What are Solventless Edibles and Concentrates?

Solventless edibles such as hash rosin extract the cannabis terpenes through a solventless process which is cleaner compared to typical solvent extraction methods. With cannabis, a solvent is a hydrocarbon that dissolves the plant material, leaving only the terpenes and cannabinoids left.

A solventless edible is an edible in which the cannabinoids and terpenes have been extracted out of the cannabis flower but done without the use of any chemical solvents such as propane, butane, or ethanol giving you a much cleaner and stronger edible experience.

There is rigorous residual solvent testing required before any solvent based edibles reach the consumers, and that’s because solvents such as butane can lead to many known health concerns reported in a case study of solvents by National Institutes of Health.

Benefits of Solventless Edibles

Solventless edibles are considered to be the healthiest way to consume edibles. You get a much higher quality using a live rosin base, a much cleaner experience, and ultimately a more health conscious product. That’s simply because live rosin is not exposed to any harmful solvents which eliminates the chances of leaving solvent remnants such as ethanol, propane, or butane in your cannabis edible or concentrates.

solventless edibles


Another benefit of solventless concentrate and edibles is they give you the full terpene and cannabinoid profile unique to the strains cultivar. This means you get the full flavor range and medical benefits of your cannabis strain when compared to solvent based edibles.

The only downside is the process to make solventless edibles requires much more material and work, so the end result is you will pay more for a solventless edible. You can compare it to buying organic pesticide free tomatoes: it may cost more but it is a healthier product when compared to the alternative.

The 2 Types of Solventless Extractions

The two most popular forms of solventless extraction are: rosin and ice water concentrate. Solventless edibles are made from these two forms of cannabis concentrates and are infused into the edible.

Rosin Solventless Extraction Explained


image caption: Photo of solventless concentrate alt tag: Solventless concentrate



Due to the viscous consistency of Rosin, it makes it very user friendly for the edible infusion process for both foods and THC infused drinks (not to be confused with weed tea).

Rosin typically comes in two forms: homogenized and unhomogenized which both are solventless processes. Rosin uses pressure and heat to extract the cannabis oils without the use of harmful solvents with tools such as a rosin press. A rosin press allows you to use various heat pressures to squeeze out the oils from the cannabis plant matter.

Once the solventless rosin is extracted you can use the rosin to infuse with your edibles, creating a solvent-free edible!

Solventless Ice Water Concentrate Method Explained


Another way solventless cannabis edibles are made is through the ice water concentrate method. The solventless rosin method uses heat and pressure but this form of extraction depends on water and freezing temperatures to agitate the trichome heads from the cured cannabis herns. 

What makes the solventless ice water method unique is the focus of extraction is on the trichome heads, capturing only the highest quality of cultivar. Once extracted and dried, you are left with a grainy texture of concentrate that you can melt down to infuse into your cannabis edibles.

Solventless Edibles Vs Solvent Free Edibles

The terms “solventless” and “solvent-free” are not the same. Solventless edibles or concentrates are the result when cannabis flower is refined to separate the dry plant matter from the terpenes, cannabinoids, and other essential oils without the use of solvents. Typically solventless is done through heat/press and ice/water.

Solvent free, however are cannabis extracts or edibles that may have used solvents such as butane or ethanol in the extraction process but they were completely removed before being sold to the consumer.

The primary difference between the two terms is that solventless edibles never used any solvents to begin with whereas “solvent free” edibles used solvents but went through rigorous testing to prove that all solvents were removed from the end product.

The Risk of Consuming Solvent Concentrates and Edibles

The reason why solvent edibles and concentrates have become so popular is they have far less risk when it comes to health. If you buy solvent based edibles which is common with distillate infused edibles you run the risk of consuming residual solvents.

The cannabis industry widely debates the risk of solvents in cannabis products, and what complicates things more is certain solvents are safe to ingest as an edible but not safe to inhale through vaporization in cannabis form. Below we will discuss what are residual solvents in edibles and a few common solvents and the known risk through ingesting in edibles and vaping through concentrates such as wax, shatter, and badder.

Residual Solvents in Edibles

Residual solvents are any remaining chemicals from the use of solvents left in the cannabis concentrates. The most common laboratory solvents for extraction can include: propane, hexane, ethanol, n-butane, benzene, xylene, and isobutane.

Xylene Solvent

Xylene is a class 2 solvent that is known to impact the central nervous system when vaporized in concentrate cannabis form. The depression in the nervous system can cause symptoms of headaches, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Further studies are required for ingesting Xylene solvent through cannabis edibles.

Ethanol Solvent 

If small traces of ethanol solvent is ingested through THC edibles, it will not cause any long-term health concerns. Ethanol inhaled however is known to cause much more serious issues with tolerance, dependence, and cravings to the ethanol based cannabis concentrates.

Benzene Solvent

If trace amounts of Benzene solvent is found in your extract it is known to cause damage to the immune system. Higher levels of Benzene can cause dizziness and drowsiness which isn’t common in cannabis edibles or concentrates when extracted correctly. This is why it’s important to always purchase regulated cannabis from a dispensary.

Final Thoughts

Solventless edibles and concentrates are much healthier to consume than solvent based edibles and dabs. Even if your edible claims to be “solvent-free” doesn’t mean that solvents were not used in the process, which always run the risk at a microscopic level. If you want to buy the cleanest and healthiest edibles or concentrates, I recommend you only purchase solventless edibles that were extracted using heat and press or ice and water. This will give you the fullest range of terpenes, cannabinoids, and the full range of medicinal benefits for your edibles and concentrates.