Ethanol and carbon dioxide extraction methods are incredibly different as they are used to achieve two different results. While it is possible to extract pure CBD with ethanol, the process dissolves other unwanted compounds so it is not ideal. This is why carbon dioxide is often used to produce pure CBD oil, however, the process is time-intensive and the machinery is costly. This post explains both methods and their best use cases. Ethanol Extraction Methods • Ethanol extraction happens under either warm or cold conditions in a single stream. There are many different warm and cold ethanol extraction processes such as the Soxhlet technique. • Even though extraction is possible under warm and cold conditions, ethanol extractions usually take place at room temperature as it allows for the retention of cannabinoid acid that can be used to make shatters and other crystals. • During this process, ethanol is used as a solvent that is passed over the plant material to dissolve active plant compounds. • Extracting CBD by ethanol is classified as safe by the FDA, and is often used to extract food for food and medicine. Pros: ◦ Reduces the need for dewaxing or winterization. Winterization is the process of removing lipids from the cannabis extract. ◦ It is the best way to create full-spectrum hemp extracts and tinctures. ◦ Much less solvent is needed to carry out extraction, meaning there is more storage space for the cannabis and the extract. ◦ Ethanol extraction operations are simple to set up and only requires an energy consumption of 20%. Cons: ◦ Because of its polar nature, a CBD extraction purity of 80% or more is difficult to achieve since it is pulling other soluble components such as chlorophyll. ◦ Ethanol has a higher boiling point than hydrocarbons such as butane or propane, which makes the recovery process slower and a bit more difficult than extraction using those compounds. ◦ There most likely will be more steps needed to get a pure CBD extract after an ethanol extraction is complete. Carbon Dioxide Extraction Methods • Carbon dioxide is preferred by many due to its non-toxic nature and because it can produce a more potent extract. • For this method, carbon dioxide is held at a critical pressure and temperature known as a supercritical state. Here, the compound is both a gas and liquid simultaneously and helps heat-sensitive nutrients and substances to come out of the hemp intact and unaltered. • Then, the gas & liquid carbon dioxide in solution with cannabinoid substances are pushed through a sieving material to extract potent CBD oil. Pros: ◦ Carbon dioxide is preferred in some environments because it offers a toxin-free method of extracting CBD. ◦ At a certain point, the carbon dioxide is held at a critical pressure and temperature known as a supercritical state. Here, the compound is both a gas and liquid simultaneously and helps heat-sensitive nutrients and substances to come out intact and unaltered. ◦ CO2 is non-flammable, which means fewer hazards compared to other solvents such as ethanol. ◦ Additionally, CO2 can be reused because it is used in a closed-loop process. Cons: ◦ This process takes a bit longer than other methods such as ethanol extraction and requires expensive machinery to run. ◦ Because of its longer and more aggressive nature, this process could cause some damage to the cannabinoids and the terpenoids in the extract.