Searching For Eden Labs: Extraction Pioneers Refine Plant Medicine

Eden Labs plant medicine pedigree extends far beyond the cannabis plant.

Eden Labs may be internationally known as a pioneering cannabis extraction system provider based in Seattle, Washington, but the company has roots in indigenous and botanical medicine. 

The company was originally founded by Fritz Chess. Chess, formerly a science writer, wrote an article on the company Shaman Pharmaceuticals in 1995 that changed the course of his life and the cannabis industry forever. The company was doing surveys of indigenous medicine and attempting to identify the active medicinal compounds. Inspired to begin creating his own plant medicine, Chess tried unsuccessfully to find an extraction machine to experiment with. Instead he created his own designs that led to the Coldfinger ethanol systems we now know.

Chess went on to invent and promote the initial carbon dioxide (CO₂) systems that are used throughout the biofuel, cannabis, and botanical industries today. 

In the mid 90s, he was the first to create a supercritical CO₂ extract of kava kava, a plant from the South Pacific used for anxiety and other medical conditions. Chess even supplied the California market with the first cannabis CO₂ extraction system in 1996 after Prop 215 passed. Chess and Eden Labs have registered multiple patents with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for their designs, and they are often cited in patent applications by other inventors. (US20120141610)

“He started with other plants, but in conjunction, he extracted cannabis,” Eden Labs CEO A.C. Braddock said.

 Laurel (Lo) Friesen, Founder and CEO of Heylo Cannabis Extracts, with an Eden Labs processing system. Heylo was the winner of several awards for their extracts at the Seattle Terpestival competition earlier this year.

Laurel (Lo) Friesen, Founder and CEO of Heylo Cannabis Extracts, with an Eden Labs processing system. Heylo was the winner of several awards for their extracts at the Seattle Terpestival competition earlier this year.

While Chess and Eden Labs were the first, 15 years later the extraction gold rush caught up when Eden’s welding contractor, Apeks Fabrication, adopted Eden’s design and became Eden’s first competitor. Waters Corp was next, two years later. However, Braddock sees advantages to her company’s longstanding experience in the cannabis extraction field and their continuing evolution of unique designs based on high performance systems and extraction methodologies for specific botanicals.

“Much of the industry is just putting out machines that are copies of our initial designs or later iterations,” Braddock said. “We’ve moved past those and have dialed in some key features for cannabis production, like automated terpene fractionation. This plant is so resinous and has so many crucial compounds that it’s unlike any other plant in process development.”

Braddock said the company uses sophisticated engineering and materials to help with the high resin levels of the cannabis plant. Eden Labs newest designs include high throughput, automation, and fractionation—the ability to separate the constituents of a botanical while extracting.
Eden Labs’ Hi-Flo™ CO₂ extraction systems were used to create the cannabis extracts that won 11 of 12 awards for terpene content and effect at the 2017 Terpestival in Seattle. The Terpestival is a cannabis competition designed to award growers and extractors for creating flower and extracts that have high terpene content and unique terpene profiles. Puffin Farms, Optimum Extracts, and Heylo Cannabis are the processors that took home the awards. (http://terpestival.confidentcannabis.io/2017/)

Heylo Cannabis CEO and Founder Laurel (Lo) Friesen said the unique designs are suited for cannabis production.

“Eden Labs Hi-Flo is robust, easy to operate, and incredibly reliable,” Friesen said. “I chose Eden because I knew this was the best machine that came with the support that I knew I would need to start my company on the right foot. Eden Labs is still the recommended CO₂ extraction system manufacturer because their customers can attest to the fact that this machine was meant for cannabis high-performance extraction.”

Eden Labs designs systems for all solvents, including hydrocarbons such as butane and propane. However, due to the immaturity of the market in 2009, the company chose to focus on supercritical CO₂ and ethanol for the cannabis industry. Braddock explained, “At that time, the black market was rife with homemade light hydrocarbon systems that were extremely unsafe, post processing was primarily non-existent, and the media was having a field day with negative stories on explosions that reflected badly on the entire concentrates sector. I realized we needed to promote safe processing and end products to move the industry further faster. So we created the CO₂ market and took ethanol extraction to another level to help legalization on the medical platform … the only way legalization was occurring at that time.”

Braddock followed up on Eden Labs’ commitment to finding the best way to extract cannabis for human health while speaking at the Cannabis Alliance Summit on the Therapeutic Uses of Plants panel in January.

“I don’t want to downplay isolates too much, because obviously, isolates are useful, but they aren’t new. Isolates in the past have primarily led to synthesization, so I want to emphasize that when we do isolate, we do it responsibly by utilizing combinations of the whole plant,” Braddock said, while holding an orange up for the crowd at the event. “We can have the orange, which provides multiple health benefits, or we can take an isolate, a vitamin C pill. When you take a vitamin C pill you’re not going to get the more than 60 flavonoids, phytochemicals, or any of the other healing and nutritional properties of the orange. Certainly, with cannabis, is it evident we are made for each other and to bastardize puts the industry and people at risk. It is time to change how we look at plants, and this plant is trying to lead the way. Plants are here as nutraceuticals … for nutrition, basic health, and well-being, as well as medicinal use. I would like to keep getting this message across to further legitimize this plant mainstream.”

For more information on Eden Labs products or to visit the company extraction blog or forum, visit www.edenlabs.com.

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