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CO2 Extraction vs. Oil Infusion: Which is Better?

CO2 Extraction vs. Oil Infusion: Which is Better?

When it comes to making cannabis extracts, there are two main methods: CO2 extraction and oil infusion. While both methods have their pros and cons, it can be challenging to know which one is better. In this article, we’ll compare CO2 extraction and oil infusion, looking at their differences, benefits, and drawbacks.

What is CO2 Extraction?

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CO2 extraction is a method of extracting essential oils from plants, including cannabis, using supercritical CO2 (carbon dioxide) as a solvent. This process involves exposing plant material to high-pressure and low-temperature CO2, which allows for the separation of the desired compounds from the plant material. The resulting extract is pure and potent, free from contaminants and residual solvents.

Benefits of CO2 Extraction

CO2 extraction has several benefits that make it an attractive method for producing cannabis extracts. Firstly, the technique is highly efficient, meaning that it can generate a high yield of extract from a small amount of plant material. Secondly, CO2 extraction enables the isolation and extraction of specific cannabinoids and terpenes, allowing for a more targeted and tailored final product. Finally, CO2 extraction is considered a safe and eco-friendly method, as there are no harmful solvents involved.

Drawbacks of CO2 Extraction

While supercritical CO2 extraction has many advantages, it also has some drawbacks to consider. Firstly, the process requires specialized equipment and can be expensive to set up and maintain, making it less accessible for small-scale operations. Secondly, the precise control required for CO2 extraction means that it can be more time-consuming and demanding than other extraction methods.

What is Oil Infusion?

Oil infusion, also known as “decarboxylation,” is a method of extracting cannabinoids from cannabis by soaking it in carrier oil (usually olive or coconut oil). This process involves heating the cannabis at a low temperature for a prolonged period, which activates the THC and other cannabinoids before it is mixed with the oil. The resulting infused oil can then be used in a variety of edible products.

Benefits of Oil Infusion

Oil infusion has several benefits that make it a appealing method for making cannabis extracts. Firstly, it is a relatively simple and inexpensive technique, requiring minimal equipment and materials. Secondly, infused oils are easy to use and can be incorporated into a wide range of edible products for convenient consumption. Finally, infused oils often have a pleasant taste and aroma, making them a popular choice for culinary creations.

Drawbacks of Oil Infusion

Despite its simplicity, oil infusion also has some drawbacks to consider. Firstly, the extraction process is less efficient than CO2 extraction, as it may not extract all the desired compounds from the cannabis plant. Secondly, infused oils can be difficult to dose accurately, and the potency can vary depending on the quality of the cannabis used. Finally, oil infusion can be problematic for people with dietary restrictions, as it typically involves using large amounts of oil.

CO2 Extraction vs. Oil Infusion

When it comes to choosing between CO2 extraction and oil infusion, it really depends on the desired final product. CO2 extraction is the clear winner when it comes to producing high-quality concentrates that are potent, pure, and free of contaminants. It is an ideal choice for those seeking medicinal cannabinoids, such as CBD or THC. On the other hand, oil infusion is a great choice for those looking to create cannabis-infused edibles or topicals. It is a simple and accessible method that produces a flavorful and versatile infused oil.

CO2 Extraction Vs. Oil Infusion Comparison

CriteriaCO2 ExtractionOil Infusion
Equipment RequirementsSpecializedMinimal
Final Product QualityHighVaries


In summary, both CO2 extraction and oil infusion have their pros and cons, making it important to consider the intended final product before choosing a method. While CO2 extraction is ideal for producing high-quality concentrates, it requires specialized equipment and can be costly. In contrast, oil infusion is simple and accessible but may not produce the same level of potency or purity. Ultimately, the choice depends on personal preferences, the intended use, and the available resources.