How To Extract CBD – Methods & Techniques

how to extract CBD

CBD is one of the most beneficial and abundant compounds found in the cannabis plant, so there is no wonder why users are curious about how CBD products are made and how to extract CBD  from cannabis.

Many extraction methods are available on the market today, with some of them being used for decades and centuries.

Today, we will go over the ins and outs of CBD extraction methods, how CBD products are made and whether or not you can extract CBD at home.

What is CBD? 

CBD or cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant.

It’s well known for its vast medical benefits that range from combating insomnia and pain to promoting wellness and rejuvenating skin.

Today, you can find CBD in a wide variety of products, including topicals and tinctures, beverages, skincare cosmetics and even candies and chocolates.

But how does it get there?

CBD is extracted from two types of plants: hemp and cannabis plants. The difference between them is that cannabis is known to have more than 0.3% THC, while the hemp plant carries 3% or less THC and does not induce the euphoria and high that THC is known for.

How to Extract CBD

how to extract CBD methods

CBD oil can be extracted through multiple extraction methods, including CO2 extraction, solvent extraction, steam distillation and oil extraction.

Each extraction process presents distinct qualities, benefits and limitations.  

Supercritical CO2 Extraction

CO2 extraction is one of the best and widely used methods to extract CBD. While the word “supercritical” may sound super scientific, its meaning is quite simple.

Basically, a supercritical state means that a substance possesses characteristics of both a gas and a liquid. 

CO2 cannabis extraction uses a pressurized chamber to compress carbon dioxide (CO2) until it becomes a liquid. The end product is then passed through the plant matter to strip away cannabinoids and terpenes, making its way into a final product.

This form of extraction is the quickest, most efficient method to extract CBD. It is also environmentally friendly because the CO2 can be reused, which is an added bonus. 

Solvent Extraction

Solvent extraction is somewhat similar to CO2 extraction, but it is cheaper and easier to do since it does not require special, expensive equipment and pressurized chambers.

Solvent extraction involves using some type of solvent such as ethanol, butane, propane or alcohol to extract CBD. 

Ethanol is ideal for pulling the full range of cannabinoids from the plant. However, using ethanol also extracts chlorophyll  (the pigment that gives plants their green colour), which is poorly absorbed by the body.

For extraction, the liquid is added to the plant material. Once the solvent strips away the cannabinoids, producers then evaporate the liquid to leave the cannabinoids in an oil form.

Steam Distillation

To perform this extraction method, producers use a distillation tank and steam to remove the plant compounds. 

In a distillation tank, using water and heat, the dry steam passes through the plant material to steam away carries oils to the top of the tank. 

Then, through a condenser and further distillation, the oil is separated from the water, producing full-spectrum CBD oil.

Although this extraction method has been in use for many years, it is rarely used today to extract CBD oil. 

This CBD extraction method may damage the plant’s structure and is much less efficient than supercritical CO2 extraction or solvent extraction.

How to Extract CBD at Home

how to extract CBD at home

Now that you know how producers extract high-quality CBD oil in special laboratories, you may be wondering if you can extract CBD oils at home.

The answer is yes! You can extract CBD in the comfort of your own home.

Here’s how you can extract CBD oil using only two ingredients.

Olive Oil Extraction

cbd rich strains

To make CBD oil at home, you will need CBD rich strains and olive oil (any oil of your choice will work as well).

First, the raw plant material needs to be decarboxylated. To do so, you will need to heat cannabis or hemp flowers in an oven tray between 240 and 280°F for up to an hour.

Next, the flower is added to olive oil and heated again to extract cannabinoids. The result is cannabis-infused oil with high CBD content.

And that’s it. Simple and easy!

If you want an even purer final product, check out our guide on winterization. This method is known to yield high potency products that are clear and delicious.

CBD Extraction – Which Method is Best?

Now you know commonly used CBD extraction processes and their pros and cons. 

CO2 extraction is the best when it comes to extracting CBD oil in the laboratory. CBD extracted using this method is pure, safe and unlikely to cause side effects. 

However, the cost of it is that you won’t be likely to perform this type of extraction in the comfort of your home.

If you are looking to create a pure CBD product that can be extracted at home, try olive oil extraction. This simple method yields a tasty CBD oil that is safe for consumption and does not require any demanding techniques or special equipment.

If you don’t want to spend time cooking and making concoctions, get your CBD oil products from a reputable dispensary. Reputable dispensaries carry a wide range of CBD products such as full-spectrum CBD products, CBD isolate and CBD tinctures.

Happy medicating!

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