What is the best method for botanical extraction? Even though the cheapest and most popular method for botanical oil extraction continues to be hydrocarbon (volatile) in nature, the technological advances in supercritical CO2 (non-volatile) extraction are giving volatile extractors a run for their money.
What Is Botanical Extraction?
To understand botanical extraction, it’s important that we first define botanicals. A simple definition of botanicals is that they are plants that are believed to have health benefits, a pleasing smell or taste, or both.
Botanicals have traditionally been used in herbal remedies. By pinpointing and separating (extracting) specific botanical components from the rest of the plant, you can create concentrated herbal products which produce a targeted effect.
More recently, the practice of botanical extraction has been applied to cannabis. Thanks to botanical extraction, we can pull out desirable active compounds such as THC, CBD, and terpenes (terpenoids) from the rest of the plant.
How Does Cannabis Extraction Work?
At its most basic, the practice of extraction involves the plant matter itself and a solvent. Many different types of solvents can be used, each with its own pros and cons. Some of the more common types of solvents used for cannabis extraction include:
- Supercritical CO2
Cannabis is combined with a solvent to create a solution containing the cannabinoids and terpenes. Depending on the solvent, the resulting extract will need to be further refined to remove any undesirable compounds such as chlorophyll and plant fats and waxes.
To learn more, read our post about the different options available for refining your extract once the oil has been separated from the cannabis plant material.
Why Choose Supercritical CO2 Extraction?
Other hydrocarbon-based solvents such as ethanol may seem like they require less overhead cost, but the operating expenses of ethanol extraction systems increase dramatically once you’re ready to scale up. Ethanolic extracts also require more processing to arrive at the desired output. By contrast, CO2 botanical extraction is:
- Safer than volatile extraction methods.
- Healthier than volatile extracts as it contains less residual solvents.
- Able to offer higher yields with shorter runtimes.
Cut Through the Red Tape
Plus, supercritical CO2 extraction is the standard for use in the food and drink industry. So, it makes sense to avoid any future regulations and red tape by sticking with an extraction method that is tried-and-tested, especially if you’re planning on creating cannabis extracts for human consumption.
At extraktLAB®, we sell the best supercritical CO2 extraction equipment that offers “some of the fastest processing on the market today,” according to the GreenRushDaily article, “10 Best Cannabis Extraction Machines On The Market.”
Whether you’re looking at starting up a new extraction business or need to scale up an existing extraction operation — we’ve got you covered! extraktLAB’s Series 110, 140 and 180 CO2 extraction machine are the way to go. Watch the video below to get a sense of the level of clean, high-quality oils and terpenes our extractors can produce: