If you are looking to break into the marijuana business, you might consider becoming a cannabis extraction technician. Consumers are becoming more interested in extract products as the primary method of ingestion. The increase in demand is also creating more job opportunities in the supply chain.
Extraction technicians earn around $35,000 a year at the entry level, but some skilled cannabis extraction techs can earn between $80,000 and $125,000 annually. Senior technicians are more likely to be hired at extraction consulting firms like PureCannalabs who help cannabis labs get established and scale up their operations.
Cannabis extracts include various oil extractions from the cannabis plant that contain high levels of cannabinoids that are used for vaping or dabbing. They have much higher densities of CBD and THC than dry flowers, stems, or leaves, so you don’t need to consume as much to achieve the desired results. In fact, some extracts have up to 90% THC.
There are various ways to create cannabis extracts, each requiring a high level of care. The most popular types of extracts include shatter, oil, wax, budder, rosin, and crumble.
You can make a cannabis extract by passing a solvent through fresh or cured cannabis matter. Most solvent-based concentrates are extracted using butane, hexane, ethanol, or another volatile fluid.
Solventless extraction is gaining popularity because it’s safer, more affordable, and capable of producing purer products. Solventless extracts are created by applying heat and pressure to fresh or dried marijuana buds and letting the oil squeeze out. This method creates rosin.
Cannabis Extraction Technicians
Due to the increasing demand for cannabis extracts, more cannabis cultivators and manufacturers are in need of skilled extraction technicians.
Education and Skills
At this time, there isn’t a specific program devoted to cannabis extraction tech training. However, most employers look for people with prior knowledge in chemistry, biology, physics, chemical engineering, and lab technology. If you have a bachelor’s degree or higher in one of these fields, you may be eligible for extraction tech jobs.
Just like with any other job, cannabis extraction technicians must study the industry and learn new techniques. They should have a decent understanding of various solvents and how to work with them as well.
Technicians need to work quickly. They spend considerable time working with closed-loop hydrocarbon systems and commercial centrifuges. Cannabis extraction techs work with high heat, sophisticated pressurization tools, and volatile solvents to create their products, so utmost attention to safe work practices is vital.
Once they have finished extracting, they must refine the extract for medical or recreational use. Technicians will test the potency of samples and record data in addition to weighing, packaging, and monitoring their batches. Of course, they are also responsible for maintaining the lab facilities.
How to Break Into the Industry
In states where cultivation is legal, you must be at least 21 years old to work in the cannabis industry. You may need to present specific licensing and registration and pass a criminal background check, depending on your state.
Once you have attained the necessary licensing, you can apply for a position as you would any other. Many job boards specialize in cannabis careers, but you can use general boards as well. Don’t forget that advancing your education could help secure you a better position or salary.
Get Started With Extracts Today
If you are looking to start out on your own, you can experiment with solventless rosin extracts. You can invest in a high-quality rosin press for just a few hundred dollars and get acquainted with the process of isolating trichomes, cannabinoids, and terpenes. Discover how different heat settings and extraction times influence the consistency, potency, and integrity of your extracts.
If you then decide that you love the process and want to expand your skills, consider refining your technique with some formal education in chemistry and laboratory technology. You may also be able to study under experienced extraction techs. Over time, you’ll develop the skills necessary to start your own extraction business or join one of the nation’s most respected teams.
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