Using Supercritical CO2 for THC Extraction in Cannabis Oils

Feb 1, 2019 | Extraction

In today’s hot cannabis market, growers need to be smart about their THC extraction approach when making THC oil from their harvest. With so many product types and extraction methods, ROI can be impacted, even for the worse, if you focus on the wrong things.

Profitable products have really changed over the years. In the past, it was flower power. However, now the flower has gone the way of commodity in terms of pricing. It’s no secret that smoking anything, of any kind, is becoming less socially acceptable and carries significant health concerns:

“Smoked herbal cannabis is the most common method of consumption for cannabis product around the world, but can be unhealthy and dangerous due to the fact that toxins and carcinogens are released from the combustion of materials [15]” (Aieta & Rovetto 2017).

Instead, refined oil extracts and end products are where the market is at. With the rollback of prohibition, new methods of manufacturing cannabis and hemp-derived products are becoming more popular. Vaping has emerged as the most popular option for consumption available to consumers.

Vape cartridge oil quality varies depending on the extraction technique used to produce it. Not only that, but different THC extraction methods carry various risks from safety and product quality to consistency. Supercritical CO2 extraction offers oil that’s more fluid, and less viscous than alternative extraction techniques, which makes it perfect for vape cartridges.

Why CO2 is Safer for THC Extraction

According to the paper “Supercritical carbon dioxide extraction of cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa L” from The Journal of Supercritical Fluids:

“The extraction of cannabis to make other forms of concentrate is a function of the solubility of THC and other cannabinoids in different organic solvents (mainly hydrocarbons and alcohols). Solvents like methanol, ethanol, chloroform, butane, hexane, etc. are currently applied, however safety considerations related to their toxicity and flammability exist [4]” (Aieta & Rovetto 2017).

As our Senior Technical Advisor, Cole, pointed out in our December 2018 article “CO2 vs. Ethanol Safety Concerns,” people often ask him, “‘what happens once the city finds out I need gallons upon gallons of ethanol on site?’ I can confidently tell them that the city will be deeply invested in monitoring their business on a regular basis” (Holstrom 2018).

Many extraction facilities run into bottlenecks in production. extraktLAB’s Model 140 supercritical CO2 extractors were designed with throughput and future scalability (up to one ton per day!) in mind. A 24 sq. ft. footprint and low energy use means lower overhead costs for production.

In fact, our Model 140 supercritical CO2 extractors offer, “some of the fastest processing on the market,” according to the GreenRushDaily article, “10 Best Cannabis Extraction Machines on the Market.”

Why use Supercritical CO2 for THC Extraction?

thc extraction

Distilled THC oil from supercritical CO2 extraction

extraktLAB’s supercritical CO2 technology is 99% efficient and leaves behind less than 1% of your trim’s valuable cannabinoid content. Supercritical CO2 also creates a clean, green and consistent product as:

“The extraction method features essentially define the quality of the final product. Among the various extraction techniques, we can highlight the use of supercritical fluids as extraction solvents…Supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) is a technology used in large scale for extraction of essential oils and a large variety of bioactive components from vegetable matrices [16-19]” (Aieta & Rovetto 2017).

Supercritical CO2 extraction is the longtime method used within the food, drink, and perfume industries because it’s safe and healthy, when compared to alternative extraction techniques. extraktLAB’s certified products and GMP manufacturing process take these high standards to another level.

If you’re a grower with loads of underpriced flower on hand, then it’s time for you to benefit from highly valuable end products. extraktLAB’s Model 140 supercritical CO2 extractor turns 8kg of trim (17.6 lbs) into 600-1200 grams of crude oil every 60 minutes. In other words, you’ll see a fast return on your valuable harvest.

Call us today at 651-600-0036, or submit a contact form below, to see what we can do to help your business grow!


Rovetto, Laura & Aieta, Niccolo. (2017). Supercritical carbon dioxide extraction of cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa L. plant material. The Journal of Supercritical Fluids. 10.1016/j.supflu.2017.03.014.

Hanna, Ab. “10 Best Cannabis Extraction Machines On The Market.” GreenRushDaily: 02 August 2017. Website:

Holstrom, Cole & Shakal, Andrea. “CO2 vs. Ethanol Safety Concerns.” extraktLAB: 06 December 2018. Website: