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John Goepfert: Trade Secret Unlocks True Cannabis Extraction Potential

The proprietary process that achieves 100% cannabis extraction.

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This week, American Extractions President John Goepfert joins the Cannabis Equipment News podcast to discuss his proprietary process that achieves 100% cannabis extraction.

John Goepfert is an entrepreneur. He has his hands in many industries and owns several businesses. Around 2010, he started performing molecular extractions. He was working with the pharmaceutical industry to pull salicin, an aspirin building block, out of willow bark. He created a new extraction process using thermal cycling, which uses temperature to weaken cell walls. The method yielded up to 60% more active ingredients than standard processes used in the industry.

Goepfert isn't an engineer by trade, more of a curious mind in an endless pursuit of knowledge. He was born into it, coming from a long line of scientists, including a father who was an actual rocket scientist. 

Goepfert founded American Extractions three years ago in Janesville, Wisconsin, to develop his new method further. While thermal cycling was working, he wanted something more efficient and faster. In addition, he found current extraction processes to be antiquated. He also wanted something that didn't rely on chemistry. He says that chemical-based extraction leaves "fingerprints" or elements of extraction compounds in the raw material. 

He invented a proprietary process he calls cellular deconstruction technology, which provides "whole spectrum extraction" that delivers 100% of the cannabinoids in the plant. Using a machine he calls "George," Goepfert pulls out everything known and unknown in the plant at the time of harvest. In tests, Goepfert's CBD extract included 16 unknown cannabinoids that had never been seen before. 

Previous extraction technology typically yields 50% to 70% of the material. American Extractions pulls 100% out of the plant, though Goepfert says he delivers 99.99% to customers because some material is left behind on the tubing and vat. 

The importance of whole spectrum extraction in cannabis is something called the "entourage effect." Basically, minor cannabinoids need to be present in order to optimize the effects of the primary cannabinoids, like THC and CBD. Research hasn't yet determined the percentages necessary to achieve such optimization, but Goepfert suggests that extracting everything out in the same ratios they were in the plant as it grew is likely to be the most effective.

The company has the tests to back its claims. Still, it remains challenging to go to market due to the amount of disinformation and an overall lack of knowledge in the industry, according to Goepfert. 

George extracts 100% of the cannabinoids from plant material in less than an hour. The process is quicker, more efficient and doesn't call for the same chemicals other methods require. 

Goepfert says he was inspired by the people who said such an achievement could never be done. He says complacency and lack of innovation have stymied the industry. He recalls a lesson from his father, who told him, "There's nothing you can't do; it just depends on the amount of energy that you are willing to put into it." Goepfert is a man with a lot of energy. 

Goepfert has chosen to keep George a trade secret. He is confident that a patent will only bring overseas competitors who don't respect the U.S. patent process and would force him to quickly compete against his own creation. 

American Extractions' whole spectrum products are available through white label and private label programs. A testament to George's efficiency, the amount of extract the machine produces in an hour is enough to supply the other machines at the plant with enough material to produce gummies, tinctures and other products for eight hours.

The technology has potential in many other industries looking to pull compounds out of biological material. For example, Goepfert was recently approached by a company looking to extract wine byproducts. 

Goepfert's proprietary process has already begun to disrupt the CBD industry. Unfortunately, Wisconsin's current cannabis prohibition leaves THC product development in limbo, but if/when things change in the state, it will unlock George's full potential. 

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