Co2 extracted oils are the new wave of the future when it comes to the cannabis industry. With a wide variety of ways to integrate the product, cannabis oil demand is likely to explode. Cannabis oils can be incorporated into topical ointments and tinctures and it can be a preferred method of ingestion for patients who want to stay away from smoking or vaping cannabis for their treatment.
The complexity of producing oil varies depending on the method used to extract it from the plant matter. The extraction method also helps determine how the product can be used, and different methods can affect the overall quality and purity of the oil.
To separate the oils from the plant matter, solvents must be introduced to remove and melt the trichomes inside the cannabis plant. Since trichomes are fats or lipids, they are unable to be removed with water. Instead, solvents such as CO2, butane, and alcohol are used to separate the oils from the plant matter and create a concentrate.
There are several ways to extract oils, but butane and Co2 are the most popular methods when it comes to extraction of cannabis plant material. There are pros and cons to each method of extraction and opinions of preferred methods tend to vary depending on the consumer. Taste and terpene profile is a key factor for those who consumer oils and waxes for recreational use. However, those consuming the oils for medical use are looking for a clean and pure substance to use to treat their symptoms.
This method involves butane passing over the bud and plant materials. It is separated from the mixture using heat and sometimes a vacuum pump or vacuum oven. The remaining concentrate is left to cool at room temperature. When it is at its purest form, it is thin and hard like glass. This is known as shatter or Butane Hash Oil (BHO).
BHO offers a better flavour profile and features a stronger terpene expression than it does through Co2 extraction. BHO also is easier to source and faster to produce than Co2 extracted oils. However, BHO does have several downfalls, one of which being that butane is highly explosive. The second downfall is that it’s more likely to contain residual solvents that can irritate the lungs and expose you to more pollution than necessary. Though this is commonly overlooked in the recreational market, when it comes to medical use of the substance, it is highly unlikely that a patient would want to introduce unhealthy solvents into their body.
This method begins with grinding up the plant material and pouring it into a special container made for Co2 extraction equipment. Once the container is attached to the Co2 extraction equipment, it uses carbon dioxide under high pressure at extremely low temperatures to isolate, preserve and maintain the purity of the substance. The product is then poured out and refined with ethanol in the form of grain alcohol. It is then pulled through a vacuum filter and spun in a rotating evaporator to collect the ethanol and recycle it for other uses.
Co2 is an excellent method of extraction which is commonly accepted today. This form of extraction is used to produce coffee, tea, perfumes, omega 3 oils, and many other food products. Co2 is a much safer method of extraction, and because it compresses at a temperature far below the deactivation temperature of cannabinoids and terpenes, it will leave you with a cleaner effect from the oil.
Overall, both butane and Co2 extraction methods have their pros and cons. Co2 offers a cleaner process and it is considered to be non-toxic, while BHO is likely to leave residual solvents and is highly explosive especially when being manufactured in a non-commercial environment. However, BHO offers a better flavour profile and ultimately is less expensive and time consuming to produce than Co2 extraction.
When it comes to creating a safe extraction that is pure and non-toxic, we believe it comes down to a clean process that brings the product to its purest form. This makes Co2 extraction our preferred method because it is more likely to be accepted and used in the pharmaceutical industry, it can be made safely, and lastly, it offers a non-toxic profile compared to product that has been extracted using butane.