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 is CBD Oil Made and Extracted?
CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol, one of the many cannabinoids, or chemical compounds, found in marijuana and hemp . C BD seems seems to be on everyone’s lips these days, including as a lip balm. From Hollywood celebrities to your neighbors grandmother, everyo ne is using the stuff for pain complaints, anxiety, insomnia, and more. It’s in gummies, oil, vape juice, and just about any other product you could care to name.
Whether you’ve never heard of CBD oil or you use it every day, the substance has been underrepresented in studies . Most of us don’t even know how CBD oil is made. Read on to learn more about the process to generate everyone’s favorite natural supplement.
The Basics of CBD
Before we get into how CBD oil is made, let’s go over the basics of what it is and what it’s used for. Cannabidiol, or CBD is one of the substances in the marijuana plant.
CBD has gained a huge market following in recent years because of the medicinal benefits patients have reported experiencing . It is useful for alleviating anxiety, and it is FDA approved as a treatment for epilepsy conditions. It may also help with pain relief, insomnia, and a number of other conditions.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
One of the most popular extraction methods for CBD oil involves the use of CO2. This system takes advantage of CO2’s unique properties that allow it to function in solid, liquid, and gas states of matter. Closed-loop extractors are most commonly used for this process.
CO2 extraction starts with a solid piece of CO2 that gets pumped into a second chamber containing cannabis material. The chamber is kept at such a pressure that the CO2 stays in a liquid-like state and absorbs the oils and flavors of the plant. Then, the CO2-cannabinoid mixture gets pumped into a third chamber where the CO2 is allowed to return to a gas state, leaving behind the oil and flavors from the plants.
The idea of using liquid to absorb CBD oil from the cannabis plant doesn’t stop with CO2. Substances which are more naturally in a liquid state are also used, including ethanol, butane, hexane, or isopropyl alcohol. The process works much the same as the CO2 extraction process.
Liquid solvent extraction is a cheaper, easier way to extract CBD oil, but it has its downsides. Certain solvents may carry impurities and chlorophyll from the plant, which can give the oil a greenish tinge and a bitter taste. But adjusting the extraction process can minimize most of these risks.
Oil infusion is one of the most ancient techniques for harvesting CBD oil. In fact, many home growers and producers still use this method today. It’s one of the most straightforward methods, but it does come with some drawbacks.
Before you start oil infusion, you must first decarboxylate the plant material, or heat it to a certain temperature to activate the compounds. Then you add it to olive oil or a similar carrier oil and heat it at 100 C for an hour or two. You can’t evaporate olive oil out of the CBD oil, so one of the primary downsides is you have to use a lot more oil to get the same effect.
An important part of harvesting pure, high-quality CBD oil is winterization. This is the process to remove undesirable substances from the oil so you wind up with pure CBD. It is important to note that this is a part of harvesting CBD isolate, not full-spectrum CBD, which keeps those substances in it.
Once you have the oil extracted, you combine it with 200-proof alcohol and freeze it overnight. In the morning, it will be ready to run through a filter, which can remove the fats and other such materials. When the oil is of the quality you want, you can heat the mixture to the boiling point of alcohol (which is lower than that of CBD oil) and boil off the alcohol.
If you want to further refine the oil you’ve gotten, you can run it through a process called short path distillation. This takes advantage of the fact that different compounds in CBD oil each have their own boiling point. To obtain the purest CBD oil, you can boil off the different compounds that have a lower boiling point than the oil itself.
Short path distillation starts by slowly heating your CBD mixture until the extraneous substances begin to boil off. The vapors formed by this process travel through a distillation tube until they reach cooling coils, where they condense. From there, they drip down into a separate collection container, and the process continues until only pure CBD oil is left.
Unfortunately, due to the continuing legal battles surrounding cannabis products, there are not very many standards in place for the CBD oil industry. This means a lot of companies may try to sell you something that is either impure CBD or not CBD oil at all. It’s important to be careful when buying CBD oil and only buy from companies with a trusted reputation.
Groups such as the Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards ( FOCUS) and American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) are working on creating standards for the CBD industry. These standards cover things such as cultivation, extraction, laboratory conditions, infused products, security, and more. As more and more states legalize marijuana and cannabis products, we’ll likely see a set of standards adopted in the near future.
Learn More About How CBD Oil Is Made
CBD oil is taking the world by storm, but the lack of standards can cause problems for consumers. Knowing how CBD oil is made can be important to making sure you get the good stuff. Ask about what methods your CBD suppliers use to remove impurities and make sure you get the best quality product.
If you’d like to learn more about making your own CBD oil, check out the rest of our site at American Cannabis Company. We have everything you need to get started running a growing operation or dispensary. Learn more about our regulatory compliance services today.
How is CBD oil made? With the industry booming and cannabidiol garnering the attention of the world, let's look at the extraction process to gain clarity.