Hydrocarbon extraction is also known as the Rick Simpson Method, due to the man who initially used it. It is a common form of CBD extraction. It’s also the cheapest and most straightforward. Having said this, it’s also the worst extraction method when it comes to isolating CBD.
Hydrocarbon extraction involves a solvent such as butane, pentane, hexane or propane — extremely volatile substances. This process involves submerging the plant material in the solvent and steeping it. The compounds are then stripped from the plant and left in a liquid form. Hydrocarbons have a low boiling point, so when heat is applied, they evaporate, leaving behind CBD oil.
There are two main concerns regarding this extraction method. First, the solvents used are highly volatile and flammable, which means it’s a dangerous form of extraction that could result in explosions and fires. Secondly, there is a customer safety issue, as there is no way to completely eliminate the solvent from the finished product. Meaning that the end-user could be regularly consuming a small amount of hydrocarbon. It’s hard to know exactly what damage, if any, this could cause in the long-term (given that the quantity is so low) but we don’t believe it’s worth taking the risk when there are cleaner extraction methods.