CBD has taken the health and wellness market by storm for the past couple of years. Even though most people are familiar with this term and have even sampled different CBD products, the intricate details of how CBD oil is made remain a puzzle for most of them. It is good to understand that all the CBD (cannabidiol) that you get in your favorite drinks, gummies, and oils goes through some extraction process. CBD extraction methods involve the isolation of the chemical compound from its surrounding plant material. After that, it is distilled in high concentrations.
According to research, cannabinoids might have beneficial effects on both mental and physical health. With the proper extraction methods, it becomes much easier to consume these cannabinoids without too much effort. Before we can answer how CBD oil is made, let us first understand what CBD oil is below.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD stands for cannabidiol which is among the many chemical compounds (cannabinoids) found in cannabis plants. This compound is famously known for having so many medical benefits ranging from fighting chronic ailments like anxiety and pain. It is also known for promoting wellness by protecting your brain health and also helping in weight loss. This happens when the cannabinoid interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The Endocannabinoid system is part of the central nervous system, which maintains some balance in our body.
In most cases, CBD is generally extracted from hemp, even though marijuana can also be used as a source of CBD. Hemp is the term used to describe cannabis plant strains with not more than 0.3% THC. As you are aware, THC is the psychoactive compound in cannabis plants that causes a high or the euphoria that is mainly associated with marijuana. Having understood all that, how is CBD hemp oil made? Below, we dive into the different methods of extracting CBD from hemp.
How CBD Oil Is Made – The Extraction Process
After hemp plants have matured, farmers harvest and later spread them in barns for drying up. The process that follows is milling the dried hemp into fine powder. Later CBD is extracted from raw hemp. There exist several ways through which CBD is extracted from them to make different CBD products. It is good to note that each extraction process has its advantages and disadvantages. Different extraction processes will result in some dark oil containing beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, and other plant compounds like chlorophyll and fatty acids. CBD manufacturers usually process the crude oil further to get the end product. Have a look at the various methods of CBD extraction from hemp.
Supercritical CO2 Extraction
Most CBD manufacturers will always opt for the CO2 extraction method for CBD, terming it the gold standard of getting CBD-rich extracts. The extraction method subjects CO2 (carbon dioxide) to high pressure while maintaining very low temperatures. The pressure will transform CO2 from its gas state to the liquid state. This then passes through the plant material, having an extraction efficiency of up to 90%.
What you get as the end product will be a highly concentrated and pure CBD extract. It is good to note that the supercritical CO2 extraction method needs advanced equipment and experienced operators. The most important advantage of this method is that it results in pure CBD oil. This does not require too much post-processing as compared to other methods of extraction.
Steam Distillation Extraction
This is a popular extraction method that has been tried and proven to be true. It extracts essential oils and could also be used for extracting cannabinoids too. Steam is mainly used to free the volatile compounds, which are cannabinoids, from hemp plants. The resulting vapor that is filled with the desirable compounds will then be cooled and condensed. After that, the resultant water and oil are separated. The process is inexpensive, solvent-free, and straightforward. On the flip side, it requires so much plant material and only produces less oil. Apart from that, CBD concentration is deficient.
This is close to using CO2, even though this one is cheaper and much faster. Butane has been in use for a long time even though propane and ethanol are used too. The method uses a closed-loop system whereby the liquid solvent washes over cannabis and releases CBD along with terpenes and other cannabinoids. After that, the solvent has to be cooled or heated to separate it from extracted compounds without damage. One major drawback of this process is that some solvents tend to extract impurities from the plant material. This makes the end-product have some unpleasant taste.
Many CBD manufacturers will go with this CBD extraction method because it is exceptionally safe, simple, and effective. Ethanol is considered safe according to the FDA, and to back that up, it is present in a wide range of products, including personal care items you use. The method involves the use of high-quality grain alcohol as the solvent. This will be used to separate the beneficial cannabinoids, CBD included, from the parent plant. The good thing about this extraction method is that it can be used under cold or warm conditions. This method is, in most cases, time-efficient compared to other CBD extraction methods.
This is among the most straightforward and cheapest ways that you can extract CBD oil. It involves using some light hydrocarbon solvent such as propane, butane, isopropyl alcohol, or hexane to get CBD oil from the hemp plant. The hydrocarbons effectively extract the CBD oil, given that they have a low boiling point.
Although the hydrocarbon extraction method is less expensive and simpler than other extraction methods, its drawbacks do not. In most cases, this extraction method yields oil with a lower concentration of terpenes and CBD and a high THC concentration. This could also result in some unsafe residue that could be potentially harmful to your health. In this regard, most commercial manufacturers will avoid the method for its inefficiency and risks.
Oil Infusion Extraction
If you consider one of the CBD oil extraction methods that have been around for a long time, it has to be oil infusion extraction. Most home growers have used this method owing to its simplicity and lack of expertise. Before you can begin extracting CBD using this method, you will initially be required to decarboxylate your hemp plant. Alternatively, you could heat the hemp plant to a specific temperature to activate its compounds. After that, you can add your carrier oil and later heat it at a temperature of 100 degrees Celsius for around 1 hour.
One of the main disadvantages of this method is that a lot of oil will be required to attain the desired concentration of the cannabinoid. This is because it becomes hard to evaporate olive oil from CBD oil. After extracting, you will be required to distill your extracted oil so that you can separate individual compounds, CBD included. This is achieved through 2 processes, namely winterization and the short path distillation procedures.
Winterization: This involves mixing your oil with 200 proof alcohol. You then stir it thoroughly until it is fully combined. The mixture should be kept in the deep freezer overnight. You should have a solution that looks cloudy the following morning. It is good to filter that mixture, and the best way is to run it through some filter paper into your extraction jar. After filtering your mixture to your desired quality, the other step will be removing the alcohol. This is done by simply warming the mixture. Given that alcohol’s boiling point is lower than the oil, it evaporates as you heat that mixture.
Short path distillation: After you have done winterization, your oil undergoes the short path distillation. This is meant to refine your CBD extract further as well as isolating the CBD. That process will involve heating the extract, which results in the isolation of every compound now that each has a different boiling point. This means that you can easily separate every part and use it individually.
Which Method is the Best?
Now that you are familiar with the different methods of extracting CBD oil, which should be the go-to extraction method? While there is no universal method to fit everyone, we believe that the CO2 extraction method is the best. Both the consumer and the producing company will like this process of extracting CBD from hemp plants. The reason for that is that this method proves to be safe, not forgetting that it creates less waste for the producing company. Additionally, CBD produced this way proves to be the best in purity with no harsh chemicals and contaminants present. In this regard, whenever you are looking for your CBD products, it is highly advisable to choose companies that extract CBD through this method. Any reputable company should list the method of extraction used for CBD on their website. This way, the buyer can be sure that they are going to get the best products.
How to Make CBD Oil at Home
Another question that people ask, apart from how CBD oil is made, is whether one can make CBD oil at home. The good news is that it is possible to make your own CBD oil using CBD paste. It is, however, worth noting that this CBD oil will not have the same quality as the one you get from reputable companies. On the flip side, the advantage of having your self-made CBD oil is that you can easily customize it to your specific needs. Below are the steps to follow when making CBD oil at home:
- First, decide the potency that you desire your oil to have. A syringe having 50% paste and a potency of 2500mg can give you CBD concentrations as indicated below:
- 6.25% – ¼ syringe
- 12.5% – ½ syringe
- 18.75% – ¾ syringe
- 25% – full syringe
- Next, add your desired paste amount to a 10ml bottle that has been sterilized.
- Add your desired carrier oil to this paste and ensure to leave a space of 1 to 2cm at the top. You can use carrier oils like olive, hemp seed, and coconut oil.
- Shake the bottle thoroughly but ensure that you close it tightly before shaking.
- Let the oil settle for 1 hour and shake it again.
- Open your bottle, add the other oil to full, and then close your bottle for shaking again.
- Your oil will be ready for use but before using, make sure that you always shake it.
The Bottom Line
That’s it! CBD has been so popular in the past few years all over the globe. All this can be attributed to its health and wellness benefits. All the same, with so many options for different CBD products in the market, you can have a long day getting genuine products. Knowing how CBD oil is made will be the first step toward quality and beneficial CBD products. Above, we have discussed the different CBD oil extraction methods.
We have to acknowledge that different people have different preferences as to how products they use are produced. All the same, we believe that the best products have been expertly crafted and sourced from quality ingredients. This is the same case for CBD oil now that it focuses on your health and wellness.
Carlos B. graduated from Oxford in 2014 after pursuing biological sciences, and his passion has been so much about health and lifestyle. He later quits his career as a health consultant to focus on writing. His love for hemp and endless possibilities, including the practical medicinal functions in making CBD is among the reasons he now writes about it. Carlos is an informative writer that delivers timely content about hemp, its uses, and its potentials of hemp. He enjoys his leisure time visiting the people suffering neurological conditions and advises them on the best practices that can change their lives.