CO2, Cannabis, and Terpenes Extraction Information

Which Extractions are Best for Edibles: BHO or C02

Jaymie Giordano
Written by Jaymie Giordano

We are all widely familiar with cannabis-infused treats: lollipops, mints, drinks, and of course the never-ending plethora of chocolates. But what is the best extraction method to yield the most perfect confections?

There are many effective ways to extract cannabis oil from raw plant material. But of the various extraction methods, two are the most popular in the industry: Butane extraction (BHO) and CO2 extraction. In the BHO method, the solvent is put under pressure and introduced to the raw plant material in order to extract the cannabinoids and chlorophyll. The residual solvents are then collected and disposed of, and the product is then treated with heat and vacuum pressure to create the final product. In CO2 extractions, the raw plant material is pulverized with “supercritical” CO2 under pressure, stripping the cannabinoids from the raw plant material and leaving us with an amber colored, untreated, waxy substance. This amber substance then goes through a process called “winterization”, which transforms the amber wax into a more concentrated, dark, tar-like substance that is considered the most concentrated form of cannabis oil.

 

Of the two extraction methods, CO2 extraction is generally preferred for obtaining oil for edibles. CO2 extraction renders a purer product, eliminating the concern of the chemical content in the solvent that oftentimes remains present in Butane extraction. Butane extraction also has the potential to leave a highly undesirable flavor. Although Butane extraction is unfavorable for use in edibles, it is a highly popular extraction method for smoke-friendly products, such as waxes and live-resin that are used for dabbing.

After the oil/ wax has been extracted, it is hyper-important that each and every extraction is sent to a testing facility to test for a wide range of variables, such as potency, residual solvent content, microbial, as well as other factors upon request by either the state or the company itself. For most edibles companies, three separate rounds of testing are done to ensure that the variables remain the same throughout the process. The entire testing process is invaluable in ensuring that the efficacy of the edibles is as accurate as the company states on their packaging. If at any time during the process there is a conflict in test results, the company would be required to test again, potentially to a different lab for a second opinion.

 

About the author

Jaymie Giordano

Jaymie Giordano

Born and raised in a small town in upstate New York, Jaymie and her now-fiancé Matthew relocated to Denver in search of opportunity. Although she is a non-user, Jaymie has worked in the cannabis industry for the last three years.

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2 Comments

  • The article does not refer to the fact that CO2 Extraction and probably BHO extractions do no take out or provide all of the elements of the plant that are missing: these techniques result in somewhat boring products for me. Thus not whole plant medicine.

    • Many distillates do end up utilizing only one cannabinoid, and many patients do need whole plant medicine. However, these extractions allow us to study the compounds of the plant more deeply. In that, they are surely worthwhile in the industry. Do you find the effects boring? What products do you prefer? Thanks for the input!

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