How is CBD oil produced? All cannabidiol extraction methods

CBD oil how it is produced | Justbob

Today it is possible to guarantee a high level of quality and purity of the extracted product without using classic organic solvents, toxic to humans and the environment.

Due to the alleged health effects and favorable legislation, the demand for cannabis and CBD products has grown exponentially in recent years.

Among cannabis derivatives, CBD oil is one of the most appreciated by consumers around the world for its versatility and convenience.

In addition to being used orally, by taking drops, it can also be used topically and, therefore, applied directly to the skin.

Furthermore, CBD oil is available in different types (depending on the composition and extraction technique) and with different concentrations of the active ingredient.

In this article, we examine the main methods of extracting cannabinoids from cannabis plants and their advantages and disadvantages. Each technique has its own characteristics and some are more effective than others.

Let’s look at the three main ones below.

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CBD oil: cannabidiol from ethanol extraction

This extraction method consists of using ethanol or ethyl alcohol to extract cannabinoids and other molecules from cannabis and hemp flowers.

The plant is soaked in ethanol for a few days until it is absorbed, and then the resulting mixture (the CBD-enriched ethanol) is filtered by distillation (boiling off). Once the desired molecule is extracted, the solvent is evaporated and what remains at the end of this process is the CBD extract.

  • The advantages of this extraction technique are its profitability and its ease of production. It is no coincidence that this technique is appreciated by many hobby growers who use their home kitchen as a laboratory.
  • The disadvantages, on the other hand, derive from the fact that the final product may contain traces of chemical residues if the evaporation process is not carried out correctly and, more generally, from the lack of safety of this technique; as it is easy to guess, the fact that alcohol is highly flammable makes the CBD extraction operation very risky.

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CBD oil: cannabidiol from the extraction of vegetable oil (for food use)

This method involves the use of natural vegetable oils, such as hemp seed oil, olive oil, and coconut oil. Since these oils contain lipophilic molecules, that is, molecules that easily dissolve in fats contained in food, they are quite effective in extracting cannabinoids from the plant.

CBD oil extraction with vegetable oils for food use | Justbob

The plant is immersed in the oil and the resulting mixture is heated. In this way, the cannabinoids of the plant, including CBD, bind to the oil and form a mixture. Once the brew has cooled and the CBD has been extracted (which has meanwhile bound to the oil), the plant material can be removed.

This technique is especially popular because it is based on a natural process and because it eliminates any possibility of harmful residues, actually enriching the mixture with additional nutrients.

However, precisely because it is less aggressive than solvent extraction, this technique takes longer to isolate cannabinoids and terpenes. In addition, the products obtained through this type of extraction must be properly preserved to keep their nutritional properties intact.

The most obvious disadvantages are the low yield, since the final product has a low CBD content, and the quality, since its purity is not guaranteed.

CBD oil: cannabidiol from supercritical CO₂ extraction.

In CO₂ (carbon dioxide, better known as carbon dioxide) extraction, the isolation of cannabinoids, terpenes and other molecules from the cannabis plant is done using carbon dioxide in a supercritical state.

Carbon dioxide puts the active ingredient to be isolated under high pressure, bringing it to the critical point where the liquid and gas phases become indistinguishable. Thus, on the one hand the gaseous state of CO₂ filters the CBD out of the plant, on the other hand the liquid state allows the residual components to be dissolved.

CO₂ extraction is the most sophisticated technique and also the most widely used industrially, because it is the only one that can guarantee that no toxic residues or chemical substances remain at the end of the process.

In fact, CO₂ is inert and non-toxic, so it has no impact on the environment.

In essence, supercritical extraction is a more than valid alternative to classic separation systems, because it guarantees a high degree of quality and purity of the extracted product.

On the other hand, carrying out this process is very expensive. Obviously, this technique can only be performed in specialized laboratories.

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What is the best CBD extraction method?

What assessment can be made of the characteristics and effectiveness of the techniques illustrated here?

In general, CO₂ extraction seems to be the best technique in terms of the results obtained: the ability of this method to extract the active principle without leaving toxic residues guarantees a high level of quality and purity of the extracted product.

In particular, the choice of the extraction technique is conditioned by the use to be made of the active principle obtained. So if, for example, CBD is to be used as an ingredient in the production of food or cosmetic products, methods that may lead to the presence of harmful substances in the final product should be avoided.

If you want to try CBD oils of the highest quality, obtained with the most advanced technology to guarantee the purity of the extracted product, enter where you will find a selection of our best products.