How Are Vacuum Pumps Used in the CBD Industry?

These days, more people are using cannabis for both medical and recreational purposes. While you can take cannabis in numerous ways, cannabidiol (CBD) extracts have become an increasingly popular medium for cannabis use.

CBD extracts, also known as cannabis concentrates, are purified liquid forms of the active chemicals in cannabis. This form has a much higher purity of active ingredients, meaning they produce much stronger effects than you may receive from smoking cannabis.

To create CBD extracts, cannabis must go through a distillation process, and which requires the proper CBD industry equipment. This equipment is a vacuum pump.

In This Article

Extraction

Before CBD extract producers can distill cannabis, they have to extract the chemical components from the waxes and other solid parts of the cannabis plant. To do so, they soak the plants in solvents, such as ethanol or butane. These strip away the undesirable parts of the plant, such as the waxes, leaving only the parts that can be distilled into CBD extract.

Once the vacuum pump extraction process is complete, the solvent is left behind with the extract components. Since most people don’t want solvents in their CBD extract, it must be removed. In order to remove the solvent from the CBD extract, manufacturers usually boil it off.

For example, ethanol boils away at about 172.4 degrees Fahrenheit. This is only true when the ethanol is kept at a standard atmospheric pressure. Putting the solution in a vacuum created by a vacuum pump lowers that temperature, meaning the process requires less heat.

As a general rule, the greater the depth of the vacuum pump used, the lower the required boiling point of the solvent. For example, when you place ethanol in a vacuum deeper than about 28.5 inches, its boiling point is reduced from 172.3 degrees Fahrenheit to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This lower boiling point means less chance of the heat damaging the products and a lower risk of combustion.

Distillation

Short-pump distillation is a process by which a solution, referred to as the distillate, travels a short path through a distillation unit at reduced pressure. The distillate comes back together into different compounds — in this case, the crude cannabis oil left over from the extraction process is distilled into CBD extract, among other products. The isolated CBD extract can have a chemical purity of over 80%.

In order to distill the liquid, it first has to be boiled and evaporated. However, the initial boiling point of crude cannabis oil is so high that it can burn or denature its chemical compounds. Hot oil is also dangerous to handle and can cause burns in case of a spill. Plus, getting the oil to the appropriate temperature requires more time and energy.

This is why manufacturers use a vacuum pump during the distillation process. As stated above, the deeper the vacuum pump, the lower the pressure, and the lower the boiling point of the product becomes. This makes it less dangerous to heat, keeps the resulting extract from burning and saves time and energy in the heating process.

By the time the distillation process is complete, the manufacturers are left with CBD extract — a thick, honey-colored gel that can be used both medicinally and recreationally.

How to Select the Right Vacuum Pump for CBD Production

How to Select the Right Vacuum Pump for CBD Production

If you’re looking to produce CBD extracts, it’s important that you have a functional vacuum pump to aid in both the extraction and distillation processes. There are many kinds of vacuum pumps, but there are three main factors to consider when purchasing one for CBD distillation:

  • Depth: As mentioned above, the deeper the vacuum pump, the lower the boiling point of the product inside. For distilling CBD, you’ll want a vacuum pump with a medium to high depth range.
  • Flow rate: Different vacuum pumps can handle different amounts of product at a time. If your vacuum holds a low volume, it doesn’t need as strong a vacuum flow rate as one that holds a large volume.
  • Wet or dry: Vacuum pumps can either be wet or dry. Oil-sealed wet pumps tend to be deeper than dry pumps, but they also run the risk of contamination from solvents or other CBD extraction byproducts. Dry or oil-less vacuum pumps are better suited to CBD distilling, with the added benefit of being more resistant to corrosion.

Once you’ve taken these factors into account, you can choose your vacuum pump. If you’re planning to use your pump for CBD extract distillation, there are several ideal types to choose from:

  • Diffusion pump: A diffusion pump uses boiling oil to capture gas molecules and create a vacuum. While they’re reliable pumps, they run on either silicone oil or polyphenyl ethers, which can be expensive. As a wet pump, it also runs a higher risk of contamination and corrosion.
  • Rotary vane pump: Rotary vane pumps, while cheaper than diffusion pumps, still run on oil. In the long term, they require regular maintenance to keep running.
  • Diaphragm pump: Diaphragm pumps are dry, meaning they don’t use oil or other liquids to create their vacuum effect. While this makes them more resistant to corrosion and relatively low maintenance, it also makes them more expensive.
  • Hybrid pump: Hybrid pumps are wet pumps that use a combination of a diaphragm and a rotary vane. The diaphragm keeps negative pressure on the oil inside, meaning it’s unlikely to become contaminated by extraction byproducts. These pumps are low maintenance, resistant to corrosion and operate much longer than diaphragm or rotary vane pumps. They do tend to be more expensive, however.
  • Scroll pump: Scroll pumps use spiral scrolls to compress air vapors and create a vacuum. They’re dry pumps, meaning they’re less prone to corrosion and require less maintenance. That said, the scrolls need to be replaced over time, and the pump itself runs on the expensive side.

Contact the Titus Company Today

CBD extract is a high-concentration form of cannabis, one that can be used both medicinally and recreationally. In order to distill it, those in the CBD industry use vacuum pumps to remove the solvents used in extraction and lower the boiling point during distillation. If you’re looking to create CBD extract, you need a reliable vacuum pump.

If you’re looking for an efficient, reliable vacuum pump or other air compression units, try the Titus Company. We offer quality products and super system designs, all handled by our trained staff. We offer a 24/7 service guarantee for all makes and models, meaning you’ll be in good hands if you encounter any technical issues.

While located in Pennsylvania, our air compressor sales and service experts extend preventative maintenance and emergency service in the DelawareMaryland, Northern Virginia and New Jersey areas.

Contact us and pick out your pump today!

Contact the Titus Company Today