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What Are Hydrocarbon Concentrates?

By Danyal Swan February 24, 2022

Cannabis products change frequently.

Whether it’s the addition of a new strain, a new edible flavor, or a new vape line, marijuana products are added based on patient needs and feedback. And this ever-changing variety isn’t taking into account extraction methods.

Ethanol has been the primary form of extraction in Florida, but there are a host of other options available to extractors. In August of 2021, the state approved a host of new solvents for use by Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers, including hydrocarbon.

The two products perfected first were Live Resin Badder and Live Resin Sugar, in both MÜV and Verano Reserve strains.

MÜV And Verano Reserve Cannabis Live Resin Badder

Live Badder is an intensely aromatic cannabis concentrate. The tried-and-true Verano hydrocarbon extraction method gently and thoroughly extracts the cannabis plant’s living terpene profile, cannabinoids, flavonoids, and other beneficial plant compounds. To ensure these cannabis compounds are are homogenous throughout the concentrate, the extract is whipped before its secondary purge. Through whipping, the compounds disperse equally, and in the final purge, the extract settles into a texture similar to dry cookie dough.

Because all strains deserve to shine in hydrocarbon extracts, both MÜV Live Badder and Verano Reserve Live Badder strains are available. Just like Verano Reserve flower, Verano Reserve Live Badder is crafted in small, artisan batches.  

Taste Apple Juice, Beach Cake, Confetti Kush Cake, Grape Noir, M.A.C. 1, and Root Beer Cream Cake like never before.  

MÜV And Verano Reserve Cannabis Live Resin Sugar

Live Sugar is a cannabis concentrate handcrafted to preserve the high terpene profiles of their strain and provide flavorful, full body effects. The concentrate features a high concentration of cannabis microcrystals or microdiamonds, lending the heady highs typical of THCA.  

The microcrystals ensure consistent dosing with the concentrate, as they are more uniform in size than large diamonds. The grainy texture makes it easy to measure out dosing as well.

Live Sugar, too, will feature both MÜV Live Sugar and Verano Reserve Live Sugar strains.

What Is Hydrocarbon Extraction For Cannabis?

Hydrocarbon refers to solvents whose compounds are made up solely of hydrogen and carbon atoms – (hydro) + (carbon). In the cannabis space, hydrocarbon solvents include butane, isobutane, and propane, or a combination of the three. While butane and propane are not solvents you would typically think of when considering an inhalation product, these liquids have been deemed by the Food and Drug Administration as Generally Regarded As Safe when under a certain threshold.  

Using hydrocarbon differs slightly from ethanol, but achieves a similar end-result: the removal of the therapeutic compounds of the cannabis plant, while leaving behind unwanted plant material.

MÜV, like our parent company Verano™, never seeks to do something first – we seek to do it best. Verano has been producing the best hydrocarbon concentrates for several years in multiple markets, defining tried-and-true extraction methods and processes to craft delectable, potent and effective cannabis-based therapies. Since the state’s approval of hydrocarbon, MÜV extractors have been working diligently, carefully testing which strains worked best with the solvent; what textures presented well; and to craft a variety of options for patients.  

In Research and Development, our expert extractors and scientists discovered that live marijuana flower crafted the best concentrates.

What Are Live Concentrates?

Live marijuana products indicate the plant matter used. Concentrates without the designation are created using dried and cured flower, the kind you purchase in the dispensary for smokable, whereas live concentrates were made using frozen flower.

Immediately after the plant is cut down or harvested, it is placed into the freezer. This is to preserve the plants living terpene profile – see, terpenes are so volatile and unabundant that even the act of drying and curing flower can cause loss of terpenes. By freezing the plant in its entirety instead, it’s believed that you are preserving the living terpene profile – lending the name live.

How Does Hydrocarbon Extraction Work?

Hydrocarbon extraction at MÜV occurs in three phases:
• Flash-freezing marijuana flower
• Washing the frozen flower with the hydrocarbon solvent
• Removing the residual solvent

Sounds simple, right? Aside from steps one and two, our extractors will tell you it’s far from it!

After pulling flash-frozen flower from the freezer, the flower is washed using the hydrocarbon solvent blend. The washed bud is then placed into a hydrocarbon extractor, where it soaks in the solvent. After soaking, the extract – which includes the beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids – is flushed out of the columns, leaving behind washed flower material.

Removal of the solvent, the third step, is also completed in steps -
• Primary removal: completed via a closed-loop system, where the solvent is never in contact with air. This purges a vast majority of the solvent from the extract.
• Passive removal: completed using heat in a vacuum oven. This is conducted slowly and very carefully to ensure the solvent dissipates, while leaving the beneficial cannabinoids and other plant compounds.

The passive removal of concentrates is a special step, as the low heat applied is where THCA crystals thrive. Heat pushes the THCA compounds together, allowing them to aggregate and interlock in a lattice-like structure to form marijuana diamonds.

How Is Hydrocarbon Different From Ethanol Extraction?

There are many different names, textures, colors, aromas and effects that are available to cannabis consumers when it comes to concentrates, and the same is true for the extraction methods to create those varieties.  

Hydrocarbon and ethanol are both solvent-based extraction methods, conducted using liquids that the FDA deemed GRAS.

Both solvents are adept at extracting terpenes and cannabinoids, but hydrocarbon grabs a little more – more terpenes, as well as flavonoids, which ethanol is unable to grab.

Too, the method of extraction differs –
• With ethanol extraction, cured, dry flower is soaked in an ethanol solvent to collect the cannabinoids, terpenes and other desirable properties of the plant, while washing away the lipids, chlorophyll and fats which are not. Purging of solvents is achieved in the vacuum oven.
• Hydrocarbon, most importantly, begins with freshly harvested live plants at MÜV. These plants are immediately frozen to preserve the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids for a true-to-flower marijuana flavor, and full-spectrum benefits. The purging of solvents takes place in two steps; the second step, in which slow, steady heat and pressure are applied, allows diamonds to form.

Truly, the biggest difference in ethanol versus hydrocarbon extraction boils down to preference, as each extraction lends differing flavor profiles.

What Products Are Created Using Hydrocarbon Extraction?

Concentrates arguably have the widest variation in presentation when compared to other cannabis options. Sure, strains look different – but that’s differentiating between terpene profiles and genetic characteristics.

Live resin is a term often used to describe concentrates and refers to those crafted using live flower. Resin denotes the extracted resins pulled from the plant to produce the concentrate, whose final form is dependent on post-extraction processes. Hydrocarbon-extracted concentrates take many forms in the cannabis space, including live resin, live resin sugar, live resin badder, live sauce, and live diamonds.

Hydrocarbon Cannabis Concentrates At MÜV

While Live Sugar and Live Badder concentrates were the first perfected for MÜV Florida, they will hardly be the last. Make sure you're subscribed below so you never miss a hydrocarbon extraction update.

Content Manager for MÜV Florida and Contributor for Zen Leaf Dispensaries. A cannabis connoisseur with a passion for explaining the miraculous possibility of the plant, Swan began her journey with cannabis as a recreational user and quickly realized its positive impact on her depression and severe anxiety. She joined the cannabis industry as Receptionist and MedTender and witnessed first-hand the immense potential of the plant for a wide variety of ailments, deepening her passion for alternative medicine. Swan is dedicated to self-education on the plant and sharing its potential with all. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Iowa.

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