According to recent reports from Global Market Insights, Inc., the global legal cannabis market could reach $59 billion in the next five years. Sighting medical treatments for ailments such as pain, neurological disorders, arthritis, and HIV/AIDS, the research states medical marijuana legalization in several countries across the globe will significantly impact the overall growth of the market.
For producers, keeping up with consumer demand can be difficult. Plants only grow so fast, drying and curing are critical but tedious, extraction processes are challenging to scale, and post-extraction cannabinoid purification is time-consuming and expensive. These production bottlenecks increase the amount of time it takes to bring a safe, cannabis, or hemp-derived product from seed to sale, thus doing little to change the dynamics of supply and demand – regardless of how much biomass is harvested.
Besides the apparent production issues caused by a fledgling industry coping with unparalleled growth, scaling processes that once worked for a 250 sq. ft. personal grow, into a 25,000 sq. ft. commercial cultivation facility has proven to be difficult for many growers. Attaining efficiencies and precision cannabinoid formulations for mass production typically meant extensive extraction facilities, high-tech laboratory equipment, and the staff to operate it all.
Efficiency, Precision, and Speed for Mass Cannabinoid Production
Designed to streamline post-extraction processing speed, efficiency, and precision, Affinity™, a new cannabinoid purification technology introduced by Sixth Wave, resolves many of the problems limiting cannabis producers today.
Affinity Molecules: Relentless and Efficient Nano-Machines
With modern advances in science and technology, molecular engineering and nanotechnology are emerging disciplines that have infinite possibilities in the world of legal cannabis. Sixth Wave designed Affinity based on the foundations of molecular engineering, or the design of molecular entities with the ability to sense and attach to valuable compounds at the parts per million level and beyond.
In chemistry, nano attachments are often referred to as “ligands.” Affinity ligands act as “nano-machines”; or tiny devices that have been programmed to relentlessly perform a single task: the detection and appropriation of target materials at the atomic level. Similarly, Affinity ligands are “intelligent molecules” with a fundamental intelligence: the ability to instantly appraise (and interact with) target structures such as select cannabinoids.
Affinity Beads: The Revolutionary Science Behind the Affinity Extraction Process
Using this advanced scientific methodology, Sixth Wave created Affinity beads, which are made of a durable polymer and contain millions of Affinity ligands on the bead surface. With an exceptional internal porosity, these molecularly imprinted polymers, or MIPs, quickly and efficiently adsorb cannabinoid target molecules.
Creating the Affinity beads starts with imprinting the architecture of the individual cannabinoid molecule onto the surface of the bead and then stripping it away, essentially creating a cast of the target molecule. The “geometric cavity” left behind can only be filled by the missing cannabinoid, much like a lock and key.
During processing, the beads seek to fill the voids, by targeting the missing molecule with exacting speed and precision. Essentially, Affinity Beads are programmed to attach only to the specific target, with surgical precision, leaving all other compounds behind. The Affinity system is far superior to legacy chromatography solutions, which grapples with a lack of selectivity and sluggish circuit completion time.
Affinity Speed: Time is Money and Affinity Helps Producers Save Both
Reducing the number of steps it takes producers to move from crude extract to retail-ready, isolates, and THC-free distillates can help to reduce significant production bottlenecks. With traditional technology, many of the processes are extremely time intensive. For example, the average chromatographic circuit can take several hours for reactions to complete. On the other hand, the Affinity molecular binding process uses kinetic interactions, which are almost instantaneous, making the entire process remarkably fast.
Using the hundreds of thousands of micropores found in the Affinity Bead surface, target molecules such as THC and CBD can be adsorbed upon contact. Then, using an ethanol elution, the target compounds are released just as quickly and easily. From start to finish, the Affinity purification process is significantly faster and less expensive than legacy chromatography, according to company reports.
Technology Advancements Lead the Way
Throughout the history of humanity, technology advances have created opportunities for improved processes, cheaper manufacturing methods, and greater efficiencies. As the cannabis and hemp industries continue to flourish, technology methods such as Affinity by Sixth Wave promise to help embody the same principles to improve cannabinoid purification for commercial applications.
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