CBD - Did You Know That?

How is CBD oil extracted?

Have you ever wondered how CBD is extracted?

CBD extraction is an extremely technical process that can be performed using a variety of different solvents. Each of these methods has their advantages and disadvantages, which we will address in the article.

Knowing how CBD is extracted will help you understand how all quality CBD products are made.

Without extraction, the CBD market would be far away in the Stone Age and we would never have experienced such diversity in the cannabis industry.

In this article, we will cover:

  • Where does CBD come from?
  • How to extract CBD from hemp plants
  • Why famous brands choose CO2 extraction
  • How to extract CBD without expensive CO2 equipment.

What is CBD (cannabidiol)?

CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol, one of the two major cannabinoids in the cannabis plant.

Unlike its cousin THC, CBD will not create psychoactive effects because it has no properties that change behavior and reason.

In very simple terms, CBD allows you to experience the health benefits of cannabis, such as reduced anxiety, effective pain management, sleep support, and improved immune function.

This is because CBD does not bind directly to any of the cannabinoid receptors.

Instead, it signals the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to release more of its natural endocannabinoids, while slowing its breakdown so that these valuable compounds can stay in the system longer, supporting your body’s ability to self-regulate important biological processes ( homeostasis).

CBD also operates on several other ECS-independent routes. For example, it activates the TRPV-1 receptor, which controls a number of functions, from inflammation to pain perception and body temperature.

Finally, CBD can alter the intoxicating effects of THC by preventing the enzyme FAAH from breaking down anandamide, an endocannabinoid whose chemical structure is almost identical to THC. With more anandamide in the bloodstream, the molecule competes and reduces the intoxicating effects of THC.

How is CBD extracted?

CBD can be extracted from hemp and marijuana plants grown in the US or abroad.

The source of CBD is paramount because it determines what other compounds are contained during extraction. This, in turn, affects their legal status.

Hemp is a variety derived from Cannabis sativa that contains higher concentrations of CBD and a small amount (up to 0.3%) of dry weight THC. Marijuana, on the other hand, naturally has a high content of THC, the psychoactive compound.

CBD Extraction 101: How to extract CBD

The idea behind CBD extraction is to capture the desired chemical compounds from the hemp plant, while eliminating unwanted compounds such as fiber, plant sugars and minerals.

Once ripe and harvested, the hemp plants are brought into an extraction circuit, where all the magic happens.

There are several methods of extracting CBD from the hemp plant, including: C CO2 extraction, Extraction of olive oil, Cold water extraction, Dry ice extraction, Solvent extraction.

Below we cover each method in detail.

1. CO2 extraction

CO2 is by far the best extraction technology for CBD oils. There is a good reason why this method has become so popular.

First of all, CO2 extraction is extremely efficient. Produces pure extracts with consistent concentrations of CBD. Secondly, it is extremely safe because it avoids the use of toxic solvents.

CO2 under pressure acts as a solvent itself when placed at certain temperatures. May isolate active compounds from unwanted plant substances and other phytochemicals.

Although CBD with CO2 extraction is safe and efficient, it also requires very expensive equipment. The machines needed to extract CO2 can cost up to $ 150,000. There are two types of CO2 extraction: supercritical and subcritical.

Here is a brief overview of both methods:

How to extract CBD with supercritical CO2

CBD behaves like gas in its natural environment. However, this can be easily changed when applying different temperatures and pressure levels.

When the CO2 temperature drops below -69 F, with pressure levels above 75 PSI, it enters a supercritical state, behaving both as a liquid and as a gas.

Supercritical CO2 can fill a container without losing density, being just the perfect solvent. Produces a clean product without damaging its active compounds.

When you apply CO2 through quality hemp plants in an extractor, carbon dioxide will extract cannabinoids, terpenes and essential oils from the plant material.

Any of the fat-soluble compounds will be contained in the extracts, leaving the insoluble compounds away. The last step involves checking the solution through a separator and dividing it into the necessary ingredients.

Once there, CBD is shipped with other cannabinoids and phytochemicals to the collection container. Meanwhile, CO2 is condensed back into its liquid form and transferred to a special storage tank for future extractions.

How to extract CBD with subcritical CO2

Unlike supercritical CO2, its subcritical version operates at lower heat and pressure. The extraction process is more time consuming and produces smaller amounts of CBD, but on the other hand, subcritical CO2 is more likely to save more vulnerable compounds, such as terpenes, which often evaporate at higher temperatures.

Subcritical extraction is a process similar to extraction with cold water or dry ice. Mixing supercritical CO2 with subcritical extraction helps create full-spectrum CBD oils that produce the entourage effect.

Advantages and disadvantages of CO2 extraction:

PROs: It is the safest extraction method, produces high purity extracts, it is a well-known technology in other industries (eg caffeine extraction)

CONs: Is expensive, requires a large learning curve.

2. Extraction of vegetable oil

You can easily extract CBD at home using vegetable or cooking oils. These oils work as solvents, but the whole process follows the same principles as all other forms of extraction.

You can use any regular cooking oil, such as: Olive oil, butter / ghee, coconut oil, MCT oil, hemp seed oil, sweet almond oil, sunflower oil, argan oil.

If you want to extract CBD for food, we recommend using a saturated fat, such as butter or coconut oil. For salvos and creams, people usually go for sweet almond oil or argan oil. When looking for homemade CBD oil, cheaper solvents, such as olive oil, are a good choice.

How to extract CBD using vegetable oils

Extracting CBD oils with vegetable oils is quite simple. You need to decarboxylate your dried vegetable material from CBD; decarboxylation is an elegant term for the activation of heat cannabinoids. You want to heat your cannabis to 250 F for 30-60 minutes in the oven, stirring constantly.

When finished, add the decarboxylated plant to the olive oil in a bowl and slowly heat the mixture to 210 F. Maintain the temperature and keep the CBD cooking oil on low heat for up to 2 hours.

Advantages and disadvantages of vegetable oil extraction

PROs: Easy, sure, cheap.

CONs: Low efficiency, CDD products extracted in this way have a shorter shelf life.

3. Extraction of the organic solvent (alcohol and hydrocarbons)

Organic solvents include compounds such as butane, propane or alcohol (methanol or ethanol). These are the least expensive methods of extracting CBD from the hemp plant.

Here is a short list of popular choices of organic solvents for CBD extraction: Butane, PROPANE, Hexane, ETHANOL, Ether, Methanol.

Although they are cheap, not all of these solvents are as safe. Although alcohol is generally considered safe, most of the above solvents are toxic and must be removed after the initial extraction before the product is bottled.

Solvent-based extraction requires soaking the plant material in the solvent. The liquid will pass through the hemp, pulling the cannabinoids and terpenes from the flower along with the chlorophyll. Once the solvent has collected enough cannabinoids, the liquid is heated in a special vessel to evaporate it and suspend the extract in a carrier oil.

NOTE: Not only are most solvents toxic, but they are also highly flammable. Precision is needed to remove highly explosive vapors from the extract to avoid serious injury or damage to property.

If you want to run CBD solvent extraction at home, we recommend using alcohol to omit the evaporation process. This is the easiest way to produce homemade CBD oils. What you will get in essence is a hemp tincture. The tinctures become stronger over time, so the more you plant in alcohol, the stronger it will become.


How to extract CBD at home using alcohol

Decarboxylates CBD in the oven (this step is the same as in vegetable oil extractions). Transfer the decarboxylated buds to a jar and soak in strong alcohol.

Seal the jar tightly and let it sit for a few weeks, giving it a strong shake once a day. Strain the extract through a cheesecloth or fine-mesh strainer and bottle the CBD tincture.

You can speed up the third step using two different techniques. The first involves pasteurizing the jar in a 170 F water bath for about 20 minutes; the second technique requires continuous shaking of the jar for 3 minutes after combining the CBD flower with the alcohol.

However, remember that the short waiting time will result in a lower potency of your tincture, so if you want a very concentrated product, we suggest that you let it sit for at least 2 weeks.

Advantages and disadvantages of solvent extraction:

PROs: Does not require expensive cars, very efficient, more bioavailable than other forms of extraction.

CONs: Very dangerous (not to be done at home), often leaves unwanted plant material in the final product.

4. Extraction of dry ice

The dry ice method is another way to perform CBD extraction at home. However, it consumes more time than extracting olive oil or alcohol.

This technique uses dry ice to extract CBD from plant material. It is a relatively inexpensive and safe way to produce high quality CBD without using toxic solvents.

Solvent-free extraction always produces cleaner products than solvent-based methods. In addition, making CBD extracts with dry ice brings a lot of fun.

How to extract CBD using dry ice

Equipment: 3 kg of dry ice, a large sheet of Plexiglas (or a large mirror), thick, heat-resistant gloves, glasses, a putty knife, a clean 5 gallon bucket, 3 bubble mesh bags (73, 160 and 220 microns), 3 large jars with lids.


Put on gloves and goggles. Divide (or grind) the CBD buds into smaller pieces and place in the bucket. Cover the cannabis with dry ice, leaving it there for 3 minutes. Make sure the bucket is half full. This process will freeze the resin so that the trichomes can be transferred to the hash mesh bags.

Fold each bag over the bucket with the dry ice mixture and shake it several times to separate the frozen trichomes from the plant.

Turn the bucket upside down on the mirror and shake again, collecting as much resin as possible through the hash bag. After removing the hash from the mirror, you can transfer it to one of the jars. Repeat the process with the remaining bags and enjoy the CBD hash of homemade dry ice.


What is decarboxylation and why is it important in CBD extraction?

Most CBD products go through a process called decarboxylation. If you have ever made edible cannabis products, you should familiarize yourself with the process Decarboxylation means heating cannabinoids so that an additional carboxyl group is decomposed, activating THC and CBD.

In this way, cannabinoids can be immediately engaged with the endocannabinoid system. Without decarboxylation, CBD remains in its acidic and inactive form of CBDA. Some brands of CBD oils label their extracts as “raw” if they do not decarboxylate them.

Conclusions for CBD extraction

Knowing how to extract CBD gives you many opportunities to make your own CBD products at home, but it is also a great way to find out the difference between low quality and high quality CBD oil.

People have been using various cannabis extracts for hundreds, if not thousands of years, to deliver high concentrations of therapeutic compounds into their system. Without CBD extraction, the market would be limited to dried CBD flowers.

CO2 extraction is currently the best method of producing CBD, although if you want to start a DIY extraction plant, there are less expensive techniques that can still produce decent products.

If you are looking for commercial CBD products, make sure they are made with supercritical CO2, such as the entire Royal CBD line. CO2 extraction does not require additional heat or solvents to produce pure and strong CBD oil; however, it requires expensive equipment and know-how, so if a company uses CO2 extraction, it is a sign that it is committed to quality.



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2 thoughts on “How is CBD oil extracted?

  1. Dan Savoiu says:

    Buna seara ,
    Am un colaborator care are cânepa medicinală pt extragerea uleiului .Imi puteți spune dacă cunoasteti pe cineva care de ocupa cu extragerea uleiului ?
    Mulțumesc .

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