Many medical and recreational cannabis consumers prefer to inhale cool, instantly, rejuvenating, cannabinoid-infused vapor as opposed to comparably harsh combusted cannabis smoke.  However, many health-conscientious cannabis concentrate consumers also prefer to avoid inhaling residual petroleum particles into their lungs from butane hash oil (BHO). Are you ready for a cleaner, purer, tastier, safer and overall truly higher quality cannabis concentrate? Here are some of the basics behind supercritical fluid extraction and the biochemical benefits of CO2 extracted cannabis concentrates. We’ll also leave you with some simple steps for extracting your own concentrated kief crystals with dry CO2 ice at home.

The Added Value of CO2 Extraction

Supercritical CO2 is increasingly being used as a cheap, recyclable and environmentally safe industrial solvent for creating high quality coffee, vanilla, tea, fruit and nut extracts and aromas, omega-3 oils, fragrances, perfumes, tobacco extractions for e-cigarettes, hop-oil extraction for beer, oil extractions for alternative energies from algae and of course for superior high grade cannabis oil.

Our bodies naturally produce carbon dioxide, CO2 when we breathe. The FDA considers it safe which is why CO2 is used to keep our soda pop fresh. CO2 is nontoxic and CO2 extraction processes do not contribute toward carbon emission increases in our atmosphere. CO2 extraction doesn’t bring any flammable petroleum based solvents into contact with your medicine removing the danger of explosions from the CO2 extraction process as well as potentially harmful petroleum based butane particles from the final, very fine, concentrated cannabis product!

Supercritical CO2 Extraction 101:

CO2 extraction machines essentially freeze and compress CO2 gas into a “supercritical” cold liquid state. The supercritical system then passes this cold carbon liquified gas through plant biomass, pulling all of the essential trichome and terpene oils and/or waxes out of the plant material into collection receptacles. Decreasing the pressure on the CO2 after the extraction process is complete allows the liquid CO2 to turn back into a gas and evaporate into the atmosphere if left out in room temperature – the same way a soda pop goes flat after it’s opened, it loses its pressure and warms up. Industrial supercritical machines can recapture, recycle and reuse the CO2 gases.

Supercritical CO2 extraction gives concentrate makers the ability isolate, capture and scientifically understand the more elusive cannabinoids besides THC and CBD. CO2 extraction, in other words, is the key to understanding the hidden medical benefits of the other, less prevalent cannabinoids and how they work together when the whole plant is used as medicine in a process known as the entourage effect. Supercritical CO2 extraction will probably help growers breed wildly new strains of cannabis with undreamt of, yet-to-be discovered, miraculous medicinal health benefits.

Additional Extracted Value

CO2 oils are highly customizable. Industrial concentrate makers can make pure cannabis extracts with the consistency of oil, shatter, budder or wax just as easily with the same CO2 machine simply by varying and fine tuning the temperature, pressure, solvent-to-feed ratio and the flow rate during the extraction process. Running supercritical liquid CO2 also kills any microbial bacteria, mold, mildew or insect mites that shouldn’t be in your weed in the first place, guaranteeing that your concentrates will be cleaner and healthier for you to consume. There’s also no need to use ethanol alcohol to winterize or butane to de-wax or extract the cannabis oils making supercritical CO2 concentrates tastier without residual ethanol, or butane and with more terpene aromas preserved. The superior taste of CO2 extracts also make them ideal for using in cannabis concentrates.

Dry Ice DIY CO2 Extraction

The cost of custom made CO2 oils can vary wildly. The cost of an industrial, state-of-the-art, supercritical CO2 extraction system itself can run anywhere from $50,000 to $200,000, depending on the scale and processing volume you are looking for. You can still enjoy making potent, solvent-free, environmentally safe, concentrated cannabis hash at home even if you’d rather not spend this amount on an industrial supercritical CO2 extraction machine and even if you would rather not risk blowing up your home by experimenting with butane hash making methods. It’s very common, easy and safe to use the solid form CO2, more commonly known as dry ice to make your own high grade keif hash at home.

You will require:

  • Size 73, 160 and 220 bubble hash micron mesh bags.
  • A clean 5-gallon food grade plastic bucket.
  • Thick, heat-resistant gloves.
  • A putty knife, paint scraper or just a laminated card to collect the kief hash.
  • 3 glass mason jars to store your kief hash.
  • A large clean mirror or piece of plexiglass.
  • Up to 6oz of cannabis bud/trim.
  • Up to 3lbs of dry ice.

Make sure you follow a few simple dry ice precautions while making your cold CO2 hash.

  • Don’t touch the dry ice without your gloves! You wouldn’t want to get any freezer burns.
  • Don’t eat the dry ice.
  • Don’t place it in any airtight containers because you’ll make them explode. Store it in a thick styrofoam cooler to slow down the sublimation process.
  • Make sure you work with dry ice in well-ventilated areas to avoid inhaling more carbon dioxide than you should.
  • Safely dispose of any leftover dry ice by allowing it to warm up and transform back into harmless CO2 gas.

Simple Dry Ice Hash-Making Steps

The process of actually making your dry ice hash is fun, easy to follow and won’t take you anywhere near as long as it will take you to gather the materials you’ll need for the process.

  • Safety first, put your gloves on.
  • Grind your cannabis up and drop it in your 5-gallon bucket.
  • Cover it in dry ice.
  • Fit your 73-sized micro mesh bag over the opening of the bucket and shake the contents around for about 4 minutes to freeze the trichome resin off of the cannabis.
  • Lift the bucket up, turn it upside down over your clean mirror or plexiglass and start shaking out as much cold powdery resin through the micro-mesh bag as you can until you can’t shake anymore out.
  • Use your scraper or card to smoothly scoop up the kief hash from your surface area into your mason jar.
  • Repeat the previous steps with the size-160 and 220 bubble hash bags in order to collect three different grades of pure, solvent-free, homemade CO2 hash which you can smoke, vape, dab or infuse into edibles!


The CO2 Cannabis Conclusion

Supercritical CO2 produces cannabis extracts that are much safer, cleaner, less toxic and more aromatic than butane hash oil products. CO2 oil is more cost efficient to produce at scale and more customizable in terms of its cannabinoid content for the consumer. CO2 extraction is the cutting edge of the cannabis industry, however a typical supercritical CO2 machine costs way too much for most people to own and use one of their own at home. You can still make high quality, completely non-toxic, CO2-extracted cannabis concentrates at home with some simple materials, some easily obtainable dry ice and some good organic weed.