CBD Extraction Methods: What Works Best

CBD Extraction Methods: What Works Best

CBD or cannabidiol products have taken many forms since their introduction into the global market only a few years ago. CBD cannabis oil, which is used to produce CBD products, is derived from the hemp plant. The plant must have less than 0.2% THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the psychoactive cannabinoid found in other cannabis plants.

There are several ways in which manufacturers extract CBD from the hemp plant. Extraction is used to create full-spectrum CBD, which includes all of the terpenes and other cannabinoids that enhance the benefits of CBD. CBD can be further refined to remove these extra compounds, leaving 99% pure CBD called isolate.

How to Extract CBD

Hemp extract has since been put into tinctures, gummies, creams, vaporizers, and more. In order to safely and effectively turn the plant material into oil, it must undergo one or more extraction methods. The extraction separates the CBD from the rest of the material so it can be used in a concentrated form.

Some methods have been used for many years, while some have come about due to the emerging cannabis market. Each extraction process has its own set of pros and cons, but all produce high-quality CBD rich oil. Here are some of the best CBD extraction methods used today.

Solvent Extraction

CBD OilThis technique involves the use of a solvent to strip the cannabinoids off the plant matter and produce a concentrated hemp oil. Solvents to extract the CBD usually include alcohol, butane, ethanol, propane, or isopropyl.

One advantage of this method is that it is generally a low cost. The materials are not expensive and quite easy to find. However, this is also the more dangerous of the processes since you are working with flammable materials. 

This extraction process involves placing the trimmed hemp plant into a vat and soaking it with the solvent. The solvent strips the plant matter of its cannabinoids and is then drained and left to evaporate. The leftover product is a concentrated cannabinoid oil. This oil includes CBD, as well as any other cannabinoids and plant nutrients.

The last step is very important and can be very dangerous if not performed properly. The solvent must be completely removed or purged from the oil in order to be safe for consumption and use in CBD products. This is done by letting the entire product evaporate and oxidize to ensure that the solvent has been removed completely.

Olive Oil Extraction

Olive oil extraction has been used by many cultures for years and is a straightforward method to extract CBD. This process involves using olive oil and heat to bind the CBD to the oil. The low cost of material and easy process are some of the advantages of this method. In addition, it creates an organic, full-spectrum final product.

The main disadvantage of this method is the perishable nature of the oil. Since it is made out of olive oil, it must be kept in a cool, dark place and does not last as long as extracts of other methods. All the plant materials are extracted, so there may be a chlorophyll taste.

To produce a CBD isolate, the extracted oil must then undergo short-path distillation or winterization, to remove any remaining solvents chlorophyll, terpenes or other cannabinoids.

Before soaking the plant materials in olive oil they must be decarboxylated, or heated slightly for a specific time to activate the chemicals in the plant. The olive oil is then added to the plant material and heated once more. During this step the cannabinoids are derived from the plant, binding to the oil, creating a full-spectrum CBD oil. Concentrations are usually lower using this method since the oil does not evaporate.

Supercritical Co2 Extraction

As CBD companies search for the most effective way to produce CBD, the CO2 extraction method CBD has become quite popular. This process is the most advanced technique and produces a potent, exact, high-yield product, with no chlorophyll flavour. This is a large advantage for CBD producers. However, because this requires the use of expensive equipment and machines, it may be too much of an investment for some.

The CO2 extraction process uses a closed system extractor with three chambers. The first chamber is filled with dry ice, which is carbon dioxide in solid form. Dried hemp plant matter is placed in the second. The final product is collected in the third chamber.

CO2 is then introduced from the first chamber to the second. Due to temperatures and pressures, it takes on a state between liquid and gas. The supercritical CO2 is introduced to the plant, extracting the cannabinoids. It then moves into the final chamber, where the CO2 rises, allowing the extracted product to settle to the bottom.

Final Thoughts

While there may be different advantages and disadvantages for each technique, CO2 extraction produces the best finished product. CBD oil produced with this method is the safest, cleanest, and most potent, with no change of toxic residue. Great results can also be achieved with other methods but it is clear why this is the method of choice for much of the cannabis industry producing full-spectrum oils.

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