Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the many compounds found in the marijuana plant, also known as Cannabis Sativa. A major plus point of CBD is that, unlike THC, it is not a compound that shows mind-altering properties.
In fact, CBD is gaining significant traction as a promising remedy to several ailments ranging from chronic pain to depression and anxiety.
While many users may know of the many benefits of CBD, they may not be aware of how it is extracted. If you are curious to learn about how this potent supplement is made, read on as we talk about the top four methods of extraction from the Cannabis plant.
1) Ethanol Extraction
There are several methods of CBD extraction, but so far the most popular method of doing so is the ethanol extraction method. A reason for its popularity is the fact that it is deemed safe for human consumption by the FDA, making it readily available to CBD oil producers.
In order to begin extraction, the right ethanol extraction equipment needs to be set in place. At first, the hemp plant is heated for decarboxylation – a critical step that helps in the production of the most active compounds found in the cannabis plant.
The plant material is then introduced to the ethanol solvent for a calculated amount of time. The mixture is then purified to ensure that there are no contaminants in the product that could damage the aroma and the smell. This is done through the process of winterization. This process is carried out by dissolving hash oil, a non-polar substance, in ethanol, a polar substance at a sub-zero temperature. Doing so forces the lipids and waxes present in the extract to appear at the top of the mixture, making it easy to remove them through filtration.
What is left behind is a pure CBD-infused ethanol mixture. It is then laid to rest so that the ethanol can evaporate, leaving behind a concentrated CBD extract.
Because ethanol is a plant-based solvent, ethanol extraction is the best way to maintain the naturally occurring chemical ratios found in hemp.
2) CO2 Extraction
Another popular way of CBD extraction is to use CO2.
Manufacturers in the industry prefer carbon dioxide as a solvent due to its tunable and versatile properties. It is also not as dangerous as others, thereby producing a high-quality clean product free from toxins.
The first step in the process is to turn CO2 gas into liquid by treating it at a particular temperature and pressure. Once liquid CO2 is obtained, temperature and pressure are further increased till the liquid gas turns into supercritical CO2 which means that it is now capable of serving as a liquid and gas simultaneously.
The next step is to take some high-quality cannabis plant material and to pass the supercritical CO2 through it. The CO2 will pull the trichomes and the terpene oils out of the plant. The resultant solution is passed through a separator, which breaks it down into the desired parts. The trichome and terpenes are sent on to the collection container and the leftover supercritical CO2 is condensed back to liquid form.
A drawback of this method is the hefty cost of equipment attached to it. However, it produces a far greater yield as opposed to other ways, making it a sound method of extraction. Since the CO2 used is recyclable, this method is environmentally friendly. Because this method ensures that no toxins contaminate the product, it appeals to health-conscious consumers as well.
3) Butane Hash Oil Extraction
Historically butane has been a popular solvent in the perfume and food industry; however, in recent years, it has gained significant attention when it comes to cannabis extraction.
Butane hash oil extraction (BHO) or hydrocarbon extraction has become a preferred method for large scale manufacturers due to its scalability. Butane is preferred because, by nature, it is quite potent and can retain terpenes.
When it comes to BHO, a closed-loop system is preferred as the safest option for extraction. The process works by placing raw cannabis at the end of a metal or glass container in order to separate cannabinoids from the plant material. The cannabinoid-butane mixture is collected in a separate vessel, which is then separated using a vacuum oven. A closed-loop extraction system prevents the risks of gas leaks by containing all flammable solvents within its commercial-grade equipment.
This process also recycles the butane for the next extraction making the entire method effective, safer and controlled.
4) Quick Wash ISO Extraction
Quick ISO is referred to either as QWISO or Quick Wash Isopropyl and is a preferred method to produce ISO or ISO hash oil.
The ISO wash method of extraction makes use of a substance called isopropyl alcohol to separate the different components of the Cannabis Sativa plant.
The process works by grinding and freezing the cannabis well in advance. Once done, this is transferred to a mason jar. Alcohol is then poured on top, immersing the mixture completely. The lid is shut and the jar is given a light shake for around 30 seconds to agitate the cannabinoids for extraction.
The mixture is then transferred on to a glass dish where filtration will result in the solid plant matter being removed leaving behind a clear green liquid. The concentrated liquid is then placed in a vacuum, which causes the alcohol to evaporate, resulting in a potent THC infused oil.
While we agree that the art of CBD extraction should be left to trained professionals, the larger audience needs to understand each method and the risks and benefits attached to it.
Once the consumer is aware of this information, they can make better choices in selecting the right CBD product for themselves.
Did you find this article useful? Have you had any experience in CBD oil extraction? We would love to hear from you in the comment section below.