As CBD oils, cremes, topicals, and edibles become more and more popular there is an increasing interest in the different CBD extraction methods.
CBD is extracted from the hemp plant material so it can be processed to create all the new and exciting products we see every day.
The process of extracting CBD from the plant material is very similar to the steps and equipment used to extract essential oils from different types of plants.
Co2 (Carbon Dioxide), ethanol and butane are three popular methods of CBD extraction. Some of these methods can be dangerous and it is not advisable to attempt them unless you have the proper CBD extraction equipment and are properly trained and wearing the appropriate safety gear.
This article is going to introduce the different CBD extraction methods, basically explaining just how pure CBD is extracted from the plant. Some of these methods have actually been utilized in different industries for many years or even centuries, long before CBD oil even was a feasible thing.
These methods include distillation, solvent extraction, coffee bean decantation, and even herbal cultivation as a method of obtaining CBD.
Regardless, of what type of CBD extraction system you use, they all basically get their CBD from the same way.
What is CBD?
First, lets define what all of this CBD is. Basically it’s a CBD derivative, which is just what it sounds like.
The difference between the pure form and the CBD derivative is that pure CBD doesn’t contain any of the desirable compounds that make up CBD, and instead it has no effect on the human body.
The CBD derivatives that do have an effect on the body are often much more potent than CBD itself, and are commonly referred to as cannabidiol, or CBD “mild”.
CBD Extraction Methods
So now we can come to the various CBD extraction methods.
Obviously the purest way of extracting CBD is by using high heat. High temperature is necessary because CBD is actually a very delicate compound, which can be destroyed during heating even under the most stringent manufacturing conditions. High temperature is also a very expensive method.
So another common method of extraction is by using a solvent. There are two popular solvents used for CBD extraction, carbon dioxide and ethanol.
The method of choice is typically chosen by the end product. The advantage to both of these methods is that the end product is generally considered more pure, although not necessarily ‘pure’.
The disadvantage, of course, is that the end product may have a reduced solubility factor, meaning that the CBD may settle to the bottom of the bottle, rather than being released into the solvent.
Other popular extraction methods include the use of cold water, which is effective in reducing surface tension and disrupting surface pore structure.
Butane is also sometimes used, and this too is effective in increasing the surface tension of the cannabis plant, allowing it to be pulled up from the root for production.
Finally, cold water is sometimes used in the extraction process, although this is a less popular method due to its inability to maintain an absolute freezing temperature.
In addition, butane can be a toxic substance, and its use should be strictly regulated.
Liquid CO2 Extraction
Many people prefer to use liquid co2 extraction. This is achieved by pressurizing a container of cold liquid Co2, then plugging the container into a power supply.
A heated plate moves the co2 through the medium, where it becomes concentrated. This process allows the plant matter to be suspended in the supercritical Co2, with most of the suspended particles being released into the solvent.
This method is more efficient, but it requires a greater amount of temperature control than cold co2 extraction.
Cold solvents are the preferred method during the winterization of CBD. This process extracts the CBD from oil leaves, with the oils being frozen prior to extraction.
After extraction, the leaf is sent to a pharmaceutical facility to undergo winterization. During winterization, the temperature must be lowered to -12 degrees Celsius to reduce the surface tension of the oil.
This makes the plant matter a poor conductor of electricity, so the process requires more energy to accomplish than other methods.
Some plants also undergo versification. This extraction method, which involves pressing the leaves with a piece of cloth, removes most of the oil from the plant.
The resulting oil, however, retains some of the CBD. This process is favored by some companies because it is less expensive than some of the other common methods.
A notable exception is the extraction of CBD from hemp, which rarely shows significant amounts of CBD.