Extractions are a chemical process used to get a particular chemical out of a sample or raw material. You have almost certainly performed an extraction at some point in your life, be it by brewing a cup of coffee or using laundry detergent to get stains out of your clothes. Although there are several popular extraction methods, one has been attracting a bit of attention in the CBD industry as of late.
Supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) has been used for decades for a variety of purposes. The main purpose has been to decaffeinate several caffeinated beverages. Recently, however, researchers have found another application for this process: CBD concentration.
What Is SFE?
SFE involves using a supercritical fluid, which is a gas or liquid that has been heated and pressurized to the point of behaving as both a gas and liquid simultaneously, as the extracting solvent. Extracting solvents are the fluids used to extract the desired chemical.
The most common solvent used in SFE is carbon dioxide (CO2), primarily because it is quite easy to get into a supercritical state. Another appeal of CO2 is its “generally regarded as safe” status in the pharmaceutical and food & beverage industries.
Other compounds, usually polar solvents like water, can be added to the CO2 fluid to widen the range of compounds that can be extracted or to enhance extraction efficiency.
SFE also boasts several advantages, including:
- Low environmental impact
- High selectivity
- Low operating cost
- High extraction speed
What Does Supercritical Fluid Extraction Bring to the CBD Industry?
Most extraction methods used in CBD concentration utilize organic solvents like hydrocarbons and alcohols. The downside to these solvents is removing them once the extraction process is complete, a task that requires further treatment, testing, and regulation of the CBD product. With SFE, the extracting solvent is carbon dioxide, which quickly and thoroughly evaporates out of the product. This greatly cuts down on the need for further processing of otherwise final products while also leading to fewer issues with regulations and restrictions.
Looking to Make an Extraction Process of Your Own?
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