CBD is derived from cannabis, although it is more commonly extracted from the subspecies known as hemp. There are various ways of extracting CBD from any variety of cannabis, so let’s take a look at the production process! While each manufacturer has developed its own internal processes, many seem to be able to offer you similar choices – and at the end of the day, all CBD products are manufactured using similar production processes. In this blog post, we’ll break down the various extraction methods and teach you everything you need to know about the production process from the cultivation of the plant to the final product. If you’re interested in are learning more about how CBD products are made, make sure to read this article in its entirety!
The cannabis market is booming – and it all starts with plants. The world would be a different place without the humble cannabis plant, which is one of humanity’s oldest cultivated crops. While most CBD is extracted from hemp – a variety of cannabis that contains very low amounts of THC – CBD is also found in other cannabis plants. Hemp, much like other agricultural crops, is often produced on an industrial scale, Like all plants, hemp starts as a seed: once the seed germinates, it will grow as a seedling and emerge from the soil.
Eventually, the plant will provide signs that it is ready for harvesting, at which point it can either be harvested specifically for CBD extraction or for its fibre and seeds. After harvesting the hemp plants, manufacturers can extract the CBD-rich oil from the seeds and mature stalks of the plant. There are several different extraction methods a manufacturer can use.
CBD Extraction Methods
The three most-common extraction methods are CO2, ethanol, and oil. Each of these extraction methods has pros and cons, which we’ll summarise below. The finished product can vary in consistency, colour, and concentration, depending on the extraction method. RAW CBD oil, for example, is extracted using a different method than the “PURE” CBD variety. Keep reading this article to learn more about the key differences between these methods, as well as the pros and cons of each method.
CO2 extraction, also known as “supercritical carbon dioxide extraction”, involves using highly pressurized carbon dioxide to extract CBD from cannabis; it is generally considered the best method to preserve CBD oil purity. Because supercritical fluid – i.e., a fluid placed at a temperature and pressure above its critical point – behaves like a liquid with the viscosity of a gas, this extraction method is extremely effective, as it allows manufacturers to derive pure CBD from the cannabis plants. Another advantage of this method is that it allows the use of the whole hemp plant.
Another major advantage of the Co2 extraction is that there is no heating of the oil or other components, allowing the final product to retain the various heat-sensitive chemicals within the plant that would otherwise be destroyed. This extraction method is therefore used for all CBD RAW products. In addition to CBD, these products also contain other essential cannabinoids, as well as natural terpenes, flavonoids and phenols.
The equipment needed for supercritical CO2 extraction is very expensive, however, and may give the finished product a dark look and a bitter taste. Because this extraction method utilises the whole plant, it is still less costly than the (olive) oil extraction process.
The oil extraction method utilises decarboxylation – a chemical process involving raw cannabis and a heat source. Due to the fact that this method involves processing the CBD-rich hemp leaves rather than the entire plant, this extraction method produces fairly low yields. CBD “PURE” is the result of processing organically-grown hemp to isolate only CBD.
One of the main advantages of utilising the oil extraction method is the taste of the finished product. Many CBD users prefer the taste of the “Pure” CBD oil to that of its slightly more bitter and pungent ‘RAW” cousin.
Sadly, this method only produces low yields as the extract is not obtained from the whole plant.
Several forms of cannabis extraction rely on a solvent, such as ethanol. In terms of cost, ethanol extraction can be a cost-effective and practical option for many manufacturers. In most cases, ethanol extraction is much cheaper than other extraction methods
Ethanol extraction is conducted by soaking hemp in ethanol until it dissolves. Afterwards, the liquid is heated in order to remove the alcohol and evaporate the substance down to the CBD base oil.
The ethanol extraction method is an inefficient and time-consuming one, however, and may not always preserve the full spectrum of helpful compounds in the hemp plant.
What happens before CBD makes its way into an end product?
Once the CBD has been extracted, it can be incorporated into oils, tinctures, and capsules – these are just a few examples of the wide variety of CBD products that are available these days. The differences between these products are influenced by their respective manufacturing processes.
We could say a lot about this topic, but we are going to need to save that for another post. We hope that this blog post has given you a thorough overview of the different extraction methods and how CBD products are made.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below!
Bernard finds his passion in researching, creating and sharing content about medicinal cannabis and everything that relates to this mysterious and interesting plant. Besides the work he does as a microbiologist, Bernard is an inspiring blogger. He helps us to stay up-to-date about all trends and developments concerning CBD, medical cannabis, and much more. Do you have any questions? Feel free to contact us via the contact form or Bernard directly. Bernard can be reached directly by sending your message to [email protected].
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