14 Mar This is Why We Use Carbon Dioxide to Extract Our Hemp Oil
Our commitment to the integrity of our brands has driven us to make careful decisions about how we grow, extract, formulate, and package our products. When it comes to protecting our customers, one of the most important choices we’ve made is using supercritical CO2 in our extraction process. Selecting this safe and environmentally sustainable method helps us provide our customers with the cleanest and purest CBD oil products possible. CO2 extracted CBD oil is another reason HempMeds® is Your Trusted CBD Source.
What is Extraction?
Botanical extract oils can be sourced from different plants using a number of extraction methods. Typically, a solvent is passed through the plant material, pulling the compound rich oil from the plant. The solvent is then removed in a purging process, leaving behind a concentrated oil. When extracting from hemp, the oil can next be formulated into products or further refined and purified into a number of forms, including a golden dewaxed concentrate or crystallized CBD isolate.
Although it can be costly and requires skill and experience to do correctly, extraction using supercritical CO2 is a safer and more reliable method for obtaining pure hemp oil. This means that HempMeds® can ensure that only the safest, highest quality products are shipped to your home.
Why Supercritical CO2 Extraction?
When we discuss the supercritical CO2 process, we are referring to carbon dioxide that is in a fluid state because it is held at its critical temperature and critical pressure. Supercritical CO2 extraction is an important development in commercial extraction due to its low toxicity and minimal environmental impact. Because the FDA considers CO2 extraction to be GRAS or “generally regarded as safe” for commercial extraction, this method is popular in the food industry. The stability of supercritical CO2 also allows most compounds to be extracted with little damage. In the coffee industry, supercritical CO2 is already widely accepted as safer than traditional solvents to extract the caffeine from coffee beans to yield decaffeinated coffee.
Because it is non-toxic and non-flammable, supercritical CO2 is preferable over chemical solvents like butane, hexane, and acetone, which can linger in the extracted oil if not purged correctly, rendering the oil toxic. It has also been noted that botanical essential oils extracted using supercritical CO2 are truer to the scent of the original plants than in other forms of extraction, meaning more of the plant’s chemical structure is retained in the oil with the use of CO2 extraction.
The CO2 Extraction Process
The supercritical CO2 extraction method is the safest, and most efficient method of CBD extraction, however, it is also the most expensive. CO2 extraction is being used for a variety of industries including:
- Fruit and nut extracts
- Fruit and nut aromas
- Omega-3 oils
- Oil extractions from algae (as an alternative energy source)
How CO2 Extraction Is Done
Experienced and highly-trained lab technicians use state of the art equipment to achieve “supercritical” CO2 extraction. At its core, CO2 extraction is the act of creating phase changes in carbon dioxide by utilizing temperature and pressure.
CO2 is a tunable solvent, making it versatile and a perfect candidate for the “supercritical” process. The carbon dioxide is cooled and compressed to upwards of 10,000 psi (pounds per square inch), a high compression rate. By comparison, the tires on your car are pressurized to about 300 psi. When compressed to these extremes, CO2 becomes ‘supercritical’, which simply means that it converts to liquid when placed under extreme pressure.
In this supercritical state, the CO2 possesses the properties of a liquid and gas at the same time. The CO2 is then heated and passed through the hemp in a closed loop extractor, without causing harm to any heat-sensitive nutrients like enzymes or vitamins.
The result of this process is a released and recycled CO2 that leaves a highly concentrated, totally pure extract that is more easily digested by the body. The CBD oil that comes through supercritical extraction is a full spectrum cannabinoid product that is transparent with a light amber color.
Supercritical CO2 extraction is also the key to understanding more cannabinoids in cannabis like Cannabichromene (CBC) and cannabicitran (CBT) and how they interact with each other (called the Entourage effect). This can lead to increased understanding of marijuana in the medical field, and will also allow growers to come up with more effective, new and exciting strains.
The Pros and Cons of CO2 Extracted CBD Oil
- Extract residues are non-toxic.
- Eco-friendly: the looped process allows the CO2 to be reused.
- Inflammable: other methods use butane, a flammable solvent.
- Suitable for temperature sensitive substances through low operating temperatures.
- Components that are normally difficult to separate can show a very different level of solvability in CO2, providing a good separation.
- CO2 is reusable.
- One drawback to the CO2 extraction process is that it is not a continuous process. Each session is unique and materials need to be treated batch after batch.
All HempMeds® Products Tested for Safety
Despite the fact that HempMeds® uses an extraction method that has been proven to be safe, we still take the time to quality check our products with our Triple Lab Tested™ process. We use certified labs to check our hemp oil at three points during the manufacturing process to confirm accurate CBD potency numbers and ensure it is free of residual contaminants like mold, mildew, heavy metals, and residual solvents. We go to these lengths because the safety of you and your family is our primary concern. That is why we are confident HempMeds® will be Your Trusted CBD Source.
Learn more about hemp oil and our line of CBD supplements on our education page or visit our online shop to get started with CBD today.