CBD is a hot topic and has been for sometime now, but how is it made? In this article we’ll be looking over this main question and other insights that will give you a clearer understanding of how CBD oil is made.
Before we get into the process of making cbd oil, we will look briefly at why the presence or absence of THC is so important in the production of CBD.
Hemp or Marijuana?
Both of these plants are part of the wider cannabis family but there is one, huge difference between the two when it comes to the production of CBD: marijuana commonly contains more than 0.3% THC.
What is so special about THC?
THC is psychoactive, it produces the dopamine or “high” and is prohibited in many countries except for products made for medical purposes. It’s important to remember that CBD can be produced from both hemp and marijuana but the level of THC will dictate whether it can be provided legally without a specific approval by the local health administration.
CBD oil production process : Extraction
Once the hemp has been grown and harvested the CBD extraction process can then begin. There are several methods of extraction which will look into below but the basic approach is the same:
- Choose a type of hemp that has a high potential yield of CBD
- Choose a carrier oil which will make it easier for you to take
- Heat the hemp to activate the production of CBD
- Remove any by-products or residual substances
- Mix the final product with a base or “carrier” oil
Carbon Dioxide Extraction
This is often the preferred method of extraction as it produces high levels of purity but it does require specialist knowledge and equipment. The basic approach consists of using pressurised CO2 initially at a low temperature and then raising the temperature gradually. As the CO2 evaporates it releases the CBD extract which is then mixed with an oil to make it easier to use.
This process requires the hemp to be soaked in ethanol for anything from a few hours to several days. Next the product is filtered leaving only the ethanol mixed with the CBD. As in the method above, the plant material is then heated to remove the ethanol and leave the extracted CBD ready for mixing with a base oil.
Ethanol extraction is widely considered as being safe as ethanol has antibacterial properties. Please do note that this method can give the final product a grass like taste.
There are several hydrocarbons that are routinely used for extraction, these include propane and butane. The CBD is extracted through pumping the selected hydrocarbon through the harvested hemp and any by-products are removed using heat. The hydrocarbon is then purged from the process and any residual substances are also purged. This produces a highly concentrated final product that is then mixed with a base oil.
The removal of all residue of the hydrocarbon is not entirely guaranteed in this process. In addition, the process requires accuracy and precision throughout. Given the risk of hydrocarbons persisting in the final product we feel it is preferable to avoid products made from this process.
This approach requires olive, grapeseed or coconut oil and produces oil based CBD directly. The harvest hemp and the selected oil are heated to boiling point. The mixed substance is cooled and can then be used. The process produces good levels of purity but does not allow the CBD to be filtered and fortified further.
The Co2 approach is exclusively used by professionals given the constraints mentioned above but other methods are used widely as well. The method of production has a direct impact on the quality and therefore the potential results of the CBD product you choose. We recommend that you check which extraction method was used for the products you are thinking of using. There are also a range of other checks you do when choosing your product.
Read more about how to assess the quality of a CBD product.