Residual Solvents

Cannbis Pesticide screening

Residual solvent analysis is important for any highly-concentrated forms of cannabis.  When butters, oils, wax and shatters are created, solvents are used to extract the cannabinoids from the physical plant material.  Some of the most commonly used solvents and trace residues for extracting cannabinoids from cannabis include:

  • Acetone
  • Butane
  • Ethanol
  • Heptane
  • Hexane
  • Isopropanol
  • Pextane
  • Propane

There are three classes of residual solvents based on their assessed risk to human health.  Repeated exposure to residual solvents can cause significant health issues to patients, including allergic reactions, headaches, nausea and more.

  • Class 1 Solvents are solvents that are to be avoided because they are known carcinogens, suspected carcinogens and environmental hazards.
  • Class 2 Solvents are to be limited. These may be possible causative agents or other irreversible toxicity like neurotoxicity.
  • Class 3 Solvents have low toxic potential and should be the only solvent used for extracting cannabinoids from cannabis materials.

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GC with Flame Ionization Detector

GC Potency Testing

Residual solvents are analyzed using gas chromatography with a flame ionization detector (FID) and a headspace autosampler.  Most residual solvents can be analyzed with this methodology, however carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide cannot.  Some methods call for the use of gas chromatography with a mass spectrometer. 

Browse our inventory of residual solvent GC instruments:

*GenTech is an analytical equipment provider. Please reference your government, state and local regulations for testing requirements