Many people are talking about CBD these days owing to its growing popularity across the world. So much is said about the various forms it comes in, the ways in which to take it and how to store it, among other things. CBD extraction is also a common subject, but in fact most buyers know relatively little about the intricacies behind the production process.
At Supreme CBD, we consider it important to inform you about the available extraction processes, because the quality of a CBD product depends a lot on how it was extracted. This information may be useful to help understand CBD further and enable you to make informed choices moving forward.
We also guarantee it’s fun just knowing the “where” and the “how” CBD comes into play.
CBD extraction methods you should know
There are many ways to extract CBD from the hemp or Cannabis Sativa plant. Regardless of the method, the processes need to be carefully executed to maintain the purity and quality of CBD. At Supreme CBD, this is our primary goal.
Here are the extraction methods you should know.
Extraction by solvent
This process starts with trimming the hemp or Cannabis Sativa plant into smaller parts. Then a solvent is poured over (or soaked into) the plant trimmings to draw out the needed compounds. Some of the common solvents used in this case are food grade hydrocarbons or forms of ethanol such as propane or butane.
When a hydrocarbon is used, the results are a mixture of the solvent, cannabinoids, and terpenes, among other compounds. This is then refined to remove most of the solvent in it, leaving behind the concentrated CBD plus other useful cannabinoids and terpenes, depending on what the desired end product was.
When ethanol is used, you get a mixture of ethanol and hemp oil with CBD compounds. This is then distilled to remove ethanol from the solution and further separated into various compounds in the mixture.
Benefits of extraction by solvent
- You don’t need specialised equipment to use this method
- Extraction by solvent is fairly cheap
- Using hydrocarbons maintains the aroma and flavour of the plant
- Solvents extract most of the needed compounds
Drawbacks of extraction by solvent
- This method requires extreme caution because solvents are flammable
- The process has to be thorough to avoid leaving the solvent in the product
- Solvents extract most of the compounds of the hemp plant including unnecessary ones like chlorophyll
- The end product might have a horrible taste
CO2 CBD extraction
With this method, carbon dioxide (CO2) is what extracts cannabinoids and other needed compounds from the hemp or Cannabis Sativa plant. Unlike extraction by solvent, this method is more scientifically advanced, using three pressure chambers to separate CBD and other compounds from the plant material. First off, CO2 is passed through the first chamber under significantly reduced temperatures and intense pressure that changes its state from a gas to a liquid.
More pressure and temperature are gradually added so that the CO2 is in between a gaseous and liquid state, retaining the properties of both. The result expands like gas but with a concentration of a liquid. At this stage, the CO2 pumps to the second chamber – that’s where the hemp or Cannabis Sativa plant is.
As the CO2 passes through the hemp plant, it separates the oil containing various compounds from the plant material. The CO2 and extracted oil move to the third chamber to separate. CO2 being a gas evaporates into the thin air to leave behind a concentrated CBD oil extract.
Overall, CO2 extraction is the most effective of the extraction processes available at present, and ensures the highest quality of CBD oil is produced. That's why we at Supreme CBD use this process for all of our CBD products.
Benefits of CO2 CBD extraction
- The process doesn’t use flammable solvents
- The method is safe for the environment because it uses less plant material and energy
- CO2 extraction is extremely precise
- Produces CBD with consistent concentrations
Drawbacks of CO2 CBD extraction
- CO2 CBD extraction is a sophisticated process
- The extraction requires expensive machines
Steam distillation CBD extraction
You might have heard of steam distillation in essential oil extraction. This process is equally as effective in CBD extraction. As the name suggests, steam is used to extract CBD and other cannabinoids from hemp or Cannabis Sativa raw plant. The result of steam distillation is a vapour that contains the required compounds. The vapour goes through cooling and condensation to get a mixture of water and oil which are then separated.
Benefits of steam distillation
- The method does not use solvents
- The process is quite easy to master and use
- Does not cost much to buy equipment and extract CBD
Drawbacks of steam distillation
- Produces less CBD oil with a lot of raw plant matter wasted
- The CBD concentrations are inconsistent
- Heat sensitive cannabinoids get damaged in the processes
Winterization in purifying your CBD extracts
Once you have your CBD extracted, you want to make sure it’s pure by removing the unwanted elements. You can do this through winterization.
If you used high pressure and high temperature methods to extract CBD, you tend to extract all manner of compounds from the raw hemp plant, which may include impurities and other undesirable stuff. This process ensures you remove lipids, fats, waxes, and any other plant extracts that you don’t want in your final product.
The process involves completely mixing the extract with alcohol. You then place your mixture in a deep freezer for about 12 hours. Afterward, your mixture will contain cloudy substances which then allows you to filter. Get a filter paper and run the mixture through it to get rid of fats. In most instances a Buchner Funnel is used for this process.
What’s left is CBD oil with alcohol content which we need to separate as well. This process requires heat to take advantage of the fact that alcohol has a lower boiling point, which makes it evaporate faster with warming. You can use the removed alcohol on the next extract.
Short Path Distillation
You can further refine your CBD extract to separate individual compounds present in there. Just like in winterization, you use heat. This is because each compound has a different boiling point. With heat you can get each compound on its own and use it. Here are three forms you can get your CBD:
If you intend the final product to be pure CBD, then isolate CBD is what you are looking for. This extract is almost 100% CBD and nothing else.
This CBD extract contains CBD plus other cannabinoids and terpenes except for THC (this is the compound that causes intoxication). If you are going for a drug test, you are safer taking isolate CBD or broad-spectrum CBD because they won’t show positive for THC.
This CBD extract contains CBD and other cannabinoids and terpenes, including THC. For this extract to be consumed in the UK, the THC contents should only be 0.2% or less. Even though THC levels are low (and therefore won’t make you high), you should not take full-spectrum CBD if you are about to take a drug test because it’s likely going to show positive for THC, especially if you’ve been taking it for a while.
One thing to consider when deciding what type of CBD to use is what we call the entourage effect. This refers to the way in which different compounds extracted from the hemp plant work together. This effect is not available when using CBD isolate, as the other compounds from the plant are not present.
Once you have extracted your CBD, you can use it to make all kinds of products including CBD oil, gummies, vape juice, edibles, tablets, among other things.
Final thoughts on CBD extraction
There are several ways one can extract CBD from the hemp plant or Cannabis Sativa plant. We don’t recommend doing this by yourself at home. Instead, let experts do their job then buy CBD products that have been expertly made using quality ingredients. Get your CBD oil and CBD e-liquid from reliable vendors like Supreme CBD. We have been around for a while and understand your needs and so provide premium grade quality CBD products for our consumers. You don’t have to believe what we say, check testimonials from our users and read our lab reports.