The process of extraction from any organic substance is complex, specific and requires a keen understanding of chemistry. When it comes to Cannabis this process is stil in its very infancy because of the lack of research done on the cannabinoid makeup of the plant.
Right now there is only a handful of cannabinoids we can identify whereas there are SO MANY yet to be discovered. Right now the most popular cannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
The traditional method of extraction has widely employed butane and occasionally hexane, both petroleum-based solvents. However, there are tons of new methods that are becoming more broadly adopted for their precise extraction benefits.
One of thos extraction processes is called Supercritical CO2 extraction is gaining steam or should we say losing steam to be more scientifically accurate.
The cannabis plant has over 113 cannabinoids (and counting) and approximately 120 various terpenes. Some popular terpenes that you should know about are:
- Limonene has a very citrusy aroma and can be used to help promote weight loss and prevent or treat cancer.
- Myrcene has a very earthy and musky aroma and has very potent anti-inflammatory properties.
- Linalool has a floral smell and contains anti-inflammatory properties but also has been shown to help treat liver cancer
- Bornel has been shown to fight insomnia and has anti-septic properties.
- Alpha Bisabolol, also found in Chamomile, has a beautiful floral aroma and can be used to heal flesh wounds and fight bacteria. Not only that but it has amazing anti-inflammatory properties too.
- Delta 3 Carene, will remind you for a fresh pine tree. Studies have found that this terpene is awesome as an anti-allergen for runny eyes or runny noses. In addition, some women have found that it helps with menstrual flow. A very diverse natural chemical!
- Borneol can be used to help with insomnia and infections. Get yourself a haze strain such as Blue Haze which has been tested to contain very high amounts of borneol.
- You might have come across another plant containingEucalyptol in the past, any idea which one? Hint: it’s name shares the root “Euca”. Eucalyptol has been utilized in a variety of supplements to help with suppressing coughs and as a fragrance for body soaps and face washes.
…. With a very brief lowdown of 8 very popular and present terpenes, it is important to keep in mind that there are many many more Terpenes that can be found in cannabis….
Now let’s try and combine both of our talking points above. How to get the most out of Terpenes, CBD, and THC benefits while weighing the pros and cons of different extraction methods.
That leaves a ton of room for trying to yield the most – or the right combination of – terpenes, CBD, and THC. Also, not only do you have to take that into consideration, it’s really important to keep in mind how much solvent residue remains after extraction.
The problem with using butane is that it often does leave contaminants such as pesticides and not-so-good-for-you petroleum particles. Butane overall is a faster process, but with that speed comes the cost of a greater margin for error for a bad extraction.
The Supercritical CO2 extractions compresses and freezes gases into a cold-liquid state.
CO2 extracts, also known as Supercritical CO2 extracts or Supercritical Fluid CO2 extracts, are extreme pure plant extracts produced from a relatively new and highly efficient extraction process. CO2 extraction produces superior herbal extracts that find wide use in the flavoring and herbal medicine industries.
The Supercritical process is by no means exclusive to the cannabis industry. Infact premium coffees, fragrances and hop oil extraction for your beer utilize the same process.
This means that Supercritical CO2 is considered to be “green chemistry”. It has not toxics and no solvents. Win. Also, it is much more favourable to the environment because there are no contaminating byproducts leftover. It gives producers maximum range and acute targeting of the whole spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes beyond just THC and CBD. It allows for the extract to be true to the mother plant. Meaning that you get the real effects, the real quality, and the most pure extract.
The key take aways are this:
- Make sure you do your research to understand the benefits of the different types of extracts being used by producers
- Do you research on your desired effects – both recreational and medicinal – so that when you are deciding between a shatter that is infused with terpenes versus a shatter that had maximum THC yield, you know you made the right decision
- There are still so many extraction methods yet to be discovered
- Currently the most natural and healthiest way to extract cannabis is by way of Supercritical CO2 extraction because it is a solventless procedure