A vacuum drying chamber reduces the risk of cannabis extraction

You would like to extract your cannabis to produce high quality medicinal THC? Then safety should be a big factor. We will explain how to eliminate the potential explosion hazard in the extraction process and how to comply with FDA (Food & Drug Administration) mandatory standards. Everything to ultimately sell your customers a high-quality and, above all, safe product.

Vape pens are all the rage and the number of marijuana dispensaries in the USA is constantly on the rise. And now Canada has legalized cannabis. In short, consumption of liquid THC is gaining in popularity all the time.

As well as boosting the cannabis industry, this trend is also generating a rise in demand for safe cannabis extraction. Common methods of cannabis extraction involve the use of highly explosive and highly toxic petroleum gases (LPGs) – mainly butane.

Cannabis extraction is not exactly without its risks. With its VDL series, BINDER has introduced vacuum drying chambers to the market which can be relied upon for maximum safety while also complying with all international standards, rules, and regulations.


Different types of cannabis extracts


Butane hash oil (BHO), sometimes also referred to as butane honey oil, is a cannabis extract produced using butane as the main solvent. This extraction form can achieve very high concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (approx. 80 %) and other cannabinoids. First, cannabis and liquid butane are heated and pressurized, then, the residual butane is removed.

Dry sieve

Dry sieve is made in a simple mechanical process that does not require the use of any solvents. The plant material is sieved through different screens thus splitting the trichomes of the cannabis plant from the plant material. The final quality depends on the amount of dust, small plant matter and other particles found in the final product. Dry sieve can also be considered a more sophisticated version of kief.

Supercritical CO2 oil

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a naturally occurring compound. In supercritical CO2 extraction, high pressure and heat are used to turn CO2 supercritical and remove cannabis components from the plant. This process does not require the use of hazardous chemicals and solvents. Various industries, among them the food industry, have been using CO2 extraction for quite some time.


Hash and its manifold extraction techniques (e.g., ice water extraction) have been around for centuries. Although offering less potency than other cannabis extracts, it enjoys great popularity due to its natural, solventless extraction.


Kief, one of the simpler cannabis extracts, is produced by grinding or sieving cannabis plants, thus extracting the resinous trichomes. The THC content of Kief can range between 20 %–60 %, making it a lower-quality extract offering less potency than most cannabis extracts.

Rick Simpson Oil

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) (also known as cannabis oil, hemp oil, Phoenix Tears) is extracted in a solvent-based process. It contains many different cannabinoids including THC, CBD, CBN, terpenes, etc. Some oils have high contents of THC while others offer non-psychoactive compounds like CBD only.


Rosin is produced in a solventless extraction technique. This simple extraction method uses heat and pressure to separate the cannabinoid-rich resin from the cannabis plant

More details on the most common cannabis extraction methods

The cannabis industry uses various ways of getting from the cannabis plant to the final extract.

Cannabis extraction using alcohol

In this extraction method, alcohol (mainly ethanol) is used as the solvent. Production steps include soaking the cannabis in alcohol, removing the plant matter, filtering the liquid, and using evaporation to remove the alcohol. Some of the downfalls of this method include possible bad tastes of the product due to dissolved molecules (e.g., chlorophyll), and the high flammability of ethanol. One of the advantages of this method is that there is no risk of toxic residual chemicals in the final extract.

Cannabis extraction using supercritical CO2

In supercritical CO2 extraction, high pressure and heat are used to turn CO2 supercritical and remove cannabinoids from the plant. Although the costs for this method are much higher than for alcohol extraction, it generates higher yields and wastes less material. After extraction, the supercritical CO2 can be reused thus leading to cost savings and less waste. Since the CO2 evaporates, there is no risk of any CO2 residue in the final product.

Cannabis extraction using butane

Butane extraction, a form of hydrocarbon extraction, produces butane hash oil, or BHO for short. In this process, cannabis and liquid butane are heated and pressurized inside a system. Then, any residual butane is removed using vaporization. The disadvantages of this method are the risk of explosion and residual solvents in the product. Due to the relatively low extraction equipment and operating costs, and the high-potency final product, however, this has been the method of choice for many cannabis companies.

The risks of butane extraction

Butane hash oil is the generic term used to refer to cannabis products whose manufacture involves the use of butane gas as an extraction solvent. At the start of the extraction process, cannabis and liquid butane are heated inside a system and pressurized. The vacuum allows the liquid butane to condense. The process produces an end product called marijuana shatter: a clear and flavorful extract with an above-average THC content.

Butane gas is highly flammable and explosive

A constant temperature and permanent temperature monitoring are vital to avoid explosions.

Butane is extremely toxic when consumed.

For this reason, at the end of the extraction process, it is very important to dry out any butane residue in a suitable vacuum drying chamber and to test the end product for LPG.

Safety guidelines for cannabis extraction

The FDA in the USA is yet to define binding standards and checks for butane extraction. However, local, regional, national, and international safety guidelines (e.g., governing fire safety) do apply.

Pay attention to an approval for the drying of flammable solvents!

As referenced above, vacuum drying ovens are used in the final stage of the extraction process to dry out any butane residue left behind. Since butane is highly explosive, only a vacuum drying chamber that has been approved exclusively for drying flammable solvents can truly be considered to be safe. At the current time, there is only one vacuum drying chamber in the world that meets this requirement: the VDL vacuum drying chamber from BINDER.

Only VDL vacuum drying chambers from BINDER offer explosion protection!

BINDER VDL cannabis extraction

The models in the BINDER VDL series impress with their safety and efficiency. Here are just some of their features:

  • Explosion-protected interior and shatterproof doors 

  • Temperature range 15 °C through 200 °C, including overheating check

  • Extremely fast, highly stable drying process: expansion racks transfer the heat directly to the sample and ensure homogeneous drying throughout the usable space

  • Extremely powerful vacuum pump with explosion-proof motor

Let BINDER assist with installation too

For your VDL vacuum drying chamber to function reliably during the extraction process, all mechanical, electrical, and other systems (including safety checks and safety protocols) must have been set up correctly. Support from BINDER experts is just a click away.

Do you need to extract high-quality cannabis under safe production conditions?

Contact us now for a no-obligation consultation