Carbon Dioxide vs Extraction of CBD

Wednesday December 12 2018

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the primary active constituents of cannabis, alongside tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These bioactive agents respectively represent roughly 24% and 30% of the entire plant, though specific strains are engineered to enhance the yield of one such substance or the other. Various laboratory methods are required to achieve this, but one of the simplest and most cost-effective methods for acquiring high-purity CBD is the ethanol extraction of cannabinoid oils from the plant.

CBD oil is the most interesting cannabinoid from a medical and pharmaceutical perspective, with studies suggesting it has a strong potential for treating symptoms of epilepsy. Further purported benefits suggest that CBD oils can effectively alleviate chronic pain, help treat mood and depressive disorders, and reduce the detrimental side-effects of aggressive cancer treatments, along with many other known and unknown benefits that help many with daily functions. However, further research is required to determine the efficacy of CBD in these areas. Researchers are actively seeking to illuminate this area with studies into the cognitive effects and therapeutic action of CBD on patients with widely-varying conditions.

Subsequently, numerous methods and different laboratory instruments have arisen for sample preparation in cannabinoid studies. This includes various distillation tools and extraction techniques.

Glas-Col recently spoke with a customer who is deciding what type of extraction to do. This blog post will explore the conversation in more detail.

Why have you chosen this specific type of distillation (ethanol) to extract CBD?

There are a few reasons why I prefer ethanol over other extractions. The main reasons are: the cost is less; you get a better yield; the extraction is safer and uses much less power. There are many pros and cons that you will need to weigh when deciding the best way to extract.

Outlining the Pros and Cons of Ethanol Extraction

Solvent-based extraction of CBD, particularly using ethanol, boasts more lenient storage limits compared to other extraction methods. This translates into a higher extraction yield with up to twenty times the capacity and volume of alternative extraction techniques. It is also safer and more cost-effective when carried out correctly and can eliminate the need for dewaxing or winterization. It is a slower technique, however, given its higher boiling point and slower rate of recovery in post-processing.

Laboratory instruments for ethanol extraction typically include heating elements, various glassware, chillers, and vacuum pumps. Ethanol extraction is simple to set up and requires a low-power operation, representing an energy consumption of just 20% of carbon dioxide techniques.

It can be harder to create the isolate, given the polar and non-polar nature of ethanol. However, this characteristic makes ethanol extraction ideal for creating a full spectrum of hemp extracts and tinctures. This allows for extraction of almost all the plant’s medicinal oils, polysaccharide, carboxylic acids, and more. Carbon dioxide extraction, by comparison, can only dissolve oil-soluble components. The drawback of this is the increased likelihood of extracting water-soluble components such as chlorophyll.

Laboratory Instruments from Glas-Col

Glas-Col is one of the world’s leading suppliers of laboratory instruments for leading-edge applications. We have developed heating equipment suitable for short path distillation of cannabinoids and can provide unique solutions suited for cannabis extraction according to varying methodologies. Glas-Col can also provide custom solutions for your extraction process. If you would like to learn more about using our laboratory instruments for cannabis research, feel free to explore our previous posts:

Laboratory Products for Cannabis Extraction

The Importance of Scientific Instruments for Cannabis Research

How Laboratory Instruments Have Shaped Cannabis Legalization

Otherwise, contact us directly with any more questions.