Purification Technology Set to Revolutionize Cannabinoid Isolation

by | Dec 23, 2019

Written by Kristina Etter

Kristina is a digital content creator and designer. She has a talent for creating engaging and informative content that resonates with our professional audience. Kristina’s passion for the cannabis industry stems from her belief that it has the potential to revolutionize the world in many ways, and has a personal testimony of cannabis success.

To revolutionize something, by definition, means to bring about “a dramatic and wide-reaching change in the way something works, or is organized, or in people's ideas about it.” Without question, Sixth Wave Innovations, a nanotechnology company based out of Canada, is about to embark on a revolutionary journey, as they introduce the Affinity™ purification system to the cannabis and hemp industries.

Get ready for the next generation in THC-free production and individualized cannabinoid formulations. Designed to end the bottleneck created by small-batch, legacy chromatography processes, Affinity™ by Sixth Wave, offers easy, efficient, and scalable cannabinoid isolation for producers of all sizes.

Cannabinoid Purification that Shines like Gold

Headquartered in Vancouver, Sixth Wave originally developed its patented extraction processes for the mining industry to pinpoint and extract molecules of gold. The process allowed mining operations to remove and collect precious metals that had been previously unattainable through traditional mining methods. Recognizing that cannabinoid extraction was a similar process, it didn’t take the company long to make the connection between mining for precious metals and mining for valuable cannabinoids. 

With the realization that many products on the shelves today don’t contain the amount of CBD or THC reported on the label, the team at Sixth Wave modified their design to help cannabis and hemp producers deliver precise, accurate cannabinoid formulations in a footprint suitable and practical for the blossoming industry.

AffinityTM: A Nano Tech Breakthrough in Cannabinoid Purification

Before the evolution of extraction technology, extracting cannabinoids from biomass involved highly specialized, expensive laboratory equipment. On top of that, cannabinoid isolation typically included a number of post-extraction processes, like winterization, distillation, and chromatography. Affinity™, on the other hand, uses nanotechnology molecular targeting to skip these costly steps and move directly from crude to post-production cannabinoid isolation.

How It Works

Using molecularly imprinted polymer beads, or MIPs, the Affinity™ purification system simplifies the process by isolating cannabinoids directly from the crude extract. MIPs are formed, using the target molecule to create molecule-specific cavities, or pockets, designed to capture only that targeted molecule. Similar to a “lock and key” process, only specific molecules will fit in the pockets formed within the MIP.

Once the MIPs are formed, then they are added to a blend of food-grade ethanol and water, along with the cannabis or hemp crude oil. In a series of columns, the ethanol solution liquefies the crude, while the MIPs pinpoint and capture the target molecule from the mixture.

In the final step, another ethanol wash removes the cannabinoids from the bead and the resulting liquid can be evaporated to produce a high concentration cannabinoid product. Whether the producer is isolating cannabinoids for specific product formulation or simply performing THC remediation to provide a true, T-free CBD product, Affinity offers the most efficient and cost-effective way to harvest the individual cannabinoids.

A view of the top of the Affinity™ system.

The Advantages of Affinity™

Legacy chromatography solutions present problems for manufacturers, including only being able to process small amounts of material, extremely high capital expense, as well as high operating costs. The equipment requires highly skilled staff and multi-stage, time-consuming processes to isolate and remediate specific cannabinoids. Additionally, legacy systems often result in massive yield loss with as much as 15 percent cannabinoid loss through the isolation process alone when using chromatography.   Other steps in the purification of cannabinoids have additional losses that can be avoided with Affinity™.  Elimination of these product losses has massive financial benefits to the LP’s that use Affinity.

The Affinity™ system by Sixth Wave solves all of these issues, providing unprecedented throughput and unrivaled yields. As a continuous, closed-loop system, Affinity™ offers negligible loss and complete cannabinoid recovery. More importantly, contaminants, such as pesticides, heavy metals, and other toxins are never targeted. Instead, they simply pass through the system, leaving behind clean, pure, and safe cannabinoids ready for pet and human consumption products.

Since each cannabinoid has a unique molecular structure, MIPs can be created to target any number of individual cannabinoids such as THC, CBD, or even minor cannabinoids like CBG, CBC, CBN, and many others. In fact, the beads are so efficient, they leave virtually no cannabinoid unadsorbed with efficiencies at a parts per billion scale. Thus, Affinity™ provides producers with nearly zero yield loss.

Most impressive is that Affinity™ does all of this, at a fraction of the cost, in an ambient environment, with no harsh solvents or skilled labor required.

Join Cannabis Tech on January 15th, 2020 for a live webcast with Sixth Wave CEO, Dr. Jonathon Gluckman to talk about this ground-breaking technology with a live Q&A session. Learn everything you need to know about the Affinity™ Cannabinoid Purification System and take a leap into the future of cannabinoid extraction.