What Are The CBD Extraction Methods & Why It Matters

May 18, 2020

It’s no new story that CBD (cannabidiol) originates from cannabis plant. CBD has made lots of waves and impacts in the medical space over the years and the numerous benefits cannot be overemphasised. Cannabidiol has evolved from being just a compound we derive basic medical benefits from, it has gained recognition in most production industries. CBD is now extracted and used in the manufacture of a wide range of products ranging from food products like edibles, gummies, to cosmetics like creams, lotions, balms etc.

The puzzle in the entire process of production and manufacture of CBD based product is how CBD oil itself is extracted from cannabis or hemp plant.

In this article we will be looking at the extraction process of CBD oil from cannabis and we will also highlight the best methods of extraction as determined by our experts.

The use of CBD oil or CBD shouldn’t create any debates because CBD when extracted is oily in nature, the reason why we look out for best routes or channels to ensure very good levels of absorption into the body or what we call bioavailability.

CBD Extraction Methods

CBD extraction methods are simply the pathways in which CBD oils are made before they are used for CBD products. The most popular methods adopted for the extraction of CBD includes the use of carbon dioxide CO2, use of solvents or hydrocarbons and the processes of steam distillation.

The goal of CBD extraction is not just to try out a new art or extract them in good quantity. A high concentration of CBD extract is desired so as to suit human consumption. To achieve this, there are certain strains of cannabis we look out for as a company. We have discovered that certain strains offer very low CBD concentrations while others are buoyant in CBD.

The charlotte’s web is a very good cannabis strain having a little under 20% CBD content and about 5% THC content

Use of Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

CBD extraction using CO2 is the most adopted methods in the CBD industry today. In this method of extraction, pressurised CO2 is employed to remove CBD from cannabis plant. CO2 extraction process is efficient and safe. However the equipment used in the freezing of CO2 and compressing to a liquid state is expensive.

This exposure of CO2 to very high pressures and considerably low temperatures gives us an extracted oil based liquid which is very rich in CBD.

Summary of the processes of CO2 extraction

The first step involves subjecting pressurised CO2 in a chamber while cannabis plant is subjected in another pressurised chamber.

CO2 in its gaseous state is then transferred from the first chamber to the second chamber containing the hemp plant via a pump. The hemp in the chamber is then broken down by the introduction of supercritical CO2 . This results in the separation of the oil from the plant.

In the final stages, the CO2 and oil is pumped into the third chamber and in this chamber the CO2 evaporates leaving behind the pure extract of CBD oil.

CO2 method of extraction of CBD is quite expensive but it is the preferred method in extraction of CBD because it is safe and delivers highly concentrated CBD oil. Estimated to be about 92% from a recent study.

Use of Solvents or Hydrocarbons

Solvents like ethanol, butane, and water in some cases are employed in the extraction of CBD from hemp. A full range of cannabinoids present in hemp plants is extracted by ethanol. The end products are usually safe to use. Negative effects caused by chlorophyll in the plant is also extracted by ethanol.

The removal of chlorophyll is done by a filtration of the extracts but this lowers the potency of CBD oil. . Solvents like butane results in some negative effects especially irritations to the lungs. Because the resulting oil is stronger than those of ethanol.

We have made use of all of these solvents and we have resolved that isopropyl alcohol is the best as it delivers very pure CBD oil that is potent and compliant. This means that our products meet global demands. In addition, considering the frequency and scale of extractions we carry out, we chose isopropyl alcohol because it is affordable and easy to source for.

Steam Distillation

This method of extraction introduces steam from boilers unto the hemp plants to extract CBD oil. Steam distillation method is a great way to get you CBD oils of hemp plants. Its ranks least among the three methods discussed in this article because it is less efficient and large plant material is usually required per time. Exact CBD concentrations are usually very difficult to extract using the steam distillation method. The process is very risky and could lead to damage of extracts if steam temperature gets too high.

The Best Method of CBD Extraction

All of the method of extraction of CBD oil have their merits and demerits. We however as a company recommend the use of CO2 method of extraction. Even though the process is quite expensive, it sure delivers CBD in very good concentration and because it is safe and compliant, we recommend it as a global method for manufacturer and users.

Please ensure to check up on methods used in the extraction of CBD oils for the CBD products you consume as this is very vital.

If you enjoyed this article you might like our piece on What Is Water Soluble CBD?

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