Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most popular non-psychoactive compound derived from cannabis. The substance comes with powerful medicinal properties, thanks to its analgesic, anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.
After harvesting cannabis, raw materials are often subjected to rigorous processing to obtain individual cannabinoids. As you shall find, certain extraction methods deliver higher-quality CBD compared to others.
Upon extraction, CBD undergoes additional processing, where it could be formulated into edibles like CBD-infused gummies, inhalables like CBD e-juices, topicals like CBD-enriched balms, or oral tinctures. CBD is also readily available as smokable dried cannabis extracts.
Now, before you order your next supply of CBD from trusted vendors like Lazarus Naturals, it’s prudent that you understand how the substance is extracted. This post shall highlight two of the most popular methods of extracting CBD.
For starters, it’s important to mention that most industrially-prepared CBD comes from hemp.
Hemp is a cultivar of the cannabis plant characterized by significant CBD levels and reduced levels of the psychoactive compound, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Marijuana is another common cannabis cultivar. Unlike hemp, marijuana contains substantial thc capsules canada levels and is what mostly comes to mind whenever the psychotropic properties of cannabis come up for discussion.
A bottle of CBD oil
Now, there are numerous ways to extract CBD from hemp. But the following are the two most popular extraction methods;
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extraction/Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE)
As the name implies, carbon dioxide extraction uses supercritical carbon dioxide gas to separate CBD from a mix of other cannabinoids. Supercritical O2 refers to carbon dioxide that exists both in a liquefied and gaseous state.
The process begins by pumping carbon dioxide through a series of high-pressure and low-temperature chambers. Usually, there are two chambers, where one compartment holds pressurized carbon dioxide, whereas the second chamber contains the hemp material.
The pressurized supercritical carbon dioxide is carefully pumped into the chamber containing the hemp plant, breaking down the contents of the second chamber in a manner that separates the oil from the plant material.
Once the oil has been adequately separated from the hemp raw material, the mixture of CO2 and hemp oil is pumped into a third chamber. Here, carbon dioxide converts from its liquefied state to a gaseous state.
The gas is either left to evaporate or recycled for future CBD extraction, leaving behind pure cannabidiol oil.
- Solvent Extraction
Besides CO2 extraction, CBD can also be derived from the hemp plant by a solvent extraction method.
The solvent extraction method mainly involves the use of short-chain alcohols, such as ethanol, propanol, butanol, and isopropyl. It’s more or less similar to distillation, only that in this case, you use a solvent as opposed to water.
The alcohol used dissolves hemp waxes, allowing you to extract both cannabinoids and chlorophyll. That explains why, besides hemp’s bitter taste, raw CBD extracted via the solvent method seems to have an even more unsavory taste.
To begin the process, you put hemp flowers and buds inside a container.
Next, you soak the solvent or run it gently through the hemp material.
You then strip the mixture of the cannabinoids and chlorophyll.
Lastly, you allow the mixture to evaporate, leaving behind the concentrated cannabinoids in oil form.
Which Is The Better CBD Extraction Method?
The solvent extraction method is one of the most affordable ways to extract CBD from hemp. Plus, it’s faster and easier to accomplish than the CO2 extraction method.
However, solvent extraction also happens to be one of the most dangerous CBD extraction methods due to the explosive nature of the solvents used.
Another drawback to using solvent extraction is that the residues could be toxic if not eliminated. Exposure to these harmful substances could increase your risks of chronic diseases like cancer. According to studies, numerous products formulated by CBD extracted through the solvent method have been shown to contain worrying levels of petroleum residue or naphtha hydrocarbons.
You can reduce the risks of the toxic residue by using natural solvents like ethanol and olive oil. But there are tradeoffs. First, natural solvents are less effective at extracting CBD oil. Also, these solvents don’t evaporate too well. Therefore, they don’t guarantee maximum CBD yields. Worse yet, natural solvents may extract chlorophyll along with cannabinoids, which could worsen the already bitter taste of hemp.
Considering all the above limitations of solvent extraction, it goes without saying that CO2 extraction is the better method of obtaining cannabidiol from hemp.
Although the process is relatively costly, CO2 extraction is safe, considering that the gas is inflammable. Carbon dioxide is more likely to put out fires than trigger them.
There are also minimal risks of toxicity with the CO2 extraction method. Neither will there be significant chlorophyll levels to embitter the CBD obtained. Therefore, the cannabidiol extracted via this method is suitable for various products, ranging from topicals to inhalables and edibles. What’s more, studies indicate that CO2 extraction can guarantee as high as 92% CBD concentration.
Adding CBD oil to a beverage drink
There are numerous ways to extract CBD from hemp or other cannabis cultivars. However, no method is as safe, efficient, and sustainable as CO2 Extraction. So, when shopping for quality CBD products, insist on products formulated with cannabidiol obtained by CO2 extraction. Along with that, also establish whether the vendor offers test results from independent labs.