We are all familiar with the various benefits associated with cannabidiol (CBD) oil. But how is CBD oil made? Consumers better understand product quality when they know how the product is made. Good quality CBD oil can come in many colors and consistencies. The various CBD extraction methods are also equally good. So, if you are one of many wondering how CBD oil is made, we have your answers!
How is CBD Oil Made: Full-Spectrum
Skip Ahead to Topic
The whole hemp plant extract is also called “full-spectrum.” Full-spectrum oil contains a bit of THC in addition to cannabinoids, and terpenes. It is also beneficial because research shows that full-spectrum CBD oil benefits from "the entourage effect." In this effect, the diverse plant compounds team up to work on more types of endocannabinoid receptors. Together, they can exert a broader effect in a smaller dosage.
Ethanol Hemp Extraction
Ethanol is an alcohol solvent. It can be used to extract cannabidiol from hemp. Ethanol hemp extraction can take some time but is a cheaper method. The process is so simple it can be understood in just five steps:
- Soak ground bulk hemp flower in ethanol
- Separate the ethanol from the hemp plant material
- Use a rotary evaporator to separate the ethanol from the CBD oil
- Save the ethanol for re-use and/or cleaning
- Remove the CBD oil from the rotary flask with low gentle heat from a heat gun
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Hemp Extraction
Hemp flower can also be extracted using supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2). The supercritical CO2 extraction process is expensive, but it yields very high-quality full-spectrum CBD oil. CO2 does not leave potentially toxic residues like hydrocarbon solvents. Although, as extraction technology has improved hydrocarbon extracted CBD oils are proving to be very safe and effective.
Hydrocarbon Hemp Extraction
Hydrocarbons are chemical solvents like butane and propane. Butane has been traditionally used to create hash- a marijuana extract. Many have a concern about "residual solvents" in CBD. This can occur if the extractor does not properly purge the solvent from the oil. With increasing automation, technology, and laboratory testing, residual solvents are becoming less of a concern.
Hydrocarbon extraction is both quick and economical. Many feel hydrocarbon extracts retain better flavor than expensive supercritical CO2 extracts. At the end of the day, they all result in full-spectrum CBD oil.
Refining Hemp Extract
The crude full-spectrum CBD extract from ethanol, CO2, or hydrocarbon extraction needs to be refined. This step is called winterization. Extracts are frozen to winterize them. This allows the fats and chlorophyll to be removed. The final product is a highly concentrated full-spectrum extract that is ready to be put in products.
How is CBD Oil Made: Isolate
To make isolate, the full-spectrum extract needs to be crystallized. Special crystalization machines apply temperature and heat to make this happen. CBD isolate only contains CBD and no other cannabinoids or terpenes. Some prefer CBD isolate because it does not have any THC. Isolate CBD is less risky for people who have to be drug tested.
How is CBD Oil Made: Broad-Spectrum
A newer formulation is THC-free but contains other minor cannabinoids and terpenes. This is broad-spectrum CBD oil. Broad-spectrum products address the concern over THC while preserving the entourage effect. Isolate is re-combined with terpenes and minor cannabinoids that have been separately extracted to make broad-spectrum.
The extraction process isn't always the most important factor to consider when buying CBD products. What really matters is what works best for you. All companies should provide laboratory results. These can be used to confirm the claimed potency, verify the absence of residues, and make sure no pesticides are present.