Extraction Method used for Nutralife Wellness Products

We at Nutralife Wellness are trusting in the CO2 extraction as the most beneficial method for our customers and hemp oil extract products. For us, its really all about that we provide our customers with the safest quality hemp oil extract products. Therefore we are working with an advanced hemp oil extract manufacturing laboratory. They are specialized in Supercritical Fluid Extraction/CO2 Extraction. Every extract is tested and its content standardized. Guaranteeing a consistent and safe hemp oil extract.

 

Our passion for hemp oil also comes from a deep belief in all natural supplements being the best for our organisms. We would not choose any other extraction method besides CO2 for our full spectrum hemp oil products. Its the only method being environmentally friendly and sustainable. That is something that really matters to us at Nutralife. We took great care setting our whole hemp extract production line to be environment-friendly. The raw material used in the extraction is from certified industrial organic hemp plants. These are naturally free of pesticides and herbicides and are also non-GMO. All our extracts are tested and accredited for by a third party laboratory. Ensuring our hemp oils extract quality, consistency, and safety.

what is co2 extraction

What is a CO2 extraction?

In this special process, supercritical CO2 (carbon dioxide) gas is used in natural product extraction. The process is called high-pressure extraction but is also known under the name SFE (Supercritical Fluid Extraction). It offers the possibility to separate materials from each other selectively and with great care.


CO2 extraction basically means, extracting certain substances from a raw material using carbon dioxide. Not only hemp oil extract but also Caffeine and flavorings are extracted with this method. Pharmaceutical, chemical, and food industries use it. This method was first used in the decaffeination of coffee. To specifically filter out caffeine, without affecting other components.

The Supercritical CO2 Extraction Process

Before the supercritical CO2 Extraction process the plant material should be largely freed from moisture. That is needed in order to avoid the formation of carbon dioxide, which is formed when CO2 and water connect.

 

CO2 is often used for the SFE. The critical point is reached at a temperature of 87,8°F/31°C under a pressure of 74 bar. Working just above room temperature is the ideal heat to work on the plant material. In the case of heat-sensitive substances and plant products, this method is advantageous. The CO2 evaporates completely after the extraction and can then be used again as the solvent in a closed circuit.

Supercritical co2 extraction process

In the first step, liquid carbon dioxide is pumped from the reservoir into the extraction chamber to reach the critical pressure. When the gas is heated above the critical point it goes into the supercritical state. Here it is no longer possible to distinguish whether it is gaseous or liquid. The reason is that supercritical fluids have a higher density than a liquid and the lower viscosity than a gas. The solvent rises by an order of magnitude when its brought to the critical temperature.

 

The CO2 in its supercritical state hits the plant material when its pumped under high pressure into the extraction chamber. Now the carbon dioxide starts to dissolve cannabinoids, terpenes and other substances from the plant material. To separate the CO2 from the solutes, the mixture is passed into the separation chamber.

 

As part of the second step, the conditions are changed so that the now gaseous CO2 is separated from the extract. It is then re-liquefied in the condenser to return it to the reservoir, and so back into the circuit. The collected extract can then be removed and further processed.

 

The full spectrum of plant substances (phytocannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, essential oil) is preserved through the gentle extraction process. The CO2 extracts are standardized by content. Guaranteeing a consistent and safe hemp oil extract.

Summarized and Simply put:

Basically, supercritical CO2 extraction requires two steps:

 

  • Dissolving the desired substances from the plant
  • Separation of the extract from the solvent

CO2 liquid is compressed to the extraction pressure by a pump and then passed through a heat exchanger into the extractor. The extracted substances in the CO2 dissolve on the way through the extractor and are then transported to the separator. By changing the pressure and/or temperature, the hemp extract separates.

Pros and Cons of Supercritical CO2 Extraction

Pros and Cons of Supercritical CO2 Extraction

The use of CO2 as an extractant is very environment-friendly. It is by-produced in the industry, can be reused and saves energy by using only low temperatures.

 

The extraction with CO2 has the advantage that the entire plant substance spectrum of the hemp plant is preserved. Hemp is known for its valuable ingredients. Phytocannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, chlorophyll, unsaturated fatty acids, minerals, and many vitamins are retained.

 

The use of supercritical CO2 makes it possible to produce a clean extract from raw materials. Being harmless to both nature and humans.

 

CO2 extractant is non-flammable, unlike some other solvents. It also has antimicrobial properties and dissolves completely from the extract.

 

The procedure is classified as “generally recognized as safe”, harmless by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Alcohol and Oil Extraction Process

Alcohol and Oil Extraction Process

The process of extracting hemp oil with a solvent/alcohol from the plant is used in particular by smaller producers. Dried hemp flowers are inserted in medically pure alcohol. The flowers are changed several times until the necessary concentration of hemp compound is present in the alcohol. It is a very intense process. This method is only possible because the cannabinoids are also soluble in alcohol.

 

In this method, solvents such as butane, spirits, or ethanol are usually used.

Ethanol as Solvent

Ethanol as Solvent

Ethanol is considered safe by the FDA. It is safe for human consumption at 16000 ppm. It is a good general-purpose solvent as it can be found in most everyday objects. It is used as a preservative in most foods. It is also used in some cosmetics. It is soluble in water, which makes it a reliable solvent in the production of hemp.

 

Ethanol can be used for the extraction process from hemp. There are some disadvantages to ethanol extraction. It is water-soluble and dissolves chlorophyll easily, making the taste of the product grassy and bitter. Chlorophyll is easily extracted, but the additional methods increase production costs. When chlorophyll is removed from the extracted hemp oil, it reduces the benefits of the oil.

 

However, ethanol is the best solvent for the production of hemp isolate. It is used to “winterize” or “dewax” the hemp extract.

Butane as Solvent

Butane as Solvent

In this method, the butane (C4H10) is used to extract the chemical compounds from the hemp plant material. Butane is highly flammable. Industrially, this process is carried out in a closed-loop control, which ensures that no butane can escape. Butane is used because it is inexpensive and has a low boiling point of -1 °C. It therefore easily dissolves from the final product.

 

Also used are various different hydrocarbons like hexane, pentane, propane or acetone.

Oil Extraction Process

Oil Extraction Process

The harvested and dried hemp flowers are inserted into olive or hemp seed oil. The flowers are then changed up to 50 times until the required concentration is reached. This process is very labor-intensive. This method is only possible because the cannabinoids are also oil-soluble.

 

It is a very simple method. The olive oil is heated up to 392°F/200°C. That’s when the compounds are extracted out of the plant. The only problem with these extracts is that they can not be filtered. This is why the end product is less strong and users need to take a larger dose to get the best result.

 

It has to be considered that infused olive oil is highly perishable, and has to be stored in a cold, dark place.

Conclusion

All three methods described have for different industries advantages and disadvantages as well as specific areas of application. When it comes to extracting from the hemp plant its broad spectrum of naturally beneficial chemical compounds it needs a gentle and safe extraction method. CO2 extraction is by far the most efficient and advanced hemp oil extraction method.

 

Even when we already concluded our research and Article we still want to leave a few sentences about all three extraction methods right below.   

Alcohol Extraction

-Alcohol extracts both polar and nonpolar chemical bonds (CO2 extracts only non-polar chemical bonds)

-This process gives similar results to CO2 extraction but is less safe and economical.

-Ethanol is the best to use for the production of hemp isolate. CO2 extraction method cannot be used for hemp isolate production.

-If hydrocarbons are used they have to be properly tested. Butane can be easily contaminated and in addition, it’s a petroleum product and therefore not sustainable.

-Various different chemical compounds and waxes of the hemp plant are destroyed in the process.

-Therefore alcohol extracted hemp oils have no entourage effect. Meaning no beneficial effect of all compounds working together more efficiently than when taken separately.

-It has not as vast and rich benefits as the CO2 extracted product.

-The alcohol extraction process can leave harmful traces in the hemp oil.

-The solvents don’t dissolve completely from the extract.

-Butane, propane and other hydrocarbons solvents are flammable. They are fuel, air explosives, making them really dangerous when not handled very careful and professional.

Oil Extraction

Extraction by oil is only suitable for personal production and use. It’s not a commercially used method.

 

-It has a very short shelf life.

-It’s also very labor intensive.

-It’s not cost-effective for commercial use, but a simple, safe and inexpensive method for a homemade extract.

-The extracts strength in specific chemical compounds cannot be altered.

CO2 Extraction

The gentle decarboxylation is the best method to obtain hemp extract. This method preserves many of the plant’s active molecules, is environmentally friendly and sustainable. This method allows a hemp oil extract whose chemical composition is as close as possible to that of a living plant. The CO2 extraction allows a safe hemp oil extract of high quality with all its beneficial properties intact. It’s the most advanced and sufficient method to gain hemp extract. In the hemp oil extract industry, CO2 extraction is well established as the best and most used method.