CBD Extraction Techniques
Though many know about the touted health benefits of CBD, much fewer are aware of how the hemp plant gets transformed into oils, tinctures, drinks, and baked goods. It may seem unimportant, but the distinct ways that CBD gets extracted from the plant result in different flavors, health benefits, and products.
Even more importantly, the ways that CBD is extracted can result in treatments that are more or less healthy. Some vendors use cheap methods in order to boost volume, even if their methods are untested and potentially unsafe. Since CBD is so new to the health and wellness market, there aren’t many established regulations on how it gets produced.
Here, we’ve outlined some of the most common DIY and in-the-lab extraction methods.
Steam Distilled CBD
Using this method, heavy steam causes the CBD oil to separate from hemp or cannabis plant. The hemp plant, contained in a glass beaker is placed slightly above a pot of boiling water.
As the water heats up, the steam traverses into the beaker with the hemp plant in a way that separates the oils containing CBD. Then, this gas is captured into a condensing tube where both the water and oil collect.
After the water is done boiling, the oil is distilled from the water, resulting in pure CBD oil. This method is one of the oldest ways to extract CBD; however, it requires larger amounts of hemp to get smaller amounts of pure oils, which is why many prefer the Carbon Dioxide method.
Carbon Dioxide Extraction
Carbon Dioxide is one of the most popular and widely employed methods to get the CBD oil out of the hemp seeds, stems, and flowers. Since carbon dioxide can be liquid, solid, or gas, it acts as the perfect medium to transfer the properties of the plant to the ultra-refined CBD bottle.
During this process, carbon dioxide is shunted from differentially pressurized chambers. First, dense carbon dioxide is pushed into a tight chamber holding the hemp plant. The high pressure breaks down the plant into a viscous oil, which is then pumped to a larger chamber. Soon, the liquid carbon dioxide transforms into a gas, leaving the pure CBD extract behind.
This method is so popular because it’s the most robustly tested and effective way to achieve pure CBD.
Some CBD lovers enjoy the process of making their own CBD extracts at home. Using a carrier oil, like olive or avocado oil, the hemp plant and a small amount of oil is combined in a medium saucepan and set to boil.
Slowly, the properties of the hemp plant transfer to the oil. After a few hours, the oil is taken off the heat and allowed to cool. Although this method is simple, it is the least effective out of the three methods – the oil is much less highly concentrated in cannabinoids. Additionally, if the oil gets too hot, it is possible that the cannabinoids could be deactivated or denatured.