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Solventless Edibles: the Next Frontier for Infused Product Makers

Cannabis edibles have always been a pretty straightforward category, boiling mostly down to brownies and other sweets. But as times change, the options have expanded into the vast market we know today. While baked goods still hold their place, the industry has undoubtedly split over time to include a range of ingestible products like chocolate, gummies, capsules, beverages, and beyond.

Historically and still to this day, flower, CO2, and distillate have been popular raw materials used in cannabis edible making. The two helped set the groundwork for the next wave of innovation to benefit consumers and producers alike.

That said, solventless edibles are now presenting themselves to the connoisseurs of the market. Made with concentrate that is extracted without the use of solvents, these premium edibles give consumers the natural essence and flavors of the live plant while providing them a full spectrum experience. 

Because of the effortless consumption, the infused ingestible segment has been one poised to continue holding a significant share of the future market. According to Zion Market Research, the global cannabis edibles space has been projected to grow by about 30.5% from 2019 to 2025, potentially generating over 11.5 billion dollars by 2025. This growth is expected to continue, likely due to growing legalization and acceptance of cannabis.

The market has proven to boom in times of crisis as well. A shift in buying trends came with the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of shops taking preventative measures and shutting their doors, there was a public uncertainty of what, if anyfactor inhaling cannabis had on the virus' symptoms.

April 2020 data from Headset revealed that infused edibles ticked up 28% during the pandemic. Additionally, Marijuana Business Daily reported that 2020 sales of adult-use and medical edibles increased by 60% across California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

Edibles are flourishing, and solventless edibles likely stand to be the next frontier of market innovation. Consider now the best time to get familiar with this sector if you haven’t already. 

How Cannabis Edibles are Made

Cannabis edibles have traditionally been made by infusing the ground flowers or extracted oil into a fat such as butter or coconut oil. 

The basis for infusing it into a fat prior to consumption is backed by extensive research on the body's endocannabinoid system. According to a 2016 study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the combination of dietary fats with cannabis can increase the body's systematic absorption to ingestible cannabis infused products. This can enhance or prolong the effects of that product for many people. 

Utilizing coconut oil, butter, and other culinary oils are all similar given that you are infusing the desired cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids into a fat by combining it with your starting material, then adding heat.

coconut oil and rosin in a glass measuring cup ready for decarboxylation and infusion

Pictured: coconut oil and live rosin being prepared for infusion/decarboxylation

Thus, there are further intricacies that a producer should be aware of. Such variances include the desired end product (SKU), ingredients used, methods of decarboxylation, and the volume of cannabis or concentrate used. The amount of starting material needed will depend on the quantity a producer hopes to generate in the end. Solventless edibles can also be made at home with as little as a gram or less of rosin.

To be expected, a world of processes has come to the forefront. Like much of cooking, infused edible makers may want to follow a recipe until they are comfortable with the techniques. In time, producers will likely modify and adjust their ingredients and methods to create their own signature take on edibles.

Regardless of the path chosen, it’s key to remember these two essential tips early in the process:
  1. Use top-quality starting material. We always say, “fire in = fire out.” This is no exception when making premium solventless edibles. Flower, ice water hash, and rosin should all be made or obtained from top-quality sources. 
  2. Decarboxylate your starting material. Cannabis flower and rosin both need to be decarboxylated using heat for the non-psychoactive THC-A to be converted into THC. When it comes to rosin, it will need to be fully decarboxylated after extraction as the heat during the press itself won't be enough to do so. A popular at-home method involves heating your oven to 180°F and using a small oven-safe glass jar or bowl. Place your rosin and your oil in the jar and cover with foil. A common ratio is one gram of rosin to one cup of oil but you will find that many people cut the oil in fractions to make the edibles more potent. We've found that you can infuse your fat and decarboxylate the rosin at the same time which can aid in the emulsion of your mixture. Allow your fat plus rosin to infuse and decarboxylate for at least 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from the heat and allow the oil to cool, then cover and store for later use.

Once infused, the canna-oil or canna-butter can be added to just about any edible creation. Some recommend using canna-butter for savory foods and baking while oils often work better in sauces, gummies, and capsules. 

Much like the processes of making solventless hash and rosin, edibles have their own production intricacies to be mindful of. PurePressure rosin presses come equipped with the ability to save recipes easily for repeated use via the Pressware LCD technology.

Producers will likely tweak their settings and press techniques based on the end-use goal of the product. For example, hash that is pressed and sold as fresh press live rosin will be pressed using different settings than if you were pressing hash to make vape cartridges.

Given that, many producers can agree that it's quite convenient to be able to customize, store, and name each recipeespecially when training employees to make more than one SKU. 

Solventless Edible SKUs Stand to Lead the Ingestible Cannabis Market in Time

When it comes to making cannabis edibles, rosin is positioning itself to become market leading source material. Solventless edibles represent the next wave in infused products for several reasons including the incredible quality, the experience it provides consumers, and the benefits it offers businesses. 

Transcending other market offerings by yielding a clean and natural oil, rosin can be dabbed as is, added to cartridges for vaping, or used in the making of edibles, tinctures, balms, and more. Like we mentioned, oil extracted using heat and pressure rather than solvents will preserve the source material's various terpenes and cannabinoids that give each cultivar its unique effects. 

Sure, a producer can use just about any flower or concentrate to make infused edibles. That said, there is a separation in quality between using rosin versus solvent based concentrates or trim. 

Producers create rosin using expertly extracted ice water hash, dry sift, and top-tier flower. With premium material going in, the rosin coming out should represent a superior oil, free of solvents, and contaminants. With many consumers demanding more health-conscious products, rosin should appeal to edible producers and customers seeking products that haven’t been exposed to solvents or other undesirable elements.

In short, rosin represents a high caliber concentrate compared to most others on the market. The terpenes, cannabinoids, and natural flavors it provides are miles ahead for the use of edible infusions. With commercial-scale rosin production now attainable, we have begun to see solventless edibles becoming more and more enticing for both producers and consumers. 

Solventless Edibles on the Market

Having said that, many producers and even some chefs have put their spin on recipes to create amazing solventless brands. Blue River Terps CEO, Tony Verzura (Instagram: @verzura2) continues to impress connoisseurs with his products and techniques. From SHO (solventless hash oil) capsules that can be used in cooking, to the latest sweet delicacy Canviar, Blue River edibles are always strain specific and full spectrum. Notably, their edible products are flavored from natural cannabis derived terpenes and real fruit juices that pair with the strain. Blue River products are available to the California and Florida markets, plus the impending Massachusetts market.

Blue River Canviar connoisseur rosin edible

Pictured: blueberry cake terp pearl live rosin Canviar edible made by Blue River (image from Instagram: @blueriverterps)

California based company, Papa and Barkley is another brand that is successfully producing premium solventless edibles. Salted dark chocolate and fruit gummies are just a few of the enticing solventless products they have to offer. It is worth noting that Papa and Barkley's THC products are available in California only while their CBD products can be purchased and shipped to most places in the United States.

Papa and Barkley Solventless Hash infused gummies and chocolates picnic

Pictured: solventless THC Releaf chocolate and THC Releaf gummies made by Papa and Barkley (Instagram: @papaandbarkley)

One other exceptional solventless extraction company, Äkta Creations crafts small-batch, high-quality products including strain specific vape cartridges and live rosin gummies for the Colorado market. Äkta gummies are fast acting and terpene rich plus they come in sativa, indica, or hybrid specific packages.

Akta creations fast acting live rosin gummies

Pictured: guava full-spectrum live rosin gummies made by Äkta Creations (Instagram: @aktacreations)

While there are many outstanding solventless brands thriving in the space, we thought that the three highlighted above are worth mentioning since their connoisseur products are made using PurePressure gear. 

Producing Solventless Edibles

By now, it should be clear that rosin provides producers and consumers with a world of opportunities beyond just inhaled concentrates. With technology advancing and market demand persisting, the space for solventless edibles will only grow in the years to come.

We believe that making great solventless SKUs starts with the equipment you choose. PurePressure is your one stop shop for industry leading solventless hash and rosin production gear plus more. Feel free to reach out to us with questions about our rosin presses or any other products. 

Are you interested in learning how to make solventless edibles from an industry professional? Be sure to check out our sister consulting company, PureCannalabs today to learn how your business or home operation could soon create solventless edibles.