Cannabidiol or CBD is one of the many substances found in the marijuana plant. It has gained significant traction in recent years for its medicinal benefits.
While there may be significant information on its properties and its diverse application, not many of us are aware of how it is made.
We believe that the process should be executed by trained professionals, seasoned in the art of extraction. However, it is equally important for consumers to be aware of the different methods of extractions and the risks or benefits associated with each method. This will help them make an informed decision regarding which one to consume.
If you are interested to learn more about this popular, natural supplement, read further as we discuss the process of growing and harvesting the hemp plant and extracting the CBD oil.
1) Growing Healthy Hemp Plants
When it comes to producing CBD oil, it is all about the hemp plant. For the oil to be of premium quality, it is imperative for the hemp plant to also be of high quality. To ensure this, the first step is to plant genetically stable industrial hemp seeds from viable strains in the right soil.
Features of the right soil include a PH level that is in the range of 6 to 7.5 and that it is an even combination of sand and silt. It should be well aerated with a regular supply of water and also sunlight.
2) Harvesting the Hemp Plants
The cannabis plant takes approximately four months to mature, after which it is ready to be harvested. If the plants are being grown for CBD oil extraction, then the harvesting takes place around fall so that the cannabinoids have been giving enough time to reach the right levels.
While harvesting, the plants are cut close to their roots. Next, the seeds and leaves are removed, and the stalk is put out to dry. After this comes the process of Retting where the hemp stems are soaked to soften the fiber. The fiber is then physically removed from the stem in the process called Decortication and send off for further processing.
After the hemp processing, it is now time to extract the CBD oil. Broadly there are three different ways in which the oil is extracted.
Over the years, Ethanol has remained one of the most commonly used solvents to produce consistent strains of CBD oil. Since the FDA has labeled Ethanol as safe for human consumption, it is also readily available on the market.
The extraction method works by leaving the plant material in Ethanol for a while, after which it is purified to eliminate the risk of contamination. Next comes the process of Winterization in which all material is turned to solid and sieved through, leaving behind CBD-infused Ethanol behind.
As the mixture is left to rest, the Ethanol evaporates, leaving behind a concentrated CBD extract.
Supercritical CO2 Extraction
Another way of extracting CBD oil is to do it with the use of CO2 to isolate cannabis components from the plant. CO2 is treated under high levels of heat, raising its internal pressure. This high-pressure liquid is passed through the bud of the cannabis plant, which causes the extraction to take place. Liquid CO2 and the infused cannabinoids pass through a separator, which causes both components to separate. Leftover CO2 is sent back to the tanks to get recycled for another round of extraction.
This method, while expensive due to its high equipment cost, produces a greater amount of concentrate as opposed to other available methods. Since CO2 is recyclable, this method is also more environmentally friendly. Because it ensures that no toxins find their way to the final product, it appeals to health-conscious consumers.
Butane Oil Extraction
Popular mostly in the personal care industry, butane is now also being turned to for cannabis extraction due to its potent nature the ability to retain terpene.
To extract the CBD oil, a filter is placed at one end of a container, and it is filled with the cannabis plant. The next step in the process is to spray butane through the cannabis extract. A separate container is taken to collect the mixture of cannabinoid and butane, and it is sent for separation either through a vacuum oven or by evaporation.
One risk attached to this method is that butane is flammable; however, the industry is now investing in the right machinery for extraction, which will eliminate this risk completely.
The Butane Oil Extraction method is used to produce shatter, waxes, and oil. Since this contains around 90% of THC, this is a popular option amongst those with sleeping disorders and chronic pain.
This marks the ends of the process, and the CBD oil is ready to be packaged as a product. The extract may, for example, either be available in small bottles where consumers place a dropper of oil under their tongues and it gets absorbed from there. It can also be inhaled via vape pens.
As CBD oil is becoming increasingly popular, it is becoming more and more important for people to understand how it is made so that they can purchase better quality and safer extracts.
Did you find this article useful? What is your preferred method of extraction? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.