| Lisa Mcwilliams
The cannabis plant has been harvested and used for its many different properties for thousands of years. Its seeds were used for food, its fibrous stalks were used for textiles, and the flowers were used for their medicinal effects in many cultures throughout the world. While the psychoactive effects of cannabis have been well documented over time, it’s only recently that humans have begun to isolate and extract cannabinoids other than THC from the plant.
Like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) is one of 113 cannabinoids that naturally occur in the cannabis plant. To meet the growing demand for CBD products, producers need to use cost-effective yet safe methods to isolate the compound from the plant. Now that CBD is becoming so popular, many users might be curious about the processes behind the products they are consuming.
The most common way to extract CBD from the plant material is by using liquid solvents such as butane, ethanol, hexane, or isopropyl alcohol. One of these solvents is used to strip away the plant’s cannabinoids, and then the liquid mixture is left to evaporate. If all of these chemical names make you recoil with horror, rest easy. As long as the solvent extraction method is carried out in a professional lab environment, all of the solvent will evaporate and leave only concentrated oil behind.
Many CBD producers prefer this method because it is quite efficient yet inexpensive and doesn’t require a lot of specialized equipment. Solvent extraction is generally used on non-psychoactive hemp plants because the chemicals used in the process cannot isolate CBD from other cannabinoids like THC, which is still illegal in many countries.
For plants that do contain THC, producers can use a more advanced method called carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction to target CBD and other cannabinoids. CO2 extraction relies on specialized equipment called a closed-loop extractor, which is separated into three chambers. The first chamber contains pressurized CO2 that is pumped through the dry plant material in the second chamber. After making adjustments to pressure and temperature, the extracted material settles out in the third chamber.
Although this method is typically more expensive for CBD producers, the end result is very high quality CBD extract with zero contamination. Specific cannabinoids can be extracted simply by adjusting the pressure of the C02, which means CBD can be extracted separately even from plants high in THC.
The final product
From here, the oil containing CBD can be refined even further until it becomes a white crumbly powder, which is the pure CBD isolate. This is carefully measured out into appropriate doses and added to the hundreds of CBD products sold both in stores and online. Both extraction methods are very safe and you can rest assured that the CBD in your tinctures, capsules, and edibles are free of chemicals if they come from a reputable vendor.
Shop on CBD Supermarket knowing that you are getting safe and effective products from reliable vendors!