Absolutes & CO2 Extracts


Absolutes are solvent extracted products. They are produced by a multi-step process which involves first extracting the flower (or other biomass) with a non-polar solvent such as hexane. After the hexane is evaporated, a waxy product is obtained called the CONCRETE. The concrete is then extracted using a polar solvent such as ethanol. The polarity of ethanol will allow extraction of the volatile aromatics from the concrete while leaving behind the non-polar plant waxes which don't dissolve well in ethanol. Finally, the ethanol is evaporated to leave behind the absolute which will typically have 1-5% ethanol remaining in it and sometimes a trace of hexane, depending on the method used. 


CO2 extracts, like absolutes, are solvent extracted products. The key difference is that the solvent in this case is simply CO2 or Carbon Dioxide (that's right, the same stuff you exhale with every breath!). Obviously, carbon dioxide is a gas under normal atmospheric conditions, but under certain conditions of low temperature and high pressure we can actually force Carbon Dioxide to become a liquid. In the liquid phase CO2 happens to be a good solvent for extracting out the aromatic molecules from plants. Once the desired extraction is complete, you simply bring the extraction vessel to normal atmospheric conditions and the CO2 rapidly converts back to a gas and dissipates, leaving behind a very high quality aromatic product that is the true, unchanged essence of the plant and completely free of solvent! CO2 Selects are obtained at lower pressures and more closely compare to the volatility of essential oils since the less of the heavier waxy materials are extracted. CO2 Totals are obtained at higher pressures to get out the volatiles along with the heavier molecules and plant waxes that would not be seen in essential oils. These will typically be thicker.

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