How is CBD Oil Extracted?
CBD, or Cannabidiol, is one of the numerous cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. While looking into CBD products, you may find yourself verifying the quality of the CBD. Some important factors to check are whether it’s organically grown, made in the U.S.A., and third-party batch tested. But what about the company’s extraction method? There are many ways CBD oil can be extracted, and some methods are considered better than others.
Different Methods to Extract CBD Oil
There are a few ways that CBD oil is extracted. Three of the most common methods are CO2 extraction, ethanol, and petroleum-based solvents. Each technique has pros and cons, and the best method has the least amount of solvents and the cleanest, most pure extract.
CBD oil extracted via petroleum-based solvents commonly involve gases like Butane and Propane. Their effectiveness is attributed to their non-polarity. Since they are non-polar, they can pull cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant. Also, they leave behind unwanted compounds like plant metabolites and chlorophyll. The major disadvantage of petroleum-based extraction is the inherent toxic nature of the solvents as well as their combustibility.
Ethanol is merely alcohol, and a high-grain food-grade version is used to extract cannabinoids and flavors. The hemp is added to the alcohol, boiled, and the remaining alcohol is eventually completely evaporated. Ethanol is a polar solvent, meaning it will bind to the water-soluble parts of the hemp plant. As a result, additional post-processing can be necessary and the product can be less potent. Additional cons of ethanol extraction are that it can potentially destroy beneficial plant waxes and terpenes. Further, this process can be very labor-intensive and costly, ultimately making it hard to scale.
Extracting CBD oil via CO2 extraction can be a very complex process. However, the result it yields is largely considered the highest quality and most pure CBD extract. CO2 is unique, as it can function as a solid, liquid, or gas depending on the applied pressure and temperature. When extracting our hemp oil, a special state is used, known as “supercritical CO2.” In this state, a specific pressure and temperature is applied to CO2 and causes it to behave like a liquid. Upon reaching this state, the liquid-like CO2 is run through the plant material and subsequently extracts important compounds. The CO2 and plant compound mixture eventually enter a final chamber that introduces a lower pressure and higher temperature, allowing the CO2 to rise as a gas while the oil from the plant collects at the bottom.
One of the cons of CO2 extraction is the additional processes needed to remove some plant waxes. This is sometimes necessary when a supercritical state is used to extract CBD. A subcritical, low pressure and low-temperature state can also be used to avoid this. Further, the extractor systems for this method can also be relatively expensive.
Why Viridipharm Chooses CO2 Extraction
We believe that CO2 extraction has many benefits that outweigh any cons. We take the purity of our products very seriously, so the minimal risk of contaminants in the final product that CO2 extraction offers is crucial. CBD extracted via CO2 also has non-toxic residues, and the CO2 itself is non-flammable, creating a safer working environment. We do not see petroleum-based extractions as an option for this reason. Our hemp is meant to help, and introducing toxic solvents like propane and butane is out of the question for us. While ethanol is non-toxic, the plant compounds pulled during extraction is a huge con for us. We want to offer products that carry all the crucial compounds CBD has to offer.
Have a question about our extraction process or any of our products? Feel free to send us a message, we’d love to hear from you.