Now that the cannabis industry is settling in, it’s only natural and fair that environmental consciousness becomes a bigger concern within it, especially as it relates to cannabis extraction, which can be taxing on our planet in the long run.
In that spirit, let’s see which cannabis extraction method is the greenest.
Is it CO2?
Somewhat counter-intuitively, considering CO2 is a key contributor of global warming, CO2 extraction is often touted as the most environmentally conscious by various companies and experts because it’s a waste gas generated by other industries that can be repurposed for further uses, given its recyclability. Using CO2 for cannabis or hemp extraction also doesn’t require collecting and subsequently disposing of hazardous waste materials.
Closed-loop extraction is inherently environmentally friendly because it’s sustainable by default by enabling extractors to recycle the solvent between extractions.
A closed-loop extraction system has no openings and consists of a large tank for the solvent, a tube that’s attached to it which serves to control and contain the extraction and collection chambers, as well as refrigerant and recovery pumps and a refrigerant scale. The pressure is maintained throughout. Solvents aren’t exposed to the outside air, so no solvents slip away into the atmosphere to contaminate it.
Closed-loop extraction is also touted for its efficiency, which is another benefit, be it more indirect, to the environment as the lower the energy demand, the better.
The prevailing wisdom suggests that this method works best with CO2 and/or ethanol; however, ethanol, while also recyclable (to a lesser degree than CO2), requires proper waste management and disposal.
With the advancements of the cannabis industry and extraction in particular, we will probably see greener methods and techniques. For now, closed-loop extraction seems to be the most eco-conscious option in general, with CO2 possibly being the solvent that complements its green nature best.
Image Credit: Sensi Seeds