This very common CBD extraction method uses carbon dioxide (CO2) in a supercritical form, which is another way of saying it’s pressurized into an especially dense state that’s somewhat like a liquid and a gas at the same time.2 This is good for industrial extraction because you can process a lot of hemp in a little time. However, it is less gentle because of the extremes in temperature and pressure involved.
A CO2 extraction method normally requires three different chambers. In the first chamber, there’s liquid CO2 that’s pressurized. The second chamber is full of the biomass, which is legal hemp. The extraction machine pumps the liquid CO2 into the second chamber, where the temperature is slightly higher.
Since the temperature is higher, the carbon dioxide becomes a supercritical gas, which quickly removes cannabinoids and other desirable compounds from the hemp. Once the cannabinoids are out of the hemp, the solution moves into the extraction system’s third chamber, where the pressure is reduced until the CO2 turns back into a gas. The gas releases the cannabinoids and dissipates, so the extracted hemp oil collects at the bottom of the chamber.3