CO2 Extraction Process: The Newest Advances, Methods, & Techniques
Since the Farm Bill passed in 2019, there has been a massive spike in interest from people interested in extracting CBD from hemp. In addition, consumers want a clean product, without lingering contaminants from the solvent used to extract the oil. Enter CO2 – a safer, purer way to extract oil! Let’s start with some basics.
Starting from the beginning
What is CO2 Extraction and How Does CO2 Extraction Work?
Plants contain essential oil but need specialized equipment or processes to extract the oil. There are many different forms of extraction, which can be separated into two distinct methods: Mechanical or Solvent. Mechanical extraction methods don’t require equipment but are processes that will extract the oil. This category includes ice water hash, rosin presses, and dry sieve (for kief). Solvent-based devices need a machine that contains a solvent to extract the oil. Common solvents are CO2, butane or propane, alcohol and hexane, to name just a few.
CO2 is a powerful solvent under pressure. Add temperature variations and you have a highly tunable solvent, capable of extracting certain compounds from the plant without destroying their essence. Other forms of extraction are not as precise and can destroy the flavonoids or scent compounds, which are highly sought after in the cannabis industry. They are known as terpenes and they contain many elements that have proven effective in a variety of medical issues. A combination of terpenes and all other cannabinoids in the plant creates full spectrum oil which has what’s called The Entourage Effect. More on that later on! First, let’s discuss the process, starting with CO2.
What is the CO2 extraction process?
The plant material is ground up to a coffee-ground consistency (approximately 100 microns). This is the ideal surface size for CO2 – any smaller and there’s a risk of the plant material getting through one of the filters and contaminating the system, and any larger, there’s a risk of channeling, which is exactly how it sounds – the CO2 finds the path of least resistance through the plant material and not all the plant material is exposed to the solvent.
CO 2 Extraction Process: The Newest Advances, Methods, & Techniques Since the Farm Bill passed in 2019, there has been a massive spike in interest from people interested in extracting CBD from