Five Benefits of CO2 Extraction for Oil and Terpenes

What makes an expensive fine wine better than a bargain wine? Grapes are grapes, right? The difference between a grape that becomes a $500 bottle of Chardonnay and a grape that ends up in a $10 boxed wine is the process by which the grapes are treated from harvest to bottling.

In the same way, when hemp is harvested and processed, the method used to extract oil and terpenes makes a huge difference in the quality of the end product. 

There are several different ways to manage extraction. By far and away the best for both end-product quality as well as environmental safety is CO2 extraction.

For those unfamiliar with CO2 extraction in regards to hemp; it is a process in which pressurized carbon dioxide pulls desired cannabinoids, waxes and terpenes from the plant material. Its benefits over other methods of extraction can be boiled down to 5 main points:

  1. Clean, pure extracts and leftover plant materials.

    Carbon is a basic building block of nature, making it extremely safe to use in an extraction program as opposed to dangerous chemical solvents like butane and hexane, which can leave end products laced with harmful residues.

  2. No risk to the environment from solvent waste disposal.

    CO2 extraction does not contribute towards carbon emissions in the atmosphere, and CO2 itself is non-toxic, and non-flammable. It does not produce solvent waste, because once oil is extracted, the gas naturally separates at room temperature like when a soda pop loses its fizz.

  3. One step extraction allows for higher quality products.

    CO2 one-step extraction results in a more pure product, with as high as 92% concentrations of CBD. The CO2 process also allows for more customization of the end product. It is an easy task to achieve varied levels of concentration by adjusting temperature, flow rate and pressure ratios. These small tweaks also make it possible to create extracts with varied consistencies like wax, oil or shatter using the same processing machine.

  4. CO2 is completely recyclable for the process.

    Since decreasing pressure after extraction enables the CO2 molecules to return to a gaseous state and evaporate, some supercritical machines are able to recapture, recycle and reuse these same gasses released after extraction.

  5. Longer shelf life for medical grade oils.

    When supercritical CO2 is run through biomass it sanitizes it, killing any insects, bacteria, or mold that could be residing within. This gives the end product a much longer shelf life, and allows classification as medical-grade oils.

Are you interested in learning more about CO2 as a method to process your hemp crop, or just want to chat about the growth of the hemp industry in the midwest? We'd love to hear from you!

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