Refined hempseed oil is clear and colorless, with little flavor and lacks natural vitamins and antioxidants. Refined hempseed oil is primarily used in body care products. Industrial hempseed oil is used in lubricants, paints, inks, fuel, and plastics. Hempseed oil is used in the production of soaps, shampoos and detergents. The oil has a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids. It may also be used as a feedstock for the large-scale production of biodiesel.
A wide variety of solvents can be used for extraction, such as chloroform, dichloromethane, petroleum ether, naphtha, benzene, butane, methanol, ethanol, isopropanol, and olive oil. Currently, resinoids are often obtained by extraction with supercritical carbon dioxide. The alcohols extract undesirable water-soluble substances such as chlorophylls and sugars (which can be removed later by washing with water). Non-polar solvents such as benzene, chloroform and petroleum ether will not extract the water-soluble constituents of marijuana or hashish while still producing hash oil. In general, non-polar cannabis extracts taste much better than polar extracts. Alkali washing further improves the odor and taste.
Typically, pharmaceutical companies making cannabis-based medicines have sought to isolate individual compounds from the plant. But Mechoulam strongly suspects that in some cases those chemicals would work much better in concert with other compounds found in marijuana. He calls this the entourage effect, and it’s just one of the many cannabis mysteries that he says require further study.
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