Chromatography’s Role in the Extraction Process

Posted on January 15, 2021 by Paige Pesko


Creating CBD products involves several complex scientific processes. We have written extensively about the process of ethanol extraction, which removes the cannabidiols from the plant matrix. However, this is not the only process the oils have to undergo in order to create isolate compounds or test the contents of the CBD oil. This is where the process of chromatography becomes invaluable.

What Is Chromatography?

Simply put, chromatography is a process where a mixture is separated into its basic components. This is usually done by causing the mixture to pass through two other substances. The first is called a mobile phase. The mixture is dissolved into the mobile phase and then made to pass through the second substance, the stationary phase. The mobile phase and mixture will travel through the stationary phase at different rates, eventually causing the mixture to separate into its basic components.

There are several varieties of chromatography, depending on the type of substances used for the mobile and stationary phase. These substances may be as simple as any solvent for the mobile phase and a piece of paper for the stationary phase. But chromatography’s role in the extraction process requires a more complex process.

How Does HPLC Work?

The type of chromatography used in the extraction process is known as high-performance liquid chromatography, or HPLC. In this process, the stationary phase—an absorbent material such as silica gel, sand, or alumina—is placed in a narrow column in a temperature-controlled chamber. The CBD and mobile phase, usually ethanol, travel through the column using gravity or are forced through at a faster rate using a pump.

Along with this, the process is monitored by equipment that analyzes the compounds as they are separated. This information is sent to a computer where the content of the CBD is displayed on a graph.

HPLC’s Role in Extraction

Separating Compounds

HPLC’s ability to separate the different components of a mixture makes it useful in controlling exactly what one finds in their product. In CBD, this process can be used to separate the individual cannabinoids as well as other materials, such as pesticides and THC. This helps facilities reduce undesirable compounds and, most significantly, helps facilitate THC remediation for a product.

Analyzing Content

Providing a certificate of analysis is essential for assuring customers of the content and quality of your product. Chromatography can help with the creation of this documentation. As mentioned, this equipment is built to give a reading of the exact content of THC, pesticides, and individual types of cannabidiols. This makes it simple to create a certificate of analysis to provide customers.

Among Cedarstone Industry’s cannabis extraction equipment is quality chromatography equipment designed to meet your facility’s needs.

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