cannabis extracts
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CO2 Cannabis Extracts What you Need to Know

The use of cannabis extracts has been widely used because of its convenience. Whether you are a huge fan of using vape pens, cannabis edibles and etc. you will surely end up using cannabis products which are the result of CO2 extraction method at some point.

The advantage of being sustainable and safe at the same time indicates aspects of why this process, the CO2 extraction method, has already established its name when it comes to the production of things like hash oil.

These days, extracted cannabis products have labels with regards to what type of extraction they had undergone. Which extraction method used either solvent or non-solvent is also indicated. With knowledge of certain dangers regarding different methods of extractions, processors are considering for both themselves and the end user, what method is the safest and most effective.

Definition of Extraction

Just like any other plants out there, marijuana has the ability to produce oils as well. This oil has a high percentage of the prominent compounds found in the cannabis plants called cannabinoids. The two most popular cannabinoids to be extracted are THC and CBD.

What is CO2 Extraction?

The CO2 extraction is a part of the Supercritical fluid extraction (or SFE). This process is the separation of the cannabis components from each other through the use of a certain type of solvent.

These solvents are not just an ordinary one. They are called “supercritical solvents” since when they experience a high exposure to pressure and temperature, they form different types of structures. These structures are not permanent, but they fluctuate from being solid, to liquid to gas.

Upon reaching this point of the stage, these supercritical fluids are now able to break down into different structures which also makes separation possible. With so many varieties of this type of solvent for this process, one of the most common ones is the CO2.

The process of using CO2 in the extraction process has been present for a long time. In fact, it was even noted that this process made its first appearance during the 1980’s and 90’s as an alternative to other types of extraction methods. So someone was already thinking ahead 30 years ago.

shatter made from extraction

Benefits of Using CO2

If you have ever wondered why CO2 is chosen over other methods its because of the different benefits made available in the cannabis products from CO2 extraction.

There are numerous reasons why using CO2 to make cannabis extracts is beneficial:

  • The use of CO2 is comparable to using a natural compound. CO2 is a natural gas that occurs everywhere and is even used by the cannabis plant itself for respiration.
    • Many believe that using CO2 for extraction is safest method out of all of them. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration or the FDA made a label about it. This shows that this compound is safe to use even for industrial types of extractions. With this certification label, CO2 gained the support as well as the trust of both consumers and the cannabis industry.
  • CO2’s ability to make a change between a liquid state into a supercritical state is possible without the need to exceed temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. With this capability, there is no need to involve any actions that might be a dangerous to the compounds in the plant and to the people doing the processing.
  • CO2 can help make soluble matter change simply by applying a little pressure. With it being as simple as pressure and gas this makes it the much safer option.

thc cbd oil made from co2 extraction

Processes and Equipment Needed for the Extraction Method

Both the process and the materials and equipment needed for the process of CO2 extraction will vary in many factors. One of the biggest factors is the measurement of the whole process. When it comes to large production, you will need certain machines which can be quite expensive.

Difference Between Butane and CO2 Extraction

Both the use of Butane and CO2 in the extraction of cannabis plants are used by many people today. However, these two choices have a strong difference with each other. This difference has a huge impact on the overall output of the whole extraction process.

Pros

  • More terpenes are extracted
  • This process has many products available with different tastes and effects
  • Many claimed that a butane product is a stronger one

Cons

  • Higher risk because of the remaining solvents
  • It is explosive which has been a deadly danger to many operators and high for insurance
  • Not friendly to the environment

CO2 Extraction

The Pros

  • Cleaner and lower risk
  • Easier to use in a vape pen
  • Considered as non-toxic
  • Environmental friendly
  • Not flammable

The Cons

  • Less terpene content
  • Higher price (at the moment)
  • Some claimed as a weak cannabis product but there is no evidence to support this

In every extraction method, there will always be a flaw and it will never be perfect. However, the CO2 extraction method is superior compared to others since its products and methods are safer.

Article by

Designer, developer and cannabis enthusiast interested in the legalization of cannabis based on science.

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