Microwave assisted solvent-free extraction of the active ingredients from Cannabis Sativa plant for use in cosmetics and nutraceuticals

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The Microexativa project involves the development of a pilot scale prototype to conduct an innovative solvent-free extraction process using a microwave (MW), for the extraction of substances with high added value from Cannabis Sativa, with the ultimate goal of developing cosmetic products and nutraceuticals


At the beginning of the 20th century, Italy was the world’s largest producer of cannabis, with about ninety thousand hectares of land exclusively dedicated to its cultivation. Legislative restrictions have led to the its disappearance, although in recent years a new regulation on the matter has allowed the cultivation of hemp that does not contain more than 0.6% of psychoactive substances.

With these changes, the cultivation of hemp has seen a new growth, reaching a total of about 2100 hectares throughout the country. Of these, about 1000 hectares are located in the territories of Southern Italy, with 200 hectares being in the Campania region

For these reasons exactly, the idea was born to develop a new solvent-free extraction system, capable of valorising a raw material, such as Cannabis Sativa, which contains high amounts of bioactive compounds of commercial interest. The particular advantage of the MW extraction process is the absence of chemical solvents, so it does not alter the characteristics of the final product nor is it harmful to human health.

Cannabis extracts represent a raw material with a very high commercial potential, especially in the field of food supplements, nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals.