Thanks to the growing seed-oil industry, there is an ever-increasing demand for efficient and effective extraction processes. The popularity of CBD oil and its medicinal value has never been higher. But which solvent offers the best method?
Butane Method of Extraction
Butane is a nonpolar gas with a boiling point of -0.4 °C, meaning it is liquified at low temperatures.
In extraction, butane is used as a solvent to remove oils from plant products. Because it remains a stable liquid in cool temperatures, it is ideal for winterization, a refinement process that requires conditions of -20 °C to -80 °C.
The solvent’s versatile nature allows you to use the liquid form as a solvent before raising the temperature, turning the substance back into a gas, and removing it from the extraction subject. This makes the solvent ideal for extractions that need to preserve the flavor and quality of the oil at room temperature.
Ethanol Method of Extraction
Ethanol is a polar liquid with a much higher boiling point of about 78°C. However, because of its extremely low freezing point, which is -114 °C, ethanol can be used in either warm or cold temperatures without any problems.
Warm ethanol extraction consists of boiling the ethanol before applying it to the plant product. This temperature helps to speed up the process of the extraction but also damages the extracted materials, meaning you can save solvent but will produce low-quality compounds.
Cold ethanol extraction uses more solvent but preserves the quality of the extraction and doesn’t extract as many unwanted excess compounds as hot ethanol extraction.
Differences and Similarities
The main difference between the two methods is their polarity, which dictates the polarity needed for materials you intend to use with the substance. Due to butane’s nature as a gas, working with butane has a danger of explosion due to a poorly maintained temperature that ethanol does not.
Both methods are desirable for use in the cannabis industry, with the butane method preserving flavor and the ethanol method efficiently extracting materials needed for THC and CBD products.
Although ethanol can be reused, its method requires more refinement and filtration, which may still leave behind traces of the chemical.
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