Posted on Leave a comment

Can dogs smell or sense cannabis oil cartridges?

German Shepherd

Dogs have an incredibly keen sense of smell. Combine this with their inquisitive nature and desire to please, and you have one powerful smell detector. 

Dogs aren’t naturally attracted to smells like marijuana. Police dogs are trained from a young age to alert to whatever substances the trainer has selected for their work. This begins by training the dog to associate the desired smell with fun. Usually, the trainer uses a desirable toy or towel that is free of any scents. They develop a bond with the dog and work to make that toy the dog’s favorite. Then the desired scent is added to the toy to make the link in the dog’s brain between the smell and the joy they get from playing with their favorite toy. At this point, the trainer will start to hide or conceal the toy, and reward the dog with playtime once the toy is discovered.

There are many ways to train a dog for scent work. Hunting dogs are trained to detect specific smells and follow a scent trail. Dogs can also be trained to detect human ailments like cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Clostridium difficile, malaria, blood sugar changes and more.

Certain breeds of dogs are usually preferred for scent work. Bloodhounds, basset hounds, German Shepherds, Labradors, Malinois, Pointers and Coonhounds are some of the most popular choices. They have the most acute sense of smell that has been further refined through years of selective breeding.

Repetition and reward is key for any type of dog training. With the right canine partner, the possibilities are endless. While it’s not likely that your pup will naturally be drawn to the scent of cannabis, these animals are highly sensitive and they use smell to understand the world around them. Regardless of whether cannabis is out in the open, inside a vape cartridge, or concealed in a smell-proof container a dog trained for scent work will be able to detect it.

Posted on Leave a comment

Chromatography In The Cannabis Industry

Hemp CBD

Did you know that over 500 different chemical components have been reportedly found in cannabis? Approximately 100 of those are cannabinoids, the main bioactive components of cannabis and hemp. The remainders are terpenes and other products like carboxylic acids.

So how do scientists tell these compounds apart? They use a scientific method called chromatography.

What is chromatography?

The word “chromatography” actually comes from words meaning “color writing.” Chromatography is one of the most important techniques a chemist can have, using it to separate out mixtures into their individual components. 

Chromatography is widely used by chemists in every industry. It helps at crime scenes, and it helps to identify biological materials. In the cannabis industry, it is used to identify the components of the extraction from hemp or cannabis. It is also used as a testing mechanism on end-products such as CBD oils or cannabis flowers.

In chromatography, a mobile phase (in this case, the cannabis product being tested) moves over a stationary phase of a liquid or solid substance. As the mobile phase moves, it separates out into its separate components onto the stationary phase.

Think of it as a swim meet. Swimmers (mobile cannabis substances) line up on the starting block to move across water (the stationary phase). Swimmers are slower or faster depending on their innate qualities, meaning the individual substances move at different speeds across the stationary solid material.

Cannabis testing

One of the biggest issues in the cannabis industry today is the testing of products marketed to consumers. Because the products are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are issues in the industry. 

Certainly, states that have legalized cannabis are implementing and enforcing testing. For example, in Michigan, the state recalled cannabis strains that tested positive for arsenic and cadmium, a heavy metal. Other news reports talk about cannabis products testing positive for toxins and pesticides.

While states should perform testing, growers and producers have a responsibility to test their products before they ever reach the state lab. This is something that we take very seriously at PhytoFamily.

Hemp Plant

Chromatography at PhytoFamily

We use a technology called chromatography, a very popular technique for testing the safety of cannabis. Chromatography has become an extremely important technology for the industry, as producers deal with the many new state regulations. One of the most important tests is the determination of the potency of the cannabinoid in the product, to ensure the customer gets what they are paying for and also to ensure that the formulation does not exceed certain state-stipulated thresholds, like for THC.

Chromatography is used for much more than just testing, though. The technology is used to separate compounds during the cannabis extraction process. In this way, PhytoFamily can create custom-tailored cannabinoid extracts. Chromatography allows us to separate out and select specific cannabinoids to concentrate them higher than levels found in any cannabis flower.

Many of these regulations require growers to test their plants for any signs of pesticide, solvent, and heavy metal contamination. Testing the intensity of cannabinoid potency is also a serious step required by regulations.

There are a number of different chromatography methods used in the cannabis and hemp industries. Let’s take a look.

High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)

High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is widely used in the cannabis industry. It is more accurate than other methods and therefore is the preferred method of separating cannabinoids and also the preferred method used for testing.

HPLC is a form of column chromatography, meaning the stationary phase is a vertical column filled with highly absorbent silica. The cannabis substance is pushed into the column at high pressure to split into its individual components. The column is then removed, and the components are analyzed. The main reason most cannabis outlets choose HPLC is that this method requires no heating. HPLC is more sensitive, more precise and much faster than other methods.

Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC)

Like HPLC, thin layer chromatography (TLC) is another form of liquid column chromatography. The mixture being studied is placed at one end of the column, and another substance called an eluant (eluent) is poured in to help move the mobile phase along.

Gas Chromatography (GC)

Gas chromatography is particularly used to screen samples for residual solvents; the method is very accurate at detecting volatile compounds. 

This method is sometimes referred to as either vapor-phase chromatography (VPC) or gas-liquid partition chromatography (GLPC), and uses gases as the mobile phase, and it is a highly automated analysis performed with lab equipment called a gas chromatograph.

Scientists in lab

A tiny sample of the mixture is injected into the chromatograph, then the mixture is heated to instantly vaporize it. The eluant is added as the carrier; in gas chromatography, neutral gases like hydrogen and helium are typically used. The eluant helps the vaporized mixture move through the column to separate out into its components.

Supercritical Fluid Chromatography (SFC)

Supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC) is a form of gas chromatography that uses carbon dioxide as the mobile phase. The principles of this method are very similar to HPLC, and the same silica columns are used. However, because gas is used, the entire system is pressurized so that the liquid and gas properties converge (which is why it is sometimes called convergence chromatography). The method is commonly used as a purification method in the pharmaceutical industry.

Centrifugal Partition Chromatography (CPC)

Centrifugal partition chromatography (CPC) is also used for cannabis and hemp extraction and purification. CPC is similar to HPLC, but it uses a liquid rather than a solid for the stationary phase. The method is newer and not yet widely used in commercial operations. Instead, it is typically used by researchers. However, the method is much less expensive and therefore has been growing in popularity for commercial use. HPLC takes much less time – around 30 minutes — and the other methods use silica, but CPC does not. The CPC columns are also reusable, and all of these efficiencies make the method more cost effective. The end result of CPC is a much purer compound – some extracts reach nearly 100 percent purity levels.


Chromatography is not exclusive to the cannabis industry. These methods are used by chemists across the world, but there are a growing number of specialized cannabis chromatographs being developed; one example is an HPLC chromatograph device called Shimadzu’s Cannabis Analyzer for Potency.

The cannabis industry is in its infancy. In the future, look for customized devices specific to the cannabis industry. These instruments will allow different analysis methods, and will be highly sensitive to allow testing for terpene levels, solvent levels and total potency.

Posted on Leave a comment

What is Live Resin?

Hemp CBD Live Resin

Live Resin is a term that describes an extract made from fresh-frozen flowers and extracted with butane. Extracts that are made with butane are sometimes referred to as “BHO” or butane hash oil. 

In order for an extract to be classified as live resin, the plants must have been frozen while they were still fresh. Freezing the plant while it’s still wet preserves all the phytochemicals before they get a chance to oxidize or evaporate off. This results in a finished extract that contains the highest possible concentrations of terpenes.

Why are terpenes so important?

Terpenes are phytochemicals that all plants produce to perform different functions like protecting themselves from insects. Terpenes is what gives each cannabis strain unique flavor, aroma, and effects. The same compounds can be found across many kinds of plants. For example, lavender is high in linalool and hops are high in myrcene—two of the most popular terpenes found in cannabis. Terpenes work synergistically to produce new effects when combined in the body, called the entourage effect. Science is just beginning to explore the possibilities of terpene combinations.

Many of the finer terpenes are extremely sensitive to heat and oxidization. When cannabis plants are dried, these terpenes transform through oxidation or evaporate off completely. This is why fresh cannabis plants smell so different from their dried and cured counterparts. 

The live resin process protects these delicate terpenes by freezing the plant, to create an extract with complex flavors and aromas that closely resemble those of the fresh flower. The name live resin was coined because these extracts smell more like live plants than any other extract.

How is live resin made?



We cryogenically freeze the plants fresh in the fields immediately after cutting them down. This prevents water and terpenes from evaporating like they would if the plants were dried.


The plant stays frozen during the entire extraction process. The extract is “winterized” inline during this process which removes undesirable fats, waxes, cellulose, and lipids.


The final step purges the excess hydrocarbons from the extract. Purging involves gently heating the extract to 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit without vacuum to off-gas most of the solvents in the mixture. This is a crucial step in high value live resin because if not done properly these products will show residual solvents on a COA.


During this phase, the extract is left undisturbed for 2-3 weeks in glass jars or pans. While the extract sits, cannabinoids start to come out of solution and recrystallize in the bottom of the container. After this, the terpene mixture or “terp sauce” can be poured off the top leaving just the cannabinoid “diamonds” behind.


After separating the terp sauce and the diamonds, they both will need to go through a final purge. Separating the crystals makes it easy to purge them for longer. Ed Rosenthal recommends purging diamonds for around 72 hours and terp sauce for around 60 hours. Afterward, the components can be used separately or mixed back together.

Sound complicated? Extraction is often more of an art form than a science, with each extractor developing their own techniques over years of trial and error. With the advances in extraction equipment and the growing popularity of live resin, we believe this is only the beginning of what master extractors will craft in the upcoming years.

Our founder Granger Vinall is a pioneer in hemp live resin and we are proud to offer his high-CBD live resin containing zero THC under Lune Laboratories. Try a jar today and taste the difference.

Posted on Leave a comment

What is CBD Isolate and what equipment is needed to produce it?

CBD Isolate

Over the past few years, CBD has become one of the most popular healthcare ingredients that you can use on your own.  CBD can be used to treat a variety of different ailments and there are several different options for how you can buy and use it depending on what you’re looking to get from CDB.  Out of all the ways you can buy it, CBD isolate is one of the most sought after, in addition to being one of the strongest forms of CBD. 

For those who are new to the world of CBD, understanding the different types can be overwhelming. Here, you can learn a little more about what CBD isolates entails and what’s needed to produce it.

Hydrocarbon Recrystallization

The majority of CBD isolate is produced with a hydrocarbon recrystallization technology. There are many tweaks and variations to this method but here is the outline of the basic method.

Before we get started, it’s important to recognize that this process utilizes highly flammable explosive solvents and should only be performed by professionals in a laboratory setting with appropriate safety precautions and procedures in place.

The process starts with winterized and distilled CBD oil, sometimes referred to as distillate. The oil must be clear before the isolate process starts. If the oil is cloudy that means there are still undesirable contaminants like water, lipids, and waxes in the mix. To fix this issue, the oil will need to be winterized again until it’s clear.

The higher the CBD content in the distillate, the more pure the final isolate will be.

First, the distillate is dissolved into a hydrocarbon solution with pentane or heptane at warm temperatures. These non-polar solvents dissolve non-polar molecules like fats, oils, waxes, and lipids while repelling water. This makes them excellent for separating out the desirable components in cannabis and hemp extraction.

After the distillate is dissolved, the cannabinoids in the solution will naturally begin to crystallize over time. This process can be accelerated by exposing the solution to cold temperatures. The cold temperatures change the solubility profile of the solvents, and cause the CBD crystals to spontaneously form, called “crashing out.”

After the CBD crystals have stopped forming it’s time to filter them out of the remaining liquid or “mother liquor.” The mother liquor can be processed again later to extract even more CBD out of it.

At this point, the crystals can be washed with cold pentane to achieve a whiter color and remove impurities. The washing process can be repeated multiple times to achieve a better appearance but this will result in lower yields. An alternative option is to dissolve the isolate and recrystallize it again to achieve a higher purity.


Chromatography is another method that can be used to produce CBD isolate. Chromatography uses separation science to remove all the other molecules besides CBD. 

This process starts with clear hemp distillate just like the hydrocarbon recrystallization method, except this method, uses ethanol instead of heptane or pentane. Ethanol is a polar solvent but the ethyl group in ethanol is non-polar. This makes it a versatile solvent that can dissolve both polar and non-polar molecules. It is also considered slightly less dangerous to work with but still requires appropriate safety procedures and precautions. 

First, the distillate is mixed with ethanol. The mixture is injected into a column filled with specialized silica that has fats bound to it. The silica is developed to hold onto different cannabinoids at different strengths so that when the mixture is injected into the column, the cannabinoids precipitate out at different rates. Because the cannabinoids are coming out of the mixture at different times, each of these “fractions” can be captured separately.

Isolate can be made with normal phase or reverse phase chromatography. The basic difference between these processes is whether the non-polar molecules (cannabinoids) come out first or last. In normal phase chromatography, the non-polar molecules come out first. In reverse-phase chromatography, the cannabinoids come out after all the polar molecules.

Both extraction methods offer benefits and can be scaled up for different production runs. At Phytofamily we have chosen to offer isolate made with techniques that do not involve washing with heptane at the end of the process. The heptane wash creates a more crystalline appearance but can result in traces of residual solvents in the end product. Our isolate is made with only ethanol and water.

Shop Isolate Here

Posted on Leave a comment

Have You Heard of Cannabicitran (CBT)?

Hemp Plant Hemp Oil on a bottle

If you know anything about cannabis, you likely know what a cannabinoid is and you also likely know about the cannabinoids THC and CBD. However, cannabis has over 100 cannabinoids and 400 compounds, so scientists have barely scratched the surface in uncovering all their great properties.

What is cannabicitran?

Have you heard of cannabicitran (CBT)? It is one of the minor cannabinoids found in the cannabis Sativa plant. The first online reference to CBT was back in 1970 when a chemist used normal-phase flash chromatography to isolate CBG from a CBD-rich hemp distillate.

Since this type of chromatography could separate CBG from all the other cannabinoids, this got him thinking, and he then used reversed-phase flash chromatography to separate and collect other cannabinoid compounds like cannabinol (CBN), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabicyclol (CBL), and cannabicitran (CBT).

Later in 2011, CBT was first mentioned in a journal publication when Japanese scientists investigated pollen collected from male Cannabis sativa L. plants and identified 16 cannabinoids in the extract using the more modern chromatography methods of GC-FID (gas chromatography with flame ionization detector) and GC-MS (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry). Cannabicitran was one of the 16 compounds they identified.

These researchers also isolated CBT from the Chinese medicinal plant Rhododendron Anthopogonoides, which is used extensively in southern China to treat bronchitis and other respiratory ailments. Their chemical analysis of the plant extract also revealed several flavonoids, essential oils, terpenes, and tannins.

The different types of cannabinoids

Cannabinoid CompoundCannabinoids are generally categorized as:

  1. Naturally occurring plant cannabinoids called Phytocannabinoids
  2. Endocannabinoids that naturally occur in humans (anandamide and adrenaline are examples) and
  3. Synthetic cannabinoids that are manufactured in a laboratory to act similarly to phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids.

Regardless of which of the three classes a cannabinoid falls into, all three do act on the cannabinoid receptors which are prominent in the brain, immune system, gut, and other body organs. While CB1 and CB2 receptors are widely known, many more types of receptors exist. In fact, CBD and THC are known to interact with over 50 different receptors. All of these receptors function to restore the body’s balance, called homeostasis.

The Process of chromatography

Today, Cloud Chromatography makes broad-spectrum tailored cannabinoid extracts to enhance your cannabis and hemp experience. Our lifeblood business involves characterizing and purifying new cannabinoids to bring you new products.

Chromatography is the science of separating and isolating chemical compounds, and we use this technology to select specific cannabinoids. CBT is a minor cannabinoid that occurs at between 1 and 5 percent in hemp distillate. We then concentrate them higher than levels found in any cannabis flower. We have experimented with concentrations ranging from 60 to 94% and have settled on a full-spectrum concentration of 70% CBT in a highly unique extract available in 30 ml bottles in either 150mg or 500mg concentrations. Our unique extraction process preserves the natural hemp terpenes, so our products are full-spectrum, containing a high terpene concentration. In our chemical analyses, we have determined CBT to be particularly lipophilic, so we use MCT coconut oil as a carrier oil.

We also offer a CBT/CBD extract in a 1:1 CBD: CBT ratio to give you a solid concentration of CBD as well as CBT for a daily source of cannabinoids. For example, our 1000mg drops are made with 500mg CBT and 500mg CBD.

The cannabinoids in this bottle are activated, therefore they are ready to be added to any food or drink or taken alone.

We are dedicated to bringing you new cannabinoids, and trying our CBT products is the perfect way to explore all the possibilities with this plant. CBD and THC may be the better-known cannabinoids, but we can’t wait to see scientists unlock the secrets of minor cannabinoids like CBT.