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Cannabinoids are a class of chemical compounds that can be found naturally occurring in every human body on Earth! They were first discovered in cannabis, which is how they got their name. Within this class of compounds is a special cannabinoid called cannabidiol or CBD. CBD is becoming very popular due to recent research demonstrating its powerful therapeutic potential across a wide variety of ailments.
CBD is the most abundant cannabinoid in industrial hemp, and this is where we get our CBD. The CBD is extracted from industrial hemp using a solvent. You can think of this as CBD dissolving into the solvent, similar to sugar dissolving in warm water. Then, the solvent evaporates leaving the CBD (or the sugar in our example) behind. There are several solvents used to extract CBD from industrial hemp such as butane, alcohol, and naptha, but these leave toxic residue in the finished product. At Quadratum, we use CO2 as our solvent in a process called supercritical CO2 extraction. This is because CO2 is perfectly safe. It is in every breath of air we take, and it makes Quadratum products of the highest quality possible.
First, plant material is chopped up into fine pieces. This is then placed into the supercritical CO2 extraction machine. During CO2 extraction, pressure and temperature are adjusted to make CO2 enter a supercritical state. At this point, the CO2 behaves as both a gas and a liquid – filling its container like a gas with the density of a liquid. By controlling the temperature and pressure, we are also able to selectively extract CBD from hemp without also extracting unwanted plant material. This high selectivity of cannabinoids is another reason why supercritical CO2 extraction is the gold standard in CBD products.