CO2 oil is considered by many to be a cleaner, more flavorful cannabis concentrate. But what exactly is it? Here’s everything you need to know about CO2 oils, including how CO2 weed oil is made and how you can use it at home. 

What is CO2 oil? 

CO2 Oil
CO2 Oil

CO2 oil is a cannabis concentrate made in a solvent-based extraction method using supercritical (semo-liquid, semi-gas) carbon dioxide as the solvent. Many different cannabis and hemp concentrates are made with CO2, including many different waxes and shatters. However, if any concentrate is made with CO2, it’s still considered a CO2 oil even if it goes by a different name at the dispensary. 

What is CO2 extraction? 

Extracting cannabinoids with CO2 is done with a supercritical extraction. Supercritical CO2 extraction involves compressing carbon dioxide until it takes on the properties of both a liquid and a gas. This fluid is then added to cannabis, stripping away and separating cannabinoids and terpenes and removing the extracted chemicals.

This process makes for higher-quality concentrates since it doesn’t damage the cannabinoids and terpenes. Further, it also doesn’t contaminate the final product, as all of the CO2 naturally evaporates out by the time the process is complete. 

Making dabs with CO2 oil 

Wondering how to make CO2 oil? In short, it’s best left to the professionals. Making CO2 oil involves a lot of high tech equipment and requires a safe lab setting to produce the best results. Don’t try making your own CO2 dabs at home. As we mentioned, CO2 oils are extracted in a supercritical CO2 extraction method. 

The first step is to load the vessel in a big extraction machine with raw plant materials and seal it inside. From there, the machine utilizes heat and pressure to pump supercritical CO2 into the extraction vessel. The liquid CO2 will then pass through a small decompression chamber to turn it into a more gaseous state. At the end of the process, a thin, nearly-liquid substance will form in the collection vessel on the machine. However it will also produce sticky resinous materials which will eventually be used for shatter, wax or other concentrates. 

CO2 Oil
CO2 oil in a cartridge.

Lastly, the materials are removed from the machine and placed into a vacuum oven set to 100 °F. After about 20 minutes, the CO2 oil is ready as is, but it can also be placed on a slab and made into shatter, or aerated and turned into wax. 

How to use CO2 oil 

CO2 oils are made into many different products. You can find CO2 wax and other CO2 dabs at most dispensaries, though it’s most commonly found in vape cartridges intended for vaping. CO2 cannabis oils are also sold in syringes which can be used to refill vape cartridges, used in pre-rolls, or added to bowls to make them feel more potent and burn slower. 

However, some CO2 oils are made into CO2 hash oils which are rich in the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes found in the strain they were extracted from. These oils can be taken directly like a tincture and metabolize like edibles. Since CO2 is a cleaner extraction, there are many ways to enjoy CO2 oil, all depending on your personal preferences and how you enjoy using cannabis.

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Ben Walker writes for Stoner Things, covering the cannabis culture from a unique perspective. He doesn't just offer insights into the world of weed, but also provides hands-on reviews and tutorials for the latest products. With a decade of experience spanning cultivation and market trends, Ben advocates for informed and responsible cannabis use. His work goes beyond navigating the ever-changing cannabis landscape; it's about education and community development done right, coming from a place of knowledge and respect. If you want to stay up-to-date with cannabis trends and learn from an experienced guide, Ben's work is an invaluable resource.


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