According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is safe to consume cannabidiol (CBD) even in higher amounts. Yes, there are some side effects of CBD use – but these are more a result of CBD reacting with some of the other medication that the user is consuming.
Interest in cannabis and cannabis extraction is picking up fast with governments across continents taking a legal stand in favour of cannabis. It is in this context that the target nature of the supercritical fluid extraction (SCFE) process, also loosely referred to as the supercritical extraction, assumes greater significance.
Speaking of the law, cannabis with:
- Less than 0.3% (dry weight) of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is hemp.
- More than 0.3% of THC by dry weight is marijuana.
CBD and THC are among the most well known cannabinoids i.e. compounds or molecules present inside the cannabis plant. CBD delivers a host of health benefits. THC also produces some benevolent health impact, but it gets the user in the excited state – what is commonly called as “getting high.” As a result, THC is a feared molecule in the cannabis extraction industry. Moreover, it is hemp that is getting the legal stamp of approval. Marijuana is still banned.
Here is a list of conditions that CBD can treat ot mitigate:
- Anxiety & Depression
- Mental Illness / Psychosis
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
THC can deal with:
- Insomnia or Sleeplessness
- Muscle Spasticity
- Low Appetite
Side effects are more a phenomenon with the consumption of THC, and include the following:
- Memory Loss
- Faster Heartbeats
- Delayed Reflexes
- Dry Mouth
- Red Eyes
- Coordination Issues
Some states, regions, and countries have more stringent laws and mandate cannabis products with 0% THC. As a result, many producers choose to eliminate THC completely from their products. A highly targeted process like supercritical extraction, therefore, becomes very important in the world of cannabis extraction – it will only separate CBD (the target molecule in this case) from the raw material while largely leaving the THC undisturbed. The extract obtained from the process will be highly pure although some amount of THC remediation may be necessary to eliminate THC altogether.
Supercritical extraction harnesses the capacities of a supercritical fluid (SCF) – a fluid whose pressure and temperature are respectively above its supercritical pressure and supercritical temperature. The solvent power of SCFs i.e. their capacity to dissolve target molecules rises with an increase in their density and vice versa. Small changes in pressure and temperature produce large changes in density. Subtle alterations in pressure can thus be used to customize the solvent power of the SCF to dissolve one particular target molecule while not disturbing the others – almost not disturbing others.
What this effectively means is that the SCFE process can be gainfully employed to extract the required molecule (CBD), while tampering with THC to the least possible extent. This will not only speed up the complete procedure by minimizing post extraction processing, but also improve the cost-efficacy of the operation.