Supercritical Fluid Extraction
Supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) is an efficient, non-toxic extraction technique. SFE is used regularly in the food and cosmetic industries, most notably for decaffeinating coffee and producing essential oils. It's the choice method for extracting phytocannabinoids from Cannabis sativa. SFE using supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) produces a pure, full-plant extract that contains no solvents.
A supercritical fluid is unique in that it exhibits the properties of both a liquid and a gas. Like a gas, it can diffuse through solids. Like a liquid, it can dissolve compounds.
Carbon dioxide is the preferred supercritical fluid for Cannabis extraction because CO2 reaches it's supercritical point at a relatively low temperature and pressure. As cannabinoids are sensitive to heat, the ability to extract at a low temperature minimize thermal degradation. By adjusting pressure, it's possible to adjust the solvency power of CO2, which allows for selectivity during the extraction process. Carbon dioxide is also odorless, highly pure, non-toxic, non-flammable, and readily available.