What Is The Best Way To Extract CBD From Hemp?
Keep reading to find out how to extract CBD, and which method produces the highest-quality CBD oil. While they all harness the power of CBD, they don’t all achieve the same degree of purity.
Why does CBD extraction matter?
To produce CBD oils, cosmetics or supplements, you must first extract the cannabinoid from raw plant material. Fortunately, the most abundant source of CBD is hemp, a selectively bred crop used extensively in dozens of commercial industries.
Although there are many ways to extract CBD from hemp, some methods are much more efficient and safer than others. It’s essential to know the difference, since how you extract CBD affects the purity and efficacy of the final product.
What are the options for extracting CBD?
Below, you will find a breakdown of some of the most common extraction techniques used, including their main pros and cons.
Solventless CBD extraction (by hand)
How does one make CBD extracts without using a solvent? Simply enough, you just have to apply heat, pressure, or a bit of friction to hemp flowers and leaves. How do you do that, you wonder? Well, if you freeze hemp flowers, you can shake the small trichomes loose and gather them together. These trichomes, as you might know, contain the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes found in the hemp plant.
Pros of solventless extraction
• No additional equipment needed
• Makes use of the whole hemp plant
• Cheapest method of extraction
Cons of solventless extraction
• Yields are low and impractical
• No way of controlling purity, with minimal levels of CBD
• CBD extract contains plant material and unwanted cannabinoids
Olive oil CBD extraction
First, to perform olive oil extraction at home, you need to make sure your plant material is decarboxylated. In short, that means it undergoes the process of acidic cannabinoids being activated via heat. That, of course, happens when you smoke or vape it, but it can also happen if you put it in the oven.
Once decarboxylated, mix your plant matter with olive oil and heat it on the stove for several hours. CBD, other cannabinoids and essential terpenes will bind to the fats in the oil, creating an infused product. Finally, the mixture is left to cool before being filtered to remove any leftover plant material.
Pros of olive oil extraction
• Can be performed easily at home
• Relatively safe, with no previous extraction experience needed
• Greater degree of purity compared to solventless extraction
Cons of olive oil extraction
• Little control over the final extract
• Weak and unreliable CBD content compared to more professional methods
• Not suitable for commercial sale
Basic solvent CBD extraction
Solvent extraction is a rudimentary and risky practice, but it has fans. Essentially, it involves running a liquid solvent through decarboxylated hemp to remove cannabinoids and terpenes. The usual solvents include butane, ethanol, and hexane, so you need to safely evaporate any residual solvent post-extraction to ensure usable CBD extract.
Pros of solvent extraction
• Cheap and requires relatively small amounts of equipment
• Solvent CBD extracts have a respectable degree of purity
• Easy to scale for commercial production
Cons of solvent extraction
• Working with solvents can cause injury if not used correctly, they are highly flammable
• The oil can remain contaminated with solvent, which is dangerous for the end-user
• Higher temperatures risk destroying some essential terpenes and other smaller compounds
Supercritical CO₂ CBD extraction
In this method, CO₂ is manipulated to enter a supercritical state. With characteristics of both a gas and a liquid, it’s pumped through raw plant material under controlled conditions, stripping away essential terpenes and cannabinoids without damaging them.
Pros of supercritical CO₂ extraction
• Allows for the extraction of clean and safe concentrates without the use of additional additives or contaminants.
• Offers highly efficient yields, getting the most out of the hemp plant.
• CO₂ extraction is sustainable and environmentally friendly
Cons of supercritical CO₂ extraction
• Co₂ extraction is an industrial process, making it highly expensive
• Requires expertise to perform correctly
Which CBD extraction method is the best?
CO₂ extraction has significant advantages over other methods of producing CBD oil. First, you can pump supercritical CO₂ through hemp in such a way that it selectively picks up the cannabinoids and other compounds, leaving everything else behind.
Second, since it uses CO₂, it produces CBD oils free from chemicals and contaminants. And, when the extraction process is over, you can either reuse the CO₂ or release it safely back into the atmosphere. Thanks to this outstanding level of control, supercritical CO₂ has become a leading tool extraction and one that Cibdol uses to create all of its CBD extracts.
However, highly sophisticated extraction is only the beginning. Cibdol goes above and beyond for its customers, publishing a detailed analysis of every CBD product batch. Performed by an independent third-party, these analyses indicate levels of all common cannabinoids, allowing you to make the most informed decision possible.
You can browse the complete selection of our third-party tested CBD products from the Cibdol store, including CBD oils, cosmetics, supplements and isolates. Or, discover more about independent testing and what its means using our beginner-friendly CBD Encyclopedia.
If you want to learn more about extracting CBD, including which methods produces the highest-quality CBD oils, and which methods you should avoid.
How to extract CBD oil in your home kitchen
Non-psychoactive and increasingly popular as a relaxation drug, CBD can also be a DIY extract
By Sandra Hinchliffe
March 10, 2019 2:00PM (UTC)
“CBD Every Day” by Hinchliffe Sandra and Stacey Kerr (Skyhorse Publishing/yavdat)
Excerpted with permission from CBD Every Day: How to Make Cannabis-Infused Massage Oils, Bath Bombs, Salves, Herbal Remedies, and Edibles by Sandra Hinchliffe. Copyright 2019 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
Cannabidiol (CBD), an extract that many use as an anti-anxiety or relaxation tool, comes from the Cannabis sativa plant and cannot be divorced from this original source. Cannabis sativa has many different variations, and not all of these contain significant amounts of CBD. Prior to the gradual ending of cannabis prohibition in many locales, CBD was practically eliminated from the commercial black market to maximize profitability of the psychoactive cannabinoid content of the plants through selective breeding, according to many of the black-market growers I have spoken with throughout the years. The reason CBD is now widely accessible is most assuredly due to the change in social perceptions of this once-outlawed plant and the legalization of this plant in many locales. Without cannabis legalization, CBD would be difficult to acquire—and there would be no testing to ensure that consumers receive the product they are paying for.
In the process of developing recipes, I spent much of my time talking to CBD farmers and exploring their lush farms. I am forever grateful to my friends at Feather Canyon Farms in Del Norte County, California, for introducing me to some of the most impressive plants I’ve ever seen in my life. Beforehand, my experience with these plants had been limited to small indoor grows and the product offerings of our legal cannabis dispensaries.
One of the things I learned from the CBD farmers is that CBD can be an unstable and fleeting trait in cannabis plants. CBD production doesn’t just depend on the genetics of a plant, but the methods of growing, and what is also recognized in grape and wine production as the terroir. New strains of CBD-rich cannabis are being developed for the legal market all the time. I haven’t been able to try them all, but I’ve had the privilege of trying some of the most well-known strains, such as Harlequin, Harle-Tsu, ACDC, Cannatonic, Charlotte’s Web, Sour Tsunami, and a rare crop of Golden Goat, which expressed more than 8% CBD. This list is by no means complete in terms of CBD-rich cannabis strains available.
Hemp, the low-to-no THC variety of Cannabis sativa grown for the oilseed and fiber it produces, can also produce CBD in varying amounts. Both wild hemp and cultivated hemp can produce CBD in their resins. No matter what variety of Cannabis sativa produces CBD, the molecule is always the same.
Farmers, Plants, and Test Results over Brands: How To Select CBD Products
I believe that quality, whole-plant infusions and extractions matter. Epidiolex, the FDA-approved drug, is a whole-plant extract of CBD, purified, standardized, and manufactured for consistency. It’s rare as far as pharmaceuticals go; GW Pharma grows and processes their own cannabis to make therapeutic pharmaceuticals. Whether you are in need of a pharmaceutical treatment or are using CBD as a home remedy or for pleasure, you should be using whole-plant infusions and extractions. The cannabis farmers I spoke with have expressed a similar belief.
I am often asked about which brands of CBD are the best and which products to choose. But the truth is that when it comes to CBD, brands do not matter. Farms and plants matter. Selecting quality CBD-rich cannabis plant products begins with the farm they are grown on. Before you purchase any CBD product, know the farm and farmer. This is an easy task in most of our state-legal cannabis dispensaries, as this information will be readily available and even used as a marketing tool. This information is harder to find if you are purchasing CBD products from the over-the-counter herbal supplement market.
CBD products sold over the counter in the mainstream herbal supplement market do not have the oversight and regulated testing that most of our state-legal dispensary systems have. If you choose to purchase CBD products in the herbal supplement market, you must rely on the information they provide to you in terms of acquisition of plant material and test results. You must also be aware that there is controversy (both legal and scientific) surrounding the purchase of CBD products over the counter through the mainstream herbal supplement marketplace.
Test results matter. The herbal supplement marketplace is largely unregulated and a bit like the Wild West. An exposé in the New York Times in 2013 detailed some very disturbing problems with the herbal supplement marketplace and the fact that consumers often do not receive the products they are paying for. As well, CBD supplement merchants in the over-the-counter herbal supplement market have been cited by the FDA for many violations around the labeling and distribution of their products.
Certainly, I am not saying that all herbal supplement products are bad. What I am saying is that it is a wise decision as a consumer to seek out information and verify it if you are purchasing supplement products of any kind. And you should also be aware that not all locales will regard the purchase of CBD products as a legal activity.
The functionality of this book is to show you how to seek, find, and enjoy CBD-rich cannabis. Facts and aesthetics both matter if what you seek is a quality product and a satisfying experience.
In the recipes that follow, the focus is on whole-plant CBD-rich cannabis extractions and infusions, as these high-quality, artisanal, and farmer-centric whole plants and whole-plant resins will unfold themselves with fragrant and delicious complexity in your kitchen. My wish is for you to enjoy and benefit from everything CBD-rich cannabis offers without missing anything.
CBD to THC Ratio Selection and Dosing
Selection and dosage amount of CBD or CBD: THC is a very individual process and an ideal dosage that works as a one-size-fits-all amount does not exist. If you have concerns about what is best for you, this is something you should discuss with your personal physician. There are also MDs and DOs who specialize in cannabis therapeutics who can guide you based on your current health situation. If you are considering CBD for therapeutic medicinal purposes, it’s a good idea to consult with a physician who has knowledge and experience in this area before you begin.
I’ve developed a checklist that you can use and that I hope will guide you to the products that are worthy of your consideration:
— Is the name of the farm or farmer disclosed on the product label or available from the company or merchant selling the product?
— Does the product have test results from a third-party lab independent of any brand or manufacturer? Can you verify these results independent of a company, merchant, or legal dispensary?
— Do the test results include more than just CBD and other cannabinoid content?
— Are there test results for pesticides, mold, and other contamination? (Cannabis is a powerful soil remediator and easily absorbs toxic chemicals from the soil it is grown in.)
— If the product you would like to purchase is raw plant material, have you scoped it to check for mold or insects? Most dispensaries have magnification scopes for their customers to use—take advantage of this.
— Does the product look fresh, and does it smell fresh and clean? Is the product or plant material dated with harvest time or an expiration date?
CBD Farmer’s Oil Recipe with Whole Flowers
When one considers flavors, textures, freshness, effects, and fragrances as the starting point of evaluating a quality CBD oil product, this recipe will produce a gourmet oil extraction that will impress even the most experienced connoisseur.
Farmers know best. And this oil recipe was given to me by one of the most hardworking and knowledgeable CBD farmers I have met, Mr. Jesse Davis of Feather Canyon Farms in Del Norte County, California.
I experienced many pleasant surprises while sampling this oil at home, and the process of making it was even more surprising. Rich in both CBD and the natural terpenes of the Harle-Tsu CBD-rich cannabis plant, this oil is a gorgeous emerald color with a sublime minty and herbaceous flavor that I have never experienced with a CBD oil previously. This oil was completely non-intoxicating, but it was very pleasant and relaxing.
This oil, processed in MCT oil (fractionated coconut oil) at a low temperature for 24 hours, produced a CBD oil product that has lab tested at 10mg CBD and less than 1 mg
THC per 1ml dose. How low was that temperature? 175°F (80°C)—a temperature much lower than what is typically expected for a complete decarboxylation. What made the difference? The slow processing of this oil over a 24-hour period. Decarboxylation takes place with temperature, time, or in this case, both time and temperature.
I am satisfied that the flavor profile of this oil was only possible due to the careful, low-temperature processing technique that retained the majority of naturally occurring terpenes in the whole cannabis flowers from the CBD-rich Harle-Tsu cannabis strain grown in the mountain region of Del Norte County. Flower quality really does matter when it comes to producing an exquisite CBD oil such as this one.
This makes approximately 10 oz. (296ml) of CBD oil, but you can increase or decrease the amount of oil or flowers depending on the CBD concentration you desire.
10 oz. (296ml) MCT oil or more (otherwise known as liquid fractionated coconut oil)
1 oz. (28g) or more whole CBD-rich, low-or-no- THC cannabis flowers, cured, dried, and chopped
- This recipe requires a slow cooker with a low heat setting to process this oil correctly. Add the chopped cannabis to the slow cooker.
- Pour the oil over the cannabis, making sure that all the flower material is covered. If you need to add a little extra oil to cover the flowers, you should do so at this time. Cover the slow cooker and set to the low or low cook setting (depending on your model).
- Within at least 3 hours, your slow cooker should reach the final processing temperature of about 175°F (80°C). Use a candy thermometer to verify the temperature and adjust if necessary. Stir the oil and plant material at this time and cover the slow cooker once again.
- Every few hours, stir the oil and flower material to evenly distribute the infusion throughout the process. Do not stir frequently, as this will allow more of the volatile terpenes to escape into the air. To preserve as many of the volatile constituents as possible, such as terpenes, leave the lid on the pot throughout the entire process. This can be left to process overnight without stirring.
- After the 24-hour period is over, cool the oil by unplugging the slow cooker and allowing the materials to remain in the pot and the oil to cool to room temperature a few more hours.
- Strain the oil from the plant material through cheesecloth and into a clean glass jar. The oil is now ready to use by itself in measured doses or in any recipe.
Store in a cool, dark, and dry area. Use within 6 months for freshest flavor
Sandra Hinchliffe is the founder of posyandkettle.com, a home herbalist, allergy chef, autoimmune disease survivor, and an inventor of pretty things for people of sensitive constitution. She uses her 30+ years background as a home herbalist and medical cannabis patient to create a repertoire of recipes designed to be both beneficial and delightful. She is the author of “The Cannabis Spa at Home,“ the first book to bring together cannabis, spa, and herbal healing, “High Tea,” a collection of gracious cannabis tea-time recipes for every occasion, and “CBD Every Day,” a farm-to-table CBD experience guide with a collection of allergy-friendly, preservative-free, artificial fragrance-free and dye-free CBD-infused edible and spa recipes.
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Non-psychoactive and increasingly popular as a relaxation drug, CBD can also be a DIY extract