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Saturday, June 18, 2016

CO2 Extraction vs. Butane Extraction

Today, there are numerous methods of extraction for botanical plants and oils. As of late, methods have become increasingly scientific, largely because of the medical marijuana industry. The two most common extraction methods for concentrates are BHO (Butane Extraction) and CO2.


BHO is a method of extraction that uses the chemical solvent, butane, to pass over the bud and plant materials. The butane is then separated from the mixture using heat and sometimes a vacuum pump or vacuum oven. The finished product, at room temperature, is typically a golden, soft wax. When heated, it is melted into a clear to yellowish amber oil. At its very purest, the substance is like a thin, hard glass. The substance, usually golden amber, hardens into a thin layer that can be broken down by heat, resulting in butane hash oil.

The end products have been branded as BHO, Butane Hash Oil, Earwax, Honey Oil and Shatter. These products are all comparable, and mainly differ in appearance due to the various melting and extraction points.


Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a supercritical fluid, meaning it converts into a liquid form when pressurized. This supercritical fluid extraction uses carbon dioxide, in liquid form, as the extraction solvent. Like BHO, CO2 is used to strip out different elements in the plant to create pure hash oil. When at or above the critical point for CO2, the gas becomes a liquid. With the case of botanical plant extraction, the solvent is pushed through the plant material at such a high pressure separating the plant from the purest essence of the plant. The end product is transparent amber oil.



  • CO2 is GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) by the FDA
  • Extraction with CO2 is solvent free and does not use propane or butane solvents
  • The spent plant material is solvent free
  • BHO is highly flammable, while CO2 is not flammable and does not require explosion proof equipment or buildings
  • Extraction using CO2 minimizes thermal degradation of plant material and the oils extracted from the botanicals

BHO and CO2 will continue to be some of the top extraction methods of concentrates and botanical oils. We are ever changing our technology to keep up with the highest medical marijuana laws and regulations, as well as innovating the extraction process with top grade expertise and equipment. If you are looking for more information on CO2 extraction, CO2 extraction systems, or the comparison of extraction methods, please contact us here.

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