September 10, 2018

Why Supercritical CO2 is the best Extraction Method for CBD

By Brian Cusack

To obtain high-quality cannabidiol (CBD), you need to extract it from the hemp plant. Extraction helps to concentrate the CBD and remove all unwanted bits from of the plant. The quality and concentration of the CBD depend a lot on the method of extraction used. There are several CBD extraction methods used to extract the substance with varying results.

CO2 Extraction CBD

In hemp the CBD content is high while the content of the high-inducing THC is very low, this is why hemp and CBD are legal in almost every country in the world including Ireland. Here at Dr. Hemp Me we use CO2, which is the most high-tech CBD extraction method on the market.

CBD Extraction Methods

The olive oil method 

This is a relatively simple extraction method that involves heating the hemp leaves to around 120 C for 30 minutes to an hour. The heated leaves are then put in olive oil and heated for another two hours at 100 C. This method extracts CBD into the olive oil. The olive oil method extracts only a small amount of CBD, so it not commonly used. But if you have a hemp plant and want some mild CBD flavoured olive oil you could try this.

Cannabidiol Extraction

Dry ice method

This method involves using dry ice to freeze the trichome resins and separating them from the rest of the plant. There is a lot of shaking of the frozen plant involved and this method is not great for commercial use as there is a chance of damaging the CBD in the process.

Cannabis olive or alcohol

Solvent extraction method 

The solvent method is also relatively simple and used quite often for CBD extraction. Butanol or ethanol is mixed with the leaves and the alcohol dissolves the CBD and extracts it from the leaves. The solvent is then heated until it evaporates leaving behind only the CBD or hemp oil. There are two disadvantages to using this method; alcohol can be left behind in the CBD extract and sometimes chlorophyll is also left by the alcohol which badly affects the taste of the extract.


CO2 extraction method

This is one of the best methods of extracting CBD from hemp and the method we use at Dr. Hemp Me. The process extracts the compound safely and at a good concentration. With the help of specialised equipment, carbon dioxide (CO2) is cooled under pressure until it reaches a liquid state. This state is also called the supercritical state of CO2.

Liquid CO2 can be used as a solvent to extract CBD from hemp and it is allowed to reach room temperature at which point it turns back into a gas and floats away leaving just the CBD extract behind.

hemp in Ireland

Because the CO2 extraction method gives such good results, Dr. Hemp Me ensures that the CBD used in all our products is obtained using this method. Pure, uncontaminated CBD oil has a higher concentration of CBD and delivers the best positive effects when used. The CO2 extraction method ensures the oil is non-toxic and therefore a very clean and safe way of extraction as this excludes the risk of retaining any solvents. The solvent extraction method cannot guarantee this.

Most Expensive Extraction Method

The one big disadvantage of the CO2 method for companies is its cost. It is by far the most expensive extraction but it reaps the highest rewards. To source, the highest quality CBD always ask for lab test reports and make sure the CBD oil is full spectrum.

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