a lab with such machines, the tests won’t be anywhere near cheap as the cost of acquiring such machines usually runs into hundreds of dollars.
While there are many kinds of extracts out there, the full spectrum extract could be the hardest to come by.
However, as the technology keeps on gaining popularity, FSE will soon be the standard cannabis extraction.