As you may have noticed, a product called CBD oil’s been extremely popular among people from all walks of life. It’s touted as some amazing thing that can alleviate symptoms from all sorts of illnesses, from depression to epilepsy.
Maybe you’re not one to jump straight into fads. You like to ask questions, gather evidence, and then try something out if it all checks out.
So are you wondering: how is CBD extracted? Well, we’ll tell you! Read on to find out the different extraction methods for this wondrous substance.
What Is CBD?
Before we can tell you how it’s extracted, you need to first understand what CBD is exactly.
First: what does CBD stand for? “CBD” stands for “cannabidiol.” It’s a cannabinoid, which makes it the cousin of THC; you may know this chemical, as it’s the active substance that gives you a “high” when you smoke weed.
As you’d expect, both can be found from cannabis plants. However, there are some main differences.
First of all, while CBD can be extracted from cannabis plants, most of the high-quality products you find on the market will be from hemp plants instead since the THC content will be very low, if not non-existent.
Also, while you can experience similar health benefits from both THC and CBD (such as pain relief, stimulation of your appetite, and more), here’s the main difference: while you can get high from THC, you won’t from CBD. This means you can reap all the same benefits of THC, but not be affected by psychoactive effects.
As you can imagine, this is a huge game-changer. People who had to previously wait until they were home for hours to smoke marijuana can now use CBD instead and still work and study without impairment.
How Is CBD Extracted?
Now that you know a little about what CBD is, let’s move onto the main question on hand: how is CBD extracted?
In general, you have 3 methods: steam distillation, solvent extraction, and CO2 extraction. We’ll explain each one in further detail below.
Steam distillation uses the power of heat from boiling water. The hemp plant is put in a glass flask that has two openings: one for the steam and one for the oil to be collected in.
When the water boils, it heats up the hemp plant, which causes the oil to separate. The vapors go straight into a collection tube. This tube is then distilled to extract CBD oil from.
Steam distillation is a great extraction method since it’s cheap to run and there are no toxic residues or chlorophyll. However, it’s an inefficient and inconsistent method, which means it’s hard to predict both how much final product you’ll get and how damaged it’ll be from the steam.
Solvent extraction is very similar to steam distillation. The key difference is instead of boiling water, you use a solvent (hydrocarbon).
However, the main concern is some of these can potentially leave behind toxic residues, such as petroleum, butane, naphtha, and propane. In theory, these residues should be completely evaporated when the solvent’s being evaporated.
An alternative is using natural solvents, such as ethanol and olive oil. They work just as efficiently as hydrocarbons, which is definitely a plus.
While natural solvents won’t leave behind toxic residues, they cause chlorophyll to be extracted along with the CBD oil, which doesn’t taste so pleasant. So there’s definitely a trade-off when comparing hydrocarbon and natural solvents.
Another downside is with natural solvents, the resulting CBD oil has much lower concentrations when compared with other methods on this list.
In this method, scientists use supercritical carbon dioxide. This means instead of being in its usual gas form, it’s in both liquid and gas state. So CO2 extraction is also known as supercritical fluid extraction (SFE).
This process requires complicated lab equipment that consists of chambers and pumps. These chambers will change their pressures to get the final product.
So, how does CO2 extraction work?
Well, you first have one chamber with CO2 and another with the hemp plant; both will be pressurized. To break down the hemp plant, the CO2 is pumped into its chamber. This results in the oil separating from it.
Both the CO2 and the CBD oil that’s come off the plant are then pumped into a final chamber. Here, the CO2 evaporates, which leaves behind a truly pure CBD oil product.
Which CBD Oil Extraction Method Is the Best?
While it’s the most expensive method out of all we listed, CO2 extraction is the preferred method to extract CBD oil. As much as 92% concentrate can be extracted through CO2 extraction.
Not only that, but it’s also very easy to adjust and control the concentration of your final product. Plus, there are no toxic residues or chlorophyll, so it’s not only safe, but it also doesn’t taste bad.
Impress Your Friends With Your CBD Extraction Knowledge
The next time someone asks, “how is CBD extracted,” you’ll have the answer right in your head. Not only can you explain in detail how the final CBD oil product is formed, but you can also advise your friends on which method is the best.
You’ll have the proper knowledge to help both you and your friends to find quality products from the most reputable companies so you get something that won’t give you adverse side effects. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to find CBD oil that’s pure.
For more educational reads, please take a look at our other blog articles.