CBD is one of the most popular molecules found in the cannabis plant. It is a non-psychoactive compound that provides highly prized therapeutic benefits. If you want to get all the benefits of this natural compound, it is important to have good-quality products of CBD meeting certain criteria. CBD oil is the most well-known product of the compound manufactured from hemp through a precise extraction process.
CBD extraction is an advanced process that needs many skills and high-tech equipment to produce clean and potent CBD oils. If there were no extraction process, the CBD space would revolve around hemp flowers, limiting or without diversity in the cannabis industry to a great extent. Now you may ask, what are the CBD extraction methods?
This article will give you a crystal clear idea about CBD extract, different methods of extracting CBD from hemp, the most common CBD oil extraction methods and will help you find out the best CBD extraction method.
What Is CBD Extract?
Any substance obtained from a cannabis plant containing CBD is technically a CBD extract. In most cases, CBD extract is synonymous with CBD oil. So, in general, CBD extract is an oil that manufacturers add to various products like lotions, creams, tinctures, and pills. People use CBD extract to treat different conditions, although there is no scientific evidence to back it up.
CBD extract refers to cannabinoids coming from cannabis plants through a process. We must consider the different spectrums of CBD that we obtain from the extraction process- broad-spectrum, full-spectrum and isolate. If we explain in simple terms, CBD extract is a concentration extracted from hemp and cannabis Sativa plants and then manufactured into consumable or appliable products.
Why Must we Extract?
Extraction is essential to make usable and viable CBD products. After CBD is extracted from hemp and cannabis plants, you will get it in a concentration effective for healing conditions. This concentrated extract is useful only for the decarboxylating process (heat application).
After ingesting cannabinoids through a capsule, edible or oil, decarboxylation is required for our bodies to absorb the active ingredients. Dried cannabis and hemp can partially decarboxylate, while the cannabinoids get fully decarboxylated if smoked (heated).
Most Common CBD Oil Extraction Methods
CBD oil extraction is the process of bringing out the CBD extract from the cannabis hemp plant, turning it into a usable and workable form of CBD like oil or creams. There are different extraction methods, each having its advantages and disadvantages. Each extraction method can give a slightly different result. The raw CBD will have a thicker or thinner oily texture, with a dark or almost black tinge depending on the extraction method.
Here the most common CBD extraction methods are explained:
Nowadays, CO2 extraction has become the most popular, efficient, and reliable extraction method for CBD companies. This extraction method uses supercritical CO2 for stripping the CBD from the plant materials of hemp. Supercritical CO2 means carbon dioxide in a condition between a gas and a liquid state.
This supercritical CO2 extraction method includes multiple pressurized chambers that funnel and pump the CO2, exposing it to very high pressure and low temperature, resulting in an extracted oil high in CBD.
In this process, CO2 is pumped from the first chamber to the second, where remain the hemp plants and then get exposed to the supercritical CO2, and this exposure breaks down the hemp plant material and causes the oil to separate.
Then the CO2 and oil are funneled together into a third chamber. In that chamber, the gas form evaporates by leaving behind an extract of pure CBD oil used to make various products. This CO2 extraction method for CBD can consistently produce a high-concentration CBD with no toxic residue.
Ethanol extraction is widely regarded as one of the simplest and the least expensive methods to extract CBD from hemp. According to the Experts’ claim, ethanol, as a plant-based solvent, helps maintain the hemp’s natural chemical properties during extraction.
Ethanol extraction needs to soak the hemp plant in ethanol. The liquid runs through the plant matter, separating it from valuable compounds like chlorophyll.
After the solvent has accumulated enough cannabinoids and terpenes, the liquid gets strained and heated in a special dish. After evaporation, the extract is put in a carrier oil to thin it down and enhance its bioavailability.
Alcohol extraction is another effective and practicable way of extracting CBD simply by using liquid solvents like ethanol, butane, or isopropyl alcohol. Alcohol is very productive for dissolving cannabinoids. Alcohol is the only suitable, efficient solvent for pulling out real full spectrum extract by dissolving the plants’ beneficial substances from the plants, including the entire spectrum of cannabinoids, valuable terpenes, amino acids, and others.
One of the significant benefits of the alcohol extraction method is that it’s quite inexpensive, and it requires inexpensive equipment that you can probably find at home. Some tests have proved that the solvent residue isn’t always entirely removed during evaporation.
But the resulting extract is much purer, clearer in color and better in taste containing the full spectrum of cannabinoids. The human body can utilize the extract much better as it is more bioavailable. Alcohol is very efficient for dissolving cannabinoids and is generally considered safe, although it requires measures for caution and precision on the manufacturer’s part for purging it from the final product because there is a risk of triggering explosions.
Liquid Solvent Extraction
Liquid solvent extraction is also known as the solvent extraction method of CBD oil, which is one of the oldest methods for extracting CBD from plants. It is also one of the cheapest and easiest methods to use. With liquid solvent extraction, a solvent is used rather than water.
This solvent extraction can be more efficient than other methods but risky. Solvent extraction uses butane, alcohol, propane or more natural compounds like olive oil or ethanol for extracting the CBD.
In this method, plant materials are combined or soaked with a solvent by stripping the cannabinoids. Then through the evaporation process, the solvent leaves behind a concentration of cannabinoids in oil form.
The steam distillation method of CBD extraction is a tried and true method. This method involves a ‘plant material’ distillation tank having an inlet and outlet. The distillation tank is linked to a separate tank with water through the inlet, just below the distillation tank.
The outlet of the distillation tank has a connection to a condensing tube to deposit into a collecting flask. For this process, water in the first tank is heated to a boil. The steam then goes upward to the plant material tank by separating the oil vapors that contain CBD. These vapors are seized in the condensing tube to turn them into oil and water, and the liquids are collected to be distilled, dissociating the CBD oil from the water.
Which Extraction Method is the Best?
Many cannabis experts believe and admit that CO2 extraction is the best possible method of extracting CBD or producing a high-quality oil that stays potent longer. For example, full-spectrum CBD oil that is prized for its potency and purity is produced by the CO2 extraction method.
On the other hand, each extraction method, including the solvent method, may have pros and cons, often failing to remove the impurities, and cannot claim to have similar efficiency to C02 extraction. Though the CO2 extraction method can be more costly for CBD companies, it gives us the purest, most reliable and most concentrated form of CBD containing no harsh chemicals or contaminants. So, CO2 extraction is completely safe and the most preferred method.
The quality and purity of CBD extract depend on the extraction methods. There are many different CBD extraction methods, but they are not the same. Each method has pros and cons, but CO2 extraction is the purest, safest, and best method.