CBD oil is becoming increasingly used throughout the western world as a medicine to help treat a huge number of conditions, from psoriasis to even Parkinson’s disease.
By extracting the important CBD from the cannabis plant, CBD oil manufacturers can concentrate the isolated chemical and suspend it in inert oil, allowing for easy and convenient use.
But… How is it actually made?
You can generally imagine the production process of most of the things you put in your body (cheese, eggs, vegetables) but what about CBD oil?
Is it a safe process? Is it natural?
Why Would You Want to Extract CBD?
Well, first of all you need to understand why people extract CBD at all, as well as what CBD actually is.
CBD is one of the cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant. These compounds are unique to this type of vegetation, having evolved over millennia for the purpose of stopping animals eating the plants.
Cannabinoids interact with a health system within all mammals called the endocannabinoid system. When any cannabinoids are introduced to your body, they begin to interact with this system, triggering the CB1 and CB2 receptors, both of which have different effects.
Principally, when we administer CBD oil we are looking for its healing properties, as it helps encourage our body’s normal healing processes to function better. For instance, we know that CBD helps to fight off inflammation, as discovered in the famous study by Carrier et al. Thanks to this study, among others, we know that CBD encourages the body to stop inflaming an area that doesn’t need it, lessening pain and distress that would be normally suffered.
As amazing as CBD may be to help medical conditions, the question remains as to how you actually get it in your system.
It occurs naturally in the cannabis plant, but smoking or imbibing that plant comes with its own problems – CBD isn’t the only cannabinoid in cannabis.
THC, the infamous cannabinoid that gets you high, exists in cannabis plants at about ten times the rate of CBD. This means that, if you were to smoke cannabis for the purpose of getting CBD, you’d also be subjecting yourself to THC and its psychoactive properties.
This isn’t inherently a bad thing – there have been no recorded deaths due to THC or CBD overdose in history – but it isn’t entirely desirable either.
Leaving aside the illegality of THC in many parts of the world, it just isn’t practical to be high all of the time; sometimes you just want to take your medicine and get on with your day.
That is the very reason we extract CBD and administer it as an oil – you don’t always want THC or other cannabinoids in your system at any given time.
Now that we understand why the industry for CBD oil exists, how is it made? What is the process?
The CBD Extraction Process
CBD needs to be extracted from the cannabis plant so as to best access its medicinal properties, without having to deal with any of the plant impurities or THC that comes bundled up with the plant.
The process for removing CBD from the plant is actually quite simple and surprisingly un-chemical; you’d normally expect something like this to be industrial and disturbing, but CBD extraction is, in fact, an easy process.
CBD is extracted using CO2; however, there are generally two varieties of this extraction that are used: supercritical and subcritical.
Supercritical CO2 Extraction
Supercritical refers to the temperature and pressure to which the CO2 is heated.
When it is heated to over 31.1˚C, carbon dioxide enters into what is known as a supercritical state.
This means that it exists as both a solid and a liquid, maintaining properties of both states. If this sounds a bit too much like your physics lessons in high school, stick with it, because it gets even stranger. When CO2 is heated to a supercritical state, it is able to seep in-between materials like liquid, but still carry itself and move like a solid. This makes it excellent at dissolving other materials, as it can pass through it and lift particular compounds from what it passes through, all while leaving behind undesirables.
We generally call a chemical in this state a solvent, and it’s incredibly useful at extracting compounds from other materials.
Supercritical CO2 Extraction Process
The actual process of extracting CBD from cannabis is very simple. You put the cannabis plant material in an extraction chamber – essentially a sealed chamber with an appropriate air flow – and flood it with supercritical CO2.
The supercritical CO2 seeps into the plant matter, diffusing the CBD from the plant. You can actually control what compounds you want taken from the plant based on what temperature you superheat the CO2 to.
This supercritical CO2 then passes into a diffusion chamber, which releases the CBD into inert oil and alcohol solution. This same CO2 is then released and returned back into the system.
This means that the supercritical CO2 extraction method for CBD is an entirely closed system, only requiring new cannabis and the energy to power the flow of CO2.
What makes it even more environmentally friendly is the fact that the remaining cannabis can be repurposed.
This CBD-less cannabis can now be used to make THC oil or other THC products, or even sold as a textile to use in fabric or rope making.
As the cannabis market is primarily run and funded by lovers of the plant, you can expect a great deal of it to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
Alongside being environmentally friendly, supercritical CO2 extraction is extremely effective at maintaining efficiency, as evidenced in a study published by Laura Rovetto and Niccolo Aieta in the Journal of Supercritical Fluids. In the study, supercritical CO2 extraction was found to extract upwards of 92% of the total CBD product in a plant.
However, there is an issue with using supercritical CO2, and that is that it unfortunately does carry with it some compounds from the cannabis plant that you don’t want in your CBD oil.
To combat this, manufacturers use a process known as “winterization”.
Winterization of CBD Oil
Winterization is the process of steeping the diffused CBD that you just extracted in alcohol.
Once the alcohol solution has completely taken all the CBD from the supercritical CO2, the solution is then frozen to just below freezing. When this happens, the unwanted chemicals that the CO2 extracted – such as chlorophyll – are stuck in the alcohol solution, whereas the desired CBD remains in the inert oil.
Using this process, CBD is further filtered, allowing the finished product to avoid unwanted fatty substances or plant chemicals.
It’s incredibly important not to skip this step, as many countries expressly forbid the sale of cannabis products that contain above 0.2% THC within them. Through winterization, not only is the CBD oil made safe to consume, it is also protected legally. After all, not everyone wants to get high every single time they want to medicate themselves.
Interestingly enough, this is actually the same process used in brandy or wine making to concentrate the alcohol – as alcohol has a lower freezing temperature than other substances, you can actually remove water and unwanted chemicals while concentrating the taste and alcoholic content of a beverage; it’s basically the same principle.
If you don’t want to have to do this, you can instead use an alternate method of CBD extraction, known as subcritical.
Subcritical CO2 Extraction
As the name might imply, subcritical CO2 extraction is when you don’t superheat the CO2 to a supercritical state. Instead, you allow the CO2 to diffuse the CBD and carry with it a large number of the cannabinoids and other compounds within the plant matter.
When you use subcritical extraction, you are left with thick, almost molasses-like syrup that contains a great deal of compounds from the cannabis plant.
The reason you’d do this is if you want to try and create distilled marijuana oils with both THC and CBD, or if you’re looking to further refine the oil into purer CBD oil using a different method.
Some producers swear by the health benefits of terpenes that winterization removes, so by using subcritical extraction, these manufacturers are able to more carefully control which compounds they want to purify out of their final solution.
You can actually buy unpurified CBD oils with a variety of other compounds mixed in, but it is far better to look for pure CBD oil; this ensures you only get the dosage exactly as you need it, with no unintended side effects linked with regular dosing of chlorophyll or THC.
The Round Up
Despite its clinical appearance in the bottle, as well as what you might have heard from naysayers, the process of extracting CBD and suspending it in inert oil is surprisingly simplistic and environmentally friendly.
It’s always important to know what you’re putting into your body and a huge part of that is knowing how and why it was created.
Now you can enjoy your CBD oil with the full knowledge of where it comes from, especially that it’s an environmentally, reusable process.
Just keep an eye on your CBD oil and make sure it doesn’t have any THC in it!
- How Can CBD Help You Up Your Game?
- What Epidiolex is, and How to Get it
- The 5 Best CBD Creams for Arthritis and Joint Pain
- How Long Does CBD Last? [A Timeline of Your System]
- When to Integrate CBD into Your Sex Life
- CBD-Infused Tea and Coffee: Revelation… or Total Gimmick?
- Are CBD Pills Better than CBD Oil? [Understanding the FACTS]
- Is CBD Safe to Take with Prescription Drugs?
- 10 Best CBD Oil UK Tinctures [2018-2019 Update]
- Does the Digestive System Decrease the Effects of CBD Oil? [Answered]
- CBD-Infused Beer: The Biggest Thing to Ever Hit the Adult Beverage Market?
- CBD Oil and Coconut Oil: A Perfect Molecular Matchup?
- The 5 Best CBD Capsules for 2018 [Ranked by Potency]
- The History of Cannabidiol: A Chronological Timeline of CBD-Related Events
- Is CBD Oil Dangerous? [Busting the Myths…]
- What is a Full Spectrum Oil? [Experts Answer]
- How to Mask the Taste of CBD Oil
- How to Incorporate CBD into Your Fitness Routine
- Why CBD Dabbing Can Work for Pain Relief
- Will CBD Liposomes Change the Cannabis Market Forever?
- CBD Oil for Alzheimer's Disease
- Review of PureKana + 5% Discount Code
- CBD Oil for Neuropathy [The Complete Guide]
- How is CBD Oil Made? [The Complete Beginner's Guide]
- Avoid These 3 Dangers When Shopping for CBD Oil Online
- What are CBD Dabs? [All You Need to Know]
- Is CBD Safe for Kids? [Understanding the Facts…]
- CBD Oil for Dementia: Understanding the Facts
- Is CBD Coffee Any Good? [Advice From a Java Connoisseur]
- CBD Oil vs. CBD Edibles [All You Need to Know]
- CBD Water: Is This Going to Be the Next Big Thing?
- Can You Cook with CBD Oil? [Advice from a Cannabis Pro…]
- What is the Entourage Effect… And What Does it Have to Do with CBD Oil?
- CBD Oil for Weight Loss and Obesity
- Why are so many MMA and UFC fighters starting to use CBD Oil?
- 10 Top Studies on CBD for 2018 [Exploring the Science]
- What is CO2 Extraction for CBD Oil? [Understanding the Basics…]
- Is Vaping CBD Oil Safe? [Understanding the FACTS]
- Is CBD Safe? Here's What the Global Expert Committee on Drug Dependence Says…
- Charlottes Web Hemp CBD Review
- CBD for Spinal Cord Injury: Can it Regenerate Damaged Nerves?
- What are Terpenes in CBD Oil?
- Why are CBD Third-Party Lab Reports So Important?
- Green Roads CBD Review
- What's the Difference Between CBD Oil and CBD Tincture?
- 5 CBD Oil Myths That Need To Be Cleared Up
- CBD for Cystic Fibrosis [Exploring the Science]
- How Long Does CBD Take to Work?
- Full-Spectrum CBD Oil vs. CBD Isolate: What's the Difference?
- 5 Tips for Buying CBD Oil Online
- Can CBD Oil Help People with ALS?
- CBD Oil for Anorexia [Why it Can Work]
- CBD Oil for Glaucoma [Does it REALLY Work?]
- CBD Oil For Bipolar Disorder
- CBD Oil for Anti-Ageing – Truth or Myth?
- CBD Oil for Dogs (and Other Pets)
- Can CBD be helpful treatment for cerebral palsy?
- CBD Oil for Eczema [Is it Real or a Myth?]
- CBD Brothers Oil [ Complete Review ]
- CBD Oil for Addiction Recovery (Alcohol, Tobacco, Pain Meds, etc…)
- Can CBD Help with Muscle Spasms?
- CBD Oil for ADHD [Exploring the Science]
- Is CBD Oil a Helpful Treatment for Diabetes?
- CBD Oil for Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- CBD for Epilepsy and Seizures [Exploring the Science]
- The Endocannabinoid System [Explained]
- CBD Oil for Osteoporosis [What Science Says]
- CBD Oil for Sciatica [Understand How and if it Works]
- CBD Oil for PTSD [Exploring How it Works]
- CBD for Social Anxiety [Explore How it Works]
- Does CBD Oil Work as Treatment for Crohn’s Disease? [Explored]
- What is the difference between CBD and THC? [Explained]
- CBD For Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- CBD Oil for Mood Disorder
- CBD Oil for Chronic Fatigue [It Can Help]
- CBD Oil for Psoriasis
- CBD Oil for Back Pain [Here's How it Works]
- CBD Oil as Treatment for Inflammation
- CBD for Multiple Sclerosis [How it Works]
- CBD Oil for Stress [It Works]
- Diamond CBD Review: How Do They Stack Up?
- CBD Oil for Nerve Degeneration [It Works]
- "I Bought CBD for my Dog and This is What Happened…[Testimonial]"
- HempBombs CBD Oil Review [Personal Experience]
- Kat Naturals [Full Review + Coupon Code]
- Review of Lazarus Naturals
- CBD Oil Dosage [What’s Best for You]
- Medterra CBD Oil (Full Review)
- SOL CBD Review + Coupon Code (2018)
- CBD Oil for Increased Appetite
- CBD Oil Not Working For Me (Here’s Why…)
- CBD oil for nausea [Understand How it Works]
- I Bet You Had No Idea CBD Could Do These 5 Things
- CBD For Sleep Apnea
- CBD For Fibromyalgia Syndrome
- CBD’s Effects on Cholesterol Levels
- CBD for General Health [Does it Work?]
- CBD for Boosting Your Immune System Against Winter’s Viruses
- CBD Gummies [Do They REALLY Work]
- CBD Oil for Rheumatoid Arthritis [Understanding Endocannabinoids]
- How Does CBD Oil Interact with Other Medications [Guide]
- How CBD Helped Me with Anxiety [Personal Story]
- CBDistillery CBD Oil [Review + Coupon]
- CBD For Migraines [The Ultimate Relief Pill]
- Is CBD Effective For Depression? [Exploring What Works]
- CBD For Rheumatoid Arthritis [Exploring Which Oils REALLY Work]
- CBD for Insomnia [Explore Which Oils Work]
- NuLeaf Naturals (The Complete Review)
- KOI CBD (The Complete Review)
- CBD Pure Review [TESTED]
- CBD FAQ: All the ANSWERS in One Place
- CBD for Anxiety [Discover How it REALLY works]
- Elixinol CBD Review + 10% Discount Code
- CBD Essence Review + 5% Discount Code
- CBD for Pain [Exploring Which Oils Really Work]