Industrial Hemp is now farmed for its Cannabinoids, as well as, for fiber. The most popular cannabinoid found in hemp is referred to as Cannabidiol or CBD. CBD is gaining wide spread attention in treatment of seizure disorders and helping with various other conditions. Hemp itself contains dozens of cannabinoids, as well as, other vitamins and nutrients. Some of these components are not wanted and therefore the Cannabidiol must be extracted from the hemp. CBD most commonly is extracted through alcohol extraction, butane extraction, and CO2 extraction and turned into oil. The CBD is then refined and formulated into hemp based products. The process of extraction is complicated and often confusing. When choosing a company to purchase Cannabidiol based products, it is important to know which extraction technique they use. All Extraction techniques are not created equal, so it is important to know the differences between them. By doing so, the customer can make an informed decision about which technique and therefore which CBD company may be the best fit for their individual needs.
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Alcohol extraction is one of the oldest and simplest techniques in refining materials. The process combines alcohol with hemp material to extract CBD.The solvent Ethanol or Hydrocarbon is passed over the hemp plant material to extract Cannabidiol (CBD). Alcohol is a “polar” solvent and therefore, will bind to the water particles of hemp. This is a preferred method of extracting hemp due to this fact as these water particles hold useful cannabinoids.Alcohol extraction, if done properly, can eliminate the need for winterization and dewaxing needed in other hemp extraction techniques. Therefore it is a popular choice for full spectrum hemp extracts and products. There are also some potential drawbacks of hemp based alcohol extraction. Alcohol extraction will absorb more water, so therefore, alcohol will also pull more unwanted components of water. The recovery process of alcohol based extraction is generally slower and more difficult because alcohol has a much higher boiling point than other techniques including butane and CO2. Due to this fact Ethanol is limited on the types of products it can produce. This is the reason alcohol extraction isn’t always the best choice and can sometimes involve several other different methods of refinement and filtration.
Butane extraction (BHO) is a popular hemp extraction technique. This technique is a popular choice because of its low cost and effectiveness. Butane extraction is a form hydrocarbon extraction. This extraction technique also has a variety of options for different product consistencies. Water passes through the hemp and is filtered with butane to extract the Cannabidiol and other Cannabinoids. The compounds are then placed in a vacuum to evaporate the BHO and any other foreign substances. The drawbacks of butane are obvious. Butane is highly flammable and therefore unsafe to work with. Butane is also toxic to humans and animals and therefore butane extraction techniques are often questionable.
CO2 Hemp extraction is by far the leading extraction method today. The process of CO2 extraction involves pressurized carbon dioxide at a certain temperature depending on the quality of hemp used. When the CO2 reaches a certain temperature, it acts as a solvent to extract the cannabidiol from the hemp. The two types of CO2 extractions are subcritical and supercritical:
Sub critical C02 extraction involves using low pressure and low heat.These type of extractions take much longer than supercritical extraction, and are therefore much more expensive. They also produce much smaller yields than supercritical extractions. Subcritical extraction, because of the low heat, preserve terpenes, essential oils, and other sensitive components found in hemp.
Supercritical extraction is a preferred method for those wishing to do bulk CO2 extraction. The process of Supercritical CO2 extraction uses high pressure and high heat to separate the Cannabidiol from the hemp. This process often destroys the terpenes and other useful parts of the plant but it also eliminates unwanted additives and Cannabinoids. Supercritical Co2 expands to a container like a gas but with a density of liquid.This is becoming the leading extraction method for hemp because of its low toxicity and environmental impact. Also, because Co2 extraction varies with pressure it is suitable for many different types of hemp extractions.