Cannabis plant has long been execrated by law in different nations due to the psychoactive properties of only a few cannabinoids. Recent scientific advances coupled with growing public awareness of cannabinoids as a medical commodity drove legislation change and brought about a historic transition where the demand rose over ten-fold in less than five years. On the other hand, the technology required for cannabis processing and the extraction of the most valuable chemical compounds from the cannabis flower remains the bottleneck of processing technology. This paper sheds light on the downstream processing steps and principles involved in producing cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa
L. (Hemp) biomass. By categorizing the extraction technology into seed and trichome, we examined and critiqued different pretreatment methods and technological options available for large-scale extraction in both categories. Solvent extraction methods being the main focus, the critical decision-making parameters in each stage, and the applicable current technologies in the field, were discussed. We further examined the factors affecting the cannabinoid transformation that changes the medical functionality of the final cannabinoid products. Based on the current trends, the extraction technologies are continuously being revised and enhanced, yet they still fail to keep up with market demands.
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