What is Supercritical CO2 Extraction and do we think it is preferred?
A lot is made of the type of extraction that you find with Hemp Extracts, in addition to all essential oils. When it comes to extracting cannabinoids from hemp there are three main types of extraction, Supercritical CO2 (which we use), Ethanol, and Hydrocarbon extraction. We felt that it was important to explain what Supercritical CO2 extraction is and why we think it is a preferred method of extraction.
Supercritical CO2 Extraction
Supercritical extraction is when we increase pressure and temperature of liquid Carbon Dioxide, to bring Carbon Dioxide to a state that is neither fully a gas or fully a liquid. This allows it to effuse through hemp like a gas but has the properties of a liquid to pull out the oils of the hemp. With the increase in pressure we are able to use a lower temperature than is typically needed to achieve supercritical state. This means that we are able to keep the integrity of the cannabinoids that we are extracting because at a higher temperature there is a possibility of changing the molecular integrity of the plant product. Supercritical CO2 Extraction also allows the ability to separate individual compounds out, which just gives us more options for specificity with our extraction process.
The usage of CO2 is important as a solvent because it is everywhere and is “Tunable”. This means that we are able to target what compounds we want t extract from the hemp with changes in temperature and pressure. Also, unlike toxic solvents like some hydrocarbons, there is not a necessity to remove toxins since all that was used during this process was CO2.
To sum up; Supercritical CO2 Extraction allows us to safely extract specific cannabinoids, using a natural product that we are breathing right now, leaving no residue on our extracts that are minimally processed. It is safer for the environment, as well as the people or pets that are taking our hemp extract products. The only reason that everyone isn’t using Supercritical CO2 extraction is that the machines and process is more expensive and much more time consuming than using just toxic solvents.
Why Supercritical CO2 extraction instead of butene, or ethanol?
We feel that using Carbon Dioxide instead of ethanol or worse yet butane allows us to maintain the ideal organic states of the cannabinoids that we are extracting without the use of “toxic solvents”. When Ethanol or Butene is used, those harsh solvents are directly interacting with the cannabinoids and there is a chance of residual solvents, which could affect the patient taking the Hemp Extract Oil. With CO2 we are able to produce a medical grade oil whereas with butene or ethanol there can be a huge variety as to the quality that will be achieved with their extracts.
For more information we encourage you to look at Eden Labs website that goes into detail the benefits of Supercritical CO2 extraction especially in relation to other forms of extraction.