The plant materials that your CBD oil was made from plays a big part in the quality of the finished product but it’s not the only factor that determines how potent, pure, and safe your CBD oil will be. The type of extraction method used, the quality of the equipment, and the experience of the people operating that equipment is another major factor. The process between plant and oil is incredibly important because many beneficial plant materials could be lost and many toxic elements could be introduced. Understanding more about the possible extraction processes will give you a better idea of the quality you can expect when shopping for CBD oils.
When looking for a new CBD oil, look for which extraction method is used on the producer’s website. Reputable and high quality CBD producers will often have a section describing their extraction methods or will at least mention it somewhere on their site. If you can’t find this information, reach out to their customer service team and just ask. The most professional producers usually have excellent customer service teams who are happy to answer their customer’s questions in order to ensure you’re completely satisfied with the type of product you’re receiving.
The CO2 extraction method uses a machine called a closed-loop extractor and pressurized CO2, also known as dry ice. One chamber holds the CO2 and another holds the plant material. The CO2 is pumped into the second chamber and kept at a pressure and temperature that puts the CO2 into a supercritical state, meaning it will now exist somewhere between a liquid and gas state. In this state, the CO2 extracts the cannabinoids and terpenes of the plant material and this mixture is then pumped into a third chamber with lower pressure and higher temperatures. In this third chamber, the CO2 gas rises from the liquid and the oil that is left behind contains all of the cannabinoids and terpenes that will be present in the finished product.
This method creates some of the highest quality CBD oil products and the process is typically the safest. The CBD oil that is produced is pure and potent, without any additional solvents, contaminants, or residues left over. The end result will provide the highest amount of cannabinoids and terpenes, allowing for maximum efficacy and full flavour.
The downside of this process, and the reason it isn’t used by every producer, is that the equipment required for this process is expensive and the technicians using this equipment must be highly trained in order to operate it safely and effectively. The largest and most professional producers typically use this method because the cost of investment is worth the high quality product they are able to make. This is definitely not a process you’d be using for extracting a couple of small batches of CBD oil at home for private use.
Liquid Solvent Extraction
Liquid solvent extraction is a very commonly used extraction method which uses a liquid solvent such as ethanol, propane, butane, or hexane. The plant material is simply placed into the solvent and the cannabinoids, terpenes, other plant materials are leached out into the liquid. Once this process is complete, the mixture is heated and the alcohol will evaporate, leaving only the extracted cannabinoids and terpenes behind.
This process is the simplest, easiest, and cheapest way to manufacture a high potency CBD oil. It’s very effective and requires very little equipment. The problem with this method, however, is that the solvents used to extract the cannabinoids are usually very flammable and the process can be quite dangerous. If done incorrectly there can be harmful solvent residue left behind in the product which can be incredibly unhealthy for you to consume. Hydrocarbons like propane, butane, and hexane are usually more dangerous when using liquid solvents, while ethanol extraction is generally the safer and preferred method.
The liquid solvent extraction method can potentially be dangerous and could produce a contaminated product but if it’s done by skilled professionals, a very safe and high quality product can be made, especially when using an ethanol solvent. The chemicals used for this process must be handled safely and the processing methods must be done exactly right in order to produce a CBD oil that is safe for consumption.
Oil extraction, usually olive oil, is another common extraction method. It would typically be used for personal production rather than by a commercial CBD producer. The plant material must first be decarboxylated, or heated to a certain temperature, in order to convert the cannabinoids into a form that is more easily used within our bodies. The plant material is then added to the olive oil and heated at a low simmer for about 1-2 hours. Because the olive cannot be evaporated off, the end result is less concentrated and the olive oil must be consumed with the CBD extract.
The final product ends up being diluted compared to what is created by other techniques due to the presence of the olive oil that was used in the extraction process. It is also a perishable item that must be stored in a cool, dark place and it cannot be stored indefinitely. These factors make it impractical for commercial producers but this method may be ideal for those who would like to make their own CBD oil at home. This method doesn’t create the most concentrated product but it is an incredibly simple, safe, and cheap process.
The extraction process that is used for any CBD oil usually comes down to who is making the oil and what it will be used for. If you’re making it at home and have very little experience, the oil extraction method is the best idea. Large CBD production companies will often opt for the more expensive CO2 extraction method. The solvent method can be used privately or professionally, but should really only be used by those who are both very experienced and very familiar with the correct procedure. To be on the safe side, you should always check a producer’s website for third party lab reports in order to ensure there are no unwanted residues or contaminants in your CBD oil.