CBD Oil, Hemp Extract, Hemp Seed Oil—What Does It All Mean?
This piece is sponsored content in partnership with Elevate.
There’s no missing the fact that CBD is everywhere these days. Everywhere from your local farmer’s market to your favorite coffee shop is selling products with touting CBD, hemp extract, and hemp oil. Fans praise these ingredients as the answer to a plethora of physical health and anxiety-related problems. But what are they? Are all cannabis derivatives created equal? What’s the difference between CBD, hemp extract, and hemp oil? And can any of them actually help muscle soreness, inflammation, and pain? Here’s everything you need to know before buying into the CBD hype.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a chemical compound—one of over 100, actually—found in the cannabis sativa plant.
The cannabis sativa plant includes two main species: hemp and marijuana. Both contain CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which causes that psychoactive ‘high’. But hemp contains a much higher percentage of CBD and only trace amounts of THC, which is why CBD is typically extracted from the hemp plant (and also known as hemp extract). CBD isn’t going to get you high, although it can have psychoactive effects along the lines of reducing anxiety and depression.
What Makes CBD So Special
While everyone knows about THC’s psychoactive abilities, CBD gets all the kudos for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Athletes, for example, love that it can help soothe muscle aches and joint pain such as arthritis.
The science backs them up: A 2012 study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine and a 2016 study in the European Journal of Pain both found that CBD reduced chronic pain or arthritis pain levels with CBD.
And 42 percent of CBD users reported giving up traditional medications like Tylenol or prescription drugs like Vicodin in favor of CBD, in a survey conducted by Brightfield Group and HelloMD, an online community for doctors and cannabis patients together (and 80 percent of those people said they found the CBD products to be “very or extremely effective”).
It’s not just a balm for pain: Some studies show that CBD may reduce inflammation, and additional research has found that CBD can be an effective treatment for multiple anxiety disorders. Hemp is also full of healthy fatty acids, which means it can clear up skin conditions including acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
CBD Oil Vs. Hemp Extract vs. Hemp Seed Oil
One of the big problems when navigating these alleged wonder products, though, is that terms like CBD oil, hemp extract and hemp seed oil are often used interchangeably. But the difference between them can be pretty big.
CBD is extracted from the stalks, stems, and flowers but not the seeds of the cannabis sativa plant. Any product made from hemp seed oil (sometimes called cannabis sativa seed oil) will not contain CBD.
Hemp seed oil is still good for you, though. Like other carrier oils (think olive or sunflower seed oil), hemp seed oil is high in antioxidants, amino acids, and omega fatty acids. It just might be a better option if skincare is your goal versus aches and pains.
CBD oil and hemp extract are typically synonymous—and, just to add to the confusion, are also referred to as plain old hemp oil. Hemp extract is specifically elicited from those parts of the hemp plant known to have high levels of cannabidiol, which provides all the anti-inflammatory and analgesic benefits.
The CBD Spectrum
As important as knowing your seeds from your stalks is knowing the difference between products classed as full spectrum, broad spectrum, or isolate extracts.
Full spectrum CBD implies an extract of the ‘full plant’–that’s CBD along with all the hemp plant’s other natural cannabinoids, flavonoids (i.e. plant pigments), and terpenes, the aromatic components of a plant’s essential oils that are also known to have a therapeutic benefit. Of course, ‘full plant’ also means trace amounts of THC may be included (i.e. you may not pass a drug test if you take this).
CBD-seekers opting for full spectrum products, such as the ones produced by Elevate, Spartan’s recently announced CBD partner, do so because of something known as the ‘entourage effect’—the synergistic interaction of all the above components, which, the brand claims leads to better therapeutic benefits.
Broad-spectrum CBD is basically full-spectrum CBD but with all traces of THC removed. It’s a top choice for those who can’t have or really don’t want any traces of THC is their system.
As for isolate extracts, this is the product of choice for CBD purists. These products have all traces of THC, terpenes, flavonoids, and more removed during the extraction process, so that all that remains is pure CBD.
Are All CBD and Hemp Extract Products Safe?
Because of its association with THC, some people are still iffy on CBD. But the World Health Organization issued a report which maintained that CBD didn’t appear to “have abuse potential or cause harm.”
Studies are still ongoing to test for side-effects and determine CBD’s full benefits, and current research is looking at the possibility of CBD use in a vast array of medical conditions from Parkinson’s to post-traumatic stress disorder. Last June, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) even approved the first cannabidiol-based drug, Epidiolex, to address severe forms of epilepsy.
That said, the FDA has issued warnings against illegally marketed CBD products that promise unrealistic results, including claims that it can cure cancer.
As with any supplements or medication, you should always do your research and buy legally-sanctioned products in order to enjoy the full benefits of CBD.
CBD is everywhere. But what’s the difference between CBD oil, hemp extract and other cannabis derivatives—and why should you care?
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.