CBD extraction isn’t a new science, but it’s important to look at history to appreciate what we have today. A while ago, cannabis processors would use 99% pure butane, half a pound of plant matter, CBD extraction isn’t a new science, but it’s important to look at history to appreciate what we have today. A while ago, cannabis processors would use 99% pure butane, half a pound of plant and a double boiler. This process is dangerous for both the creator and the user. Not boiling off trapped butane (an organic compound) can result in bad experiences using the concentrate and butane is volatile so it can easily blow up if incorrectly extracted. No, this method won’t do.
Growers and processors would then go on to use alcohol for extraction. It’s a smart concept since cannabinoids would far more easily dissolve in alcohol than water. Everything is fine with this process, and even to this day, people still use ethanol extraction. By this point you may be thinking, what does this have to do with CBD? And true, these methods are fine for cannabis extraction with a focus in THC, but CBD? That’s another beast entirely requiring much more plant matter to extract (based on strain concentration). Well, just as the essential oil industry thought, supercritical CO2 is used. The supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) process allows for a safe and highly efficient process of separating the cannabinoids from the hemp plant.
The process is relatively simple*
- Take the wet or dried hemp flower and load it into a cylinder.
- Heat the cylinder to meet the preferred pressure level of CO2.
- Start forcing the CO2 liquid in turning it into a supercritical fluid (a combination of gaseous and aqueous (liquid) properties).
- Have the extract fraction out in a separate container.
- Recycle the CO2 or add more for the next run.
The beauty of supercritical CO2 is you don’t necessarily need to do more processing when extracted. This safe extract is ready to load up into an amazing CBD product. CO2 extraction is the only method that ProMED picks since it’s high quality, safe, and delicious!
*Steps defined above are a generalized representation, and true operation of a CO2 extractor varies from model to model, but the basic principles are similar.