The most familiar mass-market CBD tinctures all use CO2 as the solvent for extracting cannabinoids and terpenes from cannabis. Why is “supercritical CO2” so popular? For one thing, economics: once the processing equipment is in place, the operating cost is lower and the process is quicker. It is also a clean process, with no harmful chemicals introduced. With a CO2 extract you do get all the cannabinoids and terpenes, but…

Cannabis has much more to offer that you don’t get with CO2. Namely, the water-soluble constituents. Unlike CO2, alcohol dissolves both the polar and nonpolar phytochemicals, the water-soluble and the fat-soluble. This means you get the full range of phenols, including flavonoids and tannins. You get saponins, phenolic alkaloids, vitamins and more. CO2 does not make a whole-plant extract because it only extracts the oils and resins.

What we offer is more like a whole food. Soul Mountain tinctures contain the vast majority of the 500 or so constituents of cannabis, both aqueous and lipid. As explained in an article in “Frontiers in Plant Science” (Feb. 2016), “It is now well accepted that the health benefits of fruits, vegetables and other plant foods are due to the synergy or interactions between the different bioactive compounds or other nutrients present in whole foods, and not to the action of a sole compound (Liu, 2013). Similarly, Cannabis-based therapeutics exert their pharmacological effects in humans via synergistic or antagonistic interactions between the various phytochemicals.”

Cannabinoids and terpenes are what cannabis is best known for, but let’s take a quick look at what might be missing in most CBD products: Phenolic compounds possess biological properties such as antiaging, anticancer anti-inflammation, antiatherosclerosis, cardiovascular protection and improvement of endothelial function, as well as inhibition of angiogenesis and cell proliferation activities. Alkaloids have amazing effects on humans, including powerful analgesic action. Tannins have shown anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, and have anticancer activity that can be used in cancer prevention. The diuretic and atibacterial activity of plant extracts containing flavonoids have been well documented. The presence of saponins in plants has been reported to be responsible for the tonic and stimulating activities observed in many medicinal herbs.

Unlike CO2, alcohol effectively dissolves the whole-plant phytochemicals and keeps them together in their original chemical ratios. And beyond that, alcohol improves bioavailability.

One way bioavailability is improved is through ester formation: When an organic acid combines with alcohol, esters are formed. The esterified cannabinoids and other acidic phytochemicals become more water soluble, and that makes it easier for your body to use them. Another way bioavailability can be improved by alcohol is through its effect of increasing the solubility of whole-plant extract. This leads to faster and more effective absorption.

If you want to make all of the beneficial potential of cannabis available as a tincture, alcohol is the only solvent for the job. And as a carrier along with organic coconut MCT oil, the small amount of organic cane alcohol you get with a serving of Soul Mountain herbal tinctures is designed to bring you all the benefits of improved bioavailability.