CO2 Extraction Vs. Ethanol Extraction

CO2 Extraction Vs. Ethanol Extraction

Using solvents to extract cannabinoids and other compounds from cannabis plants is the best method of extraction. While there are several solvents that extractors use to get the job done, carbon dioxide and ethanol are the top two solvents that extractors tend to choose. But is one better than the other? 

In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of choosing both CO2 and ethanol, determine which is best for your specific extraction goals, and even help you locate where you can find these two solvents. 

Ethanol vs. CO2  

In order to determine which solvent is the best, let’s take a look at a brief description of these two solvents and the pros and cons associated with each: 

Ethanol – Ethanol is a volatile chemical that requires care when handling to ensure the wellbeing of the handler and the facility. Despite its flammable characteristics, it’s relatively safe to ingest when diluted or in small amounts. This chemical compound is the intoxicating compound found in grain alcohols such as wine, vodka, beer, and more. As an ingestible chemical, it is an appealing choice for manufacturers who make edible products such as CBD oils and gummies. 

  • Pros: A great choice for manufacturing ingestible products since it’s a food-grade     chemical 
  • Cons: Flammable chemical that requires proper handling 

CO2 – Compared with ethanol, CO2 requires even more care when handling. This chemical is hazardous to workers when it escapes into the air, harming their physical health quietly and quickly. As long as proper detectors and precautions are put into place, then extraction facilities will reap the benefits of CO2. It’s considered a food-grade chemical and makes for an easy and quick extraction process. The methods to extract CO2 are much less complex than ethanol but still require precision.  If not, it’s easy to under-extract the desirable compounds, resulting in a potentially lower amount of yielded extraction. 

  • Pros: Food-grade, easy, and quick to use  
  • Cons: Potential to not extract enough of the compound, resulting in wasted money. 


Both ethanol and CO2 are great options when it comes to extracting compounds from plants. They both have their own pros and cons, so the main thing to consider when choosing between the two is what type of safety equipment you have one hand or are willing to buy. Always take the necessary safety precautions for each compound to minimize the risk of serious injury. 

Looking to Buy Solvents? 

Extraction Grade Solvents provides companies with high-quality solvents to help them get the most out of their extractions. Visit our website to view our variety of products available to buy in bulk, or contact us today to learn more.