CBD Extraction Method: Overview of CO2 and Solvent Extraction

By September 15, 2019May 26th, 2021No Comments
cbd oil extraction method

CBD has found itself in the mainstream thanks to its pain-busting abilities. Just recently, the FDA approved the use of epidiolex, a CBD-based drug for the treatment of seizures. But as more and more manufacturers hit the market, there is a need to understand which extraction techniques they normally use. Although there are so many methods of extracting CBD oil, this article offers an overview of the two commonly used methods.

CBD and CBD Products

CBD is a natural chemical compound that’s found in the cannabis plant. It has several health benefits and that’s why it’s a popular source of alternative medicine. This marijuana compound has anti-emetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, and anti-anxiety properties among others. CBD also exists in several forms which include:

  • Edibles such as CBD gummies, cookies, and chocolate bars.
  • Topical products such as balms, creams, and lotions.
  • Vape oil.
  • Tinctures.

What We Know About CBD Extraction

When people talk about how the best CBD oil products are made, they are referring to the extraction method. Carbon dioxide extraction and solvent extraction are among the most commonly used methods. Below is their overview, including the pros and cons.

CO2 extraction method

CBD Oil reviews show that the best CBD oil products are normally manufactured by CO2. This method uses supercritical carbon dioxide to separate CBD oil from the hemp plant. When CO2 is supercritical, it means that it has both gaseous and liquid properties. It’s for this reason that CO2 extraction is sometimes referred to as Supercritical Fluid Extraction. During the extraction process:

  1. A compression chamber is used to prepare CO2. The gas is normally turned into a liquid and then its temperature dropped to under -69°F. On the other hand, its pressure will get increased to over 75 psi.
  2. The supercritical CO2 is then passed via cannabis trimmings. This process involves the use of an extraction chamber. During this phase, CO2 dissolves and then collect plant extracts.
  3. The combination of CO2 and the extracted solution is then passed into a separator chamber. The low pressure in the chamber separates the gas from the plant extracts.

Pros of CO2 Extraction

  • CO2 extraction is a versatile and safe method of extracting food products. So, it’s safe for use with cannabis oil.
  • The technique yields quality CBD.
  • The machines are precise and leave very little room for error.

Cons of CO2 Extraction

  • This technique is only safe when there is a professional involved.
  • It’s quite expensive. For instance, the setup may cost almost $40,000.

cbd oil extraction method

Solvent Extraction Method

The solvent extraction method involves the use of ethanol and various chambers. It’s considered as one of the simplest methods of extracting pure natural CBD oil. Ethanol is the primary solvent that’s normally used to remove the plant extracts. The process involves the following steps:

  1. The cannabis plant trimmings and ethanol are usually mixed. This combination should be left for a couple of minutes. The essence of this is to allow the ethanol to completely dissolve the plant extracts.
  2. After that, the ethanol mixture is then strained from the plant trimmings.
  3. The extract and ethanol mixture is heated slowly. Once a certain temperature is attained, ethanol will evaporate. The resulting extract is what consists of cannabis oil.

Pros of Solvent Extraction

  • It’s a cheap way of extracting CBD oil. It should be noted that solvent extraction doesn’t require any form of an expensive machine.
  • It’s a simple and straightforward method. You can easily carry out solvent extraction from the comfort of your home.

Cons of Solvent Extraction

  • It’s quite dangerous. Ethanol is highly flammable hence it’s dangerous to use.
  • Ethanol may alter the CBD contents. In case the mixture is overmixed or overheated, CBD risks getting denatured.

Choosing the Best Extraction Method

There are several methods which are normally used to extract CBD oil. It’s tough to choose the best extraction method since each one has its pros and cons. Generally, the best extraction method depends on the type of CBD product you want.

When it comes to extracting CBD, safety and quality are important. For starters, safety depends on the design of the extraction equipment. For instance, solvent extraction is not safe because it involves the use of highly flammable ethanol.

Additionally, CO2 is a consumer-friendly technique that is normally used to extract various food products. The equipment used in this technique is also considered food-grade. Regarding the facility of use, CO2 is an asphyxiation hazard. However, this method is usually handled by professionals in designated facilities.

Lastly, it’s important to consider safety in regard to human consumption. According to the FDA, CO2 is generally regarded as safe for consumption. Although ethanol is considered safe for food products, there are different state laws regarding its use.

Overall, there is no definite answer regarding the best extraction method. For instance, solvent extraction is the most common method of extraction. On the other hand, CO2 is regarded as the cleanest method. So, it all depends on your preferences.

The Bottom Line

CO2 and solvent extraction are two of the most common methods of extracting CBD oil.  Brands use different extraction techniques for various CBD products. So, before you buy anything, make sure that you analyze the extraction method. Generally, the technique used can be a great indicator of the value and quality of the product.


  • https://www.cbdoil.org/cbd-extraction-methods/
  • https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/legislative-activities/testimony-to-congress/2015/biology-potential-therapeutic-effects-cannabidiol
  • https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/answers-to-the-top-questions-about-cannabis-extract
  • https://www.powerblanket.com/blog/cbd-extraction-methods/
Emmanuel Stive

Emmanuel Stive

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