The growing popularity of CBD has taken the market by storm. CBD products are available everywhere in various forms, from so many different stores and with all sorts of prices. New consumers are usually confused about what to purchase, and rightfully so because all CBD products are not created equal. Fake products don’t contain lab reports and may contain harmful contaminants. Moreover, fake products use unknown extraction processes to extract the CBD oil from the cannabis plant. Therefore, a basic understanding of how the CBD oil is made or extracted in the product you’re purchasing can help identify its quality and keep away from scams.
The growing process of the Cannabis sativa plant
CBD or cannabidiol is a naturally occurring compound in the Cannabis sativa plant, also known as marijuana or hemp. Farmers usually prefer to use hemp to extract CBD oil because it contains a higher amount of CBD than marijuana. While hemp can be grown directly from the seed, farmers usually prefer to clone hemp from small plant tissue sections to produce genetically identical plants on a large scale and guarantee their quality. The hemp plants mature after 10-16 weeks after planting and then are harvested for extraction.
The extraction process of CBD
After the hemp plants are harvested, they are dried and milled to create a fine powder. CBD is then extracted from this powder, which can be done in a variety of ways that include:
This method uses an alcohol solvent, usually ethanol, for extraction. The finely ground hemp is soaked with ethanol, or ethanol is passed through, which strips the cannabinoids (compounds found in cannabis) from the plant. However, chlorophyll is often extracted using this method, which produces a dark-coloured CBD oil with a bitter taste. The chlorophyll can be removed after filtration, but this may reduce the oil’s potency. Many leading companies prefer to use ethanol extraction because it is a lower-cost method than other extraction methods; however, it can still create high-quality extracts when produced with expertise and includes post-extraction processes.
Supercritical CO2 extraction
Supercritical CO2 extraction is the most expensive yet most common method. It is considered a gold standard to extract CBD. It is highly efficient and uses highly pressurized carbon dioxide to separate CBD extract from the plant material. This method utilizes expensive equipment to create a highly concentrated pure extract with no residual solvents and little to no contaminants present in the final product.
Like ethanol extraction, hydrocarbon extraction uses a solvent such as butane, propane, or hexane, which are hydrocarbons, to separate CBD extract from the plant material. Although this is a cheap extraction method, companies rarely use it because it comes with numerous downsides. The resulting oil contains a low concentration of CBD, and there is a risk of toxic residue remaining in the extract.
Carrier oil extraction
It is an inexpensive extraction method that uses a carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil. However, it is rarely used because the resulting CBD extract is low in potency and has a low shelf-life.