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What is TFE and why is this oil better?
TFE (Tetrafluoroethane aka Florasol) is an extensively researched and utilized solvent, now commonly found in the flavor and fragrance industries. Its unique chemical properties allow it to easily extract the most delicate and volatile botanical compounds without degradation or residue, ensuring the true profile of the flower is preserved and concentrated in a full spectrum oil without winterization or distillation. No other oil can match the rich bouquet and potency of TFE.
How is it different from CO2 or ethanol?
CO2 is normally an inert gas that is pressurized to a supercritical state to condense into a polar solvent. It is generally considered a safer and greener choice because it can simply evaporate into the atmosphere rather than contaminate land or water. Unfortunately, CO2 processing is considerably more energy hungry than other methods of extraction and requires subsequent ethanol work-up to create a usable extract. This rough handling leads to diminished yield and degradation of active components like cannabinoids and terpenes.
Ethanol is a non-discriminate polar solvent that is most typically used to extract at very low temperatures (below 40C) to minimize co-extraction of unwanted plant lipids and waxes. It too requires work-up like CO2 and produces a similarly degraded product. Virtually all of the ethanol extract is further distilled to improve color and taste, but at the cost of a majority of the minor cannabinoids and terpenes.
Is it safe?
TFE is commonly used in aerosols like asthma inhalers and designated GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) by the FDA. It is non-toxic, non-flammable, and does not cause ozone depletion like some other Freons.
What about the oil?
CBD extracts are graded according to the following criteria:
Cleanliness/Safety – free of heavy metals, pesticides, and residual solvents
Cannabinoids – total cannabinoid content, variety of cannabinoids, number of minor cannabinoids
Aroma/Flavor – total terpene content, variety of terpenes, similarity to hemp flower
Stability – free of separation, crystallization, and color change
1. TFE oil is cleaner because the solvent is more selective than CO2 or ethanol and does not co-extract nearly as many heavy metals or pesticides. Even better, TFE solvent is easily and completely removed and recycled from the CBD oil without the need for extensive vacuum purging.
2. TFE oil contains more cannabinoids than CO2 or ethanol oil due to being gentler and not degrading or reacting with the more volatile cannabinoids. A truly full spectrum oil contains as many different cannabinoids as the original flower from which it was extracted.
3. TFE oil preserves the flower terpene profile better than CO2 or ethanol and does not emulsify or degrade the terpenes over time. Full flavor and entourage effect is the difference between helpful and harmful in CBD oil.
4. TFE oil remains stable and liquid much longer than CO2 or ethanol because it contains fewer fragments and degradation products. These extraction contaminants eventually spoil CBD oil, even with the antioxidant effects of terpenes.
How can it be used?
TFE oil can be directly consumed, such as in a vaporizer, or infused into topicals and edibles. Its most striking feature for CBD vape carts is that it does not crash out and crystallize like most CO2 or distillate vape carts.
What about terpenes and flavor?
TFE is perfectly suited for terpene extraction and has seen widespread adoption in the flavor and perfume industries over the traditional steam or ethanol methods. For customers interested in the entourage effect and the (much) higher efficacy of full spectrum extracts, TFE CBD oil delivers more flavor and more effect than CO2 or ethanol.