There are many factors to consider when selecting a CBD product. From seed selection to farming practices, it’s the attention to detail that determines product quality. One significant detail to consider before purchasing a hemp-derived product is the process used to extract the oil from the plant.
Since CBD products can be swallowed, applied topically, or vaped, it’s important to know the methods used to extract your CBD will deliver a product that’s safe to use. Of all the available extraction methods, CO2 extraction is the superior choice.
CO2 extraction is an oil extraction method utilizing the properties of carbon dioxide. This food-safe extraction method is commonly used for smaller quantities of hemp. The extraction process involves filtering plant material, the stalks, and stems of the plant, through a series of temperature and pressure-controlled chambers. This advanced extraction process isolates the natural cannabinoids found in cannabis plants at 90 percent efficiency.
During the extraction process, the low temperature and increasing pressure within the extraction chamber transform CO2 from a gas to a near-liquid. It’s the liquefied carbon dioxide that allows the release of the essential oils and aromatics from the plant matter. There are three main benefits of using CO2 for CBD extraction, including:
Product manufacturers and their customers benefit from the versatility of CO2 extraction. CO2 extraction is a “tunable solvent.” That means modifying key parameters, the temperature and solvent ratio, for example, to isolate specific cannabinoids, terpenes, and other botanical components of the plant.
Compared to other extraction methods, which can rely on the use of potentially toxic solvents, CO2 extraction is the safest. CO2 is all around you, in the air, water, and the food you eat in low concentrations. CO2 has less potential for toxicity than other solvents commonly used for extraction, is non-flammable, and non-combustible.1
CO2 extraction preserves the plant terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids without the use of chemicals. Once the extracted plant compounds are heated, or pressure is reduced, the carbon dioxide is released from the extracted oils. Since carbon dioxide can also be used as a sanitizing agent, CO2 extraction improves the shelf life of cannabis oil.2
Carbon dioxide has the properties of a gas at a standard temperature and normal pressure. When pressurized, CO2 liquefies and can perform the function of a non-chemical solvent. Pressurized carbon dioxide pulls the desired phytochemicals from the plant as the plant matter is filtered through a series of chambers. When the pressure releases, CO2 converts back to a gas and is released from the extracted oil. Low-temperature extraction (subcritical) is best for oils that degrade at high temperatures.
Supercritical CO2 extraction is a more precise extraction method with the ability to extract individual plant components in an environment of stable pressure and temperature. The main difference between subcritical and supercritical CO2 extraction is the temperature. Since higher temperatures are used, supercritical CO2 allows for higher yields, more complete extraction, faster extraction times, and can extract higher weight materials from the plant (waxes and resins).2
While CO2 extraction is considered the superior option, it can be time consuming and expensive. That may be why so many companies use alcohol or chemical solvents to extract the oil from their plants. The following extraction methods could have unfortunate consequences:
Ethanol extraction uses ethyl alcohol, a common food additive and preservative to pull the cannabinoid-rich oil from plant matter. As the hemp is soaked in the alcohol, the desirable plant compounds are released into the alcohol and then filtered. Since ethanol extraction can leave alcohol residue in extracted oils, CO2 extraction is considered the better option.
Butane, hexane, and propane are hydrocarbon solvents that can be used to extract CBD. You may recognize them as components of petroleum products or natural gas. While it is possible to use hydrocarbon solvents safely, consumption can be harmful. Unlike these potentially volatile solvents, CO2 extraction will not leave neurotoxins in your CBD.3
Before making a product selection, it’s essential to ensure you are purchasing a quality product. The quality of the product you select is directly impacted by the extraction method.
CBDistillery™ tinctures are crafted from non-GMO hemp. Our crops are grown in the U.S. using natural farming practices and extracted using safe, reliable CO2, a superior extraction method. Once extracted, our products are tested by an independent third party. Viewing the test results on our site allows you to verify the potency and purity of CBDistillery™ tinctures, gummies, capsules, vape pens.