How is CBD Oil Made?


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CBD oil

Whether in oils, softgels, or as an additive to topical products, CBD oil has a long list of benefits that have made it one of the most widely used health products in the past four years. To get these benefits in a usable, concentrated form, the CBD oil itself must first be separated from the harvested hemp. If you’ve been an avid CBD oil seller for some time, you may have wondered, “How exactly is CBD oil made?”

Most CBD users know their CBD – what for. stands Cannabidiol – is a product made from hemp, the legal form of cannabis. CBD oil is the end product of hemp extraction to obtain the concentrated oil that provides the health benefits that CBD is known for, leaving the unwanted plant parts behind. In short, CBD oil extraction harvests the desired components of the hemp plant (CBD as well as certain other smaller cannabinoids and terpenes) while removing the unwanted by-products (waxes, fats, lipids and chlorophyll).

How is CBD oil made from hemp?

In a sense, CBD oil is not something you “make”, but something that you extract and cleanse from its raw natural form. Almost all of the CBD oil is made from harvested, dried, and ground hemp. Once the hemp plants are harvested for the first time, they are dried to remove moisture and prevent mold. It does this by either hanging the plants or placing them in an industrial dryer to lower their moisture levels by around 12%. Next, the dried hemp plants are either chopped or ground. This breaks down the tough plant fibers and makes the CBD more accessible for extraction. After the hemp goes through these first steps, there are several main methods, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, to extract the CBD oil from the dried hemp biomass.

CO2 extraction

CBD oil

CO2 or carbon dioxide extraction is an expensive, lower volume method that extracts CBD and other desirable hemp components without the use of harmful solvents that can leave residue or harm your health. CO2 acts as a “separator” that isolates CBD oil from other components of the hemp biomass. Because CO2 has both gaseous and liquid properties, it flows easily through the hemp biomass and pulls out more of the beneficial compounds than most other extraction methods. Another advantage is that no harmful solvents are used, only highly compressed carbon dioxide, which evaporates harmlessly after the extraction is complete. The CO2 is cooled to extremely low temperatures and pressed through the dried hemp biomass in a sealed container at high pressure. The cannabinoids and terpenes stick to the CO2 and migrate to a sealed container, where they collect in liquid form. When the container is opened and the pressure is relieved, the remaining CO2 evaporates and the extracted oil remains at the bottom of the container.

Ethanol extraction

Another way to separate CBD oil from the hemp flower is to use alcohol as a solvent. One of the most common solvents for CBD extraction is ethanol, which is simply high-proof alcohol. Alcohol is added to the dried hemp biomass and pulls the CBD into the liquid. Alcohol can be used to extract almost all of the botanicals, but it leaves much of the desired component behind while tending to indiscriminately pull out other components that may not be wanted. Alcoholic CBD extraction works by “soaking up” the CBD from the dried hemp material into the liquid so that it can be poured off. The alcohol can then be heated and boiled as alcohol has a much lower boiling point than CBD, meaning it evaporates at lower temperatures. Once the alcohol is boiled off, the CBD oil is left behind. Alcohol extraction requires almost no special equipment, simply high proof alcohol (usually 95% or more grain alcohol) and some mixing vessels. Proper ethanol extraction requires an extra step to remove the alcohol so that little or no alcohol remains in the finished CBD oil. Some CBD oil sellers simply leave the alcohol behind as part of an oral tincture.

Hydrocarbon extraction

CBD oil

Hydrocarbon extraction is very similar to ethanol extraction, except that instead of ethanol, hydrocarbons such as propane, butane or hexane are used as solvents. These options are preferred to alcohol for higher volume extraction because they are all in gaseous form and can draw CBD from hemp more efficiently than liquid ethanol. The chemical bond combines very well with cannabinoids such as CBD, which allows them to separate it from the plant material very quickly and efficiently under pressure. The disadvantage of hydrocarbon extraction is that, just like using a propane grill, it can leave unpleasant tastes and chemicals behind. You will need special equipment to remove the hydrocarbons from the oil after the extraction process is complete. Because they are flammable gases, they require additional safety measures and can be more sensitive to the delicate cannabinoids and terpenes. They are the primary method used in large scale CBD extraction because of the cost savings and extraction efficiency.

Oil extraction

Oil extraction is a favorite among DIY CBD extractors and uses heat and a commercially available vegetable oil. This extraction is done by basically boiling the hemp flower in hot oil. The flower is cooked in oil – usually a thick carrier oil. The most common type of carrier oil used appears to be olive oil or MCT (coconut) oil, but olive oil will work as well.

The olive or MCT oil absorbs the CBD oil, creating a combination of carrier and CBD. This is highly inefficient as it leaves a lot of CBD behind and attracts a lot of unwanted vegetable waxes and oils along with the CBD oil. It is only used for small batch extractions by hobbyists and is not efficient enough for commercial extraction, but can be used at home with a stove and cooking pan to provide a small amount of partially purified CBD oil from hemp. The carrier oil will continue to be mixed with the CBD oil and will not be removed before consumption.

Purification of the CBD oil

Once extracted, CBD oil often contains several impurities like the fats from the hemp plant. For retail purposes, these contaminants must be removed as they dilute the CBD content and give it an unpleasant “green” taste, similar to grass clippings or leaves. There are two steps to removing contaminants, winterization and filtration. Both are crucial in order to concentrate the CBD potency and remove the non-useful parts of the plant extract.

Winter storage and filtration

CBD oil

The most common types of contaminants found in freshly extracted CBD oil are vegetable fats and resins. The fats in particular tend to solidify at room temperature or slightly below. When the crude oil is refrigerated, these fats rise, like when you put a soup or stew in the refrigerator. These undesirable plant by-products are typically greenish or white in color and, in the case of hemp, include plant lipids and chlorophyll. Hibernation is a process in which the CBD extract is exposed to freezing temperatures to separate these unwanted components from the valuable cannabinoid oil and terpenes.

After the ethanol extraction, the fats and resins rise to the top of the heterogeneous mixture. The mixture is then further cooled to allow the fats and resins to solidify on top prior to filtration. They can then be scraped off to remove the heaviest amounts, leaving the purer CBD oil underneath. The oil is then typically sent through a filter, similar to a giant coffee filter, which further filters out the unwanted components and allows the alcohol and CBD mixture to settle to the bottom, where it can then be processed further to remove the alcohol. leaves only liquid CBD oil. Some companies make their own multiple passes through filters to more completely remove the vegetable waxes and lipids. The final mixture is then put into special equipment called a. filled Rotary evaporator (Rotovap), which pressurizes the liquid to lower the boiling point and evaporates the rest of the alcohol for final processing.

How does CBDPure extract and manufacture your CBD oil?

Here at CBDPure we only use CO2 extraction. We use lower pressures in our CO2 extraction equipment (subcritical extraction) to avoid damaging the delicate cannabinoid molecule. No additional co-solvents or hydrocarbons are used, our oil production is 100% CO2. Our winterization and filtration process not only maintains the highest levels of CBD, but also preserves terpenes and smaller cannabinoids, as well as other phytonutrients. We do not mix our CBD oil with foreign carrier oils such as alcohol or coconut oil (MCT), but instead only use natural hemp oil from the same hemp plant. Our CBD oil is always the purest and most natural we can make, and all of our minimally processed CBDPure products follow the same extraction and purity standards we’ve been using since 2017.

How is CBD Oil Made? first appeared on the CBDPure blog.