CBD: Alcohol Extraction VS CO2 Extraction

October 30, 2019 iceheadshop

When it comes to CBD oil, there are different strokes for different folks. Some people prefer alcohol extraction, whereas others choose CO2 extraction. Many people believe that CO2 extraction is superior in quality because it leaves behind virtually no residual impurities.

Alcohol is a solvent used to extract CBD from hemp. CO2, a gas, is considered a solventless extraction. There are many different determining factors that people make when choosing to perform alcohol extraction or CO2 extraction. Either way, it's not as easy as it sounds.

Both alcohol extraction and CO2 extraction requires basic knowledge of the hemp plant as well as the extraction process. A basic understanding of chemistry is almost a must for anyone considering extraction. CO2 extraction can be purchased where it is automated, but it is costly. Machines used for CO2 extraction often require advanced training and knowledge to understand how to use appropriately.

Alcohol Extraction

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Alcohol extraction is an avenue that many people who produce small batches with CBD-rich hemp choose to go. A home cultivator, for example, may choose this route because it is the least expensive. Alcohol extraction is done using high-proof ethanol alcohol. Sometimes people use a liquor called Everclear.

Alcohol extraction is very fast in comparison to CO2, making it great for distillate products. The equipment used to process hemp with ethanol is very inexpensive compared to CO2 equipment. Ethanol extractions are also easily scalable. The downside to ethanol extraction is it requires extreme amounts of secondary processing to reach its optimum quality. It also presents a fire hazard as ethanol is extremely flammable and requires the proper ventilation.

Small scale alcohol extractions can produce quality CBD oil, but only when they are finished using winterization and distillation. In comparison, winterization and distillation of a CO2 extracted CBD product will contain a much level of purity.

CO2 CBD Extraction

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CO2 CBD extraction might sound like you're getting ready to jump into the Star Wars universe and pull a Droid out of a special mission, but that's not the case. CO2 extraction is considered by many to be the gold standard when it comes to CBD oil. The CO2 gas is used in specialized systems to extract cannabinoids from hemp. Instead of soaking the material in alcohol, the gas is passed through the material at an extremely cold temperature, causing separation of essential oils found in the plant from the plant material.

The extracted material is then combined with alcohol and mixed together. Once the mix has been thoroughly agitated, it is placed in a deep freezer overnight. During this time, the mix will start to become cloudy. Once it achieves the optimal cloudiness level, it is filtered through a micron filter. This process separates lipids, fats, and waxes from the extracted CBD oil. The remaining mixture then has heat applied to it. The heat causes the alcohol remaining to be evaporated off, leaving behind the good stuff, CBD.

Now you might be thinking to yourself that sounds like a lot, but wait, there's more. After the CBD oil has been extracted and has gone through the winterization process, one final step remains. This process is called distillation.

During distillation, CBD oil is heated, bringing the different molecules to a boil. Since different molecules have different boiling points with the right knowledge, one can pinpoint a specific molecule, in this case, CBD.

Now You Know and Knowing is Half the Battle

When it comes to the difference between alcohol extraction and CO2 extraction with CBD oil, some people will say it's a significant difference. Others don't care as long as they get quality CBD oil. Which are you?

The best advice for anyone looking to enter the world of CBD oil as a customer is to try it all and see what works the best for you. If you are looking at making CBD oil to sell to the public, making it the best that you can.

Each person is a little bit different, and CBD can work with each person a little bit differently. Now that you're equipped with a little bit of knowledge about the difference between alcohol extraction and CO2 extraction, head out there and find your favourite CBD oil today.

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