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Photo by Goldbee

Learn | 04.28.2022

Supercritical CO2 Cannabis Extraction: What Is It & How It’s Done

Understanding the industry's purest, safest, and fastest cannabis extraction method.

Various forms of cannabis extraction are taking place in labs and facilities as we speak. One of the most commonly used, safest, and fastest methods to extract cannabis oil with naturally occurring cannabinoids and terpenes is a process known as supercritical CO2 Extraction.

What Is Supercritical CO2 Extraction?

Instead of introducing solvents that remain in the final product, extractors are quickly leaning onto the safe and admiringly pure supercritical CO2 cannabis extraction method.

The process uses carbon dioxide (CO2), which acts as a solvent to help separate oil with cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant matter. This is done by pushing CO2 at high temperatures and high pressure through several chambers to reach the final oil form.

This process always results in the purest extraction available on the market, free of any remaining solvents that end up in the final product. It also makes for a highly soluble substance that can be introduced to just about any edible product or vape cartridge.

How The Supercritical CO2 Extraction Method Works

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Photo by Rachel Loeber

The supercritical CO2 extraction method works through an innovative and sustainable loop that reuses carbon dioxide for an easy and eco-friendly process.

extractLAB gave us the full rundown on how it works in a short and concise video.

It’s worth noting that a proper CO2 extraction method should take place in a lab, considering the equipment is incredibly expensive and requires a lot of maintenance and care.

The process starts by loading an extraction chamber with plant matter. Next, pressured and heated carbon dioxide flows into the extraction chamber and dissolves the cannabinoids and terpenes while separating the plant matter from the extracted substance.

The pressurized and heated CO2 then travels into an additional chamber that separates carbon dioxide from the extracted substance. The CO2 that’s been separated flows back into the initial pump to be used again for the next extraction.

Finally, the remaining oil is pulled from the final chamber and used for various cannabis products like edibles, beverages, and cartridges.

Why Is The Supercritical CO2 Extraction Method Best?

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Photo by Yoda Dabba Dabba

This easy and fast extraction method is almost effortless; all it takes is the needed equipment that usually runs up to tens of thousands of dollars, so maybe leaving it up to big companies is best for your pockets.

Because it does not introduce any solvents that remain in the final product, the end result is an ultra-pure extract containing the highest amount of cannabinoids and terpenes in any extract on the market. There’s also a certain consistency that comes with this method which helps extractors trust that each extraction will be as good as the last.

Finally, with help from the neat cycle, this extraction method is also one of the fastest methods used in the industry, allowing facilities to easily roll out extracts for various cannabis products.

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