After decades as a niche compound known only by stoners, CBD finally has its day in the sun. Today, hundreds of thousands of people tout CBD as a wonder drug, capable of treating all kinds of health concerns, from chronic pain to anxiety to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Even better, CBD is a natural compound, sourced almost directly from a plant that, while controversial, has been shown to have minimal health risks.
Whether you are already a proponent of CBD or you are considering buying your first dose, you might be wondering how this wonder drug gets made. Here’s a rundown on the process of creating CBD oil:
Growing the Cannabis
Because cannabis naturally produces CBD, cultivation is an integral step in creating CBD products. In the United States, it is legal to grow “industrial hemp,” which the federal government designates as cannabis plants with less than 0.3 percent THC content. In contrast, most dry flower and THC products available in dispensaries are sourced from marijuana variants of cannabis, which obviously have much higher concentrations of THC.
While many farmers are experiencing some growing pains in transitioning to hemp cultivation, creating CBD products from hemp is much, much easier than trying to refine CBD from marijuana. Thus, CBD oil manufacturers tend to work with industrial hemp growers around the country.
Extracting the Good Stuff
Once a CBD manufacturer has cannabis on hand, they can begin the process of extracting CBD from the plant material. There are three primary methods of extraction:
1. Co2 Extraction
CO2 extraction involves converting CO2 from its solid state into a liquid state to absorb and carry away the oils and important compounds within cannabis. When CO2 is then converted into a gas, it leaves CBD and other compounds behind. The downside of CO2 extraction is its high cost; the machinery required for this process is complex and exceedingly expensive, which can increase the price of the final product.
2. Liquid Solvents
Liquid solvents like ethanol and butane are a bit more common in CBD extraction. Similar to CO2, the solvents strip away unwanted material like plant fiber, leaving behind the good stuff, like CBD. Often, cannabis is washed by the solvent several times to fully separate the fiber from the fats from the desired compounds.
3. Oil Extraction Method
This method of extraction is something that our ancestors were also aware of! Oil extraction is done when hemp is steeped with plant-based oil to activate the components that eventually get released into the oil. The conventional method involves heating olive oil or coconut oil with hemp. Without letting the oil burn, the hemp component is steeped so that the components of this substance get absorbed into the oil. The result is cannabinoid-rich oil with a coconut or olive oil base.
During the extraction process, manufacturers need to determine what kind of CBD product they intend to produce. For example, full-spectrum products retain all natural compounds within cannabis, from CBD to THC and various terpenes; in contrast, broad-spectrum products remove THC, and CBD isolate products lack all other cannabinoids and terpenes. Understanding CBD vs. THC and the benefits of different spectrums of compounds will help you make a more informed decision when buying CBD oils.
Purifying the CBD
The final step in creating most CBD oils is purification, which works to eliminate any residual unwanted material or compounds. Different manufacturers have different purification preferences, but there are two methods that are widely in use: winterization and distillation.
Winterization is essentially freezing the material that is produced after the extraction process. Different elements within the material will freeze at different rates, causing separation that makes it easy to identify and remove unwanted stuff that is difficult to get out in extraction. Some manufacturers winterize a few times to radically improve the quality of their product.
Almost the opposite of winterization, distillation seeks to heat up the extracted material. Different elements within the extraction will boil at different temperatures, so by controlling the temperature, manufacturers can effectively boil off unwanted compounds. Distillation is often used when manufacturers want an exceedingly pure final product, like CBD isolate.
Finishing the Product
From there, manufacturers finish their CBD oil in various ways. Many work to extend the shelf life of their products by adding shelf-stable oils or other preservatives; others boost the healthfulness of their products with essential oils or other healing compounds.
The final step is always to bottle and label their oils and send them to retail stores or else sell them directly to customers for use. Sometimes, extracted CBD is sold to other manufacturers, who use it to make topical products, edibles, vape juice and other CBD goodies.
How to make CBD Oil at home?
Making CBD oil at home is fairly easy! You can use CBD paste to create your own oil, although we must warn you that it will not be the same as store-bought oil. However, everything home-made is natural and you have no doubts in using it! Follow the steps to make CBD oil at home easily:
- First of all, decide the intensity of oil. Use the amount of paste that would give you the required intensity. For example, 50% paste with 2500mg in 5mls mixed with 10ml of oil will give a concentration of 1250mg or 12.5% CBD oil.
- Add the paste to a clean, sterilized bottle.
- The carrier oil can be of your choice. If you prefer olive oil then use it, otherwise, go with coconut oil or even hemp seed oil. Pour oil into the bottle leaving some space at the top.
- Close the lid tightly and shake it vigorously. This will ensure that the paste and oil blend well.
- Leave the oil for some time and then shake again.
- After a few shakes, open the lid and fill the rest of the bottle space with oil. Shake once more.
The CBD-infused olive or coconut oil will work the same way that CBD oil from any popular brand would work. However, the texture and flavor will be different.
What to Look For When Buying CBD Oil?
By now you know all that there is to get acquainted with CBD oil. You know how to make CBD oil at home, the methods of extraction of CBD, and even the uses and benefits of CBD oil. However, another query that most potential users have is what to look for when buying CBD oil.
Before you make the decision of buying a particular brand of CBD oil, here are a few factors to consider:
1. Production of the oil
Where and how was the particular type of CBD oil made? This question focuses on the raw material used in making the oil. Were the hemp plants grown naturally, without the use of pesticides and other chemicals? Many manufacturers buy hemp plants from other countries where there are no regulations of quality.
Similarly, some brands do not ensure freshness as their raw materials are not bought fresh from hemp farmers. The freshness and natural farming of hemp plants play an integral role in the quality of the end product.
2. Testing and transparent processing
The process of making oil must be transparent so that users are free of any concern related to unethical production processes. The manufacturer must provide laboratory test results for the CBD oil so that consumers know the content of cannabinoids and other components of the oil.
3. Customer reviews
If you hear customers rave about a certain brand of CBD oil, there’s a positive sign for you! Since CBD and many other natural supplements do not have enough scientific research or study therefore it is safe to rely on the reviews of consumers who have tried a certain CBD product.
Many times you can find a customer with similar concerns as yours and their experience of CBD oil can help you decide which brand to choose!
The science of what CBD does within the human body is still underway, but in the meantime, cannabis manufacturers are finding faster and better ways to get users the CBD they need.