Hielscher – Ultrasound Technology

Fast & Simple Ultrasonic Cannabis Extraction

  • To meet the rising demand and to supply cannabinoids of high quality, an efficient and reliable cannabis extraction method is substantial. Ultrasonic extraction is proven to shorten the extraction time and to increase yield considerably.
  • With power ultrasound, cannabis extraction gets faster, more complete and highly efficient. The ultrasonic extraction is simple and reliable.
  • Hielscher’s ultrasonic extractors are available from lab to full industrial scale.

Ultrasonic Extraction of Cannabinoids and Terpenes

Sonication applies intense shear forces and stress to the medium and releases thereby high extract yields in a very short extraction time. This means that the extraction process of active substances such as cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant can be substantially increased.
Ultrasonic extraction can be performed with a broad variety of solvents. Depending on its subsequent use, active substances from cannabis are extracted e.g. in butane, CO2, propane, etc, when the extracts are utilized for inhalation. For the preparation of extracts for oral ingestion, ethanol, cyclohexane, isopropanol, olive oil, coconut oil, etc. are preferred as solvents.
Hielscher Ultrasonics offers you the suitable extraction equipment – whether you need a small or mid-scale extractor, a pilot or an industrial system, Hielscher’s ultrasonicators meet your requirements.

Advantages:

  • short extraction time
  • high extraction rate
  • more complete extraction
  • mild, non-thermal treatment
  • easy integration and safe operation
  • no hazardous / toxic chemicals, no impurities
  • low cost
  • energy-efficient
  • green extraction: environmental-friendly

Download your free PDF with step-by-step instructions for a superior results in ultrasonic cannabis extraction!

Sonication and Extraction Conditions

UP400St - powerful ultrasonic extractor. (Click to enlarge!)

Ultrasonicator UP400St with stirrer for cannabis extraction

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Sonication

The ultrasound-assisted extraction is based on repeating high pressure and low pressure cycles. These alternating high pressure and low pressure cycles of 20,000 times per second of sonication create intense shear forces and liquid jets. This extreme stress overcomes the selectivity of membrane, perforates and breaks the cell wall, and results in a high mass transfer between the inner cell and the surrounding solvent. By ultrasonic extraction, higher yields and shorter extraction durations can be realized. Since ultrasonic extraction is a reproducible process, the extraction results can be repeated for a standardized extract quality.
Hielscher’s ultrasonic extractors give you full control over the important extraction parameters. By adjusting amplitude, duration, pressure and liquid composition, the output of the extraction process can be precisely controlled and reproduced.

Solvents

All common solvents can be used for your ultrasonic extraction. Depending on whether the extracts are produces for oral or inhalation pharmaceuticals, analysis, quality control or other purposes, certain solvents are particularly suitable for specific purposes. Ultrasonic extraction allows for the use of various solvents including water, solvents and oils (e.g. H2O, CO2, ethanol, methanol, butane, propane, olive oil, coconut oil etc.).

Temperature

Best results for ultrasonically assisted extraction of plant extracts (e.g. active compounds from herbs, medicinal plant etc.) are achieved at a process temperature between 0-60°C. The ultrasonic extraction is a non-thermal and thereby mild method so that the extracted active ingredients are prevented from degradation.

Combined Extraction Methods

The ultrasonic extraction can be easily combined with pressure, heat, supercritical extraction conditions or Soxhlet extractor to improve results and/or adapt the extraction setup to specific requirements.
Already existing extraction machines can be easily upgraded by implementing an ultrasonic extractor. We would be glad to assist you with the installation to retro-fit an ultrasonicator into your extraction setup.

Application Fields for Ultrasonic Cannabis Extraction

Cannabinoids, terpenes and other active ingredients of the cannabis plant are extracted for manifold purposes. The ultrasonic extraction is a trusted method to gain extracts of the cannabis plant for

  • medical/ pharmaceutical production
  • recreational cannabis products
  • nutraceutical & food production
  • drug potency testing
  • downstream processing, e.g. emulsification
  • forensic/chemical analysis

Ultrasonic Extractors – For Small and Large Scale

3 Steps to Successful Ultrasonic Processing: Feasibility- Optimization - Scale-up (Click to enlarge!)

Ultrasonic Processing: Hielscher supports you from feasibility and optimization to commercial production!

We help you: Our Consulting & Service

Hielscher Ultrasonics is long-time experienced with ultrasonic processing and has a deep going understanding of ultrasonic extraction processes. We assist you with recommendations for the most suitable ultrasonicator for your process and educate you how to use our devices most efficiently. Our engineers are available for installations service, worldwide.
In our fully equipped ultrasonic process lab in Germany, our team of process engineers and chemists is able to develop and optimize your process for you or with you together.

Structure formula of Δ9-THC

Tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC)

Soxhlet combined with sonication leads to high yields and shorter extraction times (Click to enlarge!)

UP200Ht with Soxhlet extractor. (©Djenni et al. 2012)

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Talk to us about your processing requirements. We will recommend the most suitable setup and processing parameters for your project.





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Literature/References



Basic Information

Ultrasonic Extraction

Power ultrasound is a proven method for efficient and reliable extraction of active compounds including herbal/ medicinal compounds, oil, proteins and bioactives (e.g. flavones, polyphenolics, anthocyanin, aroma) from botanicals, herbs, flowers and seeds.
For ultrasonic extraction, powerful ultrasound waves are coupled into the plant-solvent mixture, so that acoustic cavitation occurs. Acoustic cavitation is described as the ultrasonically caused formation, growth, and implosive collapse of bubbles in liquids.
“During cavitation, the collapse of bubbles produces intense local heating and high pressures, with very short lifetimes. In clouds of cavitating bubbles, these hot-spots have equivalent temperatures of roughly 5000 K, pressures of about 1000 atmospheres, and heating and cooling rates above 1010 K/s. In single bubble cavitation, conditions may be even more extreme. Cavitation, then, can create extreme physical and chemical conditions in otherwise cold liquids. If liquids containing solids are irradiated with ultrasound, related phenomena can occur. Near an extended solid surface, cavity collapse becomes non-spherical, which drives high-speed jets of liquid into the solid surface. These jets and associated shock waves can cause substantial surface damage and expose fresh, highly heated surfaces. In addition, high velocity inter-particle collisions will occur during ultrasonic irradiation of liquid-powder suspensions through cavitation and the shockwaves it creates in such slurries. The resultant collisions are capable of inducing dramatic changes in surface morphology, composition, and reactivity.” [Suslick 2001: 2f.]
These intense conditions of ultrasonic cavitation have several effects on plant material and their extractability:

  • overcome of membrane selectivity
  • increased mass transfer between cell inside and surrounding solvent
  • cell breakage
  • release of intracellular material

This makes sonication a highly effective extraction method. Due to the intense mechanical forces, often green and mild solvents such as water, ethanol etc. can be used.
Ultrasonic extraction shortens the extraction time and allows for a reduced and/ or milder solvent use. This means, ultrasonic extraction results in higher extraction rates and produces healthier extracts. This is due to the characteristics of its operation at low temperature both to reduce heat loss caused by temperature factors, but also to avoid the vaporization of substances due to low boiling point and also to maintain biological active substances.
Another advantage of ultrasonic extraction lies in it simple and safe use and its precisely controllable application. As a non-thermal extraction method, sonication can be carried out at low temperatures so that the degradation of heat sensitive, heat-labile substances is avoided.