Published: June 7th, 2018
Hemp has played an important role in human society for centuries. Today, as science further uncovers the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids and terpenes, industry leaders are constantly looking for new and improved ways to harness the power of this incredible plant.
One of the novel ways to enhance and concentrate the potential of hemp is through CO₂ extraction. In this article, we take an in-depth look at this process; what it is, and how it is forever changing the way we experience hemp products.
CO₂ extraction is a unique method of extracting the compounds of a particular substance and condensing them into a potent concentrate.
It is based on the principles of supercritical fluid extraction (or SFE). SFE uses gases like CO₂ and compresses them beyond their critical point, ultimately turning them into useful solvents for extracting plant constituents.
Supercritical fluids act like both a liquid and a gas; they can diffuse through solids like a gas, but are also able to dissolve compounds like a liquid. This makes them particularly useful for making all kinds of extracts as they’re able to penetrate a substance in a completely unique way to regular solvents like alcohol or butane, for example.
CO₂ is commonly used as a supercritical fluid because it passes its critical point at low temperatures (roughly 32°C). Working at such low temperatures allows for the preservation of terpenes and other fragile compounds, which are usually destroyed at higher temperatures. Plus, the chemical structure and shape of CO₂ molecules renders them particularly useful as a solvent.
CO₂ can be used to extract the key compounds from a wide variety of substances, including:
Fruit and nuts
Fragrances and perfumes
Tobacco (for the production of e-cigarettes)
Hops (to create hop oil for beer making)
Spices (such as black pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, and more)
Cannabis and hemp (to create extracts or concentrates)
Extracts and concentrates are often coined “the future” of the cannabis industry, offering users a pure way to enjoy the therapeutic potential of the plant and its many different compounds.
For a long time, butane, propane, and alcohol were the main solvents used to extract components from cannabis and hemp plants. Now, CO₂ has rightfully earned its place as a much more efficient and sophisticated solvent. CO₂ is regarded as one of the purest, most efficient, and most versatile forms for extracting the components from hemp and cannabis.
CO₂ extraction methods vary among manufacturers. Many laboratories have their own unique processes, relying on proprietary technologies to facilitate the extraction.
Nonetheless, the basic principles behind CO₂ extraction remain the same. First of all, cannabis plant material is gathered in a sealed product vessel. Supercritical CO₂ is then introduced into that vessel under very specific temperature and pressure settings. This allows the CO₂ to extract the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds from the plant material.
The extract-rich CO₂ is then passed through to another vessel. Here, different temperature and pressure settings are employed to separate compounds within the extract, ultimately altering its form.
This is where the power of CO₂ extraction really comes to light. With traditional solvent methods using butane, propane, or alcohol, labs have so far only been able to extract a bundle of compounds from the cannabis plant. Plus, the heat applied with these extraction methods usually destroys many of the subtle compounds found in the plant, such as terpenes.
With CO₂ extraction, technicians essentially have much more control over the entire extraction process, allowing for specific constituents within the plant to be isolated. This process is known as fractionating. Fractionating can also be used to extract compounds like CBDA and THCA, which are notoriously hard to extract due to their fragility.
After the extraction is complete, a drop in pressure allows for the CO₂ to evaporate, leaving behind a rich extract. The exact composition of this extract varies depending on the fractionating processes used by the manufacturer. Most notably, CO₂ extracts have higher concentrations of terpenes (up to 10%) compared to regular butane extracts, for example (between 0.5% and 3.5%).
At Cibdol, we use state-of-the-art CO₂ extraction to create all of our products, including our CBD oils, supplements, and creams.
We start our process with top-shelf raw materials. We only work with high-grade hemp grown in Europe to the highest agricultural standards. Then, we move on to the extraction process, which is conducted using world-class technology in our professional laboratories in Switzerland.
Using our own approach to CO₂ extraction, we have complete control over the entire extraction process. With unique temperature and pressure settings, we’re able to isolate exactly the compounds we’re looking for.
Our extraction processes creates a crude CBD paste which we then purify and enrich with extra terpenes and high-grade olive oil. The end result is a powerful concentrate that is unmatched in purity and quality.
At Cibdol, we pride ourselves on setting the gold-standard for CBD products. Using our own proprietary filtration process, we’re able to produce a clear, gold-coloured extract that is free of byproducts such as waxes, fats, and chlorophyll.
At the same time, our delicate extraction process allows us to preserve a high concentration of CBD and aromatic terpenes. This gives our CBD oil a well-balanced, holistic effect that preserves the therapeutic qualities of whole-plant cannabis and the “entourage effect.”
Cannabis and hemp plants were supposedly first domesticated as a crop in China over 6,000 years ago. Ever since, they have played an important role in many cultures, both for industrial and medical purposes.
At Cibdol, we maintain the idea that cannabinoids and terpenes are vital to our overall well-being. By using unmatched CO₂ extraction, we are able to produce top-shelf CBD oils and products that preserve the enormous therapeutic benefits of the cannabis plant.
To learn more about the potential of CBD and other cannabinoids, follow our blog. For more information about our products, browse our webshop today.