What are the methods for extracting CBD from the cannabis plant?
CBD oil is currently a huge hit among consumers, so it makes a lot of sense for us to talk about the several different methods in which the oil is created from the plant itself. There are various techniques for extracting CBD from the whole hemp plant, and the chemistry and science involved is rather interesting.
The ‘original’ pioneering method for CBD extraction is credited to a Canadian man named Rick Simpson, who pioneered the technique for making a different type of THC/CBD mixture oil of high potency. The ‘Rick Simpson Oil’ (RSO) technique involves soaking the hemp product in alcohol, which dissolves the cannabinoids and other compounds seep out. Then, once the solvent is evaporated off, you are left with the oily, finished product.
Today, the Rick Simpson method is now considered somewhat primitive, since it’s incredibly difficult to make a pure product which contains only the compounds that meet current criteria, so it’s a lot less useful for companies like ours.
A better extraction method involves extracting the cannabinoids using sub-zero ethanol and then evaporating off this solvent using a rotary evaporator. This equipment boils off the ethanol under vacuum which does not involve elevated temperatures.
Both of these methods as previously mentioned used solvents to extract the various cannabinoids which we believe to be less than perfect. This is solely because there is a chance that residue could be left within the extracted product which is not what we would like our consumers to experience. Much more prevalent in the CBD products in the United States of America, we will never use any of these methods to ensure compliance and the purity and quality of the products we retail.
The next generation of CBD extraction was somewhat different to these solvent based methods and is used in more expensive industrial settings for a much purer product. The method is known as Super-critical CO2 extraction and is the gold standard for the industry in which we operate.
This Process uses carbon dioxide to ‘force’ the oil directly out of the plant a lot faster and more efficiently than the RSO or solvent methods. In order to carry out this CO2 extraction method, you need multiple chambers to help control temperature, pressure and other factors. It’s more like a scientific experiment than an industrial process but creates a product that is safe, pure and clean putting customers minds at ease.
Of course, with CBD oil there is also a final step to ensure purity, quality and taste of the product. This involves processes such as distillation to remove impurities, winterization or freezing methods which are able to remove fats and lipid products, as well as dilution to change the flavor and strength, before the final product is completed. Companies often use a variation, or a combination of the above methods in order to make a unique final oil, but extraction from the plant is usually based primarily on supercritical CO2 or solvent extraction.
The process of taking CBD out of a plant is overall pretty labor intensive. It requires proper machinery to do properly, if one wants a product which will pass the regulations within which we operate. Today, our CBD oils are considered safe to use, pure, free of contaminants, and made with a scientific method in a laboratory environment. It’s a giant leap compared to what the pioneers of the technology did - i.e. creating a mystery oil of uncertain potency in a garage or shed. We’re glad to be able to offer this high standard of service to our customers.