Cannabis extracts are a category of products that are more potent than flowers. Manufacturers create them by pulling THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids from physical plant matter, concentrating the cannabinoids. While the THC content of extracts varies, many have upwards of 90%. To create them, manufacturers typically use solvents such as butane or propane. Today, another solvent is gaining popularity, and that’s supercritical CO2. Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of supercritical CO2 extraction over other methods.
More Traditional Methods of Cannabis Extraction
Butane is one of the most common solvents involved in hydrocarbon extraction. The process involves pressurizing the gas to transform it into a liquid. That liquid then passes over cannabis plants, extracting cannabinoids as it does. Next, manufacturers apply heat to evaporate the butane, leaving behind what’s commonly called butane hash oil.
Supercritical CO2 Extraction
Supercritical CO2 extraction involves using carbon dioxide, another gas, to extract cannabinoids and other beneficial compounds from cannabis plants. Like butane, CO2 is pressurized to become a liquid. It passes over the plants to dissolve and separate the desired compounds. Again, the solution moves to a collection chamber where the temperature and pressure normalize. In the process, the CO2 returns to a gas and evaporates from the extract.
What Are Its Benefits
There are a few benefits of supercritical CO2 extraction over butane and propane extraction. For one thing, any lingering butane or propane in an extract could result in significant health risks. Additionally, butane released into the natural environment could harm the atmosphere. With CO2, it’s a non-toxic, naturally occurring gas. It won’t harm you, nor will it harm the environment.
Another benefit of CO2 extraction is that it provides a safer method of extraction. Butane is highly flammable and could cause some severe harm if it came into contact with too-high temperatures. CO2 doesn’t have the same risks. Manufacturers can also recycle CO2, which allows them to use it multiple times to create extracts. That also makes it a more environmentally-friendly option.
Know Your Products
If you’re interested in purchasing CO2 extracts over butane or propane ones, the best way to find products that fit your needs is to read the label. Cannabis labels, which need to provide a significant amount of information, will give you what you need to make an informed decision.
Understand How Your Cannabis Products Came to Be
As a cannabis user, you have a right to know (and should know) information about the products you buy. The product labels provide you with most of what you’ll need to know. They give you the cannabinoid profile and terpene profile, which can help you choose the best products. You’ll see whether or not a product has passed microbe, herbicide, mold, and mildew tests.
When it comes to extracts, product labels will also show which solvent a manufacturer used to make them. Armed with information regarding the different extraction methods, you can choose the products you decide are the safest and best for you.