Cannabis is an incredibly versatile plant. There are an incredible amount of medicinal properties to it, and these are present because of the various different compounds of the plant, known as cannabinoids. CBD extraction methods some sources boast that there are dozens of compounds whereas other sources will say that there are hundreds or even thousands! It’s hard to pin down exactly how many compounds can be found in the plant, but there are a lot of them.
Cannabidiol, more commonly referred to as CBD, is one of these cannabinoids or chemical compounds. The great thing about CBD, in particular, is that it is not psychoactive in nature and has no side effects associated with its use, but it also boasts a lot of health benefits. In fact, CBD encompasses a lot of the health benefits than other compounds offer, and more.
In this guide to CBD extraction method, you will learn how CBD is extracted from the plant, which is the process that separates it from other compounds. CBD extraction methods affect the quality and purity of the final product as well as determines what other compounds may be present in the final product.
How are CBD products made?
Many people know that CBD comes from cannabis. It’s right there in the name – cannabidiol. But how exactly does CBD oil get made? What happens in the transition from the hemp plant to a product which you can buy online or at your local health store?
All CBD products contain CBD oil, which is extracted from the hemp plant. This is why you’ll often see ‘hemp extract’ on the label and in the ingredients list. After extraction, the oil is added to various products, including CBD oil tinctures, gummies, capsules, topicals and vape oils.
CBD Extraction Methods
When people talk about how CBD products are made, they’re mainly talking about the specific extraction method. The most common method to extract CBD oil use is carbon dioxide, steam distillation, or hydrocarbon or natural solvents. We discuss each method in detail below.
Carbon Dioxide (CO₂) Extraction
CO₂ CBD extraction uses supercritical carbon dioxide to separate the CBD oil from the plant material. ‘Supercritical’ refers to the CO₂ containing properties of both a liquid and a gas state, which is why you’ll sometimes see this method referred to as Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE).
During CO₂ extraction, a series of pressurized chambers and pumps are used to expose CO₂ to high pressure and very low temperatures, resulting in extracted oil containing high amounts of CBD.
- At the start of extraction, one chamber will hold pressurized CO₂, while a second pressurized chamber holds the hemp plant.
- The CO₂ is then pumped from the first chamber into the second. The presence of supercritical CO₂ breaks down the hemp also in the chamber, causing the oil to separate from the plant material.
- Finally, the CO₂ and oil are pumped together into a third chamber. The gas evaporates, leaving an extract of pure CBD oil behind.
While this method does require expensive specialized machinery, CO₂ extraction is the best way to extract CBD. It’s extremely safe and efficient at producing high concentrations of CBD in the resulting oil – as much as 92%, according to an analysis.
This method’s precise nature of CO₂ extraction also makes it suitable for producing specific concentrations of CBD oil. Manufacturers can simply adjust the solvent and pressure ratios to achieve the desired concentration of CBD. The CO₂ extraction process is also widely used to create many other products besides CBD oil, such as decaffeinating coffee or tea, or extracting essential oils for use in perfumes.
Cold-pressed CBD extraction Methods
Cold pressing involves crushing plant matter (flowers, leaves, seeds and stems) to extract usable oil which can be consumed alone or in combination with any number of other ingredients to create a desired product. A typical cold press system or machine operates by inserting the raw plant material into a basin or cylinder on top of a large rotating screw mechanism. As the screw rotates it crushes the plant matter, forcing it through the press and extracting the oil. The oil is then collected through small holes in the bottom of the cylinder as it is forced through by the screw.
As the name implies, cold pressing is done at low temperatures. While there is some heat generated through friction by the pressing method, it is not enough to degrade or deplete desired terpenes and other compounds found within the plant. Cold pressing botanicals typically results in a smaller amount of total oil produced than through other extraction methods due to heat allowing the pressed material to become softer and easier to breakdown.
How to extract CBD oil with ethanol
Solvent extraction uses a solvent to separate the CBD oil from the plant material. This creates a resulting mixture of the CBD oil with the solvent. The solvent then evaporates, leaving pure CBD oil behind. Solvent extraction uses either hydrocarbons or natural solvents.
This method is more efficient than steam distillation, and is also less expensive. However, the solvents used in hydrocarbon extraction (including naphtha, petroleum, butane, or propane) create cause for concern. The solvent residue can be toxic and increase one’s cancer risk if they aren’t fully eliminated during the evaporation step – which doesn’t always happen. Some studies have found traces of petroleum or naphtha hydrocarbons residue in CBD products that used solvent extraction.
To avoid the risk of toxic residue, solvent extraction can use natural solvents instead, such as olive oil or ethanol. These solvents are just as effective at extracting CBD oil, but remove the risk of toxic residue.
Incorporate the many health benefits of CBD oil in your daily routine, with our all-natural, high-quality and affordable Hemp products. The Nass Valley Gardens R&D team has custom formulated each product with performance in mind. We’ve infused all our Hemp products with tried and true ingredients to give you the best possible effects.
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