CBD is quickly becoming an acknowledged therapy for many different conditions. In its various forms, cannabidiol is today also on the front line in the food supplement shelf because of its benefits in maintaining our well-being. The new-born CBD industry is refining, improving and extending the extraction methods for cannabinoids, terpenes and other phytochemical compounds found in cannabis. At the same time, good CBD extractions can be made at home with no particular hassle.
The extraction of resin from the cannabis plant removes the fibres and other components from cannabis stems, leaves and flowers. This allows the active ingredients like CBD to be concentrated and purified. Each extraction method has its advantages and disadvantages, different costs, and different levels of purity, potency or quality. CBD-rich legal hemp plants are an effective source of cannabidiol for producing CBD-rich oil. The extraction method choice comes after a careful selection of the raw material. Both these tasks directly affect CBD oil’s characteristics and efficacy.
Cannabis plants with high CBD content give users a relaxed body feeling, which helps many different ailments. It is important to note, that consuming consistent and controlled doses of this active principle is crucial to gauge each individual’s body reactions, according to the particular condition. Just like any other herbal concentrate, CBD oil allows for regular, precise and timed doses, yet not all the extracts are made the same.
Safe and effective ways to extract and produce CBD-rich cannabis oil.
To extract CBD-rich cannabis oil, one must start with CBD-rich plant material. There are many ways to extract oil from the cannabis plant, each has its pros and cons. Some methods are safer and more effective than others. Cannabis oil made with neurotoxic solvents like butane and hexane may leave unsafe residues that compromise immune function and impede healing.
Here is a summary of the most common extraction methods, with their pros and cons.
- CO2 extraction. The supercritical (or subcritical) CO2 method uses carbon dioxide under high pressure and extremely low temperatures to isolate, preserve, and maintain the purity of the medicinal oil. CO2 extraction is considered the safest, cleanest, more scientifically controlled method of extraction. The extracted oil is very pure, with a very clean taste and flavour. Products made with CO2 extraction are usually very potent.This process requires expensive equipment and a steep operational learning curve. But, when done well the end product is safe, potent, and free of chlorophyll.
- Ethanol. High-grade grain alcohol can be used to create high-quality cannabis oil appropriate for vape pen cartridges and other products. But this extraction method destroys the plant waxes, which may have health benefits that are favored by some product-makers.
The extraction of cannabinoids using a chemical solvent is relatively cheap. It doesn’t require special equipments, and the whole process is pretty simple. Unfortunately, the solvents usually used for this purpose are highly flammable, and a few laboratories exploded over the years. Furthermore, it is quite difficult, or even impossible, to remove all the solvents’ residues from the resulting CBD oil.
The presence of potentially harmful chemical elements, even if just in traces, makes this method not suitable for medical purposes. Even if effective in extracting cannabinoids, another disadvantage of these methods is the deterioration of many other beneficial compounds naturally found in the raw cannabis material.
- Food Safe Oil Extraction. The production of CBD oil utilising natural vegetable oil is a safe method, assuming the oil used as a solvent is food-safe. Natural plants’ fats and oils are effective in extracting the resin, and the resulting oil is perfect both ingested, or applied as a topical remedy.Hemp seed oil, olive oil, sesame oil, or other oils can be used as carriers, each one bringing its own subtle flavour and organoleptic traits. Usually no harmful chemical residue is contained in these kinds of CBD extractions, yet all vegetable oil-based CBD extractions have a limited shelf life and must be stored properly.
- Olive oil. Extra virgin. Dr. Arno Hazekamp, director of phytochemical research at Bedrocan BV, which supplies medical cannabis for the Dutch Health Ministry, reports this method is both safe and inexpensive, “You won’t blow yourself up making cannabis-infused olive oil.” However, cannabis-infused olive oil—whether CBD-rich or THC-dominant—is perishable and should be stored in a cool, dark place.