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Hemp CBD Extraction Techniques

May 28, 2020 3 min read 0 Comments

Hemp CBD Extraction Techniques

In the world of CBD oils there's always been debate over the best techniques and manufacturing processes.  We want to go over the most common methods found and explain the pros and cons of each so that the consumer can make the most informed decision on which product to use.

Fortunantely one of the better known methods is also what we consider to be one of the top methods for a high quality product.  Super critical CO2 extraction is a a techniques that extracts a full spectrum product without any solvents or toxic trace elements.  CO2 (carbon dioxide) is common and found everywere around us.  In the extraction process, pressure and temperature can alter the state of CO2 from gas, to liquid,  in a controlled manner.  Hemp is placed in a chamber with Liquid CO2 in a seperate chamber.  When they are combined, the liquid CO2 is able to break down the hemp and extract all the wonderful cannabinoids from the plant.  Once the plant is broken down, it is then moved to a third chamber where the pressure is altered to return the CO2 to is gas state leaving behind only the hemp extract. This technique is typically only found in higher quality products due to the expense of the equipment.  A very cool feature of this process is that by altering the variables during the process, manufacturers are able to adjust the concentrations of CBD that is extracted from the product all while creating a safe product. This is also the same method that is generally used to make decaf coffee and teas.

Next up is not really a unique process since there is so much diversity.  Solvent extraction, this method uses either natural solvents or hydrocarbons to break down the plant matter and extract the CBD and other cannabinoids.  Once the extract is taken from the plant, the solvents are evaporated from the extract leaving behind the end product.  The concern here is that natural solvents such as Ethanol also extracts chlorophyll. If you have ever tried a CBD product that was very bitter, pungent and tasted horrible, Chances are you might have found and ethanol extract.  Hydrocarbons such as butane, hexane, propane, etc can also be used to extract CBD from hemp.  The big concern with both forms of solvents is the risk of trace amounts left behind.  It is possible to remove all of the solvent from a product.  The issue is that solvents are used for their efficiency and the fact that its a cheap process.  The more effort put into extracting all of the solvent also increases the cost of the process. Natural solvents are also harder to remove and hydrocarbons carry possible risk of health issues and cancer if they are not fully removed.  The easiest way to avoid CBD oils that could potentially have trace amounts of solvents is to not buy solvent extracted CBD, or at a minimum only from Highly trusted sources.

Distillation is another form of extraction that is probably one of the oldest forms used.  Very similar to the process of making liquors, plant matter is exposed to steam that extracts the cannabinoids and rises to a condensation chamber where it then cools and returns to a liquid that is is then further distilled to remove the water.  This process requires some skill and talent to preform correctly as the heat can damage the CBD oil if not controlled and without experience, it can be inconsistent in final concentrations.  The good news here is that chlorophyll is not extracted, and since only water vapor is used, there is no chance of toxic elements ending up in the final product.

Once hemp has undergone the journey of extraction from the plant material into a CBD hemp extract, it then either goes on to be bottled with a carrier oil in correct concentrations as a full spectrum product or is further processed into a broad spectrum or isolate.  We believe that the entourage effect is the most important part of CBD oils so this is where our journey ends.