CBD, short for Cannibidiol, is one of the main compounds found in the cannabis plant. This cannibinoid (cannabis compound) is mainly found in the hemp plant which, unlike marijuana, only contains trace amount of THC, if any. THC is the compound in the cannabis plant that gets you high.
There are many different methods of extracting CBD, and they can affect the contents, quality, and purity of the product. Today, we will look into the various ways of extraction used to make CBD oil from hemp. Read on to find out more of what goes into the creation of a CBD product, and which types of extraction are best.
The Laws of Hemp
Due to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is now legal in the United States. This is due to the word hemp being given a separate definition to cannabis. The word hemp now refers to cannabis that contains 0.3% or less THC by dry weight. This takes hemp out of the controlled substances act, making the plant and any of it's extract legal. Since hemp is high in CBD content, hemp has become the primary source of CBD oil extraction for products sold in the public.
Comparing CBD Oil Extraction Methods
When hemp extraction occurs, a solvent passes through plant material to split the active compounds in the plant materials. The cannabinoids, terpenes, and other plant compounds are then collected as oil and refined further before creating the final product.
Supercritical CO2 Extraction
CO2 extraction is widely regarded as an excellent CBD extraction method. For this method, carbon dioxide is put under high pressure while a low temperature is maintained. Due to the pressure, the carbon dioxide is transformed into a liquid, before passing through the plant material with up to 90% extraction efficiency, making the resulting extract a highly concentrated, completely pure oil extract.
To do this process, expensive equipment and experienced operators are required, therefore, the cost of the resulting oil is often higher for the consumer but it allows the best quality products to be produced.
Ethanol extraction is considered a cheaper method than CO2 extraction, but is still used by many companies, since it can create high-quality extracts. However, it can require more experienced workers and extra processing after the extraction.
This method uses an alcohol solvent, normally ethanol. Ethanol is generally regarded as safe by the FDA and often used as a food preservative and additive. It is a polar solvent, which means it will mix with water and dissolve any soluble particles as well as the cannabis compounds. The resulting product is a dark-colored oil, giving a bitter and grassy flavor.
Chlorophyll is one of the other products extracted using ethanol, which can be removed from the oil with post-extraction filtering methods, though this can also remove some cannabinoids which results in a lower quality CBD oil. Some ethanol extractors mention that the extraction can be alleviated with cold temperatures.
With an experienced operator, the result of this method can be very beneficial, with some prefering it to CO2 extraction in terms of quality. Nevertheless, if the operator isn't as experiences, errors are more likely, with a possibility for contamination of the solvent, or the possibility of a lower quality product.
An early extraction method, hydrocarbon extraction was made using a light hydrocarbon solvent, commonly butane, propane or hexane, to extract the cannabis oil. These hydrocarbons boil at low temperatures, making the CBD extraction process simple.
While the method is cheap and easy, there are issues that can make it non-ideal. The resulting oil has a smaller amount of terpenes and cannabinoids like CBD and a higher amount of THC. Unsafe residue can remain, which may interfere with any immune functions. Since the extraction method has proven to be both dangerous and ineffective, it is now rarely used by CBD companies.
This lesser-used extraction method uses the fats (or “lipids”) to absorb and capture the cannabinoids. Organic coconut oil is often used in the process. This extraction does not require the use of harsh solvents or CO2, though it is not a popular extraction method. However, some boutique companies still use it.
At Moreish Series, we produce a wide range of excellent CO2 extracted CBD products. Now that you know how CBD is made, check out some of our products today!