CBD is just one out of over a hundred phytocannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol is used as an ingredient in many of today’s most popular products and the plant chemical is a natural concentrate praised around the globe. The cannabinoid is a non-psychoactive compound and the WHO has deemed it as a safe and non-addictive compound.
There are many CBD-infused products on the market to choose from, so it might be difficult to find one that works for you- or even to know how to spot a quality product. Knowing how CBD oil is made could help you to identify the quality products from the rest.
The extraction part of producing CBD oil products tends to be the most costly and it is also the most important aspect of how CBD oil is made. This is especially true if the company is committed to providing a product that is safe, effective, and high quality.
The First Step: Sourcing Hemp for CBD Oil
First things first, the plant material must be high quality and rich in CBD. So, if producers don’t source their hemp from reputable growers, they are already letting their quality slip. Always check where the company sources its hemp from. Here at Canzon we source all our hemp from local farmers in the EU. We also provide third-party lab reports to prove that the products are free from any harmful substances and are rich in CBD.
There are various ways a producer could choose to extract the oil from the plant material. Like everything in life, each method will carry its own set of pros and cons. But, some have far more dramatic negatives than others. And yes, some methods are much safer and more effective.
To kick things off, we’re going to get the less effective (and more dangerous) method out the way.
Avoid: Neurotoxic Extraction Methods
Methods relying on neurotoxic methods for their extraction are not safe. These techniques often use substances such as hexane and butane to extract the plant’s oils. The main issue with these neurotoxic substances is that they have a high potential for toxic residuals in the extractions which remain in the oil you purchase. These residues can cause damage to your immune function and impact your health and wellbeing.
These methods are often referred to as hydrocarbon methods. They use hexane, propane, butane, or isopropyl for the extraction. Hydrocarbons like the ones we listed above have an exceptionally low boiling point that makes cannabinoid extraction easy.
While it may be one of the most inexpensive methods, it has quite a few drawbacks.
Aside from the danger of harmful residuals, analysis shows that the hydrocarbon method extracts less CBD than typically noted with other extraction methods. Therefore, manufacturers using this method should be avoided- their products might be both unsafe and ineffective.
Ethanol is a grain alcohol that is high grade and safer than the other method mentioned above. Ethanol extraction can be an effective method for producing premium CBD oil products. This type of extraction is often favored by some companies as it requires less equipment than the CO2 method. Ethanol extraction can also result in damaged plant waxes, which is actually a favorable outcome for some CBD oil producers, depending on the end product.
Did You Know?
Olive oil is also used for successful extraction. However, it is not that viable for large-scale retailers as it does not have a reliable shelf life. Extra virgin olive oil is a safe way to extract cannabinoids, and it is not nearly as costly as the other methods mentioned. However, the infusion is perishable. Many DIY-ers make their own cannabis oil at home using olive oil, but the oil should be monitored and kept in a cool, dark place. Keep your eyes peeled for an article where we cover how to DIY your own CBD infusion.
Oil Infusion Extraction
Olive oil will fall within the oil infusion extraction category. Having both the conflicting terms infusion and extraction in its name could cause confusion, but don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you:
Oils have been around for millennia, which is why oil extractions are much older than the other extraction methods we’ve listed. While oil extraction such as olive oil infusion might be popular amongst those doing homemade CBD oils, it is not a viable method for commercial companies. Firstly, the hemp plant needs to be decarboxylated. This can also be achieved by heating the plant material to a specific temperature that guarantees compound activation. The next step would be to add the plant material to oil and allow it to sit at 100C for approximately 60 minutes. This method requires time, patience, and dedication to the task at hand. Quite a fair amount of oil needs to be used as well. The method is also a difficult one to use for producing exact cannabinoid concentrations. Once the extraction is complete, the oil needs to be distilled so that the CBD can separate from the extracted oil.
So, while it might be a fairly viable option for making CBD oil in your kitchen, it is certainly not going to be used by any commercial companies.
CO2 Extraction Method for Premium CBD
The Supercritical CO2 extraction method is often the preferred method for producers who are aiming for the highest quality and safest product. This method uses high pressured CO2 in low temperatures to extract the cannabinoids. The essential plant compounds are preserved while isolated and extracted from the plant material.
So, if this method produces the highest quality oil, why aren’t all companies using it?
Well, aside from the disappointing fact that not all companies are out there to provide the best quality for customers, the CO2 method can also rack up production costs. Supercritical carbon dioxide extraction uses expensive equipment, and the process is not the easiest to master either. This means that it requires both time and finances, two valuable resources that most producers want to limit. However, the CO2 method is considered the industry standard for producing premium products that are effective and free of chlorophyll and other more harmful residues.
Our CBD balms, creams, cosmetics and CBD oils with hemp seed are are produced using supercritical CO2 extraction, ensuring that you are investing in the highest quality the CBD market has to offer.