When asking how CBD is made, you first need to know where it comes from, what variants are available and which form of CBD you are talking about being made and their own unique processes. Whether it’s CBD Oils, CBD Cream, CBD Capsules, all of these will have different formulation methods and were going to go through them for you.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most prevalent active ingredients in cannabis (after THC.) Whilst CBD is an important and essential component in the use of medical marijuana (due to its healing properties and potential benefits) but it is actually derived from the hemp plant which is part of the same family and is derived from the cannabis plant. With that being said, make sure you know the difference, CBD does not cause any form of high whereas THC does.
Where does CBD Come from?
CBD can be derived from 2 of the cannabis-sub-plants either industrial hemp or marijuana. Industrial hemp is predominantly grown for its seeds and fibre to be used in industrial cloth and clothing but in recent years due to better understanding, media exposure and law changes it is now being used to grow CBD in all kinds of forms... Hemp differs from marijuana in the sense pf appearance as it is longer, thinner and more scarce in terms of foliage on the plant itself. The hemp plant is also defined by the amount of THC it contains, for the plant to be classed as hemp it should have less than 0.2% THC (this is also the legal limit for THC within the UK.) Marijuana-derived CBD is extracted from marijuana plants (duhh) that have thick, lush foliage, the main consumption of this method would be, flower, due to its intoxicating properties. This is defined by the government as something that contains more than 0.2% THC. aking the above into account, whether CBD is extracted from marijuana or hemp it remains identical on a molecular level.
How is CBD Oil Made?
The first step is the growing process, Hemp can be grown direct from seed or cloned from small sections of plant tissue. Cloning allows for the quick production of large numbers of genetically identical plants. Some farms prefer this method because it guarantees the quality of each plant. This is also preferable for businesses to allow them to create consistency of products. Young plants are grown to maturity outdoors spaced well apart. This planting style has been specifically developed for harvesting hemp for CBD oil. The plants spread out to their full size and natural light reaches the whole plant producing healthy, cannabinoid-rich plants.
The second step in the intricate process is the extraction and there are a few ways in which this can be done, there are some, more popular than others but in short, there are 2 or 3 main processes in which have been proven to be most effective throughout the industry (globally) The 2 main processes are ethanol extraction and CO2. both have their pros and cons and below we are going to explain them and give an overview of their benefits and downfalls:
What process makes the best CBD?
This simple yet effective extraction method works by using ethanol as a solvent to remove extracts from cannabis plant trimmings. It usually looks something like this:
- Ethanol is added to trimmings and mixed for a couple of minutes to allow the ethanol to dissolve extracts from the plant materials.
- The ethanol is strained from the trimmings.
- The ethanol/extract mixture is heated (slowly) until all ethanol evaporates and only the plant extracts remain.
Solvent Extraction Pros:
- Inexpensive- This method doesn’t require any fancy machinery.
- Simple- This method is pretty straightforward and can even be done at home.
- Effective - you can ensure quality control and a clean batch of CBD
- Ensures consistency of the product.
Solvent Extraction Cons:
- Dangerous- Ethanol is extremely flammable.
- Could Damage CBD/ THC- Ethanol could potentially denature the CBD or THC if overheated, overmixed or completed in a non-professional environment.
The CO2 Extraction method uses supercritical carbon dioxide to pull phytochemicals from cannabis plants. Supercritical materials are not quite a liquid but not quite a gas and possess the properties of both. This state is ideal for plant extraction because supercritical CO2 can move through materials like gas and dissolve materials like a liquid.
CO2 extraction typically follows these steps:
- The CO2 is prepared in a compression chamber. First, CO2 gas is turned into a liquid; this is done by dropping the temperature to under -69°F and increasing the pressure to over 75 psi. Next, the the temperature and pressure are both raised until the liquid becomes supercritical.
- The supercritical CO2 passes through cannabis trimmings in an extraction chamber where it dissolves and collects extracts from the plants.
- The CO2 / extract solution then enters a lower-pressure separator chamber. The lower pressure causes the CO2 and plant extracts to separate. The CO2 returns to the CO2 chamber and the cannabis oil is drained from the separator.
CO2 Extraction Pros:
- Safe when done by professionals- CO2 is used in countless food products and is perfectly safe for consumption
- Yields high-quality CBD- machines leave very little room for error
CO2 Extraction Cons:
- Very expensive- setup costs start at approximately $40,000
- Not for novice chemists- it’s best to leave this method to the professionals
There are various other methods of extracting such as using coconut oil, Butane and other solvents. The final step in the process is the blend of the CBD with the carrier oil. The carrier oil allows the manufacturer to adjust the potency and makes it easier to use and be absorbed into your body.
You will find CBD oils made with a wide range of carriers including hemp seed oil, coconut oil, olive oil and MCT oil. The carrier oil brings benefits of its own. For example, we chose MCT Oil due to its added benefits on top of CBD itself. MCT oil can provide an energy boost and delivers the cannabinoids to your bloodstream quicker for more effective and faster results. Hemp seed oil offers a beneficial blend of fatty acids and olive oil has a fantastic flavour. Once a carrier is added, the CBD oil is bottled and a sample from each batch is analysed by a third-party lab. The results of this analysis provide a guarantee of the quality of the oil. Most certificates of analysis will tell you how much of each cannabinoid is present in the oil. The best labs also present a terpene profile and the results of contaminant screening.