The CBD market has exploded in the last few years. Some experts even say it could hit $20 billion by 2024. More Americans interested in seeing what it has to offer, which means the market is still growing.
Before you test CBD out, though, you might be wondering how it’s made. If so, this guide is for you. It looks at CBD extraction methods and so much more.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a cannabinoid found in cannabis sativa plants. This includes both cannabis and hemp plants.
Some strains of cannabis sativa are very rich in CBD, while others have less of it. Usually, CBD is in the flowers of the plant. It can also be in the leaves and stalks of the plant.
You can get CBD by smoking or vaping the dried flowers of a high-CBD plant. Most CBD products contain CBD oil, though, which producers must extract from the plant.
CBD Extraction Methods
There are a few different ways to get CBD from cannabis or hemp plants. These are extraction methods, and each has its pros and cons.
Oil Infusion CBD Extraction
This method of CBD oil extraction is one of the oldest methods. It’s also fairly simple to do, which is why many home growers use it today.
First, you’ll need to heat the plant up to a certain temperature. This is decarboxylization.
Once the plant material has reached the right temperature, the compounds in it will activate. Now you can add it to the carrier oil. You’ll continue to heat it at 100 degrees Celsius for about an hour or two.
Olive oil is one of the most common carrier oils to use. Coconut oil is another popular choice. The major downside to this method is that you can’t evaporate the carrier oil.
As a result, you may need to use a lot more oil than other methods. That, in turn, can increase the costs.
Liquid Solvent Extraction
Another popular method is the use of liquid solvents. Most often, these are alcohols, such as ethanol or isopropyl alcohol. Butane and hexane are also common.
The solvent of choice is put under pressure, then pumped into a distillation tank with the plant material. The solvent mixes with the heated plant material, carrying with it the CBD. The solvent can then evaporate from the mixture, leaving behind only the CBD extract.
This method costs less than some other methods, but it does need specialized equipment. Care must also be taken to ensure the solvents fully evaporate from the CBD extract.
Certain solvents can also destroy some parts of the plants, such as waxes. Since these substances may have health benefits, some people see this as a problem. They prefer other extraction methods.
Steam can also work in a similar manner to alcohol-based solvents.
Carbon Dioxide CBD Extraction Process
One of the most popular ways to extract CBD is CO2 extraction. This process takes advantage of CO2’s unique properties as a solid, liquid, and gas.
To begin, a solid piece of carbon dioxide is pumped into the chamber containing the plant matter. This is a pressurized chamber that keeps CO2 in liquid form.
In this liquid form, it absorbs the oils and flavors of the plant materials. This mixture is pumped into a third chamber, and the CO2 evaporates. The plant oils and flavors are left behind.
CO2 changes state at low temperatures. This method doesn’t need to heat the plant material up to high levels. This works to preserve the medicinal qualities of the CBD oils.
CO2 extraction requires specialized equipment. It’s usually the most expensive method to use. It does result in a higher quality product, which is why many producers prefer to use it.
You may also see this method referred to as “Supercritical Fluid Extraction” or SFE. “Supercritical” refers to carbon dioxide in its liquid and gaseous states.
Refining CBD Oil
Once you’ve extracted the CBD oil, you may want to refine it further. Of course, this depends on what kind of CBD product you want to make:
- Full-spectrum CBD oil
- Broad-spectrum CBD oil
- CBD isolate
Full-spectrum CBD oil is the least refined product. Broad-spectrum CBD oil is refined a little bit more. CBD isolate is the “purest” product, undergoing winterization to remove all unwanted substances.
You can also refine CBD oil using short path distillation. Distillation is usually used for creating broad-spectrum products. The process leaves some, but not all, substances in the CBD oil.
Of course, you can always save yourself the trouble of trying to figure out these processes. You can easily find broad-spectrum distillate for sale from reputable producers.
Isolates vs Full-Spectrum Products
There’s some debate about whether CBD isolate or full-spectrum oils are better for giving the advantages of CBD. Some people say that, thanks to the entourage effect, full- and broad-spectrum oils are actually better than isolates. Others want to be sure they’re getting the most CBD out of their dosage, so they prefer isolate.
Knowing the difference between these types of CBD products and the processes they undergo can help you choose the right one for you.
Understanding the different extraction processes can also help you. With this knowledge, you can choose CBD products that are higher quality, less diluted, and safer for you.
Picking the Best CBD for Your Health
There are several CBD extraction methods. Each of them affects what’s going into the CBD products you find on the shelf. Knowing about the pros and cons of each of them will help you choose better CBD products, or even help you make your own CBD oil at home.
Want to learn more about CBD oil and the benefits it could have for your healthy lifestyle? Check back with us often for more great articles on CBD, tips for healthier living, and much more.