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The Ultimate Guide On Safe CBD Extraction Methods

Updated: May 30, 2023


CBD must first be extracted from the plant that contains it in order to generate the CBD products that are penetrating industries such as health, wellness, and beauty. Naturally, not all CBD extraction processes produce the same results, and some are safer and more successful than others. We will discuss solvent extraction, oil extraction, and CO2 extraction, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each. Although there are other more ways for extracting CBD from plants, these are the most common and widely regarded.

Solvent-Based Cannabis and Hemp Extraction Methods

Ethanol Extraction

Ethanol extraction is a widely used process for extracting chemicals from plants or other materials. To dissolve the required chemicals, the plant material is soaked in ethanol, a form of alcohol.

The process of ethanol extraction involves several steps:

  • Preparation of the plant material

  • Soaking in ethanol

  • Filtering and evaporation

  • Purification

In the cannabis industry, ethanol extraction is commonly utilized to create cannabis concentrates such as oils, tinctures, and edibles. It's also used to make essential oils and other natural substances.

Is Ethanol Extraction Safe?

In terms of safety, the FDA says that ethanol extraction is "Generally Regarded as Safe." Many food and medicine companies use this extraction method every day to make their products. Some manufacturers think that CO2 and hydrocarbon extraction are less safe than ethanol extraction.

CO2 Extraction

CO2 extraction, which is also called supercritical fluid extraction (SFE), is a way to get compounds out of different materials by using carbon dioxide as the solvent. In this process, CO2 is turned into a supercritical fluid by using high pressure and low temperature. This fluid can then be used to separate compounds from the starting material.

The starting material is put into an extraction vessel, and high-pressure CO2 is pumped into the vessel. As the pressure goes up, the CO2 changes into a supercritical fluid, which means it has the properties of both a gas and a liquid. Then, this supercritical CO2 can break up the starting material and pull out the compounds that are wanted.

Is CO2 Extraction Safe?

CO2 extraction is a safe and effective way to get high-quality compounds out of plant materials like cannabis and botanicals. It is also good for the environment because the CO2 used can be recycled and used again. This cuts down on waste and pollution.

CO2 extraction is commonly used to make essential oils, flavorings for food and drinks, and medicines. It is also used in the cannabis business to get cannabinoids like THC and CBD out of the plant.

Hydrocarbon Extraction

Hydrocarbon extraction is a way to get compounds like cannabinoids out of plant matter by using hydrocarbons like butane or propane. In this process, a hydrocarbon solvent is passed through the plant material. This dissolves the compounds that are wanted, such as cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. The plant material is then separated from the solution that was made, and the solution is further processed to get rid of any leftover solvent.

This method of extraction is often used to make cannabis concentrates like shatter, wax, and oil, which are very potent and can be used in a wide range of ways, including as medicine.

Is Hydrocarbon Extraction Safe?

Yes, hydrocarbon extraction is safe. When done by trained professionals in a safe environment, hydrocarbon extraction is very safe, but there are risks because of the pressures involved. Butane and propane extraction, on the other hand, have much lower pressures than CO2 extraction.

Why High Quality Extraction Equipment Matters

Whichever sort of cannabis extraction procedure a processor employs, the quality and yield will be heavily influenced by the initial plant material, the operator's expertise, and the extraction equipment's quality.

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