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What are the Best CBD Extraction Methods?

If you are looking for the best CBD products you need to make sure that your CBD extract comes from high quality plant material.

Even though your top of the line hemp plants might have high cannabidiol CBD content, are you maximizing your efforts with the right CBD extraction process?

So let’s get into it and find out what’s the best method – and why.

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CBD extraction techniques are critical in making the best CBD extract.

In order to get a good grasp on why a reliable extraction method is needed let’s learn how CBD oil is made from plant material.

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What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. It is one of over a hundred different cannabinoids that exists in the plant.

The other important chemical in the plant is called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is a chemical that is psychoactive and makes people “high”.

Many people around the world smoke or eat cannabis recreationally for its relaxing effects. What is interesting, the research is clear that CBD isolate does not make you high. But it has many health benefits.

what is cbd oil

Many people might not know this but humans actually have an existing endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system includes three major components: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes.

Your body produces endocannabinoids naturally. They bind to the receptors regulating bodily functions such as

  • sleep
  • mood
  • appetite
  • memory
  • fertility

When ingested into the body, CBD binds to the receptors in the central nervous system. Depending on the type of the receptor they can send signals to different parts of the body.

Enjoying your read? Sign up to be a part of the CBD School community, and we’ll send you a free eBook called The Beginner’s Guide to CBD. It will get you caught up in all things CBD. Additionally, you’ll get updates on the best CBD products and discounts in the industry.

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For example, endocannabinoids may target receptors in your back to relieve back pain. Or they can send signals to your head and combat a headache. They can even target the immune system and lower chronic inflammation of various cells in the body. Now that’s pretty handy!

endocannabinoid system receptor locations

It is a good idea to understand that CBD is not only extracted from plants but it also exists in the human body naturally.

Some research scientists claim that many people around the world suffer from an endocannabinoid deficiency. This means that the body does not produce enough endocannabinoids on its own. Hence why CBD oil and CBD extracts are becoming increasingly popular in daily supplementation for many users.

If you even look closely at a female hemp plant you will see tiny white bubbles on the flowers. They are called trichomes and that’s where CBD lives alongside THC.

cannabis plant extraction process

If you want to extract CBD from a hemp plant you will need to learn the steps of the entire process.

How To Extract CBD?

In order to extract CBD in its purest form many people like to choose the cannabis sativa strain due to its high CBD content.

CBD on its own is not well absorbed by the human body. The CBD extract must go through a process called “decarboxylation“.

What is decarboxylation?

This simply means it needs to be heated up to become concentrated. Only then it is suitable for human consumption and the active ingredients become bioavailable bringing a range of health benefits.

Full Spectrum CBD Extraction Process

What we need to add is CBD and THC are not the only chemical compounds that exist in a cannabis plant. There are well over a hundred other chemicals in this wonderful plant. Including of these make up a full spectrum extract. This is exactly why the extraction process is not so simple. There are many extraction methods that can be used in order to get the best quality CBD oil extract.

Some of these extraction methods have been used before for extracting essential oils from flowers.

extracted oil

This article goes over all the available extraction techniques you can use to extract CBD.

Along with that, we provide you with the end results of each method.

1. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extraction

Today, the most popular CBD extraction extraction method uses Carbon Dioxide or CO2.

Interestingly enough, CO2 extraction is not only used to extract CBD. It is also widely used in nicotine products or coffee beans.

There two main CO2 extraction techniques: supercritical and subcritical. These two processes share certain similarities, however the supercritical process is the one most CBD companies tend to use.

The goal of the extraction process is to separate the plant (flowers) from the desired phytochemicals

Once the plant reaches adequate temperature CO2 acts like solvent and separates the target chemicals without compromising their potency.

extract cbd oil from cannabis plant material

Supercritical CBD Extraction

In this process the plant material is heated up until the CO2 pressure becomes supercritical. When CO2 reaches this state it has both properties of gas and liquid. In this form CO2 is able to fill up a container and act as a solvent at the same time.

In order the maintain the right pressure and temperature of the gas you will need the right equipment for the job which in most cases can get quite expensive. Keep in mind good equipment is necessary if you want the best possible CBD oil.

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Here are the steps for supercritical extraction:

  • Add hemp into the extraction chamber
  • Inject CO2 into the chamber
  • Cannabinoid compounds are dissolved
  • Oil particles are formed and transported into a separator
  • CO2 and cannabis oil are separated
  • The cannabis oil is flushed out into a container and ready to use

The oil separated from CO2 is the finished product. This is what is used by CBD companies all around the world to make their products.

Different examples of CBD products

The cool thing is, the CO2 can be reused in the same process.

Subcritical CBD extraction

This process differentiates from the previous one in the sense that lower temperature and lower pressure are required. Consequently, the process itself stretches out in time.

The good? This method reduces the risk of lowering the potency of CBD compounds as well as contaminating some of them. What is more, you can develop new strains, experiment with new concentrates or try new tastes.

The bad? You will get less of the extract. The yield is smaller and the whole process is more expensive.

cbd oil solvent extraction

2. Solvent CBD Extraction

The solvent extraction method is quite efficient and easy to execute.

You do not need to buy expensive gear in order to achieve great results. You will, however, need some kind of solvent with it. Most commonly used solvents are butane, propane, alcohol, or ethanol.

One of the problems with this method is that this process not only extracts compounds such as cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids, but also extracts chlorophyll. The end result is that the taste of CBD will become quite bitter.

Another thing about this method is that this process can degrade some of the compounds. This means the quality of the product will go down.

What is more, the evaporation part of the process may leave behind harmful solvent residue causing impurities. This can cause issues with your finished product.

After all, we want you to experience the purest and cleanest effects of this wonderful chemical.

full spectrum cbd oil

3. Oil CBD Extraction

Another method on our list is oil extraction. Here are the steps:

  • Boil the hemp in oil

This up-regulates the chemical compounds and brings them to their individual boiling points. This makes the compounds easier to extract and separates them from the plant matter. It also increases their potency.

  • Add the plant material to olive oil and heat boil again

The individual cannabinoids will be extracted into the oil. This will result in a CBD-infused oil mixture.

The good? It’s easy and inexpensive. Nearly any oil can be used but olive oil is recommended. It’s also quite safe to make and use in CBD oils.

The bad? It might not have the best taste. Also, it won’t last you very long as it goes bad fast. Since the end product is an oil infused with CBD, not a concentrated form. It will not be as potent.

On the other hand, olive oil extraction is preferred by many home brewers who like CBD oils derived from olive oil. I guess the taste might not be so bad after all.

full spectrum CBD oil extraction processes

4. Dry Ice CBD Extraction

What we like about the dry ice extraction method is that you avoid the problem of degrading the valuable CBD compounds through degrading solvents.

The steps are as follows:

  • Chop up the flowers finely and put the in a bucket
  • Put the dry in a bucket using safety gloves
  • Let it rest for a few minutes until the dry ice freezes the trichomes
  • This pulls the essential trichomes and terpene oils
  • Pass the matter through a mesh into a container (use different mesh type for best results)

The end product is ready to be used.

The good? High yield. The extract is clean, pure and potent. Quite easy too.

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The bad? You need access to dry ice. It can be difficult to measure as we do not know how well the hemp is frozen or what type of mesh will be used. This, however, can be standardized to some degree.

What Is The Difference Between Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum CBD Oil?

Full Spectrum

  • contains 0.3% THC per gram of extract
  • Can get you high
  • Should contain minor cannabinoids, if not, it should definitely contain terpenes as that’s what the name really emphasizes (“Spectrum”)

Broad Spectrum

Depending on which extraction process you choose, you’ll end up with different outcomes (obviously).

What Is the Best CBD Extraction Method?

Knowing about the processes that leads to the extraction of CBD helps determine the effectiveness of various products depending on the solvent used.

Because of new scientific advances, a broad range of cannabinoid extracts are available with great therapeutic potential.

Some extraction methods are more effective in large-scale production than some other techniques.

CO2 extraction has long been regarded as an ideal technology since it yields purest products without introducing water-soluble substances like chlorophyll into it.

That is why this is our favorite CBD oil extraction method.

hemp derived cbd products from pure cbd oil

Want to Learn More About CBD?

If you are looking to get a better understanding of CBD products, go ahead and sign up to get a free ebook titled: The Beginner’s Guide to CBD.

Enjoying your read? Sign up to be a part of the CBD School community, and we’ll send you a free eBook called The Beginner’s Guide to CBD. It will get you caught up in all things CBD. Additionally, you’ll get updates on the best CBD products and discounts in the industry.

beginners guide to CBD

It will catch you up to speed on all things CBD related. If you’re a newcomer to the CBD world, this is a must read.