You might have heard of the countless mentions of this herbal extract on the news, the internet, and even your neighbors talk about it over the fence. Even someone living under a rock would be aware of the storm that CBD is kicking up, to such an extent that it is starting to bring the attention of the conventional pharma industry. That is high praise especially when you remember that CBD was nothing but taboo-talk a few years ago. Times have changed for the better though…
However, even after all of the good and the great that you have been hearing about CBD, has it ever passed your mind as to how CBD ends up being made? What is the process that puts the herbal substance in that dark-tinted pill bottle? We are in the pursuit of answering those very questions today. Read on…
Setting The Stage
The process of CBD extraction is technical and they use various solvents to get varying degrees of efficiency and purity in the final product. Each of the solvents and the subsequent processes that are used has its pluses and minuses. Let us analyze each of these processes in a short while.
What Is The Origin Of CBD?
CBD can be obtained from marijuana and hemp plants that are grown either locally or overseas. The source plays an important part in this discourse as it affects the legal status. Furthermore, other compounds are present in them.
For the most part, the primary source of CBD is Hemp, which is a variety of cannabis Sativa and it contains only trace quantities of the intoxicating THC (0.3% by dried weight) when compared to the large percentages of CBD. THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the substance that induces the all too well-known ‘high’ that is associated with cannabis. Cannabis, on the other hand, is the polar opposite with THC taking a bulk, close to 40% of the cannabinoid composition of the plant.
How To Extract CBD?
The extraction of CBD aims to capture the various compounds that are deemed essential and eliminate unwanted sugars, fibers, and plant residues. A good extraction process can reduce unwanted agents to the maximum. Once the hemp plant is matured and harvested, it is then made to undergo the process of extraction through several methods. Some of the common methods of extracting CBD are:
This is considered the benchmark when it comes to extraction technology. This is for a good reason. CO2 extraction is highly efficient as it yields pure extracts whose concentrations are consistent. The process is extremely safe and there is no use of any toxic solvent that could pose danger to the final product.
The solvent that is used in this process is pressurized CO2 which is put under certain temperature constraints. In this way, it can keep back from the unwanted plant and toxic material, while pure and active compounds form the output. With this, we come to the price. The equipment that is needed is expensive and this is why several manufacturers use other methods.
- High-quality extracts
- Used in other industries as well
- It needs training and thus involves a learning curve
- It is costly
Vegetable Oil Extraction
This process involves the use of oils such as olive oil, MCT oil, Argan oil, coconut oil, hemp seed oil, and many others, as the solvent. The process is quite straight-forward and different oil are used as a solvent for different products.
- The extract quality is low
- The efficiency is low
Organic Solvent Extraction
Butane, ethanol, propane, and methanol are included in the group of organic solvents. By far, this is the most inexpensive method of extracting CBD from the source plant. Although the process is light on the wallet, the solvent used is sometimes not entirely safe. The process is sub-par in terms of quality when compared to the previous two methods of extraction.
- No need for expensive equipment
- Most of the solvents are easily accessible
- Can be performed at home
- It is dangerous and requires knowledge relating to the solvent
- There are often plant matter that remains in the final product
The CBD industry is mostly unregulated at the moment and because of which different CBD manufacturers make use of different processes and protocols. This creates an atmosphere for certain CBD manufacturers and suppliers to use low-grade raw materials and poor extraction processes that put the end consumer at risk.
Make sure to research thoroughly into the brand, and take note of the source of hemp and the extraction processes used. Although products made from the CO2 extraction process may have a slightly higher price tag, it is a safe bet. When it comes to a matter of health and wellness, there is no taking a backseat…