Cannabis and hemp are plants that contain sought after chemicals, these compounds are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
Unlike THC, cannabidiol is not psychoactive which allows it to be consumed without the “high” that individuals experience using THC products. This property makes cannabidiol appealing as consumers can enjoy the benefits of CBD without the unwanted psychoactive effects.
Over the years cannabidiol has grown in popularity due to the many benefits it provides. Researchers have discovered a variety of commercial and pharmaceutical applications, making CBD a particularly useful compound. The antioxidants, anti-inflammation, anticonvulsant, and psychotic properties of CBD are just a few examples of what makes this compound valuable.
To access these wonderful properties, cannabidiol must be in a form that is consumable. This can be done through the process of extraction.
Industrial hemp plants are used most often, but CBD can also be extracted from hemp and cannabis. The ratio of THC and CBD in the biomass you are processing is important to consider when selecting what strains to work with. THC levels that are below a certain threshold can be canceled out by the CBD that is present, minimizing potential psychoactive effects.
CBD extraction is not a simple process, and it must be done carefully to preserve the properties that consumers look for. Continue reading to learn more about how CBD extraction works and what the process entails.
What Happens During the CBD Extraction Process?
There are a variety of ways to extract CBD that vary in cost, difficulty, efficiency, and resulting purity. The two most common methods are CO2 and ethanol extraction.
CO2 extraction is further divided into different categories that are dependent on the amount of pressure the CO2 is under during the reaction. The supercritical method is the most common version of this extraction process. During this reaction, the CO2 and biomass are placed under remarkably high pressure. This pressure causes the CO2 to extract the CBD. This is because CO2 has solvent-like properties when under certain temperature and pressure conditions.
Subcritical CO2 extraction follows a similar process to supercritical extraction, but just at a lower temperature and pressure. Due to this difference, the process takes much longer and produces a much lower yield. This method is more applicable when producing full spectrum products. CO2 extraction has high upfront costs due to the equipment being expensive and employees may need more specialized training to operate these systems.
That brings us to ethanol extraction, this process can be divided into cold and warm ethanol extraction. During cold ethanol extraction, the biomass and ethanol are both dropped to incredibly low temperatures. After this extraction begins through adding both components together. The ethanol will draw out the CBD and the undesirable compounds like terpenes and chlorophyll are frozen. These frozen materials can then be easily filtered out. From there the ethanol is vaporized and recovered, leaving the desired CBD extract behind.
Warm ethanol extraction is quite like its cold counterpart, the primary difference being the beginning of the process. In warm ethanol extraction the temperature of the biomass and the solvent are not lowered. This results in a product that has a lower level of purity. For this reason, winterization is a secondary step in which the oils are cooled after extraction and any impurities are filtered out.
How to improve your CBD extraction process
You can improve your CBD extraction process by selecting a method that works for your business and investing in quality equipment. Compared to CO2 extraction, ethanol extraction has a great level of purity and is a more affordable method as the upfront costs are lower than CO2 systems.
Here at Maratek we offer high quality ethanol extraction equipment for both commercial and industrial extraction. Our equipment helps to maximize yields while minimizing cost, and it is designed with scalability in mind.
These systems offer 99+% solvent recovery which helps lower your ethanol costs and is environmentally friendly. Equipment like OERS can complete bulk ethanol recovery, final ethanol recovery, and decarboxylation in a single automatic process with minimal operator time required.
If you are interested in investing in quality equipment that can improve your CBD production process, contact Maratek today.