Sustainability, DIY, cannabis; three big trends in today’s society, where people are looking to do things more efficiently, and do things for themselves. ExtractCraft brought all three of these pillars together to build their business model, one that allows customers to process their own cannabis, efficiently and effectively, from the comfort of their own homes.
We had the opportunity to speak with ExtractCraft CEO Troy Ivan about the importance of sustainability in the cannabis industry and how DIY applies to cannabis processing.
Cannabis & Tech Today: Why is it so important to have sustainability built into your ExtractCraft’s model? Why do you think it’s important for the cannabis business?
Troy Ivan: Sustainability is the idea of Earth and all of us as its inhabitants being able to coexist in the best approximation to harmony possible. Unfortunately, from the beginning of the industrial age this fact was generally ignored until the results of our recklessness began to show in pollution, deforestation, and now global warming.
Working as sustainably as possible is not a choice, but an absolute requirement for every company whether it’s a mainstream or cannabis business.
Now that we better understand that natural resources are finite, the Earth needs to be cared for as we care for ourselves, and we have to do our best to pass on a healthy Earth to the generations that will follow, not being wasteful, and working as sustainably as possible is not a choice, but an absolute requirement for every company whether it’s a mainstream or cannabis business. Then, when you think of agriculture in general and cannabis, and their direct connection to the environment, nothing is more important for them than the health of the Earth, so sustainability becomes even more relevant to prosper in the long term, let alone for survival.
C&T Today: I read on your website that you have 20 years of experience building startups. What did you learn from all that experience that you were able to apply to the cannabis industry?
TI: For the majority of my career I was overseas in the financial markets building new areas of business, bringing new technology to market, and working for a couple startups that ended up being acquired. Some of this was building new opportunities in well established companies, while others were working within very small, early stage companies that were acquired.
What all of these positions had in common was building something new and really working hard to achieve a successful outcome where others have either never tried, or even more difficult, where others have already failed, sometimes multiple times. What this teaches you is that you have to find new approaches to developmental problems either in the way you look at a problem or the way you look at a solution.
What I see a lot of is people that base their decisions on their experience alone. What I have learned is that to succeed where others cannot requires the ability to step outside of your own limited experience and find out what it is that you really don’t know about the problem and develop an approach to the eventual solution. I believe this skill of looking for unknown paths to success, outside of my knowledge and experience, is what has helped me in ExtractCraft’s journey to success.
The landscape is much different now than it was just a few years ago in terms of cannabis regulations, banking, sentiment, marketing, and advertising. While things are better now, it is still very difficult to reach the consumer with a clear message like mainstream marketing campaigns can. Being bold, trying new things, developing new skills, and not being scared to fail are the main points I have drawn from my previous experience to find a successful path forward with the unique restrictive difficulties presented by the cannabis market.
C&T Today: DIY is such a big trend now, but this is the first time I’ve seen the term applied to a cannabis company. How does the term apply to ExtractCraft and how does it look in practice?
TI: DIY is exactly what ExtractCraft is about and why the word ‘Craft’ is even in our name. We are all about connecting with the Earth and the power of the plants it provides us with. Being able to take cannabis or hemp and make your own extracts gives you perfect control over what is being ingested into your body, exactly what form of concentrate you have, and what you make with it while freeing yourself from limited store shelf offerings and never having to worry about quality of what you have.
People have been making tinctures, infusions, and hot stills for a long time, but ExtractCraft is the first to actually put lab equipment on the kitchen counter and allow anyone to perform the difficult task of balancing ambient temperature, ambient pressure, vacuum, volatile ethanol liquid boiling, evaporation, vapor management, condensation, and ethanol collection all with only the single push of a button. This is the first time the at-home user can recover nearly all of the ethanol that’s put into the machine, saving real money and making exactly what they want from a clean, smokeable/vape-able product in forms from oil, shatter, crumble, and budder to a deeper extraction for oral or topical applications.
It works at low temperatures so you can make either a THCA end product, or you can decarb the plant material prior to extraction or the oil afterward for a converted THC product. Until recently, at-home DIY was restricted to only decarbed, gross green butter or over heated and scorched oil. Now anyone with ExtractCraft equipment has the ability to truly craft whatever they desire.
This versatility and access to the botanicals around us for the DIY crafter is nearly boundless. Customers can obviously make cannabis and CBD extractions, but they can also make extractions from nearly any botanical to be used on its own or in combination with a cannabis or CBD extract. The extractions can be used for the culinary arts, aroma therapy, apothecary, medicinal and recreational applications like chili, mushroom, lavender, rose, vanilla, expresso, French oak, agar wood, and nearly anything you can imagine to put together.
One of my favorite combinations is an espresso and vanilla extract combined with a cannabis extract and sugar to make a delicious, caffeine packed, medicated cotton candy that I call “Espresso Potten Candy.” For those that are hesitant or intimidated by the thought of doing real extraction at home, there is a very friendly community waiting to lend a hand on the Facebook groups “ExtractCraft Users Group” and “ExtractCraft Culinary and Aroma Extraction Arts”. There is also a great blog site with tons of information written by Ichiban Crafter at www.extractcrafter.com. Lastly, we have extensive videos on our YouTube channel. We didn’t only build the machine for DIY, we also built a very engaged, fun, and supportive community; just check out the resources and before you even purchase you will see what all the excitement is about.
C&T Today: Do you have any sustainability data you can share?
TI: As an appliance equipment manufacturer, sustainability is a tough hurdle but we do our best by choosing long lasting quality parts and materials as well as very efficient use of energy. The Source Turbo works on an average draw of only 60W and maximum peak of only around 100W. The real sustainability advantages come in with what the equipment is used for.
First, the ethanol recovery rate for the Source Turbo is 95-percent+ and the EtOH PRO is 98-percent+, which makes the capture of the reclaimed ethanol for reuse not only a huge cost saver for the user but keeps the ethanol from being boiled off into the surroundings and wasted. Second, being able to process your own plants at home provides great efficiency by growing and processing your own meds. This benefit is magnified when we add running the same plant material a second time to make sure of the highest yield efficiency and also the ability to turn trim that many people used to throw away into valuable and medicine packed oil, wasting nothing. This also saves on trips to the dispensary, wasteful disposable packaging, and more potent medicine so you have to use less.
With all of these advantages, especially the recovery of the ethanol for reuse, our equipment actually pays for itself in a very short period. I can’t tell you how many times we hear that buying our equipment has not only changed someone’s life, its also the best investment they’ve ever made.