In order to produce CBD products, like CBD oil or CBD cosmetics, CBD must first be extracted from plant matter that contains it. The most abundant source of CBD is currently the flowers of hemp that has been selectively bred to contain high amounts of this cannabinoid. There are many ways to extract CBD from hemp, with some methods being much more efficient and safer than others. Below you will find a breakdown of some of the most common methods used.
Solvent extraction is a rudimentary practice that involves taking decarboxylated plant matter and running a liquid solvent through it to remove and carry the cannabinoid and terpene content of the hemp. Usual solvents include butane, ethanol, or hexane. Once extracted, the liquid needs to be safely evaporated away, leaving behind the CBD oil.
The benefit of extracting CBD this way is that it is cheap and requires relatively small amounts of equipment. The drawbacks, however, are many.
First and foremost, this method of CBD extraction can be dangerous. Working with such chemicals can cause injury if not used correctly, and are highly flammable. Solvent extraction should never be used unless by a professional in a professional lab. There is also a risk, that if not done correctly, the oil can remain contaminated with the solvent, which is dangerous for the end user.
The second big drawback is that this method also strips the plant of things like waxes, chlorophyll and other plant matter. This results in a thick, dark, bitter, low-quality CBD oil where the creator has no control over the content.
Combined, these above reasons make solvent extraction unviable for any CBD company that takes themselves seriously, and far too dangerous for any home extractor.
Olive oil extraction of CBD offers people creating their own oil at home a viable way to do so. It is safe as long as you have basic kitchen skills and is fairly easy to do.
First, the plant matter being used is decarboxylated. This is the process of activating the compounds within via heat. Once decarboxylated, the plant matter is then heated in oil for a few hours. The CBD and other cannabinoids within the plant bind to the fats in the oil, creating an infusion. The oil can then be left to cool and the plant matter filtered out, leaving a CBD infused oil.
Much like the solvent method, there is very little control over what is extracted. The olive oil extraction method also results in weak and unreliable CBD content compared to more professional methods, making it commercially unviable, but an option for experimenting at home.
How does one make CBD extracts without using a solvent? The answer is by applying heat, pressure, or friction. The method for making CBD kief, for example, takes advantage of friction and water. This is simply the process of freezing and shaking off the small glands on the hemp flower that contain CBD and collecting them in a concentration. Other methods, like that of making CBD rosin, involve applying heat and pressure directly to the hemp flower to extract a natural oil.
Yields are often low for such methods and are impractical for both CBD users and producers.
Arguably the best method for CBD extraction, the supercritical CO₂ is an advanced, highly customizable way to get the best out of the hemp plant. This is the method we use here at Cibdol.
In this method, CO₂ is manipulated such that it enters a supercritical state, where it possesses qualities of both a liquid and a gas. It’s then pumped through the cannabis flower at multiple temperatures and angles in order to dissolve terpenes and cannabinoids at their various solubilities, in a process called fractionation.
It allows for the extraction of clean and safe concentrates, without the use of additional additives or potential contaminants. It also allows for highly efficient yields, getting the most out of the hemp plant.
It is, however, an industrial process, making it highly expensive and impractical for any but the most dedicated CBD producers.
CO₂ extraction has a great advantage over other methods of producing CBD oil: unlike other methods, supercritical CO₂ can be pumped through hemp in such a way that it selectively picks up the cannabinoids and other compounds that are required, leaving everything else behind. Thanks to this higher level of control, CO₂ extraction has become a leading method for producing CBD. Since it uses CO₂ as a solvent, it produces an end product free from chemicals and contaminants.
In our effort to go above and beyond for our customers, Cibdol publishes a detailed analysis of each batch of CBD we produce, tested by an independent third party. These analyses indicate levels of all common cannabinoids, allowing you to make the best and most informed decision possible.