Supercritical CO2 Extraction


As we run through the process of explaining everything there is to know about CBD, one of the areas we must focus on is the technology of production.

At present, one of the most celebrated forms of efficient production of pure CBD is through what is known as supercritical CO2 extraction. To understand how this works, we first need to embark on a very basic and short review of how CBD is derived from hemp.

CBD from Hemp

As should be abundantly clear to the reader by this point, CBD comes from hemp. Once a chemist decides to extract an alkaloid or cannabinoid from plant matter, a number of steps are involved, with the end goal of gaining a substance that has not lost it’s important bioactive properties.

To accomplish this, in the case of CBD, there are several different methods of extraction, including butane and ethanol-based processes. However, in every way other than cost, it is widely understood that the best possible methodology for extracting CBD from hemp is through supercritical CO2 extraction.

Understanding Supercritical CO2 Extraction

Carbon dioxide is at the heart of this process. It has been used to extract essential compounds and oils in a number of different cases for quite some time. However, the process is relatively expensive.

Here are the steps involved:

The first step is to compress the plant material in its basic and raw form at a relatively low temperature.

The next step is to put that in a chamber and then pass supercritical CO2 through that same chamber and through the plant mixture. Supercritical CO2 is a substance that basically acts as both a liquid and gas at the same time. This allows for a great deal of control through pressure changes in determining exactly which compounds are extracted from the raw material.

From there, the next step is to make sure that the CO2 evaporates back into its gaseous form by bringing the entire mixture back up to room temperature. This should leave a substance that lacks any solvents or residues.

That’s it. It’s just those three easy steps. However the equipment to make this possible can be extremely expensive.

Naturally, as more and more people in the general public adopt the use of CBD and THC for therapeutic uses, the market for pure concentrated compounds made just of these substances will continue to grow. And as that market grows, we will see increasing investment in the technology of extraction.

The upshot of all of this is simply that the cost involved in this type of extraction equipment should go down over time as it becomes more and more commonplace, and the technology involved in producing it, as well as all of the component parts, becomes more widespread in production facilities.

A big factor in the degree to which this process accelerates over time will be how the laws surrounding CBD and THC change going forward, particularly in the United States. Hopefully, it won’t be long before everyone has access to the ability to extract their own pure substances in this manner.