One of the three main compounds found in the cannabis plant, Cannabidiol or CBD is one of the most sought-after products in the medical field because of its therapeutic qualities – it can help relieve pain, anxiety, and aid many other ailments in between.
In order to extract cannabidiol rich oil, the plant which has the presence of maximum CBD compound would be the best resource. Industrial hemp is known for having a very high concentration of CBD oil. It is because Industrial hemp contains high CBD strains, the methods of extracting CBD from it are quite simple and require very little equipment. While there are no psychotic effects that it can have on people, it has a substantial quantity of THC present in it.
Even though it is known to be the richest source of CBD oil, it takes a very large amount of hemp to produce it. Despite the fact that the methods of extraction are easy, yet the risk of contamination from the toxins contained within the plant are high. Hemp plant tends to pull toxins from the soil it grows in which results in strong bio accumulative properties.
A lot of hemp oils do have the presence of terpenes and other cannabinoids which are believed to act along with CBD to benefit you. There are quite a few brands available in the market which pass the CBD oil from various tests in order to check the full spectrum properties of CBD oil.
What is the process of extracting CBD oil?
In order to extract CBD oil, commonly, solvents are used in the process of extraction of oil from the hemp stock. While there are a lot of solvent options available to choose from, all of them have certain drawbacks and benefits. The most commonly used solvents include CO2, Olive oil, ethanol, and other liquid solvents.
Listed below are the most common methods which can be easily used to extract CBD oil from the hemp plant.
Use of carbon dioxide (CO2) as a solvent
One of the easiest safest and most efficient ways to extract CBD oil is the use of CO2. Even though this process is regarded as supercritical and it is slightly more costly, the result is high- quality, chlorophyll free CBD oil in its purest form.
First of all, the carbon dioxide gas is compressed and cooled in order to store it at 1000 PSI – which basically implies that it is converted into liquid form. After the compression, carbon dioxide is in a gaseous and liquid state at the same time.
Next, the gas is heated up and passed through hemp using a special device called the closed loop extractor. With the perfect management of pressure and temperature, the CBD oil is extracted and the nutritional content of the hemp remains as it is. The extracted oil is usually light amber to transparent in color. The only care this product needs is that this full spectrum CBD oil should be stored in dark containers so that light and heat are not able to affect the chemical composition and concentration of the extracts.
Ethanol Extraction or the use of olive oil as a solvent
Recently, the FDA approved ethanol as “safe” for human consumption only when it is available at 16000 ppm. Used as a preservative in most eatables, ethanol makes for a good solvent because of its presence is common in a lot of things as well – from cosmetics to the objects that we use on a daily basis. Another property that makes ethanol a good choice for the extraction purpose is that it is miscible.
There are certain drawbacks in using ethanol for extraction. First of all, being miscible, it can dissolve chlorophyll in itself which can hamper the taste of the byproduct. The presence of chlorophyll will make the CBD oil bitter and grassy. In order to remove chlorophyll, additional methods will have to be implemented which will increase the cost of production. Even if they are implemented, it was found that the removal of chlorophyll from the extract reduces the quality of the oil.
It is because of the above-stated reasons that the olive oil extraction method is more preferred. Olive oil is heated at 200 degrees Fahrenheit and the extracts of filtered from the hemp. Even though this method is quite simple, the only problem here is that the extracts cannot be filtered. As a result, the consumer will have to increase the dosage of the oil to get maximum benefits.
Hexane extraction or the use of butane as a solvent
Once, a man named Rick Simpson suffered from dizziness and tinnitus after an accident at the workplace. He saw a documentary about the benefits of CBD and asked his doctor to incorporate it in his treatment. After the doctors refused, he started extracting CBD oil on his own and could see significant improvement in his condition soon after consuming it.
Often called Rick Simpson’s method, the process includes the use of different hydrocarbons in order to extract high- quality oil. The different hydrocarbons which can be used are –
It is because the hydrocarbons boil at a very low point, that this procedure yields the purest form of CBD oil. But again, this method has its own pros and cons. Even though this is not a costly process, it can also be a dangerous one because the use of hydrocarbons can lead to fires or sometimes even explosions. When the hydrocarbons evaporate, they become susceptible to flames. This volatile property of hydrocarbons is the reason why extraction by the means of butane is less adapted to obtain the oil.
So which method is the best one to extract CBD oil?
By now you must be thinking which method out of all is the best to extract CBD oil? Commercially, the carbon dioxide extraction method is regarded as the most reliable, authentic and beneficial one.
This process gives you all the benefits with no downsides at all. When tested by the experts, the extracted oil was found to be a safe, full spectrum product that did not contain any strain of THC and was highly potent. This kind of oil gives the desired results.
But if you are an enthusiast who wants to produce CBD oil at home, the olive oil extraction method would be the best for you. First of all, the plant is to be decarboxylated i.e. heated to a certain degree to activate all the chemicals present in it. The plant is then supposed to be immersed in olive oil and heated at a temperature of about 100° C for 1-2 hours to extract the CBD oil.
The only reason why this process is not commercially viable is that olive oil cannot be evaporated and the user will have to intake a higher quantity of CBD oil as compared to the full spectrum one. Another drawback here is that the infused olive oil has to be stored in a dark colored container at a cold place because it is highly perishable.
While these methods are the most common ways to extract CBD from cannabis or hemp, the technology in this new field is constantly getting evolved. As the industry expands, we are sure that new and innovative methods will come up to obtain high- quality oil.