Cannabis paste or oil – what are the differences?

Cannabis paste or oil – what are the differences?

Today’s entry is less reference-heavy but comes with some photos instead. I’m going to discuss cannabis pastes. Let’s start with a definition – what are the pastes? The name most commonly refers to cannabis extracts of solid consistency that differs them from oils which are, of course, liquids. The consistency of the paste comes as a consequence of the presence of various ballast substances in it that lack any biological activity and are therefore so to say superfluous. Said “ballast” substances, such as chlorophyll and waxes, are common in all plants and in many foodstuffs. Moreover, our observations show that waxes hamper the absorption of cannabinoids, so we do not offer paste as dietary supplements – it would not be much different than selling a regular putty.

It needs to be said that pastes are by far the easiest formulation to obtain – even someone with little knowledge about hemp extraction will surely be able to prepare a paste. We can admit here that our first attempts at extraction also ended with pastes.

Obtaining an oil is a much more difficult task, however. It has taken our team nearly a year to develop CannabiGold technology and I can safely say that this was an achievement of European scale.

Having said that, of course, we also do produce pastes such as presented in the photos. Our wholesale supply of pastes is sold, for example, for the production of cosmetics, but they are also suitable for other purposes, they can be used to form candles or suppositories (although the latter can be also successfully formed from our oils – the photo shows the suppository from CannabiGold 30% extract and cocoa butter).

As is the case with our oil, our pastes are also obtained in a single process of supercritical CO2 extraction. Such process is run under very mild conditions, without a presence of any solvents or other chemicals, without heating or frying. Therefore, our pastes preserve a beautiful golden colour of phytocannabinoids (they are even slightly lighter than oils because white waxes lighten it additionally).

OK, so how come there are so many dark, tar-like greases present on the market? There are many reasons.

First, some of the so-called “producers”, simply buy waste products from the hemp plantations to have it extracted en masse with carbon dioxide in nitrogen plant in Puławy, sometimes subject to various additional treatments to finally squeeze it into syringes or bottles. Now there are various problems with such obtained products:

Firstly, there is no way around the fact that the input material used is basically waste – which means that the entity contracting the plantation in the first place just had not bought from the farmer (or bought it for a purely industrial purpose, as is often the case). Such poor-quality material can be mouldy or contain pesticides or heavy metals (concentration of which can increase hundredfold after the extraction). To make the long story short – the quality of the raw material will inevitably affect the appearance of the final product.

Secondly, commercial extraction service is always carried out under the same conditions, as the only criterion here is quantity, not quality. We, on the other hand, are fully aware that the top quality comes at the cost of reducing the productivity, which, in turns, significantly increases the cost of the whole process – and this is what most profit-driven producers cannot afford.

Last, but not least, the treatment carried out after the extraction needs also to be taken into account, especially since the consumer is rarely aware of it, and most producers are not especially eager to disclose such information. Many manufacturers use carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction only to boast about in advertising materials, or to reduce the volume (it is difficult to conduct additional treatments on tonnes of dried mass, whereas few kilos of the raw extract is much easier to handle). The problem with it is that the common phrase – “… produced using CO2 extraction …” does not mean that only CO2 was in the use… This is a common practice among dishonest manufacturers in the food industry (eg turkey sausages which contain only 10% of it, but, after all, turkey is also there, so what’s the problem, right?).

It is becoming increasingly common practice to decompose the CO2 extract with various invasive methods, extract some components out to finally put the blackened remnants back into the product, already contaminated with degradation products that have slipped through these manipulations. But, hey – the CO2 extraction was in the use, wasn’t it?

Let me make this clear – I do not claim that the CO2 extraction technique is the only legitimate one because it isn’t. Various separation and extraction techniques are used in the food and pharmaceutical industries, but there is one major difference in this case. Food manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies are subjected to regulations and meticulously controlled. The problem with hemp products is that the market is still in a terrible mess, even though the issue of quality control of dietary supplements is supposed to be solved easily, as there are a number of rules and requirements that must be met to be able to sell the product as a dietary supplement and these requirements also refer to hemp product. Unfortunately, some manufacturers, who are aware of the low quality of their products, do not report them to Chief Sanitary Inspectorate, do not have proper quality control procedures, and instead just take shortcuts by discouraging the oral intake or simply advertising their formulations as “non-consumable” or “not for internal use”, sometimes cynically justifying this with some shady ideologies. Remember – you can always check if the product was submitted here: http://rejestrzp.gis.gov.pl/).

As we have pointed out on numerous occasions, the effect of such short-sighted practices is that the lawmakers treat the whole industry with suspicions and reluctance which can eventually lead to banning the whole market. So before you start picketing in front of the parliament or Chief Sanitary Inspectorate building GIS and call the media you better make sure that your products meet the basic sanitary requirements directly related to the safety and health of the product.

For now, I can only appeal to consumers that bear in mind their own health: control what you buy, check the manufacturer’s statements and do not let unhealthy emotions misguide you.

PhD, Eng Beata Plutowska