In the United States, California has been relatively late to the hemp cultivation game. Since the passage of the 2018...Read more
Buying CBD products shouldn’t be simply a transaction. Whenever we make choices about our health and wellbeing, whether it is a lack of sleep or a chronic condition, an educated decision is an empowered decision. In this blog, we want to teach you about the process of CBD extraction. This way you can understand exactly what goes into the production of your favorite CBD gummies or cannabidiol oil that have become part of your daily routine.
From farm to extractor and producer to retailer, we’ll give you an idea of what it takes to craft a high-quality product. We will even give you some DIY hints and tips if you are lucky enough to have access to industrial hemp flowers and want to take a shot at making your own.
Making CBD: Farm to Lab
Last time we learned how hemp is grown and got an idea for its processing, which on paper appears to be quite straight forward. However, in reality, unless it is in the right hands it is far from simple and is, in fact, the perfect marriage of science and art. Here is our 4 step guide to processing:
1. Once the harvested, the hemp flower is cured in a well-ventilated, contaminant-free, barn with only the flowers being used for the production of CBD products. Other parts of the plant are removed and either destroyed or sold to other companies for other purposes, something we will look into later in the series.
2. Next, it is ground up in a similar process to coffee and made ready for extraction.
3. After extraction comes distillation. This removes any unwanted and potentially harmful bits of the plant where the terpenes are locked in. Terpenes, or terpenoids, are the chemical components of all plants that create their scents.
4. Once distilled, the raw CBD oil is then third-party lab tested for approval before being added to your favorite CBD products.
From extraction to product
Extraction can be done a number of ways according to the potency and makeup of the CBD required, but they all have their pros and cons. The main methods of extraction include:
- Dry Ice
For CO2 extraction, the CBD is placed within multi-chamber machinery. CO2 can be pumped through the plant and uses high temperature and pressure to separate cannabinoids:
Pros: Yields most CBD and cannabinoids, efficient preventing of waste
Cons: Very expensive, requires professional experience, not safe for DIY production
Alcohol/solvent extraction is considered the original method created by cannabis icon Rick Simpson:
Pros: Cheaper mass production option
Cons: Can diminish the potency
The extraction methods best suited to DIY production, are oil and dry ice methods. Oil requires decarboxylating the hemp flower, which means heating it to over 200 degrees Fahrenheit to activate the cannabinoids:
Pros: Easy to do at home
Cons: Time consuming, low CBD yield, very short shelf life
While the dry ice method requires access to dry ice and the materials to safely manipulate it.
Pros: Yields more CBD than oil method, doable at home with the right equipment
Cons: Having the right equipment (plexiglass, rubber gloves, goggles, 2 pounds of dry ice) potential harm from dry ice
Whatever the method employed, the extracted raw CBD oil can at this point be added to the desired means to best suit its application.
Be wise when you buy CBD products
CBD extraction and production is a complex but rewarding process. The myriad of different ways to make candies, capsules, CBD oil, vaporizer juices, bath bombs, topicals or whatever other forms of CBD products you love, is what makes the industry so interesting.
Make sure to check for lab results when you make a CBD purchase and if you decide to take a shot at making your own CBD oil or supplement, please stay safe!
Come back next time for more CBD insights, as we help tell the story of CBD from the ground up.