Lead University: Lehigh University
PI: James T. Hsu
Co-PIs: Lori Herz

The objective of this project is to develop a supercritical fluid fractionation process for medical cannabis production. On April 17, 2016, Governor of Pennsylvania, Mr. Tom Wolf  had announced the medical cannabis is legal in Pennsylvania. Medical cannabis can be used to reduce nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy, to improve appetite in people with HIV/AIDS, and to treat chronic pain and muscle spasms. However, in order to make sure its safety and efficacy in medical applications, large scale purified medical cannabis will be produced for clinical trials and patients usage.

Plant cannabis material is placed in a pressure vessel and supercritical carbon dioxide is passed through the vessel to extract essential components such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The particle size of the cannabis material, also the pressure and temperature of supercritical carbon dioxide in the extractor are the most important variables for this extraction process to be evaluated. The extraction time in the vessel will be investigated. The solubility of THC and CBD in various supercritical carbon dioxide conditions will be measured to determine the optimal extraction condition.