With the rapid growth of the use of cannabis in today’s modern era, more and more queries have been rising as to how CBD is being extracted from the cannabis plant. With its popularity along with the stricter laws surrounding it, patients and recreational users have grown concern over how the extracts are derived without the THC which is the subject of concern of these regulations. All the more, they have been searching for CBD products that are made consistently using safe and effective methods of producing cannabis extracts.
Before the process of CO2 extraction was even utilized in the extraction of CBD, highly risky and dangerous methods are being used to conduct the extraction. This is highly dangerous as it involves flammable hydrocarbons that can impose a threat to safety due to the explosive tendency of the process. With jurisdictions pushing for more regulated and safer production of CBD products, safer production methods have spawned including the use of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the extraction of cannabinoids.
In this article, we will give you a closer look at how CBD is effectively derived using a more safer and efficient extraction process. With this, you will know why more and more manufacturers have turned to the process of CO2 extraction as a way to extract CBD oils.
Clean, Easy and Safe CBD Extraction —- What is CO2 Extraction?
Carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction is a common processing method used in making various food such as carbonated drinks and other products. It is also known as a common additive to food products.
In the world of CBD, the CO2 extraction method is gaining much attention for its safe and efficient extraction of top quality cannabis oil that is rich in CBD (cannabidiol). Most if not all CBD products that you can access today in the market be it vaporizer pens, edibles or even salves and other high-quality CBD products are made from extracts that are produced using the CO2 extraction technology.
CO2 extraction utilizes pressurized carbon dioxide to extract cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant. Although this method is relatively new in the cannabis extract processing, this technology has been used by most CBD manufacturers because it is non-toxic as it removes the dangers that come from using solvents for the extraction such as petroleum, butane gas or propane which are dangerous if not handled properly. Since it is carbon dioxide which is already naturally present in the air, it is nothing but environmental- friendly.
This extraction method, however, is the most expensive among any extraction methods. Regardless of the cost, it has quickly positioned itself in the industry as a leading technology that produces safe and high-quality CBD extracts.
Why Use CO2 Extraction
The main reason why CO2 Extraction is being widely used by the majority of the CBD manufacturers is that despite the process being expensive, it produces pure, clean and high-quality CBD oil that is safe to produce. Also, there is no need to use toxic solvents for the extraction, thus, the need for post-processing (purge solvents trapped in oil) is minimized. Besides, CO2 is a sanitizing agent which can also prolong shelf-life of the products.
Other than being cost-effective, CO2 extraction is tunable. By controlling different operational parameters, you can target specific compounds to extract such as terpenes and cannabinoids such as THC and CBD.
Supercritical CO2 Extraction VS Subcritical CO2 Extraction
CO2 extraction houses a couple of other methods under its wing. Two different CO2 extraction processes have been changing the game for cannabis extracts — the supercritical CO2 extraction and the subcritical CO2 extraction.
What is Supercritical CO2 Extraction?
The supercritical CO2 extraction is the most used type of CO2 extraction. The supercritical CO2 refers to the fluid state of CO2 that takes place above its critical temperature and pressure during the extraction. This fluid has a property in between the gas and liquid, thus, while it can fill spaces like gas, it still maintains its liquid-like state.
Through this extraction process, CO2 is run through a chamber where it will be subjected to high pressure and extremely low temperature of -70°F. This condition causes CO2 gas to change its state to a fluid one. The fluid CO2 then exhibits supercritical properties when it is under heat and pressure.
Once the supercritical fluid is achieved, it is then passed through a chamber that has raw cannabis materials. As the fluid passes through the raw materials, it gently dissolves the membrane of the trichomes, thus, capturing many active compounds. This method kills off any forms of contaminants such as molds and bacteria and yields more cannabidiol (CBD) in a shorter time.
What is Subcritical CO2 Extraction?
The subcritical CO2 extraction works almost the same way as the supercritical CO2 extraction method. What is different is that it involves lower pressure to extract, thus, making the process less expensive. This process preserves essential oils, cannabinoids, terpenes, and other sensitive chemicals from the cannabis plant aside from CBD which may or may not be desirable. The downside of this method though is that it produces smaller yields compared to the other method and takes a longer time to complete the process due to the residual waxes and resins left behind in the plant material.
Final Thoughts on CO2 Extraction Process
The use of CO2 as an extraction solvent is nothing new to the food industry and since it is a safe method for food products, then it must also be a safe process to use in the extraction of CBD.
CO2 Extraction is a cost-effective process that guarantees that the CBD concentrates are not only clean by making sure that all impurities are eradicated such as bacteria, insects and other contaminants, but are healthy as well for consumption.
Aside from the top quality of CBD extracts produced from this method, the operation is also safe and environment-friendly.
The third benefit once again correlates to an important safety feature. In other extraction processes, experts use ethanol alcohol to winterize and use butane to extract or de-wax the cannabis oils.