First off, we use alcohol (Ethanol) extraction vs CO2 Extraction.
There are many differences between the extracts of carbon dioxide and alcohol
involving polarity, bio-availability and ester formation. Carbon dioxide is a liquid gas and only extracts the non-polar chemicals of a plant. Alcohol is a solvent that is made due to plant fermentation and is a by product of plants themselves. It is a solvent made by the plants for the plants. Alcohol is also the only solvent that maintains the original chemical ratios contained in the plant. This is due to alcohol extracting both water soluble and oil soluble components.
The use of carbon dioxide results in a very limited extraction of the plant. Since the extracts of carbon dioxide are non-polar; carbon dioxide extracts are not water soluble. This plays a vital role in bio-availability. Since our bodies are 70% water, oils must be digested by different acids and enzymes to become active. During this digestion process, the active ingredients of the oils are degraded. Since alcohol is both non-polar and polar, it can dissolve a much wider range of molecules that includes almost all of the plants medicinal oils, polysaccharides, carboxylic acids and other beneficial chemicals. In other words, alcohol dissolves both water and oil soluble chemicals found in the plant while carbon dioxide can only dissolve the oil soluble chemicals. In terms of keeping the plant whole and together, alcohol is the only solvent for the job.
Something else that happens with alcohol extraction is ester formation. Esters are formed when an organic acid combines with alcohol. When a carboxylic acid is esterified it changes into a more water soluble, bio-available form.
Taking Alcohol Extracts to the Next Level
Spagyrics is a method of transforming a plant’s extracts using only the chemicals contained within the plant. It consists of recombining the oils and minerals of a plant in an alcohol solution. Alcohol is the only solvent that can dissolve both an oil and salt. The addition of purified mineral salts has a huge effect on the oils of the plant in alcohol. When an ester is formed it makes water. Water balances out the equation and a certain percentage of esters are formed and the rest of the acids/oils are left unesterified. When the purified mineral salts of the plant are added back it catalyzes the reaction by pulling water out of solution. The result is that all the carboxylic acids of
the plant are now esterified and neutralized. This turns all of the plants medicinal chemicals into a form that is more bio-available along with faster absorption times.. This form is best for effectively ingesting a plant’s natural chemicals and getting the most out of it.
Secondly, we use whole flower, not trim to extract our cannabis oils. Almost all of our competition uses only trim, also known as “floor sweepings”! Originally, in the industry, we used to burn, bury or throw out the trim as it was so full of chlorophyll it was almost unusable. Once CO2 extraction came along, it was learned that CO2 extraction, can filter that, along with other benefits, out so it doesn’t matter.
Here is an image of the flowers we use vs what trim looks like. You will notice very visually the quality differences are Night and Day.
CO2 outcomes match those of isolate therapy and they don’t have the potentially curative entourage effect of the whole plant extracted products. It’s no wonder consumers are confused. CO2 marketing proclaims the rein fusion of terpenes equates to a full spectrum or whole plant extraction (it definitely does not!). CO2 processing strips away beneficial components (EFA’s, bioflavonoids and chlorophyll), plus adds avoidable contaminants of carbonic acid, making these products inappropriate for medical use. For these reasons, we place CO2 formulations as isolate, and can’t, in good conscience, recommend them because they aren’t concentrated as nature intended; which is the most optimal for medicine.
CO2 formulations are testing high in carbonic acid residuals which can be toxic, and we don’t yet understand the full ramifications of ingestion. Carbonic acid normally only exists momentarily (conversion of CO2 in water) but is getting trapped in products using CO2 solvent less processing. It’s ill advised to inhale, and additionally may have kidney and lung implications when ingested or vaped. CO2 does not extract the full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavenoids and minor components that our ethanol extraction does.
Alcohol extracts are far superior to any other method of extraction. It extracts the most amount of the chemicals compared to any other solvent. To add, it also can esterify vitamins, oils and other medicinal chemicals making them more bioavailable and water soluble. Taking it a step further with the spagyric method, adding the purified minerals of the plant continues to make more esters and then neutralizes them. This method is far more advanced than any other patented method of extraction and purification and only involves using the plant’s naturally contained chemicals.
Additionally, The benefits from whole plant extraction far surpasses that of trim extraction.