When prioritising a premium product, it’s important that each step of the process is carried out with care and precision. You can grow high-quality hemp, with a large percentage of cannabidiol (CBD), but all of that goes to waste without the proper extraction techniques. So, that raises the question: which method is best?
We often discuss the importance of choosing a quality CBD oil, and how premium extraction techniques contribute to a better product. To truly understand why high-end extraction methods matter, let’s first explore how CBD is synthesised.
How is CBD Extracted From Hemp?
While it may not seem important, the different methods of how CBD oil is extracted from hemp can produce highly different end products and have different impacts on your health. It’s important to ask about and understand how different companies extract their CBD oil from hemp.
The growing awareness of the benefits of CBD oil has helped it become extremely popular in the past few years. CBD is produced and manufactured into edibles, oils, and topical creams — all of which offer their specific ways of aiding people.
What Is CBD Extraction?
Extraction is the process that removes CBD from the plant flowers in order to package CBD oil into easy-to-use products like tinctures, topicals, and more.
CBD isn’t a by-product like fruit or nuts from a tree. Rather, CBD is an oil that can be removed from the hemp flower with careful and specific methods.
You may be familiar with other extracts found in the grocery, such as vanilla extract, which is similar in regards to how it is processed. The oil of vanilla must first be removed from the bean in order to be added into a solution of alcohol, or other type of oil which then can be used for cooking or other uses.
There are multiple methods of extracting CBD from hemp, which we will take a look at further in this article. Let’s look at the history of the different CBD oil extraction methods used and discuss which extraction method for CBD oil is best today.
What Extraction Method Is Best?
There are multiple ways to extract CBD from hemp, but which one is the best? This article will cover the types of CBD extraction methods from industrial hemp biomass, how they are done and the pros and cons of each process. Each method is used and has various benefits depending on the goal of the extraction and finished product.
The Ethanol Solvent Extraction Method
This process works exactly as described, ethanol (highly purified alcohol) is used to separate and extract CBD from hemp biomass. Although ethanol is ideal for the extraction of the full range of
terpenes and cannabinoids, it may also extract chlorophyll. You can eliminate the chlorophyll by filtering the extract. However, this greatly reduces the oil’s potency. Although butane offers a stronger solvent than ethanol, it is more likely to contain contaminants that may interfere with the functioning of your lungs. For this reason, ethanol is the most commonly used solvent to safely extract CBD from hemp.
Whether you are using ethanol, alcohol or butane, the extraction process is the same. The chosen solvent needs to be added to the hemp biomass. The liquid solvent will work by stripping away some of the cannabinoids, terpenes and natural phytochemicals from the hemp. This process is called Decarboxylation.
The result of this process after excess solvents have been evaporated is decarboxylated CBD crude oil. CBD crude oil can then be converted into CBD distillate and from distillate into CBD isolate through easy conversion processes (we will cover in another article).
The CO2 Extraction Method
As CBD companies have begun to flourish internationally, the CO2 method of extracting CBD has become the most advanced and advised way of completing the process. It is quite an investment as it is the most expensive and complex of the methods, but if done successfully, it makes a potent, safe and chlorophyll-free extraction. (Yummy!)
The only downfall to this CO2 extraction process is that it’s a big investment for CBD producers and demands that they dig deep into their pockets. Many premium CBD producers (including Tesséra Naturals) are willing to use this method because it brings a much safer and higher quality product to their consumers. It also does not remove the beneficial contents of the plan as much as other methods do. Lastly, the final product has a much lower chance of having contaminants.
Typically, the CO2 extraction process is done by using a “closed-loop extractor.” The machine contains three chambers. The first one holds pressurized, solid CO2 or dry ice; the second chamber has dried help plant material in it; the final chamber separates the resulting product.
From the first chamber, CO2 is pumped into the second chamber, which takes on the form of supercritical CO2 — between a gas and liquid state. The supercritical CO2 then runs through the materials and extracts the cannabinoids. It’s then pumped into the final chamber where the CO2 rises to the top. This leaves the extract at the bottom and isolated from the CO2.
Olive oil extraction
The olive oil extraction process is the oldest method of extracting CBD. Many CBD lovers attest to it being the best. It is the safest method, doesn’t cost a lot, and it’s simple to do.
The process begins with the raw plant materials being decarboxylated (heated) to the desired temperature for a specific amount of time so that the chemicals in the plant are activated. Olive oil and the plant material are combined and heated again. This is when the cannabinoids are extracted. The olive oil isn’t evaporated, so the resulting extract isn’t as concentrated as the other methods. The dosage the consumer takes will have to compensate for this as well.
The issue with olive oil extraction arises with its highly perishable nature. It must be kept in a cool, dark area and therefore doesn’t work well for the needs of many CBD producers and consumers.
Which CBD Extraction Method is Best?
Research and technology are always moving forward and as far as the best extraction methods for CBD oil. There will always be room for improvement. In the past several months, we have started to see the use of water or vapor-extracted CBD, as well as the use of ice. We will also potentially begin to see other forms extraction, like sonficiation, which uses ultrasonic sound waves to extract cannabinoids from the flower!