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CO2 Extraction: Supercritical vs. Subcritical,Different extraction processes

Different extraction processes can produce very different cannabis extracts – learn the difference between subcritical and supercritical CO2 extraction (click:http://www.careddi.com/brc/66.htm [1]).
In the modern era of cannabis consumption, extracts are more popular than ever. But it’s not just popularity that’s changing the cannabis game. Patients and recreational users are increasingly concerned about purchasing reliable, consistent and safe methods of cannabis extracts.

Not too long ago, cannabis extraction via highly flammable hydrocarbons used to be dangerous, small-scale affairs, the kind of thing amateur chemists conducted in their garages and backyards with explosive consequences. While people are still making dangerous extractions, legalization has spawned safer production methods, including CO2 extraction.

Whether it’s a vaporizer pen, salve, edible food or e agent, if it’s a premium cannabis product, it’s possible to produce it using some form of carbon dioxide (CO 2) extraction technology, a non-toxic, environmentally friendly method that creates a saturated, concentrated and potent concentrate. cannabinoids and terpenes for the modern consumer. CO 2 extraction, however, is a broad term that encompasses two different methods under its umbrella. Below, we describe two different CO 2 extraction processes, supercritical and subcritical extraction, and how they change the way cannabis extraction competes.

How does CO 2 extraction work?
CO 2 extraction uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract specific compounds from the plant. This is the most expensive, efficient and safe extraction method because it eliminates many of the dangers associated with solvents.

Although relatively new in the processing of cannabis concentrates, this technology is by no means green for the plant extraction and food industries. In fact, from producing carbonated soft drinks, removing caffeine from coffee beans to making essential oils, carbon dioxide has been used as a standard extraction method for many years.

Today, cannabis extraction using CO 2 has quickly positioned itself as one of the leading technologies in the industry. Retailers (now more than ever) are labeling concentrates by extraction method, detailing whether and to what extent a solvent was used – working to eliminate efforts to use petroleum-based solvents such as butane or propane, and moving toward more modern supercritical and subcritical CO 2 processes.

But what exactly is the difference between subcritical and supercritical extraction?

Supercritical CO 2 extraction
At standard temperature and pressure, CO 2 is a gas. However, when heated above 31.10C (critical temperature) and 1,071 psi (critical pressure), it exudes both gaseous and liquid properties, becomes a so-called supercritical fluid, and begins the supercritical CO 2 extraction process.

This supercritical fluid acts as a solvent that, in addition to dissolving them, slips into porous materials. Thus, when using cannabis, the supercritical fluid passes through a chamber containing unprocessed cannabis material, thereby gently dissolving the trichome’s membrane to capture its active compounds. Next, the compound-rich solvent enters another pressurized separation vessel. As the pressure and temperature fluctuate, compounds such as cannabinoids and terpenes are fractionated off. Finally, the remaining CO 2 is transferred to a condenser where the temperature and pressure stabilize the fluid back into the gas.

Although supercritical extraction yields higher yields and takes less time than subcritical extraction, it is too harsh for some terpenes, resulting in the loss or conversion of these compounds.

Subcritical CO 2 extraction
Subcritical CO 2 extraction is the same process; it requires less pressure and lower temperature (for non-supercritical liquids) than supercritical CO 2 extraction. This process is longer, less efficient and less productive, but it preserves and protects the fragile components of the plant such as essential oils, terpenes and other sensitive chemicals, which are needed when producing full-spectrum cannabis products.

These temperature and pressure differences result in widely varying cannabis products. The supercritical system produces a substance with the consistency of peanut butter. Using higher temperatures and pressures in a supercritical system allows for the extraction of larger molecules such as omega 3 and 6 lipids, chlorophyll and waxes, which can then be removed through a process called antifreeze, leaving only the cannabis oil. Subcritical CO 2 extraction produces a substance with a concentration close to that of molasses, which, as mentioned above, retains other cannabinoids in addition to CBD.

Best: Supercritical or subcritical?
Until recently, supercritical CO 2 extraction was the most accepted method of CO 2 extraction, but as more attention has been paid to full-spectrum plant products and the role of terpenes in cannabis products, subcritical CO 2 extraction has challenged common thought and practice. .

The notion that the medicinal impact of the whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts, or what scientists call the „companion effect,” is a highly controversial topic in the cannabis industry.