CBD is currently taking the US by storm, hence it certainly needs no introduction. Many people are well aware of the fact that CBD is able to produce a numerous amount of positive health benefits for many individuals. However, it’s important that CBD products are able to be controlled, measured and tested for quality to ensure that the product does not produce a ‘high’ which is commonly associated with THC. In order for this to occur, various methods of CBD extraction are utilized, which will be discussed throughout this article.
AN INTRODUCTION TO CBD EXTRACTION
Extraction Method 1: Supercritical CO2 Extraction
The biggest names in CBD production utilize the CO2 extraction method as it allows for the best quality and the safest product.
To put it simply, CO2 extraction basically involves using carbon dioxide as a solvent to extract all of the CBD compounds from cannabis. Many people may be unaware about CO2, however, it is a completely natural product which poses no harm at the temperatures used for extraction. It’s worth noting that this form of extraction is particularly expensive, due to the tools needed in order to facilitate the process.
In order to get started with CO2 extraction, the carbon dioxide must be altered in order to be suitable for the extraction process. Generally, this involves bringing the CO2 down to pressures over 75 PSI and to a temperature that is close to -70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once the CO2 is altered according to the aforementioned settings, it can be once again altered to meet a supercritical stage. In chemistry, supercritical means a chemical is able to fit the properties of both a liquid and a gas. In this state, the carbon dioxide is able to be in the prime stage for use for extraction, as it won’t cause any damage to the cannabis.
To facilitate the CO2 process, a couple of pieces of equipment are required. In order to get the carbon dioxide to a supercritical state, both a heater and a compressor must be utilized. In addition, in order to ensure extraction takes place properly, an extractor which is loaded with high-quality cannabis must also be purchased.
At the end of the process, the CO2 is removed and sent to its own special storage area. Once this is completed, what is left is high-quality CBD that has been extracted using a safe and reliable process.
CO2 Extraction: Benefits
Safe and Reliable: CO2 is a naturally occurring chemical that is produced by our bodies. In addition, the way carbon dioxide is used in the process ensures that it remains in a safe state.
Effective and Efficient: Using CO2 for extraction is not only relied upon by the biggest names in CBD, but also the biggest names in a range of other food manufacturing industries.
High-Quality Product: There is little risk of impurities when it comes to the final CBD product produced by the extraction process. Currently, there aren’t any other alternatives that can produce a high-level purity that is akin to the CO2 method.
CO2 Extraction: Downsides
High Initial Investment: In order to purchase all of the equipment needed to facilitate this type of extraction, thousands of dollars of investment is required. Because of the high investment, this type of extraction is likely not plausible for the vast majority of those looking to extract CBD.
Extraction Method 2: Extracting with Ethanol
The same principles with CO2 apply for ethanol. This means that ethanol is used as a solvent in order to pull out CBD compounds from a given amount of cannabis. However, the only caveat in relation to the difference between CO2 and ethanol is the fact that ethanol pulls not only CBD but also chlorophyll, which can cause undesirable effects on the human body. Because of this, a double extraction is often done to remove the chlorophyll from the initial extraction. However, additional extractions often reduce how pure and potent the final oil product may be.
Perhaps the best thing about this type of extraction is that it’s painfully simple. You simply pour the liquid solution onto the cannabis.
Ethanol Extraction: Benefits
Possibility of Good Quality CBD Oil: Although not as pure and free of impurities as oil created through CO2 extraction, if high-quality ethanol is used, certain plant materials may yield oil of good quality. Research is recommended regarding what types of cannabis react most favorably to ethanol extraction.
Simple and Easy: As mentioned, all that is required is pouring ethanol solution in order to cause extraction. Due to the simplicity of this method, it is perhaps the most accessible for those looking to start out extracting CBD from cannabis.
Ethanol Extraction: Downsides
Safety Concerns: Ethanol is a highly flammable liquid, hence if it isn’t handled properly, the risk of starting a fire is very real. It’s important when conducting ethanol extraction that fire-resistant gear is used and that extraction occurs in a safe environment without any hazards.
Impurities: Because ethanol extraction also pulls chlorophyll and other impurities, this can lower the safety and overall quality of the CBD that is pulled.
Extraction Method 3: Butane Hash Oil (BHO)
The BHO method involves getting a final product CBD extract product that can come in many different forms such as wax or shatter. The BHO method is quite a complex procedure, involving hydrocarbons such as propane, as well as requiring a number of different steps. The process is detailed in the video that is linked below.
BHO Extraction: Benefits
Cost Efficient: Compared to methods such as CO2 extraction, the cost per final product with BHO is much cheaper.
BHO Extraction: Downsides
Safety Concerns: As with ethanol extraction, the hydrocarbons used in the process are flammable, thus caution must be taken to prevent any accidents.
CBD Extraction: Summarized
Anyone into CBD should be well aware of the wide range of different extraction methods that are available. Those looking to get into CBD from a business perspective, or users of CBD products should understand the benefits and downsides that come with using these products that have gone through differing extraction processes. As shown throughout the article, each type of extraction process has its own benefits as well as weaknesses. However, overall we understand that most will be unable to use the CO2 process due to financial constraints.
As a final note, it’s worth mentioning that there are still numerous other types of extraction methods which have not been discussed in this article. Other methods that involve such solvents as olive oil are commonly utilized throughout the CBD community. Just like the methods discussed, these other processes have their own benefits and downsides.