The white-walled post-processing room at Bodhi High’s production facility conjures both chemistry lab and commercial kitchen. In one corner of a room, a man crouches over his science project, while a series of bubbling glass tubes and hoses yield a small, slow drip of amber liquid.
“That’s a short-path distillation apparatus. What that does is it uses temperature and vacuum to help separate the molecules that make up the cannabinoids,” said Erik Herr, vice president of production and processing.
He doesn’t want the process photographed. “It’s not necessarily proprietary, but a lot of people want to know what we do and how we do it.”
Across the room, a long-haired man uses a spatula to scrape honey-like HTE — high-terpene extract — from something that resembles a casserole dish. On baking sheets lined with parchment paper, thin layers of golden “shatter” sit out to crystallize after having emerged from the vacuum ovens on the wall behind him.
“In the (cannabis) concentrate world, people are very particular about the type they want. The biggest difference is just the consistency,” Herr said. The product can range from the light, brittle “shatter” to a darker, stickier version. “It just depends on how you want to smoke it and what your desired method is.”
Fewer terpenes means less flavor. While darker color can indicate lower quality, high terpene content may also give the extract a darker hue, Herr said. Mason jars filled with the final product sit on the counter, colorful names inked onto the labels.
“We have our own brand lines, but we also process for other companies. So, what you saw there, this is something that we’re actually doing for Phat Panda,” said Lacrecia Hill, vice president of business operations. (Phat Panda is another processor.)
Details about a product — from where the cannabis is grown, any pesticides used, its processing facility and more — are, by law, disclosed on the product label.
In the warehouse area of the Spokane-area facility, the cannabis plants arriving from local farms are graded, weighed and inspected. When it’s time for extraction, the product is placed in metal tubes to extract the oils and terpenes.
“This is a 4,000 gram tube, so that’s roughly 8 pounds of cannabis,” Herr says. Behind a door, the extraction process is, raucously, underway.
“What we have here is a real basic system of transferring gases. We have chilled hydrocarbon gas — in this case, butane and propane. Then the gas is introduced into the [column] where it washes all the cannabinoids and the terpenes out of the material,” Herr shouted over the commotion of two noisy but rhythmic machines.
The extract, at that point a liquid gas, is forced out of the plant and collected in a chamber below.
“I believe we recover about a pound every seven minutes,” he said. “All the pumps in here are pneumatic, so they run off an air compressor, so there’s very minimum electricity that runs in here.”
Upstairs, a team weighs and portions out the product, then packages and labels it before it’s sent to retailers.
“We started out in the medical community, so our stronghold in Eastern Washington has been pretty hard so far,” Hill said.
Bodhi High products can be used in cartridges and vape pens, plus Bodhi Essentials, a line of high-CBD body care products designed to relieve aches and skin irritation without the psychoactive effects of high THC. These products contain cannabis oil and other natural ingredients like shea and cocoa butters.
The products with the recognizable flower can be found at retailers across Washington. Spokane area locations include Satori, Lucky Leaf, Treehouse Club, Sativa Sisters, Locals CannaHouse and The Vault.