As the legalization of marijuana continues to spread across North America and beyond, concentrates are becoming the cannabis product of choice for a growing number of consumers. Global sales of cannabis concentrates hit nearly $4 billion in 2018, according to data from Zion Market Research, and are expected to reach nearly $14 billion annually by 2026.
With a market of that size in a fledgling industry, many companies in the concentrate business are investing in innovative processes and creating new products that appeal to customers and drive market share. One such product that is gaining increasing attention is PHO, or propane hash oil.
Erik Quisenberry, the marketing director of Denver-based Kodo Extracts, says that PHO is similar to other concentrates made with hydrocarbon-based solvents such as butane hash oil, or BHO. But while BHO is available in several forms including shatter, badder, sugar, and more, propane hash oil is known for producing budder, although this is likely to change in the future as manufacturers continue to experiment with the process.
Kodo Extracts likens the propane extraction process to making a cup of espresso. An espresso machine, which uses water to pull the flavor, aroma, and caffeine from coffee beans, can be compared to extraction equipment, which uses a solvent to extract cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds from cannabis.
Using different solvents in the cannabis extraction process can yield different results. Quisenberry says that Kodo decided to pursue propane extraction because of the clean, flavorful concentrates it produces, with THC potency ranging from 70% to 90%.
“The color of the products is a lot lighter,” he says. “You get more of a light yellow color versus an amber color with the butane products. And there’s a lot more flavor. PHO preserves a lot more of the terpenes in the process.”
Quisenberry attributes these differences to the unique chemical properties of propane. Extraction processes utilizing propane are run at higher pressures, which, depending on the strain, can result in more terpenes being preserved and produce more potent and flavorful concentrates.
PHO is also easier to purify than butane hash oil. After extraction, the solvent used in the process must be removed from the concentrated cannabis oil. This process is called purging and is usually accomplished in a vacuum oven, where the solvent is baked out of the concentrate. Propane has a lower boiling point than butane, requiring less heat to purge, which yields a concentrate with less residual contaminants and a consistency that Kodo describes as “buddery.”
Kodo Extracts also uses other processes to manufacture cannabis concentrates, including CO₂ extractions and distillates, which are blended to make the company’s vape cartridges. Other specialty products include moon rocks, which are nugs of pot that are dipped in hash oil and then dusted with kief, leading to potency levels of up to 50% THC. Similarly, Kodo’s caviar joints are filled with a gram of flower before being dipped in distillate and rolled in kief, yielding a 2-gram joint that is guaranteed to do the trick.
Kodo Extracts PHO, carts, moon rocks, caviar joints, and other products are available at select cannabis dispensaries in Colorado. To find a retailer near you and for more information, visit the company’s website. Kodo Extracts can also be found on social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram.