How Efficient is Ethanol Hemp Extraction?

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When it comes to extracting CBD oil, there are many different methods that can be used. According to those at CedarStoneIndustry, makers of various types of equipment used in oil extraction, one such method is ethanol hemp extraction (which is perhaps one of the more common techniques). But is it efficient, and what makes ethanol extraction of CBD oil so popular? 

What is Ethanol Extraction? 

Ethanol is the name given to pure alcohol. It is a clear liquid found in many of the alcoholic beverages we consume and is produced when sugar is fermented. It is also used in household and personal care products, food additives, and fuel. Due to its ability to dissolve a variety of substances, it is commonly used in the extraction of CBD oil from the cannabis plant. 

When parts of the cannabis plant are broken down, it results in a variety of substances remaining, including terpenes, lipids, waxes, and cannabinoids. Ethanol can dissolve substances such as terpenes and cannabinoids, making it an extremely effective method of CBD extraction. 

Why Use Ethanol Extraction? 

With a variety of techniques available for extracting oil from plant material, you might be wondering what makes ethanol extraction so popular. The fact that it is so effective is perhaps the most obvious reason. The oil left behind after ethanol extraction is non-toxic and safe to use and is why this method is used for a range of seed oils, CBD oil, and olive oil. 

Another reason for the popularity of ethanol extraction is the fact that it is readily available, easy to use, cost-effective, and scalable. Ethanol extraction yields a high result and the equipment required is less expensive than for other forms of extraction, such as CO2 extraction. 

What Type of Ethanol Extraction is Best

Now that you know how efficient ethanol extraction is, take note that there is more than one way to use this solvent to extract CBD oil. The different methods are based on the temperature of the ethanol during the process. So, you can choose between cold and warm extraction. Here is how they work:

Cold Extraction Using Ethanol

The cannabis plant material is placed in a dish or mesh bag in a dish, into which the cold ethanol (chilled to -40 degrees) is poured. The cannabis plant will be left to soak in the ethanol for the required length of time. After this, the plant material should be separated from the ethanol. If you have used a mesh bag, you can simply take it out of the dish and the liquid should be filtered through the bag. If you have simply placed the plant material in the ethanol within the dish, you will need to separate the plant material from the liquid. 

The ethanol is then evaporated from the liquid, leaving the oil behind. With cold ethanol extraction, there is no need for winterization (see below) because there will be no waxes, fats, or lipids in the oil. 

Warm Extraction Using Ethanol

The main difference between cold and warm ethanol extraction is obviously the temperature of the ethanol used. However, with warm extraction, a further step, known as winterization, is required. Winterization is the process of removing any of the unwanted material left in the CBD oil, such as the lipids, fats, and waxes. The removal of these products results in a higher quality, purer oil. The process involves cooling the oil down to a temperature of between -4 and -112 degrees. The solution should be left at this temperature for at least 24 hours, during which time the lipids, waxes, and fats will rise to the surface and can then be filtered out.