How do we extract CBD oil?

extract CBD oil

The cannabidiol is one of the famous compound of the cannabis plant, also known as CBD it constitutes a major part of the plant extract. One of its most praised benefits is that it is therapeutic; its anti inflammatory properties make it efficient for alleviating ailments like joint paint and acne. This medical characteristic has been a big contribution in promoting the legalization of cannabis. Today we have many derived cannabis products like oil, creams and beauty care products which contain CBD. In this article we will show you how to extract CBD oil from cannabis plant.

Why do we extract CBD oil?

The demand for this cannabis compound has skyrocketed during the last two years. The relaxation of laws on marijuana has help to reduce the perception that is it a bad drug that cause only harm to the society. In fact cannabis just like alcohol, sugar and fat foods, when consumed in excess and without moderation can have bad effects on our body.

However, as a rational person we should not see the glass only half full; the cannabidoids in the cannabis plant do have some unique properties which if properly and responsibly exploited will improve our lives. For sure cannabis will cause a disruptive improvement, but still it will be all good for us!

extract CBD oil
Benefits of cannabidoids. Image source : CNBS

When we smoke cannabis we feel the entourage effect, the psychoactive reaction it provokes while intaking at the same time several botanical compounds ( other than the famous CBD and THC) like CBC, CBN, CBG and other elements like Terpenes. Scientist claimed that when combined together these compound interact in a different way than when isolated, which give the unique high effect.

However, when these compound were isolated and studied, it has been found that alone they could have tremendous potential benefits. For instance, researches have demonstrated that CBD have the same properties as the anandamide, a human brain molecule that is fundamental for the body’s biological balance. More than that, the anti inflammatory properties has propelled it as the best candidate to supplement beauty care products and it is prescribed as a natural remedy to stress and depression.

This is why we need to extract CBD oil from cannabis plants, so that it can thereafter be consumed or used to prepare other derived products.

The promising future of cannabis plant extract – CBD oil

Hence it is not surprising that the new weed entrepreneurs are not interested in just growing the weeds as it was traditionally done before to have joints for smoking. Today the cannabis plant is processed to extract and refine the valuable compounds like CBD and THC. There are different ways to extract CBD oil, ranging from the manual method to industrialized methods which involve different solvents .

extract CBD oil
A hemp plantation

Each method of extraction give CBD oils with varying degree of purity; the richer it is, the higher its quality. The oil is usually extracted from the hemp, a type of Cannabis Sativa plant which contain low level of THC compound ( usually not exceeding 0.3%) but have a high level of CBD.

Methods to extract CBD oil

Hemp and other cannabis plants contain Trichomes, some kind of tiny crystals that cover the plant leaves and flowers. They act like insulators that protect the plant from frost. Trichomes also prevent excess evaporation by protecting the plant from heat and wind.

1. Manual extraction

The manual extraction is also known as the solventless extraction. The process is quite simple, the raw buds of the hemp are heated until the melted cannabidoids and terpenes become pliable resin.

extract CBD oil
Resin extracted manually from Hemp plants. Image source: Ed Rosenthal

Then a press is used to squeeze the resin to extract the CBD and terpenses which have been isolated from chrlorophyll and plant lipids. The main advantages of manual method is that the extraction obtained is 100% pure and do not contain any solvent residuals and there is less risk of injury.

Manual extraction is suitable for individuals as it is time-consuming and for small quantity productions.

2. Olive oil extract

In this method the first thing is to heat the plant which create decarboxylation. It is a process where heat activates the acidic cannabidoids, same as when you smoke a joint or do vaping. When the plants are decarboxylated it is mixed with olive oil and kept on the stove so that it continue to heat for several hours. The terpenes and cannabidoids like CBD will bind to the fats in the oil, resulting in an liquid infused with cannabis elements. Then the oil is cooled and filtered to remove the plant residue.

extract CBD oil
Olive oil infused with cannabis

To extract CBD oil through the olive oil method is easy, relatively safe and is a DIY task you can do at home. However, the downside is that you do not have control over the purity of the CBD extract obtained.

3. Using basic solvent to extract CBD oil

In this technique, a liquid solvent is passed through the decarboxylated hemp to extract the cannabidoids and terpenes. Solvents usually used are ethanol, butane and hexane. Furthermore, great precaution have to be taken to evaporate any residual solvents from the extraction obtained.

extract CBD oil
The solvent extraction

The basic solvent technique is relatively cheap and can easily be scaled for commercial production. Moreover, the CBD extracts obtained has a high level of purity. The downsides are that it can be dangerous working with solvent like butane and there is also the risk that the oil extracted contain solvent residue even if there have been an elimination process through evaporation.

4. Supercritical CO₂ extraction method

This technique consist of manipulating CO₂ (carbon dioxide) to make it enter a supercritical state. At standard temperature and pressure CO₂ is normally in the form of gas, when cooled or pressurized in become a solid form also known as dry ice.

When the temperature and pressure are increased the CO₂ turn into supercritical state and become partly gas and liquid. Then it is run through the hemp plant under specific conditions and this is where the terpenes and cannabidoids are stripped out without any damage.

extract CBD oil
A Co2 supercritical extraction device

Using supercritical CO₂ ensure obtaining CBD extracts with a high degree of purity with no residue of solvents. This state-of-the-art method also offer higher yield which maximize production, it has also been claimed that it is environment friendly. However, the equipment needed are quite expensive and you will need a relatively big investment to scale it to commercial production.

Final words on how to extract CBD oil

There are different ways to extract CBD oil, from the traditional manual method to up-to-date techniques. Most people who want to experience it at home will prefer the old method which is safer and easy.

But for those who do it with a commercial intent it is preferable to have recourse to the modern techniques. However besides the costly investment, great care have to be taken in term of manipulation of hazardous solvents which can both cause injury or contaminate the CBD extracts obtained.

Finally, it is important to note that up to now there are no defined standards for CBD oil, which make it quite difficult to define its quality. The only way we are defining the grade of this product is through personal subjectivity.

We hope that you learn a bit more about the extraction process of the CBD oil. If you have any questions we will be more that glad that you share it us!




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