Carbon dioxide extraction is the method that creates most oil for vape cartridges. It’s made using high temperatures and a high-pressure form of carbon dioxide as the solvent. The complicated nature of this extraction technique means you’ll need some expensive, high-tech equipment to pull it off. However, its low carbon footprint compared to hydrocarbon extraction as well as its more consistent results have made it a favorite in the commercial sector.
The problem with carbon dioxide is that it does not naturally act as a solvent the way butane and propane do. However, this changes once the gas is subjected to extreme temperature and pressure. Once CO2 reaches the “supercritical” state where it displays structures that fluctuate between being gaseous, liquid, and solid, it becomes as powerful a solvent as any hydrocarbon. Many different gases can be used in this way, but carbon dioxide is the most common.
Unique properties of CO2 extractions
CO2 is widely available
CO2 naturally exists in the atmosphere and is part of the natural biology of almost every living organism on the planet. This means that there is no shortage of CO2 for use in cannabis extraction. In fact, whenever you breathe out, you’re putting CO2 into the air!
CO2 is safe to use
Among non-polar solvents, carbon dioxide is largely considered one of the safest available. CO2 accidents are far rarer than butane and propane explosions. It is non-flammable, inert, and non-toxic. CO2 is also a sanitizing agent, prolonging shelf life, and with the proper system and environment, yields food and medical grade oils. It allows you to create a pure, clean, quality oil that is safe to produce with little to no post-processing. Processes that use toxic solvents may require many hours to purge the solvent trapped in the oil. Seeing as carbon dioxide leaves a low level of residue compared to other solvents, this is not an issue.
CO2 solubility changes with pressure
This allows CO2 extraction engineers to focus on isolating different biomolecules based on the desired product outcome. Increasing or decreasing the pressure changes which particular terpenes and cannabinoids come out of the process. You can target specific compounds, like terpenes and THC/CBD cannabinoids through different operational parameters.
CO2 reaches supercritical state easily
Although the technical description sounds complicated to achieve, CO2 under pressure can reach this state at 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes equipping an extract lab much easier than with many other supercritical fluid alternatives. The critical temperature of CO2 is near ambient, which means it is an ideal solvent for temperature-sensitive materials, like terpenes.
Here are some producers we carry at Cinder that extract their concentrates using carbon dioxide
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Products listed are available at Cinder locations: Cinder North, 6010 N Division St, Spokane, Wa 99208; Cinder Downtown, 927 W 2nd Ave, Spokane, WA 99201; and Cinder Valley, 1421 N Mullen Rd B, Spokane Valley, Wa 99206
This product has intoxicating effects and may be habit-forming. Which is to say, cannabis can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. Therefore, do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug. Furthermore, there may be health risks associated with consumption of this product. For use only by adults twenty-one and older. To sum up, keep out of the reach of children.