Ethanol Extraction: Why is Ethanol Used for Extraction?

Ethanol Extraction Equipment

As one of the compounds found in the cannabis plant, CBD has become more and more popular for its medical uses in the last few years. There are primarily three methods for cannabis extraction, which are CO2 extraction, butane extraction as well as ethanol extraction. Among them, the ethanol extraction is a common extraction method. So why is ethanol used for extraction?

What is Ethanol and Ethanol Extraction?

The ethanol, also know as ethyl alcohol, is a kind of organic compounds. Under normal temperature and pressure, ethanol is a kind of colorless clear liquid that is inflammable and volatile. It has a wide applications. For example, ethanol is a common fuel, solvent and disinfectant, and it can be used for producing other compounds as well.

The ethanol extraction refers to a kind of method taking ethanol as the solvent to extract and purify materials, which makes use of the solubility of ethanol. It is widely used in chemical experiments, chemical purification, chemical pharmaceutical and the production of TCM medicament.

Why Ethanol is Used in Extraction?

As one of the common method for cannabis extraction, the ethanol extraction really has its own pros, concluded as follows.

1. Higher Efficiency

Using the ethanol as the washing solvent, it can have a higher efficiency to extract and concentrate substances.

2. More Purity

With the ethanol washing the material, a purer extracted substance can be gained.

3. Easy Evaporation

The ethanol can be evaporated efficiently. After washing and extracting the sample materials, the ethanol will be mixed with extracted substances. Therefore, the ethanol and the extracted substances should be separated. With the property of easy evaporation, the ethanol becomes the proper washing solvent.

4. Complete Extraction

The ethanol can easily and efficiently concentrate nucleic acids (DNA or RNA), which guarantees the pointed substances can be extracted completely.

How does Extraction of Ethanol Work?

The ethanol extraction uses ethanol as a solvent to submerge the material completely. During this soaking period, the desired cannabis compounds, such as CBD, THC and other cannabinoids, can be pulled from the cannabis or hemp plant along with other compounds, such as terpenes, fats, waxes and other materials.

Is Ethanol Extraction Safe?

It’s commonly recognized that not only does the ethanol possess high efficiency, but also serves as one of the safest solvents used in the extraction process. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies ethanol as a Class 3 solvent, because the residual of ethanol is less than 5,000 ppm or 0.5 percent and the risk of acute or chronic intoxication during drug production is low. In conclusion, the ethanol extraction is safe.

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