What Is Solventless Extraction?

What Is Solventless Extraction?

Solventless extracts create high quality concentrates without the use of solvents like butane or ethanol. Many consumers flock to solventless extracts for their purity and potency, as some compounds may be affected by the solvent-based extraction process. What makes these so unique? This guide to solventless extraction pulls the curtain back on how these products are made and the kind of flower that makes for optimal solventless extracts.

The basics of solventless extraction

A solventless extract is any type of cannabis concentrate product produced using heat, pressure, ice, or water to mechanically separate trichomes from biomass. The collected trichomes, which are densely packed with cannabinoids and terpenes, can then be used to produce concentrates or extracts.

Solventless extraction methods in the modern sense are relatively new, but the concept behind it dates back to ancient civilizations. The earliest forms of hash can be traced back to Persia and Central Asia, made by simply rubbing cannabis flower to gather trichomes and resin and press it into a brick. Later down the line, the development of sieves allowed manufacturers to more effectively separate trichomes from the plant and produce even purer versions of hash. 

Today, manufacturers are able to take these principles of mechanical separation to a new level by using modern extraction technologies and processes. This allows them to not only produce highly potent varieties of hash, but also turn them into solventless extracts like rosin.

What is the difference between solvent-based and solventless extraction?

Solvent-based extraction relies on the use of a solvent like the hydrocarbons butane and propane or the alcohol ethanol to separate cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant material. Solventless processes do not require the use of solvents at all. In most cases, means of mechanical separation, heat, and pressure are used to produce extracts. 

The key difference in the final product is that solventless extracts will contain no residual solvents at all. Solvent-based extracts are generally purged and refined to remove lingering solvents, which can result in an unpleasant aftertaste. In the most egregious cases, trace amounts of solvent may be detected on a lab test and make these concentrates ineligible for sale at a dispensary.

During the purging process of solvent-based extracts, the extract is exposed to some level of heat; the precise temperature depends upon which solvent is used. Skipping this process allows solventless extract manufacturers to preserve terpenes during extraction, which degrade when exposed to heat. The end result is a more flavorful and aromatic extract that may offer additional therapeutic benefits thanks to the entourage effect.

Is solventless extraction better?

Solventless extracts are considered a premium product because they typically offer higher terpene content than their solvent-based counterparts, delivering the natural taste and smell of the plant. This makes solventless extracts a top choice among cannabis consumers who like to try different cultivars and compare the overall experiences. You can also be sure solventless extracts contain no residual solvents, which reduce the quality of the extract. At the end of the day, it comes down to your personal preferences. There are plenty of solvent-based extract lovers out there, as well as fans of solventless extraction.

What about “solvent-free” products?

Note that you may sometimes see labels that read “solvent-free.” Generally, these are not solventless extracts, but instead solvent-based extracts that have been thoroughly purged to remove any residual solvent from the final product. If you want truly solventless products, look for labels that read “solventless” or “non-solvent” instead.

What types of solventless extraction methods are there?

There are many solventless extraction methods out there, and as the cannabis industry innovates new processes are being developed all the time. However, there are a few common solventless extraction methods that stand out, including:

1. Dry sifting

Dry sifting is a method used to produce the solventless concentrate hash. Relying on the original principles used by ancient civilizations, manufacturers agitate dried cannabis flower over fine mesh screens, separating the trichomes from the plant material to produce kief. The kief can then be subjected to heat and pressure to be pressed into potent bricks of hash.

2. Ice water extraction

Ice water extraction involves agitating freshly harvested cannabis flower in near-freezing water to separate the trichomes from the plant. The near-freezing temperatures make the trichomes brittle and snap off when agitated in a wash machine. The separated trichomes are then sifted through a series of fine sieves to separate them from the water. Once collected, the trichomes are scraped from the sieves and allowed to dry (often using a freeze dryer) into bricks of “bubble hash.” 

3. Rosin pressing

Rosin is a solventless extract that can be produced from kief or hash (usually bubble hash) by loading it into a device called a rosin press. A rosin press features two metal plates arranged like a vice grip, which are heated and then used to squeeze the bricks of hash. When pressed, a potent, viscous oil is squeezed from the hash; this is rosin. 

When using fresh frozen flower, like Cryo Cure’s live resin flower, the result of this process is called “live rosin.” That’s because it contains the optimal amount of cannabinoids and terpenes, captured from flower that is preserved to remain as fresh as the day it was harvested with a superior shelf life

What contributes to solventless extract quality?

Solventless extract quality is dependent on three major factors: the quality of the cannabis flower used as an input; the equipment used in the manufacturing process; and the techniques applied in the process itself. 


The final product of any extraction process is only going to be as good as the quality of the flower that goes into it. Starting with high-quality, well-preserved flower is the only way to get top quality extract. That’s why we recommend working with Cryo Cured Live Resin Flower. The flower that results from our patented process is perfectly preserved following harvest, ensuring maximum cannabinoid and terpene content remains intact before the extraction process begins.


The equipment used in any extraction process is also critical, as it should be efficient and well-maintained. Manufacturers have access to equipment like commercial-scale agitators and rosin presses to produce potent, pure extract at scale. Processing large volumes of biomass quickly is now possible thanks to this equipment, so incorporating it into the manufacturing process is key. Additionally, maintaining, sterilizing, and cleaning equipment after each production run ensures that every batch will be the highest possible quality.


Extraction is both an art and a science, and every manufacturer will have their own unique twist on the process. However, once a process is developed, it can also be standardized so it can be easily repeated. This results in reliable quality products that are the same every time, which helps to support customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. So, when a manufacturer develops a process they feel sets them apart from the competition, they can develop standard operating procedures (SOPs) so their team is able to replicate the process time and again.

Solventless extraction results in clean, terpene-rich extracts

Cannabis enthusiasts love solventless extracts for their comparatively high terpene content and the aromas and flavors they produce. Additionally, consumers who prefer a clean product can rest assured that solventless extracts contain absolutely no residual solvents, because none are needed in their production. With these benefits, it’s no surprise that solventless extracts are becoming a hugely popular choice amongst consumers in every legal cannabis market. For manufacturers who want to stand out in this growing space, making the best solventless extracts is a matter of using the best flower, which is where Cryo Cure’s Live Resin Flower comes in. To maximize flavor and potency, you can’t do better than Live Resin Flower.

Why Cryo Cure Is The Best Choice for Ice Water Hash

Why Cryo Cure Is The Best Choice for Ice Water Hash

Ice water hash is gaining ground in the concentrates world, celebrated for its potency and flavor. But what you get out of this process is only as good as what you put in, making it critically important that the cannabis flower used to make ice water hash is fresh and of top quality. Read on to learn more about how ice water hash is made, how it’s different from other concentrates and extracts, and how Cryo Cure can help you get the most out of your biomass.

What is ice water hash?

Ice water hash is a cannabis concentrate made by combining cannabis flower (like Cryo Cure’s Live Resin Flower) and trim with ice water and agitating the mixture. Ice water hash is made by a mechanical separation process that captures a high amount of cannabinoids and terpenes, making for a potent and flavorful final product. Ice water hash is rated on a scale of six stars, with one star being the lowest grade product and six stars being the highest grade. Ice water hash can also be used to produce a solventless extract known as rosin.

How is this product made?

The production process behind ice water hash is relatively simple when compared to solvent-based extracts that require highly technical processes. It can be made in four easy steps.

  • Combine cannabis flower and trim with ice water: Fresh cannabis and ice water are combined in a bucket or wash machine. Buckets are used in relatively simple DIY methods of making ice water hash, while wash machines are better for commercial production at scale. The near-freezing temperatures of the ice water freeze the resin glands of the plants, known as trichomes, making them very brittle and easy to break apart from the plant material.
  • Agitate the mixture: Agitating the ice water and cannabis causes the trichomes densely packed with cannabinoids and terpenes away from the biomass. The cold temperatures also ensure cannabinoid and terpene potency is preserved during this process.
  • Strain mixture to separate water and trichomes: The resulting solution of water and trichomes is then strained through a series of fine mesh bags, typically in descending order from 160 microns, 120 microns, and 25 microns in size. This separates the trichomes from the water, leaving them behind on the sieves.

    The 25 micron bag typically contains the purest ice water hash, which tends to be lighter in color than its lower grade counterparts. The product collected from the larger diameter bags tends to be darker in color and slightly less potent due to the presence of fine particulates of plant material.
  • Collect trichomes and dry: Once strained, the trichomes can be scraped from the bag and collected. At this point, the trichomes are still moist and need to be dried. Removing the moisture from the trichomes results in a dried brick of ice water hash.

Rosin and ice water hash

Once you have bricks of ice water hash, they can be used to produce a solventless extract called rosin. To produce rosin, dried ice water hash is placed into a rosin press, a machine that consists of two metal plates arranged in a vice grip. The plates are heated and the bricks pressed at between 300psi and 1,000psi, melting and squeezing the trichomes and terpenes into a viscous, potent cannabis oil. 

Rosin, like other extracts, is highly potent in cannabinoids like THC and CBD. It also tends to have a heightened level of terpenes compared with other extracts thanks to the low temperatures at which it can be produced — after all, there is no need to evaporate residual solvents like there is in ethanol or hydrocarbon extraction. 

Where does Cryo Cure come in?

When producing ice water hash, Cryo Cure comes in after the wash is complete. During the ice water hash production process, manufacturers aren’t able to capture all the terpenes and cannabinoids from the biomass. Soaking wet biomass is at risk of microbial contamination, so leaving it to air dry is off the table. Unfortunately, without an effective alternative and despite knowing there are valuable compounds still locked inside the biomass following the wash, most manufacturers simply discard the wet plant material and cut their losses.

However, Cryo Cure makes it easy to quickly dry the wet biomass in a matter of hours while eliminating the risk of microbial contamination. This allows manufacturers to save the wet biomass and capture the remaining cannabinoids and terpenes via hydrocarbon, ethanol, or CO₂ extraction. The result is less waste, allowing manufacturers to squeeze every dollar out of material they were simply throwing away beforehand. 

In this way, a Cryo Cure machine is an investment that quickly generates a return. The amount of additional cannabis oil manufacturers are able to capture with Cryo Cure adds up to a significant revenue stream, easily covering the costs of acquiring and running Cryo Cure’s freeze drying machines. That’s not to mention the sustainability benefits that come from reducing massive waste that is currently the norm in the industry.

Eliminate ice water hash waste with Cryo Cure

Ice water hash and rosin are immensely popular with consumers who prefer solventless concentrates and extracts packed with flavorful terpenes, so manufacturers are increasingly adopting ice water hash as part of their process. Unfortunately, the process of producing ice water hash leads to significant waste, as manufacturers are discarding wet biomass that still contains precious cannabinoids and terpenes. If you’re ready to get the most out of your cannabis flower and stop leaving money on the table, it’s time to try ice water hash the Cryo Cure way.