Extraction: How the Best CBD Products are Born
When it comes to extracting CBD, there's no shortage of methods companies and brands can use to separate out the cannabinoid-rich oils found inside the hemp bio-mass being processed. With the arrival of new and updated technology, these processes have been refined and improved upon over the years, but one method stands out as superior when it comes to the purity and quality of the oil rendered. This method is also more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Therefore, this is the method that we use to produce our Butler products: supercritical CO2 extraction.
What are the most used CBD extraction methods?
In the CBD extraction world, there are three methods that are used far more commonly than others. We'll examine the pros and cons of all three, and why CO2 extraction is currently the preferred method of both the top CBD brands and experienced users alike.
This method uses solvents (most commonly butane or ethanol) to wash over the hemp biomass, pulling out the desirable plant-based compounds such as the cannabinoids and terpenes. Upon further refinement, the solvent is removed leaving behind the cannabinoid oil, which can then be formulated into its final product form. The plus side of using solvent-based extraction is that it is effective and efficient, and has lower start up costs since the equipment used is not as sophisticated as other methods. However, without proper knowledge of how to correctly use these highly flammable solvents, it can be a dangerous process to replicate. Additionally, removing all of the initial solvent used in the process can be extremely difficult, and often times oil extracted using this method can have a bitter or unpleasant taste, making it hard to use in tinctures or other ingestible CBD products.
Steam distillation is likely the oldest and most basic form of oil extraction, but is considered the least efficient and inconsistent method around. Steam is used to strip the raw plant material of the cannabinoids; the resulting vapor is then condensed, at which point the water is separated off, leaving behind the cannabinoid oil. While this method is considered clean due to the lack of solvents used in the process, it is incredibly inefficient due to the inconsistent final concentrations of the oil it produces, as well as the propensity of the heated steam to damage and destroy some of the more heat-sensitive cannabinoids, resulting in a far less concentrated and cannabinoid-rich final product.
Supercritical CO2 Extraction
In possibly the most fascinating and intricate form of extraction, CO2 is manipulated in a multi-chamber system using pressure and temperature to transform it from a gaseous state to a supercritical state--meaning it exhibits the properties of both a liquid and a gas at the same time. This allows the CO2 to pass through the plant material and pull out all of the desired elements including the fats, waxes, terpenes, and cannabinoids. After passing through the plant material the pressure is dropped and the CO2 returns to its gaseous form, leaving behind the essential elements of the hemp, known as crude oil. The crude oil can then be winterized and further refined into CBD Distillate. The CO2 used in the process is then recycled and reused, making this method very environmentally friendly and sustainable due to its lack of byproducts and waste.
The upside to CO2 extraction is that the oil produced is some of the cleanest and highly concentrated oil available, and since there are no harsh solvents used in the process, the taste of the resulting CBD oil is generally very flavor forward and pure. Since there is minimal heat used, some of the more heat-sensitive cannabinoids and terpenes are preserved, resulting in a robust and cannabinoid-rich oil that can then be used to formulate highly effective full spectrum CBD products. The drawback to solvent-less CO2 extraction is that the startup costs associated with it are usually extremely high and therefore unattainable for some. The needed equipment is very sophisticated and the learning curve and required maintenance on the operations side can be labor intensive, which results in a very high price tag for these extraction machines. Since bank loans for cannabis-based companies are almost impossible to come by and most companies do not possess the capital needed to start a CO2 extraction operation, they seek out less expensive and more common methods to extract their oils.
All of our Butler products are formulated using supercritical CO2 extracted CBD oil that has been extracted and refined in our sister facility, Kancanna. Not only is our distillate made using these extremely precise and perfected extraction methods, but our state-of-the-art lab has been inspected and is cGMP certified, meaning that it has passed the most stringent of testing requirements that the FDA imposes on all food-grade production facilities that make supplements, medicines, pet and baby food, and other ingestible goods. We believe that our extra attention to detail and hand-on manufacturing approach set us apart from other brands and results in a highly superior and effective final product that we are proud to offer at an affordable price--something that we promise to always uphold.