Unless you’ve been living at the bottom of a rock, you must have heard the name ‘cannabidiol (CBD)’ being thrown around in wellness discussion groups or health publications. It might even happen that you’ve already incorporated CBD-based products into your health and wellness routine.
Whichever the case may be, it’s essential to understand what constitutes quality CBD products.
Although cannabidiol and other cannabis extracts boast plenty of medicinal properties, you can only enjoy those benefits if you invest in quality products. Otherwise, you might end up spending a fortune, only to end up with substandard and potentially toxic effects.
In this post, we shall highlight everything there is to know about CBD concerning its extraction.
Various CBD Oil Extraction Methods
When you purchase CBD oil from reputable suppliers like Lazarus Naturals, you’ll realize that the seller indicates how their cannabidiol oil was extracted.
Information on CBD extraction is precious, as it speaks volumes about a CBD product’s purity and quality.
The following are some of the common CBD extraction methods;
- Solvent Extraction
Solvent extraction is one of the oldest and most common ways of extracting cannabidiol oil.
Solvent extraction involves the mixing of cannabis plant material with a special solvent. The solvent used should be efficient at carrying the essential oils in the plant material under the right extraction conditions.
Some of the liquids commonly used in the solvent extraction method include plant-based extracts like olive oil and petroleum-derived products like ethanol. Popular short-chain hydrocarbons like hexane and butane are also common solvents used in the solvent extraction method. Some manufacturers prefer these hydrocarbons as they’re relatively cheaper than ethanol and most plant-based oils.
Also Read: How Does Green Leaves CBD Oil Work?
One of the most notable advantages of solvent extraction is its relative affordability compared to other common CBD oil extraction methods. However, the purity and overall quality of the extracted oil is usually a concern. That’s especially true if the process does not eliminate the synthetic solvents from the cannabis plant material.
Exposure to compounds like ethanol and hydrocarbons might increase the risks of chronic diseases. There are also dangers of flammability to contend with, especially where petroleum-based products are used. The best alternative would be to replace synthetic solvents with natural oils.
Some solvents might affect CBD’s purity
- Steam Distillation
Steam distillation and solvent extraction share a lot in common, particularly concerning their history and relative simplicity. Alcohol manufacturing companies have used steam distillation from time immemorial to distill alcohol. Steam distillation has also been used to extract essential oils from various organic compounds.
To extract CBD oil using the steam distillation method, you start by introducing cannabis plant matter into a distillation tank. You then heat water, which subsequently heats the plant material, thereby producing steam.
As the steam rises, it carries cannabis oils to the top of the tank. The next step involves passing the tank’s content through a condenser, which cools down the steam into a mixture of water and oil.
Since water and oil barely mix, you only need to subject the mixture through further distillation, and you’ll end up with best CBD oil capsules
Like solvent extraction, steam distillation is relatively easier and cheaper to perform. But there are glaring drawbacks. Most notably, the method might destroy some of the essential oils in cannabis, resulting in low-quality CBD.
- Supercritical CO2 extraction
Supercritical CO2 extraction, as the name implies, basically involves the use of supercritical carbon dioxide to extract CBD oil. Now, supercritical CO2 simply refers to carbon dioxide that exists both in liquid and gaseous states.
The process could begin either with liquid CO2 or CO2 in its gaseous state. Cannabis plant material is added into a carbon dioxide chamber.
Manufacturers then set the temperature and pressure conditions required for carbon dioxide to achieve its supercritical properties. More heat is applied to the setup, allowing carbon dioxide to diffuse through the plant material.
As CO2 mixes with the cannabis material, it subsequently causes the materials to separate and carries all the essential organic compounds. The last step includes the separation of carbon dioxide from the mixture of CO2 and organic compounds, leaving behind CBD oil.
As you may have gathered by now, CO2 extraction requires some investment in specialized equipment and trained personnel, which makes it the most expensive of all CBD oil extraction methods. However, supercritical CO2 extraction comes with plenty of redeeming properties that make the investment worthwhile.
First, this method yields CBD oil of the highest-quality, as there are usually minimal impurities in the final product.
Carbon dioxide extraction is also environmentally-safe, as CBD is the only main compound given off as a by-product. Some manufacturers may even opt to recycle the gas, ensuring that nothing is emitted into the atmosphere.
And despite everything, CO2 extraction is also one of the quickest methods of extracting CBD oil, provided that the setup is complete.
CO2 Extraction yields the best-quality CBD
Post-extraction Refining of CBD Oil
CBD oil obtained by any of the above extraction methods is usually not immediately ready for consumption. The substance must first undergo two more crucial processes – activation and purification.
The most popular methods used to activate and purify CBD include decarboxylation and winterization.
Decarboxylation relies on the fact that the active organic compounds extracted from cannabis, including CBD oil, usually come in their acidic forms. However, heating the acidic forms of these compounds rids them of their respective carbon molecules.
In winterization, manufacturers use solvents like ethanol under low temperatures to remove lipids and other impurities from the extracted CBD.
It’s also important to note that all the above-reviewed CBD oil extraction methods yield full-spectrum CBD. Full-spectrum products refer to cannabis products that contain cannabidiol, tetrahydrocannabinol, and a variety of other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. When consumed, full-spectrum CBD products deliver synergistic medical effects through a mechanism known as the entourage effect.
But much as full-spectrum CBD products are therapeutically beneficial; some users may take issue with the psychoactive compounds in the product, such as indica flower THC.
Thankfully, CBD extracted by any of the methods mentioned above can still be subjected to additional processes to isolate cannabidiol from other cannabinoids. Ultimately, you might end up with THC-free products known as broad-spectrum CBD or products containing cannabidiol as the only active ingredient known as CBD isolates.
A person administering CBD oil
While there are several ways of extracting CBD oil, Carbon Dioxide Extraction remains the most recommended method. That’s because of its ability to yield pure and high-quality CBD.