What is a Supercritical CBD CO2 Extraction Machine?
A CBD CO2 extraction machine is made out of stainless steel (a standard in the food and pharma industry) and usually consists of:
- A Chiller
- An extraction vessel
- Collection vessels
- CO2 tanks
- Pipes, gauges, valves, pumps
- Control panel
- The CBD extraction machines are also closed-loop systems, so the CO2 gets recycled back to CO2 tanks and can be reused for future extractions.
The steps of the CO2 hemp extraction process
The extraction vessel is filled with hemp. The hemp biomass should be free of water and finely ground for optimal volume efficiency.
Pressurized CO2 (in the supercritical state) passes through the extraction vessel to interact with hemp, extracting various compounds present in hemp such as cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids among others.
Supercritical CO2 then carries the hemp extract to the collection vessels
In collection vessels, the pressures are lower than the supercritical range, which transforms CO2 back into a gas form and allows it to be recollected into CO2 tanks.
As CO2 becomes a gas, its solvent properties are gone and the hemp extract separates from CO2.
At different pressure and temperatures, different fractions of hemp resin are extracted in the collection vessels.
These fractions either represent more volatile substances like aromatic terpenes and on the other side of the spectrum, heavier oils and waxes containing cannabinoids like CBD.
Why use CO2 extraction for CBD/hemp extraction?
There are many methods of stripping CBD from the hemp plant. Some are mechanical, some use solvents, and some involve advanced technologies such as microwaves and ultrasonic sound.
But all of them aim for the same goal, to capture the essence of the plant. At the end of the day, it is not always a matter of quality, why a specific extraction process is chosen. It boils down to many different factors, such as equipment cost, time efficiency, extraction yields, and skills required for the operation…
The benefits of CO2 extraction for the best quality CBD extracts
Almost 100% of cannabinoid extraction efficiency is one of the main benefits of CO2 hemp extraction. In the CO2 extraction of essential oils, terpene retention is also impressive.
By using food-grade CO2, the final extract contains NO residual solvents which might be harmful to the consumer. With supercritical CO2 hemp extractions, we require no additional steps of solvent purging, so our extracts retain more of their original form.
Most unwanted compounds like waxes or chlorophyll can also be filtered out during the extraction process. This way we again avoid unnecessary manipulations of the hemp extract which might alter its natural chemical composition.
Relying on supercritical CO2 hemp extraction can obtain an organic CO2 extract rich in cannabinoids and free of impurities. And this is what matters the most, to put on market something we are proud of, something that cannot be any better.
PROS AND CONS OF CO2 EXTRACTION
- CO2 is considered a green Solvent by the American Chemical Society
- CO2 is non-flammable, reducing explosion risks
- Higher production cost
- Complex equipment and refinement drive up costs
- Inefficient—multiple extractions are needed
- Multiple extractions at different temperatures and pressures are necessary
- Less THC and other cannabinoids in the final product
- CO2 needs to be refined
- Using more solvents like ethanol
- The high pressure used strips fats, waxes, lipids, and chlorophyll in addition to cannabinoids
- Less natural flavor and terpene profile are muted due to degradation from heat