How To Grind Cannabis And Hemp For Top Quality Extraction

If you’re interested in producing the highest quality extracts, knowing how to grind cannabis and hemp for extraction is vital. 

When it comes to extraction, starting with the correct particle size is most important. Grinding plant material too small can result in low-quality oil while grinding too large can significantly reduce the total cannabinoid content in the extract. 

Here we’ll take a deeper look at how to grind cannabis for top-quality extraction and why grinding marijuana before extraction is imperative.

How To Grind Cannabis And Hemp For Extraction

Grinding cannabis for extraction is distinctly different from using a weed grinder to roll a joint or pack a bowl.

Properly grinding cannabis for extraction helps preserve potency, ensuring that cannabinoid and terpene levels are preserved throughout the process. Whether using ethanol, CO2, or hydrocarbon extraction methods, grinding cannabis prior to extraction is a critical, yet often overlooked, aspect of the process.

Knowing how to grind cannabis properly prior to extraction makes all the difference between a quality extract and a subpar product.

Why Should You Grind Cannabis And Hemp For Extraction?

With all cannabis extraction methods, grinding cannabis to the ideal particle size can produce a high-quality extract that contains ideal effectiveness and reduces undesirable plant compounds such as chlorophyll and plant waxes that can reduce the quality of the extract.

Grinding cannabis prior to extraction creates a uniform particle size, which ultimately preserves potency, eliminates unwanted compounds, and improves the quality of your final product.

Properly grinding weed for extraction helps preserve potency, ensuring that cannabinoid and terpene levels stay intact throughout the process. Whether using ethanol, CO2, or hydrocarbon extraction methods, grinding the cannabis bud before extraction is a critical yet often overlooked aspect of the process.

Knowing how to grind the cannabis flower properly before extraction makes all the difference between a quality extract and a sub-par product.

Are you interested in creating the best extracts possible? Knowing how to grind cannabis is key.

Why Size Is A Major Component Of Grinding Cannabis For Extraction

When it comes to cannabis extraction, the particle size of the ground weed is an important aspect to keep in mind. This is because the particle size of the plant material has a profound effect on extraction effectiveness.

Particle Size Matters

The right particle size for a specific solvent is a hugely important part of the extraction process. Grinding to the optimal particle size based on a particular solvent will result in increased extraction effectiveness, as well as the reduction of undesirable compounds such as chlorophyll and plant waxes in the final product. These elements make the oil less desirable and increase the post-processing necessary for most final products.

When you grind cannabis or hemp with an industrial cannabis grinder, you increase the surface area, making the cannabinoids and terpenes easier for the solvent to access. Grinding can also expose those things you don’t want: specifically chlorophyll and plant waxes.

A finer grind effectively lowers the selectivity of the solvent while increasing its power. The solvent grabs everything it can from the plant material and does so very quickly.

Depending on the solvent type, this can be a good thing. A smaller grind size speeds up the action of CO2. But for a powerful solvent like ethanol, grinding too fine can be a mistake.

A coarse grind (or no grind) will require more time to achieve the same extraction end. Depending on the solvent, this can be a good thing. But for most production objectives, ethanol and hydrocarbons are plenty powerful. Running a small particle size may pull out too much wax and chlorophyll.

Different Particles Sizes For Different Types Of Extraction

Different solvents require different particle sizes for optimal efficiency. Just as the particle size varies between different approaches to smoking cannabis (flower ground to be used in a joint or blunt is smaller than that used when packing a bowl), different solvents require specific particle sizes for that particular extraction method. Proper particle size ensures optimal efficiency and maximum potency while reducing undesirable compounds in the final product.

The Best Particle Size For CO2 Cannabis And Hemp Extraction

Cannabis and hemp should be milled to a particle size of 1/16” – 3/16” for CO2 extractors.

Grinding cannabis to a smaller particle size when using a CO2 extractor helps to pull out beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes at lower pressures (without the terpene-compromising high temperatures).
Because CO2 extractors run at super-high pressures (approximately 2,000 psi), the movement of the solvent through the material column can create “channeling.” When the particle size is too large or the grind is inconsistent, the solvent channels rivers in the material where it can flow through easier. This leaves other areas of the plant material untouched and under-extracted.

The solution to this problem is small pieces and a consistent grind. When all the plant material is evenly packed and homogeneously sized, the supercritical CO2 reaches all areas of the extraction column and retrieves all the oil.

Why is there such a range of particle sizes for CO2 extraction? There is a big difference between 1/16” and 3/16”, after all. There are a couple of reasons.

For one, production objectives vary from producer to producer, and so does the plant material. Some strains may require smaller pieces and longer runs, while other high-potency strains may do better with a larger size and shorter runs because they extract more easily. Another reason is the desired purity of the oil itself. Shorter runs with a larger particle size yield a better oil — but less of it. On the other hand, smaller particle sizes show to increase overall yield. That said, particle size will affect the overall yield depending upon what solvent is implemented in extraction.

The Best Particle Size For Ethanol Cannabis and Hemp Extraction

Cannabis and hemp should be milled to a particle size of 5/64” – 1/4” for ethanol extractors.

Ethanol is a powerful and efficient solvent for cannabis and hemp extraction. Extraction is quick, occurring in as little as 15 minutes. The process is best performed at lower temperatures so there is less co-extraction of undesirable compounds like chlorophyll and wax co-extracts from the plant material. A coarse grind is best, and some producers choose not to grind plant material whatsoever. A larger grind size combined with colder temperatures helps retain the cellular structure of the plant material, which helps improve cannabinoid extraction and reduce the need for post-processing. 

One of the main benefits of ethanol extraction is that it can significantly increase production capacity. The proper particle size can help decrease the solvent necessary per pound of plant material. When plant material is ground, more material can fit in the extraction vessel per run, ultimately increasing production speed and reducing the ethanol that needs to be distilled in post-processing.

The Best Particle Size For Cannabis And Hemp Hydrocarbon Extraction

Cannabis and hemp should be milled to a particle size of 5/64” – 1/8” for hydrocarbon extractors.

The perfect particle size to grind cannabis and hemp for a hydrocarbon extractor can be a bit larger or smaller depending on the strain—the sweet spot for hydrocarbon extraction is 5/64” – 1/8”. Hydrocarbons like butane and propane are powerful solvents, but because the solvent flows through the plant material under pressure, channeling can occur the same way it does during CO2 extraction. While this channeling problem is less severe with hydrocarbon extraction, it’s still best to avoid large particle sizes or unground material.

Choosing A Quality Grinder For Cannabis And Hemp Extraction

The cannabis grinder you choose to prepare plant material for extraction can make or break effective cannabis and hemp extraction. For professionals interested in extracting the purest, highest-quality oils possible, choosing a quality grinder is imperative.

Not only does a quality cannabis grinder offer consistent plant particle sizes for extraction and pre-rolls, but it also helps maintain precious plant compounds such as cannabinoids and terpenes. A quality grinder supports the preservation of delicate trichomes during the grinding process, ensuring the potency, flavor, aroma, and other properties of a particular strain are maintained throughout the extraction process.

What To Look For In A Quality Grinder

There are plenty of options when searching for commercial cannabis grinders for various cannabis extraction methods. Features to look for in high-quality grinders:

  • Stainless steel material: Some grinders use nylon whips, similar to a weed eater. These whip grinders aren’t ideal as they can destroy precious cannabis compounds. The nylon can also wear and break down, ending up in the ground product, which must then be removed. The highest quality cannabis grinder will be made from 100% stainless steel construction, including the blades, which are responsible for the majority of the grinding.
  • Consistency: A high-quality commercial cannabis grinder guarantees a consistent grind and uniform particle size with each batch of processed plant material, ultimately ensuring efficient extraction.
  • Low heat output: A high-quality cannabis grinder is designed to generate minimal heat through a slow and steady grind speed. More aggressive, high-friction grinders produce more heat, which can damage trichomes and decrease the potency of your product. Low heat allows for greater trichome retention, which helps maintain optimal cannabinoid and terpene levels. Lower heat is a direct result of a lower-speed motor. While a faster motor speed may save time, it ultimately reduces the quality of your product.
  • Variable grinding options: A quality grinder will be equipped with variable speed operation and screen configurations that can be used with any strain or moisture level to offer consistently uniform particle size and minimal trichome dust. They will also be easy to disassemble and quick to clean.
  • GMP Compliant: Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP) has become the industry standard for quality assurance. The highest-quality cannabis grinders are compliant for integration into GMP-certified facilities, ultimately offering the quality assurance that cannabis products are consistent and safe to consume.

The Mobius M210 Cannabis Mill encompasses all the mentioned criteria of a high-quality commercial grinder and then some.

  • Stainless steel construction
  • Low heat
  • Consistent particle size with dry flower or fresh frozen material
  • Configurations for optimal CO2, ethanol, and hydrocarbon extraction
  • GMP ready

With a simple, robust design that is easy to use, disassemble, and clean, the Mobius M210 Cannabis Mill is one of the most sought-after industrial cannabis grinders on the market.

The Mobius M210 comes with a money-back guarantee and a one-year/1,000-hour warranty. We understand a commercial grinder is an investment. With the M210, however, your investment is 100% risk-free.

Final Thoughts On How To Grind Cannabis For The Highest Quality Extraction

High-quality extraction is dependent on a high-quality grind. Knowing how to grind cannabis for efficient extraction offers a better understanding of how imperative it is to invest in a high-quality grinder.

When it comes to grinding flowers for different cannabis extraction methods, size does matter.

Consistently achieving a uniform size best suited for your preferred type of extraction, whether ethanol, hydrocarbon, or CO2, makes all the difference between a high-quality oil and a sub-par product.

The best way to achieve a consistent particle size?

With the best commercial cannabis grinder, of course — the Mobius M210 cannabis mill. The grinder used to prepare plant material for extraction is largely considered just as important as the actual extraction itself.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do grinders crush trichomes?

High-quality grinders are designed with trichome retention in mind. The Mobius M210, for example, uses an ultra-low speed motor that generates minimal heat to reduce trichome loss and powder, unlike high-friction grinders that contribute to the reduction of trichomes.

Do you remove stems before grinding?

Plant material should be bucked, trimmed, and cured before grinding, so the larger stems and branches are removed. Bucking with an integrated stem chipper, like in the MBX, will chip the stems and branches into small pieces, so the buds are fully prepped to go through the Mill. When using the Mobius M210 Mill, there is no need to remove additional small stems before grinding to the desired particle size.

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