How does CO2 Extraction Work?

The carbon dioxide (CO2) can be used as a kind of solvent for extracting cannabinoids, terpenes, essential oils and other components from hemp or cannabis plants, which plays an important role in the cannabis extraction process. Especially after the solvent recovery technology has developed, CO2 extraction has even become a norm, which is used to replace butane or propane. So why CO2 extraction has become so well-received and how does it work? The following may help you have a better understanding of CO2 extraction.

What is CO2 Extraction?

Generally, CO2 extraction refers to the supercritical CO2 extraction, which is known for producing a high quality product. It is regarded as a green extraction method compared to traditional organic solvents. This extraction method possesses a great number of benefits. For example, CO2 is non-toxic, non-inflammable and inert. Unlike other organic solvents, CO2 extraction contains less chemical residues. With the development of solvent recovery technology, it is recyclable and economical as well. It is also considered as an ideal solvent for temperature-sensitive materials.

How does CO2 Extraction Work?

By controlling temperature and pressure, CO2 can become a “supercritical fluid” after it is compressed beyond its “critical point”. The fluid can be used for extracting cannabis plant material without damaging the cannabinoids and terpenes in the plant material. Not only can it protect cannabinoids from decarboxylation, but it can maintain the integrity and amounts of terpenes during the extraction process. At this point, CO2 is neither a liquid nor a gas. Most importantly, CO2 can evaporate away cleanly as a gas without contaminating the final product. Generally, it is done by reducing temperature and pressure.

What is the Best Way to Extract CBD from Hemp?

There are mainly three methods for cannabis extraction, including ethanol extraction, CO2 extraction and butane or propane extraction. The ethanol extraction is efficient but not very safe because of its inflammable property. The butane extraction is also efficient but potentially dangerous. Both of them have their own pros and cons. As a result, it’s well recognized that CO2 extraction has considerable advantages over other extraction methods due to it is safe, clean, recyclable and cost-effective.

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