CO2 extraction of cannabis and hemp at high pressures (>5000 psi) offers the dual advantage of high yields and short run times. In the past, the drawback to high pressure extraction has been the presence of chlorophyll in the extract. Chlorophyll makes the oil dark and may impart an undesirable taste. While post processing utilizing short path distillation or flash chromatography can remove chlorophyll, there are significant costs associated with doing so. Those methods require additional capital to purchase that equipment, increased operation costs (labor, utilities, solvents) and demands more operator training and increased processing time.
If the goal is to obtain an isolate (THC or CBD), these methods are appropriate and required, but today there is an increasing awareness and desire among more sophisticated consumers for the benefits that the full entourage effect provides. It comes from the various cannabinoids and their interactions. The combination of these naturally occurring compounds found in the plant imparts much of the desired therapeutic effect. Additionally, the presence of these compounds can minimize undesirable side effects such as drowsiness or anxiety.
The SFT Color Remediation Module (CRM) removes 99.5% of the chlorophyll from the oil in a single step while the extraction is taking place. While in the supercritical state, the CO2 along with the extract flows through a module containing a proprietary, silica-like material that has a high affinity for chlorophyll. Under normal operating conditions extractors can process 60 kg (132 lbs) of feedstock with each 250 gram load of this absorbent.
The product is a light-colored, full spectrum oil, with almost no loss of cannabinoids. The extract will have a concentration of 60-70% THC/THCA for Cannabis or 60-70% CBD/CBDA for Hemp. Maintaining the natural balance between the decarboxylated vs acid form of THC and CBD is important because the acid form imparts the therapeutic benefits in the final product. Retaining the full range of cannabinoids present in the plant while removing only the chlorophyll allows the natural carotenoids and flavors/terpenoids to shine through.