Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, Hemp. It is one of many cannabinoids that come from the plant. The market for CBD products is growing and consumer demand is high. Understanding how CBD oil is made helps consumers understand where their product is coming from. Multiple extraction methods will be explained in sections.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extraction
Carbon Dioxide is a unique compound in itself. CO2 has three states of matter that are solid, liquid, and gas. These states of matter injunction with closed-loop extractors have become a popular extraction method.
CO2 extraction uses three chambers with the cannabis material in the second chamber. While the cannabis material stays put, the CO2 is pumped through the chamber as it changes states of matter. First a solid piece of CO2 is used and pumped through to the second chamber into a liquid-like state. In this state, the liquid absorbs the oils and flavours of the cannabis material. The CO2 liquid containing the cannabinoid is then pumped into the third chamber. After the CO2 returns to a gas state, only the oil and flavours from the CO2-cannabinoid mixture is left.
Liquid Solvents Extraction
As shown by the CO2 method, liquids for extraction is an effective way to absorb CBD oil from the plant. Liquids such as ethanol, butane, hexane, or isopropyl alcohol are all substances that can be used in the extraction process.
Using solvents, like the ones listed above, are cheaper than the CO2 method. Even as the process is cheaper and easier, the downsides of these types of extractions lead to impurities. A greenish tinge to the oil along with a bitter taste are common impurities of the final CBD oil. Careful adjustments to the process can reduce some of the risks but do not eliminate them completely.
Oil Infusion Extraction
Oil infusion is not only a popular method but an ancient one as well. Harvesting CBD oil through this method has been used throughout the history of CBD. Despite being a straightforward method, it is time consuming.
The first step to oil infusion is decarboxylate the cannabis material. In other words, activate the compound by heating it to the temperature required for that material. Once the compounds have been activated, olive oil is added, and the mixture heated to 100 degrees Celsius for between an hour or two.
Winterisation: After the Extraction
When extracting CBD isolate winterisation is an important step that removes all other compounds, leaving pure CBD. This process is not used when handling full-spectrum CBD since the concept of full-spectrum is the additional substances that are left in.
After the CBD oil has been extracted, it is combined with 200-proof alcohol. The mixture is placed in freezing temperatures overnight. Filtering the mixture the next day, helps remove other materials from the oil. The oil can be filtered more than once to achieve the quality that is wanted. After the quality has been reached, the mixture is heated to the boiling point of alcohol. Since the boiling point of alcohol is lower than CBD oil, the alcohol is boiled off.
Extraction methods used for CBD oil vary depending on what the final product needs to be. As a consumer it is important to understand methods used to ensure you are getting quality CBD oil. It is up to the consumer to ensure this since the CBD industry is currently lacking standards and regulations.
Third party testing of products is an effective way to know exactly what type of product you are buying. Non-affiliated analysis from third-party testing means that the company being tested and the testing company do not receive royalties for working together.
Depending on the final product and what specifics you are looking for, knowing and understanding the extraction method used allows you to be an educated consumer. If a company cannot answer basic questions concerning their method of extraction, that is a red flag and you probably should not buy from them.