Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a popular natural remedy that is used to treat a variety of ailments. One of the most popular methods for extracting CBD is CO2 extraction. This method is particularly popular among manufacturers offering a premium product, as it provides a clean, precise extraction that massively reduces the contamination potential of other methods.
CO2 extractions have applications far beyond just hemp products. They are used to decaffeinate coffee beans, extract the nicotine from loose-leaf tobacco, and precisely extract spices and flavors. CO2 extractions can be split into supercritical and subcritical categories, but the most common, and the one used at Vitality CBD for all of our CBD products is supercritical.
The supercritical method involves increasing the temperature and pressure of the CO2 until it becomes ‘supercritical’. This means that CO2 has properties of both gas and liquid: it is able to fill a container like a gas, whilst also having the density of a liquid. In this supercritical state, CO2 acts as a solvent when applied to the hemp plant without denaturing any of the compounds.
The subcritical method is similar but uses a lower temperature and lower pressure. As a result, the process takes longer, but it further reduces the chances of denaturing the more delicate compounds, like terpenes.
Another method for extracting CBD is solvent extraction, which is probably the cheapest and easiest of all available methods. However, it is also considered to be the most likely to cause issues with the end product. Solvent extraction involves running the solvent, typically butane or ethanol, into the hemp plant matter. This strips the cannabinoids into the liquid, which is then evaporated so as to leave behind a concentrated oily residue with the hemp compounds in it. The main problem with this method is that the solvent not only removes the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids but also inadvertently extracts chlorophyll. This occasionally leads to unwanted side effects and will cause the taste to become much more bitter.
Another method is olive oil extraction, which is most commonly done by homebrew enthusiasts looking to create their own CBD oils. Though any oil can be used in this process, olive oil is preferred due to its masking flavor and versatility.
It is important to note that when buying CBD, it’s important to make sure it has been extracted using a method that preserves the purity and potency of the product. At Vitality CBD, we use supercritical CO2 extraction to ensure the highest quality products for our customers.