Cannabidiol (CBD) is one compound that has shown quite promising results in the medical industry. Whether looking for pain relief or an anxiety-reliever, CBD proves to be quite useful. The compound is present in both marijuana and hemp plants. However, most of the CBD oil today is being extracted from hemp.
This is because hemp contains only small amounts of THC, which is the compound that causes the “high effect.” This makes CBD an ideal product for use by anyone, including children.
But how do we extract this compound from the hemp plant? Well, there are several ways to obtain the oil which we’ll look at. However, it’s good to note that the hemp extraction method used will determine the quality of the CBD oil.
Here are some of the best extraction methods:
1. Supercritical CO2 Extraction
This is among the most popular CBD extraction methods, and it uses CO2 gas. The technique is widely used, and it’s considered an incredible one in creating quality CBD extracts. The whole CO2 extraction process involves putting CO2 gas under extremely high pressure while still maintaining low temperatures.
As a result of the high pressure, the CO2 gas converts into a liquid form, which then passes through the hemp plant material. The liquid CO2 absorbs the oils and various flavors from the plant materials, and it’s pumped into a different chamber. Here, the liquid CO2 converts back to its gaseous state, leaving the extracts in liquid form.
The process has an extraction efficiency of up to 90% and results in highly concentrated, pure CBD oil.
2. Hydrocarbon extraction
Hydrocarbons are exceptionally potent when it comes to the production of CBD oil. For instance, passing butane over the hemp materials will effectively extract the CBD oil, and at an impressive efficiency, especially, for small scale producers.
The use of solvents like propane and butane initially became popular with the production of recreational marijuana. However, the solvents are now widely used by CBD oil manufacturers. These solvents are more popular in small and mid-size extraction facilities.
These two solvents are non-polar and have low boiling points. This means that they work perfectly to preserve all the essential compounds of the cannabis plant. Extracts obtained through this method are usually rich in terpenes and are golden in color.
Some benefits of using this method include:
- Swift CBD oil extraction as compared to the CO2 process.
- It’s a highly effective process that results in quality extracts with over 95% purity.
- The process produces full-spectrum CBD extracts
The machinery used in this process operates typically at a pressure level of between 50 and 100 PSI.
3. Ethanol Extraction
Ethanol is an incredibly effective solvent when it comes to CBD extraction. Also, the solvent is widely available.
During the extraction process, ethanol can either be used in a hot or cold state. Cryo-ethanol is the process of extracting CBD oil using ethanol at cold temperatures. This is also referred to as cold wash ethanol.
While it’s clear that using solvents has its share of downsides, the process is quite beneficial. For instance, when done on a large scale, ethanol extraction is incredibly cost-effective. It is a cheaper and effective way of isolating the cannabis compounds while maintaining other plant components intact.
Some benefits of using this process include:
- A fast and effective process that produces the full-spectrum CBD oil when hot ethanol is used as the solvent.
- Cryo-ethanol is also highly efficient in producing a wide spectrum of crude oil with 0% THC.
- Initial capital is considerably low as the necessary equipment is way cheaper as compared to that in CO2 extraction.
- The solvent (ethanol) is readily accessible.
- Since the equipment needs lower pressure to operate, it makes the whole process safer.
4. Flavoring and Dilution
After the extraction, the oil is not at its best taste. It, therefore, needs flavoring, which the producers work on, to make the products taste better. This is majorly influenced by the fact that CBD has become an everyday consumer product with people using it for numerous reasons.
Also, the end consumer requires the product in varying strengths based on its intended purpose. Dilution is, therefore, necessary, and it’s usually done after the CBD has been extracted.